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Book of Acts Chapter 18 - Christogenea Internet Radio 11-1-2013
The end of Acts chapter 17 leaves off with Paul in Athens after his speech on the Hill of Ares. His words were mocked by many of the Athenians, but did not fall on entirely deaf ears, since Luke tells us that “some men joining themselves to him believed”, one of them being a jurist of the Areopagos, which was the famous court held on Ares' Hill, who must therefore have been an influential man.
Two elements of Paul's address to the Athenians are important enough to mention once again. The first is that the Athenians, mocking Paul for talking about a resurrection of the dead, were actually also denying many of their own most ancient beliefs, reflected in the early poetry and literature of Athens down through the Tragic Poets and the writings of men such as Apollodorus of Athens, who lived only two centuries before Paul.
More importantly is the substance of Paul's address to the Athenians. These men were Ionian Greeks, descended from the Japhethites of Scripture, the sons of Javan mentioned in Genesis chapter 10. The identification is certain when the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the Persian inscriptions mentioning the Yavana, or Ionian Greeks, and the ancient historical records are all compared.
For this reason, in Paul's address to these people we see none of the references to Moses, the Hebrew Law, the Hebrew patriarchs, or the ideas of sin or redemption or the other things which are only relevant to the children of Israel in their special relationship to Christ. Instead of accusing the Athenians of sin, he accused them of ignorance, because their fathers did not have the benefits of the knowledge of God transmitted to the Israelites and the Hebrew patriarchs!
Rather, we see that Paul restricted his discourse to references and allusions to Old Testament scriptures such as Deuteronomy 32:8 or the Biblical Genesis Creation account which do indeed apply to the wider Adamic race as a whole. This was the same way that Jonah addressed the Assyrians, who were descendants of that Asshur, the son of Shem of Genesis chapter 10. Paul further exhorted them to depart from idolatry and to repent by seeking the God of creation, who was also their Father, and he takes advantage of the words of their own poet, Aratus, in order to convey that message.
This is important to note, because Paul's address to the Athenians, and also his earlier address to the Lycaonians found in Acts chapter 14, establish that Paul indeed understood the scope of the application of Scripture to the wider Adamic race, in comparison to the actual descendants of the tribes of Israel, in exactly the same manner that Identity Christians today understand it. Paul clearly distinguished between genetic Israelites and Adamic non-Israelites, the way all Christians today should also make a distinction. Paul did not spiritualize sperm and attempt to make Israelites out of Japhethites in these two addresses.
This is also important to understand, because in Paul's view we see that the historical application of Scripture is just as relevant to him as it was in the Old Testament. Paul employed the historical application of scripture throughout his epistles as well. Therefore today that application must still be relevant, although all of the mainstream denominational sects have now turned to universalism, and they deny the validity of Scripture as we see that Paul himself applied it, which is evident throughout his epistles in places such as Romans chapters 1, 4 and 9 or 1 Corinthians chapter 10.
In contrast to Paul's accusation that the Athenians suffered “times of ignorance”, Paul told the Romans that they knew God, but had changed His incorruptible glory into a corruptible glory and thereby they worshiped the creation rather than the Creator. The difference is that the Ionians were Japhethites, but the Romans descended from Israel. Likewise, Paul told the Corinthians that they too were of Israel, having been in the Exodus with Moses, and that the things written in the Old Testament related to them and were written for “our admonition”, meaning theirs as well as his own. The Athenians were in ignorance, but the ancestors of the Romans and the Corinthians were not. All of this, and many other aspects of Paul's epistles, prove beyond doubt the validity of a historical application of Scripture both before and after the cross of Christ.
XVIII 1 After these things departing from Athens he went into Korinth.
The Codex Alexandrinus (A) has this verse: “After these things Paul departing from Athens went into Korinth”; the Codex Bezae (D) has: “And returning from Athens he went into Korinth”; the Codex Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “And after these things Paul departing from Athens went into Korinth”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Vaticanus (B).
