Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lecture Two: The Acts of the Apostles - The Gentile Mission

Preparation for the Gentile Mission: The Conversions of Paul and Cornelius (9:1–12:25)

Saul’s Conversion (9:1-19a)

According to puppets...

Saul was on his way from Jerusalem for Syrian Damascus to arrest followers of Jesus, with the intention of returning them to Jerusalem as prisoners for questioning and possible execution.

The journey is interrupted when Saul sees a blinding light, and communicates directly with a divine voice, which says to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Saul asks, “Who are you, Lord?”

And the voice says, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless

They heard the sound but did not see anyone.

Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing.

So they led him by the hand into Damascus.

For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

The account continues with a description of Ananias of Damascus receiving a divine revelation instructing him to visit Saul at the house of Judas on Straight Street and there lay hands on him to restore his sight.

Ananias is initially reluctant, having heard about Saul's persecution, but obeys the divine command. 

Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.

He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem (9:19b-31) 

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus and he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 

Those who heard him asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 

Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. 

Later, the Jews plotted to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. 

They waited at the city gates in order to kill him, but his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. 

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 

But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. 

He told them how the Lord had spoken to Saul, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 

So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 

He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. 

When the believers learned of this, they sent him off to Tarsus. 

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened.

Aeneas and Tabitha (9:32-43) 

Peter visits the believers in Lydda. 

He finds a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed for eight years. 

Peter says to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” 

Immediately Aeneas got up, and all those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. 

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha who was always doing good and helping the poor. 

About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 

Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” 

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. 

All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that she had made while she was still with them. 

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. 

Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” 

She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 

He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. 

Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.

This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 

Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon. 

Cornelius Calls for Peter (10:1-8) 

Gentiles according to puppets…

Cornelius was a centurion who was stationed in Caesarea. 

He is depicted as a God-fearing man who always prayed and was full of good works and deeds of alms. 

Cornelius receives a vision in which an angel of God tells him that his prayers have been heard. 

The angel then instructs Cornelius to send the men of his household to Joppa, where they will find Simon Peter, who is residing with a tanner by the name of Simon. 

Peter’s Vision (10:9-23a) 

The conversion of Cornelius comes after a separate vision given to Simon Peter himself. 

In the vision, Simon Peter sees all manner of beasts and fowl being lowered from Heaven in a sheet. 
A voice commands Simon Peter to eat. 

When he objects to eating those animals that are unclean according to Mosaic Law, the voice tells him not to call unclean that which God has cleansed. 

When Cornelius' men arrive, Simon Peter understands that through this vision the Lord commanded the Apostle to preach the Word of God to the Gentiles. 

Peter accompanies Cornelius' men back to Caesarea. 

Peter at Cornelius’s House (10:23b-48) 

When Cornelius meets Simon Peter, he falls at Peter's feet. 

Simon Peter raises the centurion and the two men share their visions. 

Simon Peter tells of Jesus' ministry and the Resurrection, and the Holy Spirit descends on everyone at the gathering. 

The Jews among the group are amazed that Cornelius and other uncircumcised should begin speaking in tongues, praising God. 

Thereupon Simon Peter commands that Cornelius and his followers be baptized. 

Peter’s Gospel Message: 

“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 

Gospel Message Tally: 

Hell: 0 
Heaven: 0 
Sin: 1 
Jesus’ life: 1 
Jesus’ death: 1 
Jesus’ resurrection: 2 
Jesus’ lordship: 2 

Peter Explains His Actions (11:1-18) 

The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 

So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 

Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story. 

He ends the story by saying, “So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” 

When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.” 

The Church in Antioch (11:19-30) 

Those who had been scattered after the death of Stephen had been spreading the word of Jesus to the Jews who lived throughout the Roman Empire, but now, some of them went to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well. 

When the Jerusalem church learned about the Greek believers in Antioch, they sent a man named Barnabas to go check out what was going on and to encourage the new believers to continue with their faith. 

Barnabas’s name means “son of encouragement.” 

