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Acts 18:12-13

Context
Paul Before the Proconsul Gallio

18:12 Now while Gallio 1  was proconsul 2  of Achaia, 3  the Jews attacked Paul together 4  and brought him before the judgment seat, 5  18:13 saying, “This man is persuading 6  people to worship God in a way contrary to 7  the law!”

1 sn Gallio was proconsul of Achaia from a.d. 51-52. This date is one of the firmly established dates in Acts. Lucius Junius Gallio was the son of the rhetorician Seneca and the brother of Seneca the philosopher. The date of Gallio’s rule is established from an inscription (W. Dittenberger, ed., Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum 2.3 no. 8). Thus the event mentioned here is probably to be dated July-October a.d. 51.

2 sn The proconsul was the Roman official who ruled over a province traditionally under the control of the Roman senate.

3 sn Achaia was a Roman province created in 146 b.c. that included the most important parts of Greece (Attica, Boeotia, and the Peloponnesus).

4 tn Grk “with one accord.”

5 tn Although BDAG 175 s.v. βῆμα 3 gives the meaning “tribunal” for this verse and a number of modern translations use similar terms (“court,” NIV; “tribunal,” NRSV), there is no need for an alternative translation here since the bema was a standard feature in Greco-Roman cities of the time.

sn The judgment seat (βῆμα, bhma) was a raised platform mounted by steps and sometimes furnished with a seat, used by officials in addressing an assembly or making pronouncements, often on judicial matters. The judgment seat was a familiar item in Greco-Roman culture, often located in the agora, the public square or marketplace in the center of a city. So this was a very public event.

6 tn Or “inciting.”

7 tn Grk “worship God contrary to.” BDAG 758 s.v. παρά C.6 has “against, contrary to” for Acts 18:13. The words “in a way” are not in the Greek text, but are a necessary clarification to prevent the misunderstanding in the English translation that worshiping God was in itself contrary to the law. What is under dispute is the manner in which God was being worshiped, that is, whether Gentiles were being required to follow all aspects of the Mosaic law, including male circumcision. There is a hint of creating public chaos or disturbing Jewish custom here since Jews were the ones making the complaint. Luke often portrays the dispute between Christians and Jews as within Judaism.



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