The following comments are contracted from a paper at Christogenea, which I had written perhaps ten years ago, entitled Classical Records of the Dorian & Danaan Israelite-Greeks
The Corinthians were Dorian Greeks ... a tribe said to have invaded Greece ... a short time after the Trojan wars. The Greeks who inhabited all of the Peloponnese before the Dorian invasion, as well as areas of the mainland, were called everywhere “Danaans” (Danai) and “Achaians” by Homer. Modern historians assert that the Dorians came “from the north”, and point to the Dorian Tetrapolis, four cities ... on the Greek mainland, as evidence of this. These historians also claim that all Aryans came “from the north” into the ancient world at one time or another, yet they are consistently in error. Homer is given much credit by Strabo for his knowledge and accuracy in describing the peoples of the οἰκουμένη and the regions where they lived, and the poet is constantly cited by the geographer. Homer described all of the people of Greece, and the peoples and places known to the Greeks in the period which he wrote about. Yet Homer makes no mention of the cities of the Tetrapolis, of Dorians in Greece, or anywhere in the north. The Dorians, who invaded Greece by sea (hardly necessary if they came from the north) and pushed the Danaans out of the Peloponnese, and who also later founded their mainland cities, are only mentioned by Homer as being on Crete (in his Odyssey, Book 19).
It is my contention that the Dorians actually came from Dor in Palestine, a city on the coast of the land of Manasseh, and where many ancient “Greek” artifacts have been found by archaeologists.... These artifacts show a “Greek” presence at Dor as early as the seventh century B.C., and are certainly much earlier than the Hellenistic period. The seventh century B.C. is the time of the last recorded Assyrian … deportations of Israelites which happened about 676 B.C.... [There is archaeological] evidence that Israelite priests were indeed present at Dor ... If the Dorians migrated from Palestine, rather than from the north, Crete is a logical place to begin settling, enroute to the west. Further evidence that the Dorians were Israelites is found in Josephus, in his record of a letter written by a Spartan (or Lacedemonian, and they were also Dorian Greeks) king to Jerusalem about 160 B.C., which is found in Antiquities 12.4.10 (12:226-227):
“Areus, King of the Lacedemonians, To Onias, Sendeth Greeting. We have met with a certain writing, whereby we have discovered that both the Judaeans and the Lacedemonians are of one stock, and are derived from the kindred of Abraham. It is but just, therefore, that you, who are our brethren, should send to us about any of your concern as you please. We will also do the same thing, and esteem your concerns as our own, and will look upon our concerns as in common with yours. Demotoles, who brings you this letter, will bring your answer back to us. This letter is foursquare; and the seal is an eagle, with a dragon in his claws.” That this account of the letter, and its contents, is factual is verified by the reply to it recorded by Josephus at Antiquities 13.5.8 (13:163-170), by Jonathan the high priest.
The reply to this letter was long delayed … [and] it is also documented in 1st Maccabees chapter 12 in the Apocrypha, here [is] the version from Brenton’s Septuagint ... “Jonathan the high priest, and the elders of the nation, and the priests, and the other people of the Judaeans, unto the Lacedemonians their brethren send greeting: There were letters sent in times past unto Onias the high priest from Darius, who reigned then among you, to signify that ye are our brethren, as the copy here underwritten doth specify. At which time Onias entreated the ambassador that was sent honourably, and received the letters, wherein declaration was made of the league and friendship. Therefore we also, albeit we need none of these things, for that we have the holy books of scripture in our hands to comfort us, have nevertheless attempted to send unto you for the renewing of brotherhood and friendship, lest we should become strangers unto you altogether: for there is a long time passed since ye sent unto us. We therefore at all times without ceasing, both in our feasts, and other convenient days, do remember you in the sacrifices which we offer, and in our prayers, as reason is, and as it becometh us to think upon our brethren: and we are right glad of your honor.... And this is the copy of the letters which Oniares sent. Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest, greeting: It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians and Judaeans are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham: now therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, ye shall do well to write unto us of your prosperity. We do write back again to you, that your cattle and goods are our’s, and our’s are your’s. We do command therefore our ambassadors to make report unto you on this wise.” (1st Maccabees 12:6-23)
Now many may object to identifying the later Corinthians of Paul’s time as Dorians, because the city was destroyed and later rebuilt by the Romans. And this is true, for in 146 B.C. the Roman consul Leucius Mummius captured Corinth and razed it by fire, selling the surviving populace into slavery, as was customary for the Romans to do. Giving the account, Strabo tells us that afterwards “the Sicyonians obtained most of the Corinthian country” (8.6.23). That the Sicyonians, those of the neighboring district, were also Dorians is evident in many places besides Diodorus Siculus at 7.9.1 (“Fragments of Book VII” in the Loeb Library edition) where he states: “it remains for us to speak of Corinth and of Sicyon, and of the manner in which the territories of these cities were settled by the Dorians.” Sicyon, a sort of sister city of Corinth, was its equal in the arts, where Strabo says of Corinth: “for both here and in Sicyon the arts of painting and modelling and all such arts of the craftsman flourished most” (8.6.23). So in this manner did the territory of Corinth retain a Dorian composition of its population, but that is not the entire story.
