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The Cost of Taking Christ into the World

26 Jun

We now come to chapter 18 in Acts. Paul left Athens to come to Corinth (Acts 18:1). Both cities were part of the Roman province of Achaia, connected by a land bridge in the southern peninsula of mainland Greece. It is here that he met Aquilia and Priscilla, two Jewish Christians who would become his friends. They are often mentioned in connection with Paul in some way. It seems they share a common trade, for Paul and they were tentmakers, so it was convenient for them to stay together.

Aquilia and Priscilla were among the Jews who were expelled from Rome by Claudius Caesar (Acts 18:2). Claudius was poisoned in 54 CE, so this would put Paul in Corinth with his new friends at about 52-53 CE. The reason for the Jewish expulsion is mentioned in the history of Suetonius as due to a quarrel or sedition in the Jewish sector of Rome over one called ‘Chrestus.’ It is not surprising that Suetonius would not be familiar with the Jew’s religion, so who he calls Chrestus is probably Christ. Wherever Christ was mentioned in the 1st century among the Jews of the Diaspora, a conspicuous quarrel often developed, usually involving the local magistrates. So, there is little doubt Aquilia and Priscilla had recently arrived in Corinth due to Claudius’ expulsion of the Jews in Rome over quarrels among the Jews over Jesus being the Christ (Messiah).

Timothy and Silas arrived at Corinth at about this time, coming from Macedonia (Acts 18:5).  Paul was able to give himself over to preaching the Gospel after Silas and Timothy arrived, for they would have been able to provide the economical support needed for Paul to spend more time preaching Christ and less time manufacturing tents. Nevertheless, something occurred upon the arrival of Silas and Timothy that spurred Paul on to preach the Gospel more earnestly. As it says in  v. 4 Paul was already speaking and persuading Jews and Gentiles about those things that concern Jesus, but upon the arrival of the rest of his missionary team, Paul was “pressed in his spirit” (Acts 18:5 KJV) concerning preaching Christ, and I’ll speak of this at greater length in another post.

Paul remained at Corinth for 1 ½ years (Acts 18:11), and it seems during his ministry there that the church in Philippi had sent Paul some financial support (2Corinthians 11:8-9), most likely at this very time, Timothy and Silas bringing it with them. However, by and large, though God’s word commands those who receive the benefit of his word to support those who labor among them in the Gospel (1Corinthians 9:7-14), Paul and those with him supported their ministry among the Corinthians with their own hands, so no one could accuse them of exploiting the new Christians for personal gain (1Corinthians 9:15-18).

It is always good to see not only the part others played out in Paul’s ministry, but also, applying it to our own times, the part we could play in the lives of those who have dedicated their lives to the work of the Gospel—taking Christ into all the world. Praise God!

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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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