Paul at Corinth.
SUMMARY.--Paul Leaves Athens for Corinth.
Works with Aquila and Priscilla.
Preaches in the Synagogue.
Departs to the Gentiles.
Many Hear, Believe, and Are Baptized.
The Lord Encourages Paul in a Vision.
The Seizure of Paul by the Jews.
Before the Judgment Seat of Gallio.
The Accusers Driven Away.
Paul Sails to Ephesus, Antioch and Jerusalem.
Starts on His Third Missionary Tour.
Apollos Taught by Aquila and Priscilla, and Preaches in Corinth.
1. Came to Corinth. The distance between Athens and Corinth is
forty-five miles by sea. The Acropolis of one city can be plainly
discerned from the other. From the most remote times Corinth had been
an important commercial center. Situated on the narrow isthmus between
Greece proper and the Pelopenesus, it had harbors on both the
Ægean and Adriatic seas. The old city was destroyed by the Roman
Consul Mummius, but it was rebuilt by Julius Caesar, made a Roman
colony, (see notes on
and was, at the time of Paul's visit, a city of great splendor. Of its
morals one fact will speak; one temple, that of Venus Pandemos, had a
thousand courtesans attached.
2. Found a certain Jew named Aquila. We have no account of the
conversion of these two Christians, so famous in connection with Paul's
labors. The fact that he describes Aquila as a Jew seems to imply that
he was not yet a Christian. I am of the opinion that they were
converted at Corinth. For other notices of them, see
verses 18 and 26
below; Rom. 16:3, 4; 2 Tim. 4:19,
and other passages in the Epistles.
Born in Pontus. A great province southeast of the Euxine Sea.
Lately come from Italy. They had been driven out of Italy by a
decree of the Emperor Claudius banishing all Jews from Rome. The Roman
historian Suetonius, who lived about fifty years later, alludes to this
decree, but states that the Jews made disturbances at the instigation
of one Chrestus, a form the ancients often used for spelling
Christus; a mistake of the historian, showing that they did not
comprehend the spiritual nature of Christ's reign.
3. He abode with them. He did this
because they were of the same craft. This is the first mention
of the handicraft by which so often during his toilsome life Paul
earned his daily bread. Every Jewish boy was taught a trade, and Paul
no doubt learned his in Tarsus. Compare
1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8; 1 Cor. 4:12.
4. He reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath. While toiling six
days in the week in this strange city, on the Sabbath, according to his
custom, he preached.
5. When Silas and Timotheus were come. When Paul left Berea for
Athens they remained
but he sent for them to come to him.
1 Thess. 3:1
seems to imply that Timothy was sent back from Athens to Thessalonica.
Some think, however, that they did not join him at all until he was in
Was pressed in the spirit. The Revision reads, "Was constrained
by the word," that is, by
the gospel message. When they came, probably freed from the need of
daily labor, and encouraged by their presence, he began the work in
6. When they . . . blasphemed. Against Jesus Christ. The
opposition became malignant.
He shook his raiment. See note on
Your blood be upon your own heads. "I have done my duty. The
responsibility is now yours."
7-11. He departed thence. Left the synagogue and taught no more
there, but secured a place of teaching in the house of Justus, near by.
The Revision reads, "Titus Justus." Some have supposed this man to be
the Titus to whom the epistle was afterwards written.
Crispus, the chief ruler. Though the synagogue opposed, its
president became a Christian with all his family. Paul baptized him
with his own hands
(1 Cor. 1:14).
Many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
This describes the gospel process of conversion. The word is preached,
faith comes by hearing
follow belief. This is the invariable order in the New Testament.
Spake the Lord to Paul. In some way he manifested his presence
and cheered him in his work, by the assurance of great success. We know
that the result was not only a flourishing church in Corinth, to which
two epistles were written, but churches through Achaia, the province of
which Corinth was the capital
(2 Cor. 1:1.)
He continued there a year and six months. While here, besides
his other labors, he wrote the two epistles to the Thessalonians, the
first of that grand series of letters which form so precious a feature
of the New Testament.
12-17. When Gallio was the deputy of Achaia. Proconsul, in the
Revision, as it should be. The province of Achaia had been transferred
by Claudius to the government of the senate, and the governors of
senatorial provinces were proconsuls, which is the meaning of the
rendered deputy. Gallio was the brother of Seneca, the philosopher
and tutor of Nero. He is often mentioned in the literature of that day
as a cultivated, polished man of the world. Seneca speaks of his
brother's residence in Achaia.