Strabo speaks of the rebuilding of Corinth as such was ordered by Caesar, which began about 44 B.C., and states that “it was restored again, because of its favorable position, by the deified Caesar, who colonised it with people that belonged for the most part to the freedmen class” (8.6.23). Yet Diodorus Siculus (in “Fragments of Book XXXII” in the Loeb Library edition) is recorded as telling us further: “Gaius Iulius Caesar (who for his great deeds was entitled divus), when he inspected the site of Corinth, was so moved by compassion and the thirst for fame that he set about restoring it with great energy. It is therefore just that this man and his high standard of conduct should receive our full approval and that we should by our history accord him enduring praise for his generosity. For whereas his forefathers had harshly used the city, he by his clemency made amends for their unrelenting severity, preferring to forgive rather than to punish” (32.27.3).
Now the only way that Caesar’s deeds could justly be called a restoring, clemency, or forgiveness, as they are here, would be that the “freedmen” which he let repopulate the rebuilt Corinth were descendants of those Corinthians enslaved in its destruction 102 years earlier. This is in keeping with Roman custom, as is evident at Acts 6:9, where we see Judaean “freedmen” living in the homeland of their ancestors, whom must have been taken captive in the Roman conquest of Judaea by Pompey some generations earlier. The settling of anyone but Dorians in a rebuilt Corinth could not have been termed clemency or forgiveness, but rather would have been seen as an insult to the Sicyonians, the Lacedemonians, and the rest of the Dorians of the Peloponnese. Yet an examination of the Roman custom along with Diodorus’ words surely implies that when Strabo attests that the restored Corinthians were “for the most part” of the “freedmen class”, he surely meant those freedmen descended from the original Corinthian stock taken captive. [It must be added, which I did not state in my original paper, that Diodorus Siculus himself was a Dorian Greek from Agira in Sicily, which was founded by a colony of Corinthians! Therefore being descended from Corinthians, he should know a Dorian Corinthian when he writes about one.]
Furthermore, Paul at 1 Corinthians 10:1 tells the Corinthians “Now I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all had passed through the sea”, therefore telling the Corinthians that their ancestors had been in the Israelite Exodus out of Egypt.
The Corinthians were indeed descendants of the ancient Israelites, the records of Josephus attest to it, and the letters of Paul attest to it. The circumstances of their coming to Greece and the text of Homer support the testimony. So does archaeology, and Linear B tablets connecting the earliest residents of Sparta to Crete have recently been discovered. The Spartans were also Dorian Greeks.
Understanding the origins of the Dorian Corinthians one is able to understand why Paul said to them the things which he did in his epistles. In contrast, we also have seen in Acts chapter 17 in his discourse at the Areopagos that Paul did not speak to the Athenians about anything from Scripture which has to do exclusively with the children of Israel, since the Athenians descended not from Israelites but from Japhethite Ionians, which helps to establish the Israel Identity context of the message found in Paul's letters.
2 And finding a certain Judaean named Akulas, of Pontus by birth, recently having come from Italy, and Priskilla his wife, on account of Klaudios ordering all of the Judaeans to depart from Rome, he went with them [the Codex Bezae has “then they had settled in Achaia, Paul went with him”]
The word γένος (1085) may be read in the text here as race rather than birth, however that is unlikely since Pontus was a rather large district in Anatolia bordering the southeast of the Black Sea, and inhabited by people of several races, none of which were called “Pontic”. The word γένος is birth again later in this chapter, at verse 24 where it is used in a similar context. The related word γενεά (1074) was used in this manner at Acts 8:33, where Christ is the subject.
