Paul in Corinth: Acts 18:1-11.
The city of Corinth was Paul’s next stop from Athens. It was a port city and bigger than Athens. It had two main ports, flourishing with industry and trade. Corinth was known for its corruption by the temple of Aphrodite, built on a hill overlooking the city. Aphrodite was the goddess of love and there were 1000 temple prostitutes. When Paul went to Corinth, he resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ the one who was crucified. He came there in weakness, in fear and in much trembling (1 Cor 2:2-3). Paul preached the gospel so that Christ might be saved. In Corinth Paul met Aquila and Priscilla who had recently been driven from Rome by Caesar Claudius. Paul lived and worked with them for they were tent makers by trade. At this time Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia and joined Paul in the ministry. Each Sabbath Paul reasoned with the Jews in the Synagogue. But he was rejected by the Jews. When Jews opposed the gospel, Paul shook out dust from his cloths and said “Your blood is upon your own heads- I am innocent. From now on I will go to the gentiles” (18:6). Paul was discouraged and frustrated. But the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and said “Do not be afraid; keep on preaching, do not be silent. For I am with you, no one will harm you, for many people in this city belong to me” (18:9-10). God ensured Paul that he will be protected. When we face similar situation in the ministry, the Lord is faithful to encourage us by presence and protection. He stayed a year and six month in Corinth, teaching the word of God among them. Difficulties in the ministry is not a sign of God’s disapproval but opportunity to manifest his power. The christian life should not be characterized by fear for God is with us and for us.
Paul Returns to Antioch: Acts 18:12-23.
The conversion of Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue and his family must have been a tremendous encouragement to to Paul. Here also Paul had to face the opposition from the Jews. Paul was accused before Roman governor Gallio that he is persuading people to worship God contrary to Jewish law. Because of the religious nature of the case, Gallio dismissed it. They instigated a riot and brought Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue before Gallio. But Gallio paid no attention to it. Paul continued the ministry in Corinth in spite of hardship and strengthened the believers. During this period he wrote first and second Thessalonians. Then Paul sailed for Syria with Priscilla and Aquila. Arriving at Ephesus, Paul left Aquila and Priscilla there and reasoned with Jews in their synagogue. They asked him to stay longer but he declined by saying that “I will return to you if God wills” (18:21). Such should be our attitude towards the work of God. Paul sailed to Caesarea and greeted the church. Then he went down to Antioch to give report of his second missionary journey. Pray that God would free us from fear and anxiety.
Apollos Ministry at Ephesus: Acts 18:24-28.
About this time a Jew named Apollos arrived in Ephesus on a preaching tour. He was an eloquent preacher born in Alexandria, Egypt. He had heard about the message of John the Baptist and faithfully proclaimed what he knew about Jesus. He was an effective speaker but lacked full understanding of the nature of Christ’s work on the cross. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and explained the way of Christ more accurately. He was convinced of God’s call for the ministry and departed to Achaia with the written letter of recommendation. Apollos was greatly used by God in his public ministry. He carefully handled the scriptures to convince the Jews that Jesus is Messiah. Salvation is completely the work of God's grace. Faith is a gracious gift of God which comes through the hearing of the word of God (Rom 10:17). Pray that the Holy Spirit would help us to preach the gospel accurately and effectively.