Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Witnesses to Me

To The End of the Earth!

- A Study In Acts -

Chapter Eighteen – Second Journey of Paul Continued

ACTS 18:12-22:

We began this journey with Paul and Silas in Antioch of Syria; they then traveled through the rest of Syria and through the region of Cilicia strengthening the Bodies of Christ along the way. When they came to the area of the two cities of Lystra and Derbe, they will pick up young Timothy to travel with them. They delivered the decrees to these cities which strengthened them to a productive unity. From here they will travel to two new areas of Asia Minor; Phrygia and Galatia. Luke does not record anything about these visits and Paul will not return to these regions until Chapter 19.

Passing through the region of Mysia (having been forbidden by the Spirit of God to go into Asia and Bithynia at this time), Paul and his group have come to Troas. Here at Troas, Paul will have a vision encouraging him to go to Macedonia and bring the Gospel. As they determine to go to Macedonia, we learn that Luke joins them.

They set out across the Aegean Sea and cross with relative ease, stopping at the island of Samothrace, and the next day arriving at Neapolis, the sea port town for Philippi. From Neapolis they head straight to Philippi, the chief city of this region. While here, Paul would live the very words that he would later instruct the Philippian Christians to practice after him (Philippians 4:8-9). He would go on to bring the Gospel to already religious people, produce good works in the face of adversity, and never allow an opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus as the Christ to pass. There would be great success in the power of the Gospel at Philippi.

From Philippi, Paul will travel to Thessalonica and preached to the Jews and devout Greeks in the synagogue with much success. The unbelieving Jews would stir up a mob and attempt to bring Paul and his traveling companions out to the people. This would be unsuccessful; however, it forced the brethren to send Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. Paul would enter the synagogue and bring the Gospel of Jesus as the Christ to these Jews with a much different universal result. They searched, proved, and readily accepted Paul’s evidence and teaching; however, Jews from Thessalonica came to Berea and stirred up trouble there. The brethren sent Paul away by ship to Athens. Upon arrival in Athens, and while he is waiting for Silas and Timothy, he begins to speak in the cities synagogue and market place (Paul is uniquely moved by the city being given over to idolatry); his preaching soon gains him an audience with the cities philosophers. Paul’s sermon to these philosophers finds some limited success and from Athens he will now come to Corinth.

Please use the map provided:

Text #1:

Acts 18:12-17 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”

14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. 15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters. 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.”

Gallio: Junius Annaeus Gallio, the Roman proconsul of Achaia. He was amicable and loved by many; he additionally had a reputation of fairness.  

Jews: The Jews conspired to bring Paul before the judgment seat and attempt to accuse him of “persuading men to worship God contrary to the law”; meaning, their own. They had hoped to convince Gallio that Paul was guilty of an offense against a lawful religion, and thus guilty of a crime against Rome.  

In his following statements, he would have none of this; in fact he saw this as an internal dispute between sects within Judaism.

Sosthenes: This is the new leader of the synagogue after the conversion of Crispus. Sosthenes had probably led the persecution against Paul. The Gentiles watching the proceedings determined him to be worthy of a beating for this trouble; which was exactly what his intentions were for Paul.

This Sosthenes may have at a later date, obeyed the Gospel, and may be the one Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 1:1. 

Summary of Corinth: As Paul came to Corinth he worked side by side with Aquila and Priscilla and reasoned in the synagogue on the Sabbaths. He persuaded many concerning the Christ; however, he did not name Him as Jesus until the arrival of Silas and Timothy. It was during this time that Paul also heard the condition of the brethren in Thessalonica and penned the first letter to these Christians.

When the Jews rejected the Gospel, Paul went to the Gentiles and many of the Corinthians believed and were baptized into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Paul additionally receive comfort from the Lord and would stay for an additional 18 months; during which time Timothy and Silas delivered the first letter to the Thessalonians, returned to report, and Paul would then pen the second letter and send it back with them.

The Jews made an attempt to have Paul charged and beaten, but failed, and received the very ire that they intended for Paul. Paul is going to remain for a time, but is now going to begin his return, making Corinth the apex, or turn around point of the second journey.

Text #2:

Acts 18:18-22 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.

22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch.”

Taken a Vow: It was common for Jews to make such vows to express gratitude or express devotion to God. Luke does not reveal the reason for this vow of Paul; only that he has taken it. The reason may be determined in Paul’s own words, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem”. Paul has now and will continue to desire to preach to the Jews in Jerusalem; in spite of what he knows to be his calling by the Lord (Romans 11:13).

This vow should not be mistaken, as some have, for a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6:13-18), which could only be taken in Jerusalem.

Cenchrea: This is the eastern sea port for Corinth, and a small town on the harbor. We will learn in Romans 16:1 that a congregation of God’s people in Christ could be found here. 

Ephesus: Paul was forbidden to go into Asia (Roman Asia) earlier; this will constitute the first time that Paul is going to come to this capital city of this province. He is going to enter into the synagogue, as was his custom; however, after some success here, he is going to refuse to stay. His desire is to return, but as he has learned well already, “God willing”. We will look in more detail at this city when we return in the third journey.

Caesarea: Paul’s ship comes to the only harbor reasonably close to Jerusalem, and Luke records that he goes “up” and greeted the church (called out), which infers that this is the Body of Christ in Jerusalem. There is no mention of whether he was late, or early for the feast, but simply that he greeted the brethren in Jerusalem and then returned to where the journey began; Antioch.

This officially ends the second journey in verse 22. In our next lesson, we will begin the third journey with a hiatus in Paul’s travels to share with us the work of Aquila and Priscilla with a man named Apollos.  

Next: “The Third Journey!”