In Paul's letters, at Romans 16:3 and at 2 Timothy 4:19, all of the oldest manuscripts have Priska, yet at 1 Corinthians 16:19 the Codices Ephraemi Syri (C), Bezae (D) and the Majority Text have Priskilla, where the Christogenea New Testament follows the third century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus which have Priska. Yet here in Acts, chapter 18 where the woman is mentioned three times (verses 2, 18, and 26), the manuscripts unanimously read Priskilla. Apparently Priska may have been but a shortened, affectionate form of the name.
The Codex Vaticanus (B) wants the explicit mention of Klaudios. The reference is to Claudius Caesar, who was Roman emperor from 41 to 54 AD. While the persecutions of Christians under Nero are better documented, and were even described by an eyewitness in the person of the historian Tacitus, the persecution of Christians under Claudius is not well documented outside of Scripture. In Paul's letters at 1 Corinthians 7:27, written a couple of years after this event referred to here in Acts chapter 18, he advises that perhaps Christians may not want to marry because of “the present violence”, a reference that most translations completely misinterpret.
In Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Claudius, Part 25, we see the following brief reference which most likely describes this very event: “Since the Jews [meaning Judaeans] constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.” The word Chrestus, from a Greek word meaning Good, was apparently used as an alternative for Christus, from the Greek word meaning Anointed. The confusion is not made in the New Testament concerning Christ Himself, however some ancient manuscripts do have the word Chrestian in the places where the text may be expected to read Christian. From this it seems that Suetonius made a chronological error, or simply was not aware that Christ was no longer earth-bound at this time. Where he discusses the later persecutions of Christians under Nero, the historian Tacitus mentions the execution of Christ in the time of Tiberius. Any observance of the absence of a mention of this edict by Claudius in Tacitus' Annals of Rome should be accompanied with an acknowledgement of the fact that portions both large and small are wanting from Tacitus' writing relating to the reign of Claudius, as well as to those of the other emperors of the period.
3 and because being in the same trade he abode with them and they worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. [The Codex Bezae wants the words “for they were tentmakers by trade”.] 4 And he argued in the assembly hall during each Sabbath and persuaded Judaeans and Greeks.
The Codex Bezae has verse 7 to read: “And going into the assembly hall during each Sabbath he argued and he injected the name of Prince Yahshua and then persuaded not only Judaeans but also Greeks.”
Here we learn for the first time that Paul had a trade. In 1 Corinthians 4:11-12 he recounts his persecution, his being in need, and his having to work to support himself while spreading the Gospel, all in relation to his experience in Corinth, where he said in part: “11, Until the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are naked, and we are beaten repeatedly, and we are unestablished, 12, and we toil, laboring with our own hands. ” He also mentioned working to support himself at 2 Thessalonians 3:8, in his explanation to them that he did not burden them.
5 And as both Silas and Timotheos came down [the Codex Bezae has “arrived”] from Makedonia, Paul was impelled by the Word [the Majority Text has “Spirit”], affirming to the Judaeans Yahshua to be the Christ.
In his first epistle to the Thessalonians (3:6), Thessalonika being in Makedonia, Paul wrote: “But now Timotheos, coming to us from you, and having announced to us the good news of your faith and love, and that you always have a good memory of us, longing to see us, exactly as we also you, 7, because of this we have been encouraged, brethren, concerning you, in all of our oppression and anguish, because of your faith.” And with this we can clearly identify the point in his ministry where Paul wrote that epistle. This observation also marks 1 Thessalonians as the earliest of Paul's 14 surviving epistles.
It is evident by the circumstances that Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians was written only a short time after his first. The Silvanus of Paul's letters must be Silas, where apparently Luke always used a shortened form of the name but Paul in his epistles always used the full form, and therefore both Timothy and Silas were still with Paul when the second epistle was written. Its lack of a lengthy salutation and exhortations for greetings, and its treatment of a few topics in a brief manner along with a brief reminder of Paul's having taught them such things while he was with them (2 Thessalonians 2:5) all seem to indicate that this was a quick follow-up letter to the Thessalonians written a short time after the first letter, in order to clarify certain points in Paul's teachings.