The Jews made insurrection. Rose up against Paul, no doubt
enraged at the success of his work. His sleepless enemies always found
some occasion to stir up strife.
Brought him to the judgment seat. The court of Gallio.
This man persuadeth . . . contrary to the law. Their
charge was that Paul sought to persuade men to worship contrary to the
Roman law; that is, he preached a new and unlawful religion. Besides
the state religion, Rome recognized various others, among them Judaism.
These Jews attempted to show that Paul's gospel was not Judaism.
Gallio said unto the Jews. Without suffering Paul to reply, he
at once rebuked the Jews, who were evidently not in his favor. His
rebuke shows that he ignorantly regarded Christianity as a kind of
Judaism, and thought that the enmity of the Jews was due to the rivalry
of sects. To him it was a question of "words and names, and of the
He drave them. Ordered his lictors to clear the court of the
The Greeks took Sosthenes. He had evidently succeeded
Crispus as chief ruler of the synagogue,
and was probably foremost among the accusers. The populace laid violent
hands on him.
Gallio cared for none of those things. The great Romans were
usually utterly indifferent to religion at this period. Nor did Gallio
care to see some violence inflicted on the leading Jews.
18-23. After this. After the affair before Gallio. How long Paul
remained, whether weeks or months, is not stated. The object is to show
that this occurrence did not cause his departure.
Sailed thence into Syria. Antioch, the mother Gentile church from
whence he started, was his destination.
Having shorn his head in Cenchrea. Cenchrea was the eastern
harbor of Corinth, and received the commerce of Asia. A church was
For he had a vow. We know that the Jews were wont to make
Lev. 27:2; 1 Sam. 1:11; 2 Sam. 15:7, etc.)
Paul complied with this custom of his race for some reason not
explained. Why he took the vow, for how long, and what the shaving of
the head had to do with it, are matters of conjecture. Nazarite vows
required the shaving of the head in Jerusalem, and the hair cut off was
offered in the temple.
This could not have been a Nazarite vow. It is probable that he
complied with some Jewish custom to aid him in reaching his own people
with the gospel.
Came to Ephesus. The great commercial metropolis of Asia Minor.
Left them there. Priscilla and Aquila.
Entered the synagogue. The Jews seem to have given him a
favorable hearing, but he could not now tarry.
Keep this feast. There are reasons for believing the feast to be
I will return to you. He kept the promise. See
Landed at Cæsarea. He sailed from Ephesus to
Cæsarea, and went up from thence, about seventy miles, to
Saluted the church. We have no other account of the incidents of
Went down to Antioch. The headquarters of Gentile missions, the
terminus of his second missionary tour.
It had occupied at least three years.
Spent some time there. He did not remain a great while, but
departed to visit the churches he had planted on his last tour in
Galatia and Phrygia, This is the beginning of his third missionary
24-28. A certain Jew named Apollos. A native of Alexandria, a city
where there were tens of thousands of Jews. He was an eloquent rabbi,
learned in the Scriptures, a disciple of John the Baptist, but had not
yet learned fully the gospel of Christ.
He spake diligently the things of the Lord. That is, all that
John understood. He believed that Jesus was the one coming after John,
but he had learned only the gospel of the Lord's first commission
(Matt. chap. 10).
He was ignorant of the gospel of the second commission
and of Pentecost. In my opinion his position was about that of the
disciples of the Lord before the Great Commission was given. He had the
gospel in part, but needed to be shown
the way of God more perfectly. Aquila and Priscilla supplied
this need, and equipped him for gospel work.
When he was disposed to pass into Achaia. Greece, the province
of which Corinth was the Roman capital.
The brethren wrote. This is the first instance of church
letters. This was written to show the brethren at Corinth that the
bearer was worthy of their confidence. They no doubt testified to his
soundness in the faith and Christian character. Paul alludes to such
2 Cor. 3:1.
He helped them much. The believers at Corinth. Apollos was God's
instrument to help them.
Through grace. Through the Divine favor.
For he mightily convinced the Jews. That he was a man of God of
great power is shown by Paul's allusions to him. See
1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4-6.