After this, Barnabas goes to Tarsus to pick up Saul, and Saul goes with him back to Antioch where they begin working together. 

The text says that Antioch was the first place where the believers were called “Christians.” 

During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 
One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. 

Luke then tells his reader that this happened during the reign of Claudius. 

The disciples decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 

They had Barnabas and Saul take donations back to the elders at the Jerusalem church.

Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison (12:1-19a) 

King Herod had James executed by sword. 

He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament and is traditionally believed to be the first of the twelve apostles martyred for his faith. 

Also, Peter was put into prison by King Herod, but the night before his trial an angel appeared to him, and told him to leave. 

Peter's chains fell off, and he followed the angel out of prison, thinking it was a vision. 

The prison doors opened of their own accord, and the angel led Peter into the city. 

When the angel suddenly left him, Peter came to himself and returned to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. 

A servant girl called Rhoda came to answer the door, and when she heard Peter's voice she was so overjoyed that she rushed to tell the others, and forgot to open the door for Peter. 

Eventually Peter is let in and describes "how the Lord had brought him out of prison."

When his escape is discovered, Herod orders the guards put to death.

Herod’s Death (12:19b-24) 

Then Herod went to Caesarea to meet with the people of Tyre and Sidon because he had been quarreling with them. 

They asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.

Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 

They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 

Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. 

But the word of God continued to spread and flourish. 

The First Missionary Journey of Barnabas and Paul: The Jerusalem Conference (13:1–15:35)

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off (12:25–13:3) 

When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John Mark. 

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul. 

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 

So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. 

According to puppets… 

On Cyprus (13:4-12) 

Saul and Silas take a ship from Seleucia to the island of Cyprus. 

They went to the city of Salamis and proclaimed the word of God the Jews at the synagogue. 

The text says that John was there with them as their helper. 

They traveled through the whole island until they came to the city of Paphos. 

They met a Jewish sorcerer named Bar-Jesus. 

Bar-Jesus worked for the Roman governor, a man named Sergius Paulus. 

Sergius Paulus wanted to hear the Gospel from Saul and Barnabas, but the sorcerer tried to turn him against the message. 

Saul looks at the sorcerer and says, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” 

Immediately, Bar-Jesus goes blind, and Sergius Paulus becomes a believer. 

Saul also renames himself to Paul, or “Paulus” in Greek, after the surname of his very first convert.

In Pisidian Antioch (13:13-52) 

Paul and Barnabas then set sail and head to Pisidian Antioch, which was the place where Sergius Paulus was originally from. 

On the way, John left them to go back to Jerusalem. 

Also, this area produced many high ranking Roman officials over the years, including emperors like Nero. 

So it would seem that Paul from the very beginning was trying to see the big man, Caesar himself. 

They went into the synagogue and sat down. 

At the end of the service, the people wanted to hear if they had anything to say. 

So Paul stood up and made a speech, summing up Israel’s history, and ending with a proclamation that Jesus was the Messiah they had all been waiting for. 

No one was offended by this and instead wanted to hear more. 

But eventually the Jews became jealous when they saw that all of the Gentiles were flocking to hear what Paul had to say, so they stirred up trouble and started slandering them. 

Paul says to them, “We’re not going to you Jews anymore. From now on we’re going to go to the Gentiles.” 

The Jews kicked Paul and Barnabas out of town, but not before many Gentiles had become followers of Jesus.

The Gospel According to Paul 

“Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years. 

“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ 

“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’ 

“Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. 

“We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.

God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. 

“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. 

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. 

Gospel Message Tally: 

Hell: 0 
Heaven: 0 
Sin: 2 
Jesus’ life: 1 
Jesus’ death: 1 
Jesus’ resurrection: 4 
Jesus’ lordship: 2 

In Iconium (14:1-7) 

Paul and Barnabas go to Iconium and teach in the Jewish synagogue, and many Jews and Greeks become believers. 

But there were others who plotted to stone them, so they fled to Lystra and Derbe and spread the Gospel there. 