6 But upon their opposition and blaspheming, shaking off the garments he said to them “Your blood is upon your heads! I now, clean of this [the Codex Bezae (D) has “you”], shall go to the people!”
The Codex Bezae (D) has this verse to read “And engaging in many words and expounding of the writings then upon their opposition and blaspheming Paul shaking off his garments said to them 'Your blood is upon your heads! I now, clean of you, shall go to the people!'”
In place of the phrase containing the word people at the end of this verse, the King James Version ends the verse with Paul saying “from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” Other translations, such as the ASV, follow that foolishness. Even the word translated as henceforth in the King James Version does not bear such a meaning. The Greek word νῦν (3568) means only now, as in at the present time. The translators clearly rendered this phrase to fit an agenda.
As we had discussed at length when we presented Acts chapter 13, encountering a similar statement at 13:46, Paul is not somehow abandoning “Jews” for “Gentiles” here. [There we noted that the King James Version itself has people for the Greek word ἔθνος where it is plural at Acts 8:9 and once, where the word appears twice, at Romans 10:19.] In fact, Paul is found in another Judaean assembly hall, or synagogue, when he arrived in Ephesus over 18 months after this event, as it is recorded at both Acts 18:19 and Acts 19:8. Both Priskilla (Priscilla) and Akulas (Aquila) were Judaeans, and as we clearly see here in verse 4, in this assembly hall Paul had already “persuaded Judaeans and Greeks” to Christ. It is further explained in 18:8 that even the leader of this assembly hall was persuaded to Christ, along with “his whole house”.
Rather, the Greek word ἔθνος being commonly used in the plural to designate a group consisting of people from diverse nations, the word should certainly be translated as people here, as Paul is only explaining to the Judaeans that he will bypass the assembly hall and its leaders and address the people directly on his own. Therefore, according to verses 7 and 11 here, he spent the next year and a half teaching the people - both Judaeans and Greeks - at the house of Titios Ioustus. So we see once again, that the “Jew versus Gentile” paradigm of the mainstream denominational churches crumbles with a simple investigation of not only the Greek text of Acts, but even the English. The lines between those who accepted Christ and those who rejected Him must be drawn differently, and the reasons for those rejecting Him must be accounted differently, or perhaps Paul is a constant liar and hypocrite. Instead, Paul is no liar nor is he a hypocrite, but the mainstream denominational churches certainly are all liars and hypocrites. As Paul explains in Romans chapter 9, the reason why so many Judaeans rejected Christ is that so many Judaeans were not Israelites, but were Edomites, a theme expressed throughout the New Testament which the mainstream denominational churches ignore.
7 And removing from there [rather oddly, D has “removing from Akulas”] he went into[B, E and the MT have “he came to”] a house of someone named Titios Ioustos, a worshiper of Yahweh whose house was abutting the assembly hall. 8 And Krispos the leader of the assembly hall believed in the Prince with his whole house, and many of the Korinthians hearing believed and were immersed.
The Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Laudianus (E) have “Titos Ioustos” where the Codex Bezae (D) and the Majority Text have only “Ioustos”; the Codex Alexandrinus (A) has only “a house of one Ioustos”; the text follows the Codex Vaticanus (B). The Codex Bezae (D) inserts at the end of this verse the words: “believing in Yahweh through the name of our Prince Yahshua Christ.”
With the realization that this Titios Ioustos was very probably that Titos of Paul's epistles, it may have been better to follow the Codex Sinaiticus in this instance, and write Titos here.
9 And in the night the Prince said to Paul in a vision “Do not fear, rather speak and do not be silent, 10 because I am with you and no one shall make an attempt upon you for which to do you evil, since many people are with Me in this city.” 11 And he sat [the Codex Bezae (D) interpolates “in Korinth”] for a [the Codex Sinaiticus (א) has “one”]year and six months teaching among them the Word of Yahweh.
As we have already explained at length, the Corinthians, being Dorian Greeks, had descended from the Israelites of the Old Testament. The Romans, it can be demonstrated, likewise descended from the Israelites of the Old Testament. If Yahweh God tells Paul not to be concerned for his safety, and He says “many people are with Me in this city”, and then subsequently we see the Greeks and the Romans defend Paul against the accusations of the Jews, then apparently the Greeks and the Romans are the people of God, and not the Jews!
