Acts 18:1-6 Paul left Athens and came to Corinth and met a Jew named Aquila and his wife Priscilla. They came from Italy because Emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews from Rome. They made tents as did Paul, so Paul stayed and worked with them for a while. Paul reasoned again with the Jews in the synagogue on the Sabbath to persuade both Jew and Greek that Jesus was the Messiah and Christ. Because the Jews opposed Paul’s message, Paul again said he will only preach to the Gentiles.
Notes: Corinth was the leading political and commercial center in Greece. Virtually all traffic between northern and southern Greece had to pass through the city. Because Corinth was a trade center and host to all sorts of travelers, it had an unsettled population that was extremely corrupt.
Acts 18:7-11 Paul left and stayed at home of a Gentile named Titius Justus. Next door was a synagogue whose ruler was named Crispus where they both believed in Jesus and their whole household. Many Corinthians came to believe in Jesus and were baptized. Jesus came to Paul in a vision and told him to not be afraid but to keep preaching boldly for the Lord had many in Corinth that He planned to save. Paul stayed for a year and a half.
Acts 18:12-17 Again, the Jews of Corinth brought Paul before the authorities and accused him of breaking their religious laws. Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia, would not hear religious matters and told the Jews to deal with Paul themselves. Angry, the Jews seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him.
The Greeks had reasons for being hostile to Sosthenes; they were venting general hostility toward Jews on him, or they may have been angry with his unsuccessful attempt, as leader of the Jews, at prosecuting the case against Paul. Since he was the ruler of the synagogue, he would have presented the case to Gallio. Later, he converted to Christ (1 Cor. 1:1).
Notes: While Judaism was not an official religion, it was officially tolerated in the Roman world, and Christianity was viewed as a sect of Judaism. The Jews in Corinth claimed that Paul’s teaching was external to Judaism, and therefore should be banned. Had Gallio ruled in the Jews’ favor, Christianity could have been outlawed throughout the empire.
Acts 18:18-23 Paul left and went to Syria taking with him Aquila and Priscilla. Paul entered a synagogue in Ephesus and again tried to persuade the Jews about Jesus. They wanted Paul to stay longer, but Paul declined and left for Caesarea, greeted the church there, and went down to Antioch. He then traveled through Galatia and Phrygia strengthening all the disciples.
Notes: Paul left Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus to establish a ministry there. This ended Paul’s second missionary journey. Again sponsored by Antioch in Syria, Paul began his third missionary journey in the spring of a.d. 52, traveling by foot through the region of his first mission on into Galatia and Phrygia.
Acts 18:24-28 Back in Ephesus, a Jewish man arrived named Apollos. He knew the Scriptures very well. He spoke of the things of Jesus (A student of John the Baptist), but was not fully instructed in the Way. Apollos did not, however, understand such basic Christian truths as the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the church as God’s new witness people. Aquila and Priscilla explained to Apollos more accurately about God and Jesus. All the brothers encouraged him, and when Apollos arrived in Achaia, he helped the new believers greatly, for he powerfully refuted the unbelieving Jews and showed them all through the Scriptures how Jesus was the Messiah and Christ.