In Lystra and Derbe (14:8-20) 

Paul preached the gospel in Lystra. 

Paul also healed a man lame from birth. 

The man leaped up and began to walk and thus so impressed the crowd that they took him for Hermes, because he was the "chief speaker," and his companion Barnabas for Zeus. 

The crowd spoke in the local Lycaonian language and wanted to offer sacrifices to them, but Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes in dismay and shouted that they were merely men. 

They used this opportunity to tell the Lystrans of the Creator God. 

Soon, however, through the influence of the Jewish leaders from Antioch, Pisidia and Iconium, they stoned Paul and left him for dead. 

As the disciples gathered around him, Paul stood on his feet and went back into the town. 

The next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe; but on the return part of their journey, they stopped once more at Lystra, encouraging the disciples there to steadfastness. 

The Return to Antioch in Syria (14:21-28) 

As they traveled through Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, they said to the believers “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” 

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church. 

After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 

From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch. 

On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 

And they stayed there a long time with the disciples. 

The Council at Jerusalem (15:1-21) 

There was a disagreement among the greater church about whether or not male Gentile believers should be circumcised according to the Law of Moses. 

So the church called for the first council to be established, and delegates from around the Roman Empire gathered to Jerusalem, including Saul and Barnabas who came from the church in Antioch. 

Paul and Barnabas told everyone they met about how so many Gentiles were becoming believers. 

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” 

The primary issue which was addressed related to the requirement of circumcision, but other important matters arose as well.
The dispute was between those, such as the followers of the "Pillars of the Church," led by James, who believed, following his interpretation of the Great Commission, that the church must observe the Torah, i.e. the rules of traditional Judaism, and Paul the Apostle, who believed there was no such necessity. 

At the Council, following advice offered by Simon Peter, the apostle James submitted a proposal, which was accepted by the Church and known as the Apostolic Decree: 

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” 

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers (15:22-35) 

Then the elders sent two men named Judas and Silas back to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas with the church’s letter of proclamation. 

They read the letter to the believers, and everyone was encouraged by what the elders had decided. 

Judas and Silas also offered encouragement to the Gentile believers while they were there.

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey: Evangelizing Greece (15:36–18:21)

Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas (15:36-41) 

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 

Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, but Paul didn’t think that was a good idea, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia. 

They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. 

Barnabas took John Mark and sailed for Cyprus, and Paul chose Silas and went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. 

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas (16:1-5) 

Paul and Silas visited Derbe and Lystra. 

In Lystra, they met Timothy, a disciple who was spoken well of, and decided to take him with them. 

Timothy was considered a half-blood by the Jews because his father was a Greek and his mother a Jew. 

So Paul circumcised Timothy to prove to the Jews that Timothy was serious about his faith, and that God welcomed both Greeks and Jews. 

The text says that the Church kept growing, adding believers, and strengthening in faith daily. 

Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia (16:6-10) 

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let them preach the word in the province of Asia. 

When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 

So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 

Luke writes that after Paul had seen the vision, “we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” 

At this point in the narrative, it would seem that Luke is not only narrating the story, but participating in it as well.

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi (16:11-15) 

They sail from Troas to Samothrace and Neapolis, before going up to Philippi, the main city of Macedonia. 

On the Sabbath, they went down to the river to pray, and met with many women who were gathered there. 

One of the women was named Lydia, and she was a worshiper of God. 

She and her entire family were baptized, and she insisted that Paul and his companions stay with her while they were there. 

And so… the man from Macedonia turned out to be a woman! 

Paul and Silas in Prison (16:16-40) 

While in Philippi, Paul was followed around by a slave-girl who was possessed by a demon who could predict the future. 

She kept telling everyone that Paul had come to tell them how they could be saved. 

This went on for several days until Paul became so annoyed that he turned and cast out the demon in the name of Jesus. 

The girl’s masters were then unhappy about the loss of income her soothsaying provided, so they turned the city against the missionaries, and the magistrates had Paul and Silas stripped, beaten, flogged, and put in jail. 