12 Then with Gallion being proconsul of Achaia, the Judaeans with one accord rose up against Paul and led him before the judgment seat 13 saying that “Contrary to the law he convinces men to worship God!” 14 And Paul being about to open his mouth [literally “the mouth”], Gallion said to the Judaeans: “Now if there was any injustice or wicked crime, O Judaeans, according to reason I would support you. 15 But if it is disputes about words [literally “word”, it may have been rendered “speech”] and names and the law according to you, you see to them. I have no desire to be a judge of these things.” 16 And he drove them away from the judgment seat.
Once again in the records of Acts, the Jews attempted to take advantage of secular law in order to persecute Christianity, and Gallio realizing that would not stand for it. There is another statement concerning Claudius Caesar in the same passage of Suetonius that we cited earlier, in Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Claudius, Part 25, which is relevant to discussions of both the regulation of religion in the empire, which we also had here when we presented Acts 16:21, and which is also relevant to the discussion which we had in reference to Athens and the Eleusinian mystery cult while presenting Acts chapter 17: “He [Claudius] utterly abolished the cruel and inhuman religion of the Druids among the Gauls, which under Augustus had merely been prohibited to Roman citizens; on the other hand he even attempted to transfer the Eleusinian rites from Attica to Rome, and had the temple of Venus Erycina in Sicily, which had fallen to ruin through age, restored at the expense of the treasury of the Roman people.” With this we see that the emperors indeed had the power to legislate the religion of the people, and they did, and therefore the men of Philippi, upon being confronted with the Gospel by Paul and Silas, had exclaimed that “they declare customs which are not lawful for us to receive nor to do, being Romans!”. Here also, the Jews claim that Paul “Contrary to the law ... convinces men to worship God!”
There was an inscription found at Delphi in Greece and first published in 1905, which is now known as The Gallio Inscription. This inscription represents part of a letter from the emperor Claudius concerning Gallio himself, written in 52 AD, and establishes with certainty that Gallio was proconsul of Achaia in 51-52 AD. His term, according to several scholars of the period, very likely began in the summer of 51 AD. This accords with the general narrative of Acts and of Paul's chronology as it was transmitted in the epistle to the Galatians, which puts the Acts chapter 15 visit to Jerusalem at about 47 AD.
17 Then they all taking Sosthenes the leader of the assembly hall, beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallion cared for not any of these things.
The Codices Bezae (D), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “Then all the Greeks taking Sosthenes...”; the text follows the Codex Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Vaticanus (B). In verse 8 we are told that Krispus, who apparently became a Christian, was the leader of this assembly hall, however this is now at least eighteen months later and Sosthenes, who was obviously hostile to Christianity, was its leader.
18 Then Paul remaining thereafter many days with the brethren, making arrangements sailed away to Suria, and Priskilla and Akulas with him, cutting the hair from his head in Kenchreae, for he had a vow.
The Greek word ἀποτάσσω (657) is to make arrangements here, similar to the way in which the word was used at Luke 9:61. It is to dispose of in the context of Luke 14:33. The word appears again in this chapter in verse 21.
The Codex Bezae (D) has prayer, or προσευχή (4335), and the word in the text in the other manuscripts is εὐχή (2171). Where the rendering “he had a vow” here is quite literal, the 9th edition of the Liddell & Scott Greek-English Lexicon, using this very instance as an example, says of the phrase εἶχεν εὐχήν “to be under a vow”.
It is of interest to note an event which was described by Josephus in Antiquities Book 19 (19.6.1 [19:293-94]), and which happened some time before this, where he says that in Judaea Herod Agrippa I had “ordained that many of the Nazirites should have their heads shorn”. The term Nazirites was that by which the Jews referred to Christians, which is also evident in Acts 24:5. This Herod died about 7 years earlier, however, in 44 AD (Acts chapter 12). We see in Acts chapter 21, at verses 23 and 24, that Paul was instructed by James to take certain men and have their heads shorn, because they had a vow upon them. It is impossible to tell, however, if this vow described here had anything to do with these other events. [For my part, I can only suspect that because the Christians of Palestine had been ordered to shave their heads, that perhaps Paul vowed to do the same when returning there, however that is only a guess.]
