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Acts 18:4-6

Context
18:4 He addressed 1  both Jews and Greeks in the synagogue 2  every Sabbath, attempting to persuade 3  them.

18:5 Now when Silas and Timothy arrived 4  from Macedonia, 5  Paul became wholly absorbed with proclaiming 6  the word, testifying 7  to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 8  18:6 When they opposed him 9  and reviled him, 10  he protested by shaking out his clothes 11  and said to them, “Your blood 12  be on your own heads! I am guiltless! 13  From now on I will go to the Gentiles!”

1 tn Although the word διελέξατο (dielexato; from διαλέγομαι, dialegomai) is frequently translated “reasoned,” “disputed,” or “argued,” this sense comes from its classical meaning where it was used of philosophical disputation, including the Socratic method of questions and answers. However, there does not seem to be contextual evidence for this kind of debate in Acts 18:4. As G. Schrenk (TDNT 2:94-95) points out, “What is at issue is the address which any qualified member of a synagogue might give.” Other examples of this may be found in the NT in Matt 4:23 and Mark 1:21.

2 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

3 tn Grk “Addressing in the synagogue every Sabbath, he was attempting to persuade both Jews and Greeks.” Because in English the verb “address” is not used absolutely but normally has an object specified, the direct objects of the verb ἔπειθεν (epeiqen) have been moved forward as the objects of the English verb “addressed,” and the pronoun “them” repeated in the translation as the object of ἔπειθεν. The verb ἔπειθεν has been translated as a conative imperfect.

4 tn Grk “came down.”

5 sn Macedonia was the Roman province of Macedonia in Greece.

6 tn BDAG 971 s.v. συνέχω 6 states, “συνείχετο τῷ λόγῳ (Paul) was wholly absorbed in preaching Ac 18:5…in contrast to the activity cited in vs. 3.” The imperfect συνείχετο (suneiceto) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect (“became wholly absorbed…”), stressing the change in Paul’s activity once Silas and Timothy arrived. At this point Paul apparently began to work less and preach more.

7 tn BDAG 233 s.v. διαμαρτύρομαι 2 has “testify of, bear witness to solemnly (orig. under oath)…W. acc. and inf. foll. Ac 18:5.”

8 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.

9 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

10 tn The participle βλασφημούντων (blasfhmountwn) has been taken temporally. The direct object (“him”) is implied rather than expressed and could be impersonal (“it,” referring to what Paul was saying rather than Paul himself), but the verb occurs more often in contexts involving defamation or slander against personal beings (not always God). For a very similar context to this one, compare Acts 13:45. The translation “blaspheme” is not used because in contemporary English its meaning is more narrowly defined and normally refers to blasphemy against God (not what Paul’s opponents were doing here). What they were doing was more like slander or defamation of character.

11 tn Grk “shaking out his clothes, he said to them.” L&N 16:8 translates Acts 18:6 “when they opposed him and said evil things about him, he protested by shaking the dust from his clothes.” The addition of the verb “protested by” in the translation is necessary to clarify for the modern reader that this is a symbolic action. It is similar but not identical to the phrase in Acts 13:51, where the dust from the feet is shaken off. The participle ἐκτιναξάμενος (ektinaxameno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

sn He protested by shaking out his clothes. A symbolic action of protest, similar but not identical to the practice of shaking the dust off one’s feet (see Acts 13:51). The two symbolic actions are related, however, since what is shaken off here is the dust raised by the feet and settling in the clothes. The meaning is, “I am done with you! You are accountable to God.”

12 sn Your blood be on your own heads! By invoking this epithet Paul declared himself not responsible for their actions in rejecting Jesus whom Paul preached (cf. Ezek 33:4; 3:6-21; Matt 23:35; 27:25).

13 tn Or “innocent.” BDAG 489 s.v. καθαρός 3.a has “guiltless Ac 18:6.”



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