While locked up, they sang praises to God, much to the astonishment of the other prisoners. 

At midnight, there was a severe earthquake, and the gates of the prison fell apart and Paul and Silas could have escaped but remained. 

The jailor believes he will be executed for letting the prisoners escape, and as he is about to commit suicide, but Paul and Silas stop him. 

The jailor asks, “What must I do to be saved?” 

And they told him about Jesus. 

This leads to conversion of the jailor and the baptism of his entire household. 

The next day, the magistrates decide to release Paul and Silas, but Paul calls them out, saying that they were just trying to cover up the fact that they had beaten and imprisoned two Roman citizens. 

So the magistrates were alarmed, and they gave Paul and Silas an official escort out of town, but let them say good-bye to Lydia and her family first. 

In Thessalonica (17:1-9) 

Paul and his companions pass through Amphipolis and Apollonia on their way to Thessalonica. 

Paul taught in the Synagogue and few of the Jews and a large number of Greeks, including many prominent women, were persuaded by his message about Jesus. 

But some other Jews were jealous, so they rounded up a mob and started a riot in the city. 

They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 

But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 

When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 

Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go. 

In Berea (17:10-15) 

As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. 

Paul and Silas went to the Synagogue there and Paul taught the people about Jesus. 

Luke writes that the Berean Jews were “of nobler character” than the Thessalonians, and they accepted what Paul said after having examined the Scriptures to see if what he said was could be backed up. 

But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 

The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. 

Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. 

In Athens (17:16-34) 

Paul was distressed to see Athens full of idols and so he went to the synagogue and the marketplace to preach about the resurrection of Jesus. 

Some Greeks took him to a meeting at the Areopagus, the high court in Athens, to explain himself. 

The Areopagus literally meant the rock of Ares, and was a center of temples, cultural facilities, and a high court. 

It was illegal to preach a foreign deity in Athens, so Paul's sermon was in fact a combination of a "guest lecture" and a trial. 

The sermon addresses five main issues: 

Introduction: Discussion of the ignorance of pagan worship. (23-24) 
The one Creator God being the object of worship. (25-26) 
God's relationship to humanity. (26-27) 
Idols of gold, silver and stone as objects of false worship. (28-29) 
Conclusion: Time to end the ignorance. (30-31) 

Paul begins his address by emphasizing the need to know God, rather than worshiping the unknown: 

"As I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you." 

Paul then explained concepts such as the resurrection of the dead and salvation. 

After the sermon, a number of people became followers of Paul. 

These included a woman named Damaris, and Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus.

The Gospel According to Paul 

“People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. 

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” 

Gospel Message Tally: 

Hell: 0 
Heaven: 0 
Sin: 1 
Jesus’ life: 0 
Jesus’ death: 1 
Jesus’ resurrection: 1 
Jesus’ lordship: 1

In Corinth (18:1-17) 

Pauls travels to Corinth and meets a Jewish couple from Italy named Priscilla and Aquila. 

They had been banished from their homeland, along with many other Jews, during the reign of Claudius. 

Paul stayed with them and they had a tent-making business together. 

Every Sabbath Paul would teach in the Synagogue. 

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 

But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 

Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 

Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized. 

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. 

While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. 

They charged, “This man is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.” 

Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” 

Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul, but Gallio couldn’t care less.

Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos (18:18-28) 

Priscilla and Aquila travel with Paul to Ephesus, where Paul teaches in the synagogue. 

The people want Paul to stay, but he says he needs to move on. 

He leaves Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus and sails to Caesarea and travels down to Jerusalem and to Antioch to meet the believers there. 

He then travels to Galatia and Phrygia, and encourages the disciples he meets. 

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. 

The text says that he was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, and that he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, even though he only knew the story up until the baptism of John. 

After he began to speak boldly in the synagogue, Priscilla and Aquila invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. 

When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. 

When he arrived, he was “a great help to those who by grace had believed, for he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.” 

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