Corinth sat on the Peloponnesos quite close to the isthmus, which is the thin strip of land connecting the peninsula to the mainland. It was close to the western side of the isthmus, near the Gulf of Corinth which has an outlet towards Italy and the Adriatic Sea. Kenchreae was a port town about 6 miles to the east, on the opposite side of the isthmus, on the Saronic Gulf which has an outlet towards Anatolia and the Aegean Sea. Phoebe, the woman who delivered Paul's epistle to the Romans some time after this, was from Kenchreae (Romans 16:1, 27), but the epistle to the Romans was not written at this time.
19 And they arrived in Ephesos, and he left them,[The Codex Bezae interpolates “the Sabbath coming”] then he himself entering into the assembly hall conversed [or perhaps “argued”, διαλέγω (1256)] with the Judaeans.
The Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Bezae (D) and Laudianus (E) have “and he left them there, then he entering”; the text follows the Codex Vaticanus (C) and the Majority Text, which the NA27 punctuates “and he left them himself, then he entering”.
Paul left Priscilla and Aquila somewhere in Ephesus, and Luke does not supply many details. But Paul and Luke must see them again, because Luke records the brief account of their encounter with Apollos at the end of this chapter. They are not mentioned in Acts again after this chapter. However when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans a couple of years after this (which we hope to establish when we present Acts chapter 20), Priscilla and Aquila are once again in Rome (Romans 16:3). Yet when Paul is in Rome at the end of his life, as he writes his second epistle to Timothy, Priscilla and Aquila are once again in Ephesus, where Timothy also is (2 Timothy 4:19). While it is circumstantial, it seems that this couple had ties to both Ephesus and Rome, traveling back and forth from place to place several times as it is recorded here in Acts and evident in Paul's epistles.
20 And upon their asking him to remain [D, E and the MT interpolate “with them”, the text follows א, A, and B] for a longer time, he did not assent, 21 rather making arrangements and saying “Again I shall return to you, Yahweh willing,” he set sail from Ephesos.
Both the Codex Bezae and the Majority Text embellish the statement attributed to Paul here in verse 21, the former having “But by all means it is necessary for me going to Jerusalem to make the feast day. I shall return to you, God willing”; and the latter having “By all means it is necessary for me going to Jerusalem to make the feast, but again I shall return to you, God willing”.
22 And coming back into Caesareia, going up and greeting the assembly he went down into Antiocheia.
Caesareia Philippi was the port city on the shores of Samaria. Paul lands there once again in Acts 21:8 where he visits the home of “Philip the Evangelist”, which certainly seems to be a reference to Philip the apostle, who last appeared there in Acts 8:40.
We have already compared the chronology of Acts with comments regarding certain events related to Paul's ministry found in his epistle to the Galatians, which we did at the end of our presentation of Acts chapter 15. Doing that, and once again in our comments where Paul circumcised Timothy as it is recorded in the opening verses of Acts chapter 16, we asserted that Paul had to confront Peter in Antioch, as he describes in Galatians chapter 2, some time after he had circumcised Timothy, or else he would have been a hypocrite for having done so. Here in Acts chapter 18, although nothing of his stay is recorded in Acts, Paul once again visits Antioch, and for the last time. This is the only opportunity he had in which to meet Peter as he describes having confronted him in Galatians chapter 2. Evidently he also saw Barnabas here, as we see in Galatians 2:13. We see in verse 23 that Paul had spent “some time” in Antioch on this visit, which could be days or weeks, or even months: there is no telling.
[Presenting this program, I expressed the possibility that Titios (or Titos) Ioustus was the Titos of Galatians chapter 2. Now (the proverbial morning after) I have realized that it cannot be so, since the Titos of Galatians 2 was with Paul not later when he confronted Peter (Galatians 2:11), but earlier when he had appeared in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:3), which would have been at the time of the Acts chapter 15 event and not here. Therefore I must remained perplexed, that the Titos who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem appears to remain unmentioned in the Book of Acts.]
It is also apparent, although it cannot be asserted with absolute certainty, that it is here that Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatians. Paul says in chapter 4 (4:20) of that epistle “I have desired to be present with you even now, and to change my tone, because I am perplexed with you”, and he indeed goes on to visit them after leaving Antioch. Aside from expressing his desire to visit them, he says in chapter 2 of the epistle (2:11): “But when Kephas had come to Antiocheia”, as if he was still in Antioch when he wrote those words. This is all circumstantial, however I would feel safe in imagining that the epistle to the Galatians was written at this time. Paul had evidently first preached throughout Galatia on his way to the Troad, which is recorded in Acts 16:6.
The subscripts on many of Paul's epistles claim various places for authorship on each of them, and only the Codex Vaticanus claims that the epistle to the Galatians was written from Rome, where the other ancient codices make no competing claim. But the epistle bears none of the evidences that he was a prisoner when he wrote it, asdo Paul's other epistles which he wrote when he was under arrest.
23 And spending some time he departed, passing through successively the land of Galatia and Phrugia, confirming [the verb is στηρίζω (1991) following א, A, and B. D, E and the MT have ἐπιστηρίζω (4741), or some manuscripts have reinforcing] all of the students.
That the reference to Galatia is to the Keltic kingdom in the north as it was known to the Greeks, and not to the Roman province, is fully evident as Luke distinguishes Lycaonia, Galatia and Phrygia all throughout the Book of Acts, however they were all part of that same Roman province. Therefore, Luke by distinguishing these three regions, indicates that the Greek cities of Iconium, Lystra and Derbe which are in Lycaonia are not meant where Galatia is referenced, but rather the reference is indeed to the Keltic kingdom.
24 And a certain Judaean named Apollos [אhas “Apelles”; D “Apollonios”], an Alexandrian by birth, a learned man, arrived in Ephesos, who was capable in the writings. 25 He was instructed [D interpolates “in the fatherland”, evidently a reference to Judaea]in the way of the Prince and being fervent in spirit he spoke and taught precisely the things concerning Yahshua [the MT has “the Lord”], knowing only the immersion of Iohannes [water baptism]. 26 And he began to speak openly in the assembly hall. And Priskilla and Akulas hearing him took him aside and more precisely exhibited the way of Yahweh to him.
As we have been asserting throughout our presentation of the Book of Acts, the apostles have moved beyond the ritual of water baptism and on to a better paradigm in Christ: which is the faith that by the Word of Yahweh their God the children of Israel have been cleansed, as we see Paul attest in Ephesians 5:26, as Peter attests in 1 Peter 3:21. and as Christ Himself professes as it is recorded at John 15:3 where He said “ 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
Ephesians 5:25-26: “25 Husbands, love the wives, just as Christ has also loved the assembly, and had surrendered Himself for it, 26 in order that He would consecrate it, cleansing it in the bath of the water in the word”.
1 Peter 3:21: “Which also now a representation saves you: immersion. Not a putting away of the filth of the flesh but a demand of a good conscience for Yahweh, through the resurrection of Yahshua Christ”.
27 And upon his wishing to pass through to Achaia, the brethren wrote to the students urging them to accept him [meaning Apollos], who arriving greatly helped those who believed through favor.
The papyrus known as P38, which is dated to circa 300 AD, has the last part of this verse: “who sojourning in Achaia greatly helped in the assemblies.” The Codex Bezae (D) has the entire verse to read: “And some Korinthians sojourning in Ephesos and hearing him exhorted him to pass through with them into their fatherland. And upon his consenting the Ephesians wrote to the students in Korinth that they should accept the man, who sojourning in Achaia greatly helped in the assemblies.”
28 For vigorously did he thoroughly confute the Judaeans in public, exhibiting through the writings Yahshua to be the Christ.
Homer used the term Achaeans to describe all of the Greeks of the period of which he wrote. In later Greek history, the term was used only of the northwest portion of the Peloponnesos. In the New Testament it certainly is a reference to the Roman province, which encompassed central Greece and the Peloponnesos.
Apollos is in Corinth at the opening of Acts chapter 19, and must have become quite dear to the Corinthians, since he is mentioned often in Paul's first epistle to them, although he is not mentioned in the second. He is apparently with Paul when the first epistle is written (1 Corinthians 16:12). He is only mentioned again in Scripture at Titus 3:13.