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Acts 18:1-17

Context
Paul at Corinth

18:1 After this 1  Paul 2  departed from 3  Athens 4  and went to Corinth. 5  18:2 There he 6  found 7  a Jew named Aquila, 8  a native of Pontus, 9  who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius 10  had ordered all the Jews to depart from 11  Rome. 12  Paul approached 13  them, 18:3 and because he worked at the same trade, he stayed with them and worked with them 14  (for they were tentmakers 15  by trade). 16  18:4 He addressed 17  both Jews and Greeks in the synagogue 18  every Sabbath, attempting to persuade 19  them.

18:5 Now when Silas and Timothy arrived 20  from Macedonia, 21  Paul became wholly absorbed with proclaiming 22  the word, testifying 23  to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 24  18:6 When they opposed him 25  and reviled him, 26  he protested by shaking out his clothes 27  and said to them, “Your blood 28  be on your own heads! I am guiltless! 29  From now on I will go to the Gentiles!” 18:7 Then Paul 30  left 31  the synagogue 32  and went to the house of a person named Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God, 33  whose house was next door to the synagogue. 18:8 Crispus, the president of the synagogue, 34  believed in the Lord together with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians who heard about it 35  believed and were baptized. 18:9 The Lord said to Paul by a vision 36  in the night, 37  “Do not be afraid, 38  but speak and do not be silent, 18:10 because I am with you, and no one will assault 39  you to harm 40  you, because I have many people in this city.” 18:11 So he stayed there 41  a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. 42 

Paul Before the Proconsul Gallio

18:12 Now while Gallio 43  was proconsul 44  of Achaia, 45  the Jews attacked Paul together 46  and brought him before the judgment seat, 47  18:13 saying, “This man is persuading 48  people to worship God in a way contrary to 49  the law!” 18:14 But just as Paul was about to speak, 50  Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of some crime or serious piece of villainy, 51  I would have been justified in accepting the complaint 52  of you Jews, 53  18:15 but since it concerns points of disagreement 54  about words and names and your own law, settle 55  it yourselves. I will not be 56  a judge of these things!” 18:16 Then he had them forced away 57  from the judgment seat. 58  18:17 So they all seized Sosthenes, the president of the synagogue, 59  and began to beat 60  him in front of the judgment seat. 61  Yet none of these things were of any concern 62  to Gallio.

1 tn Grk “After these things.”

2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Or “Paul left.”

4 map For location see JP1 C2; JP2 C2; JP3 C2; JP4 C2.

5 sn Corinth was the capital city of the senatorial province of Achaia and the seat of the Roman proconsul. It was located 55 mi (88 km) west of Athens. Corinth was a major rival to Athens and was the largest city in Greece at the time.

map For location see JP1 C2; JP2 C2; JP3 C2; JP4 C2.

6 tn Grk “And he.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here. The word “there” is not in the Greek text but is implied.

7 tn Grk “finding.” The participle εὑρών (Jeurwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

8 sn On Aquila and his wife Priscilla see also Acts 18:18, 26; Rom 16:3-4; 1 Cor 16:19; 2 Tim 4:19. In the NT “Priscilla” and “Prisca” are the same person. This author uses the full name Priscilla, while Paul uses the diminutive form Prisca.

9 sn Pontus was a region in the northeastern part of Asia Minor. It was a Roman province.

10 sn Claudius refers to the Roman emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus, known as Claudius, who ruled from a.d. 41-54. The edict expelling the Jews from Rome was issued in a.d. 49 (Suetonius, Claudius 25.4).

11 tn Or “to leave.”

12 map For location see JP4 A1.

13 tn Or “went to.”

14 tn The prepositional phrase “with them” occurs only once in the Greek text, but since it occurs between the two finite verbs (ἔμενεν, emenen, and ἠργάζετο, hrgazeto) it relates (by implication) to both of them.

15 tn On the term translated “tentmakers,” see BDAG 928-29 s.v. σκνηοποιός. Paul apparently manufactured tents. In contrast to the Cynic philosophers, Paul at times labored to support himself (see also v. 5).

16 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

17 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.

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

19 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.

20 tn Grk “came down.”

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

22 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.

23 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.”

24 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.

25 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.

26 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.

27 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.”

28 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).

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

30 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

31 tn Grk “Then leaving from there he went.” The participle μεταβάς (metabas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

32 tn Grk “from there”; the referent (the synagogue) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

33 tn Grk “a worshiper of God.” The clarifying phrase “a Gentile” has been supplied for clarity, and is indicated by the context, since Paul had parted company with the Jews in the previous verse. The participle σεβομένου (sebomenou) is practically a technical term for the category called God-fearers, Gentiles who worshiped the God of Israel and in many cases kept the Mosaic law, but did not take the final step of circumcision necessary to become a proselyte to Judaism. See further K. G. Kuhn, TDNT 6:732-34, 743-44.

sn Here yet another Gentile is presented as responsive to Paul’s message in Acts.

34 tn That is, “the official in charge of the synagogue”; ἀρχισυνάγωγος (arcisunagwgo") refers to the “leader/president of a synagogue” (so BDAG 139 s.v. and L&N 53.93).

35 tn Or “who heard him,” or “who heard Paul.” The ambiguity here results from the tendency of Greek to omit direct objects, which must be supplied from the context. The problem is that no less than three different ones may be supplied here: (1) “him,” referring to Crispus, but this is not likely because there is no indication in the context that Crispus began to speak out about the Lord; this is certainly possible and even likely, but more than the text here affirms; (2) “Paul,” who had been speaking in the synagogue and presumably, now that he had moved to Titius Justus’ house, continued speaking to the Gentiles; or (3) “about it,” that is, the Corinthians who heard about Crispus’ conversion became believers. In the immediate context this last is most probable, since the two incidents are juxtaposed. Other, less obvious direct objects could also be supplied, such as “heard the word of God,” “heard the word of the Lord,” etc., but none of these are obvious in the immediate context.

36 sn Frequently in Acts such a vision will tell the reader where events are headed. See Acts 10:9-16 and 16:9-10 for other accounts of visions.

37 tn BDAG 682 s.v. νύξ 1.c has “W. prep. ἐν ν. at night, in the nightAc 18:9.”

38 tn The present imperative here (with negation) is used (as it normally is) of a general condition (BDF §335).

39 tn BDAG 384 s.v. ἐπιτίθημι 2 has “to set upon, attack, lay a hand on” here, but “assault” is a contemporary English equivalent very close to the meaning of the original.

40 tn Or “injure.”

41 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

42 tn See BDAG 326-27 s.v. ἐν 1.d. However, it is also possible that ἐν (en) followed by the dative here stands for the ordinary dative (“to them”).

43 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.

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

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

46 tn Grk “with one accord.”

47 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.

48 tn Or “inciting.”

49 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.

50 tn Grk “about to open his mouth” (an idiom).

51 tn BDAG 902 s.v. ῥᾳδιούργημα states, “From the sense ‘prank, knavery, roguish trick, slick deed’ it is but a short step to that of a serious misdeed, crime, villainy…a serious piece of villainy Ac 18:14 (w. ἀδίκημα).”

52 tn According to BDAG 78 s.v. ἀνέχω 3 this is a legal technical term: “Legal t.t. κατὰ λόγον ἂν ἀνεσχόμην ὑμῶν I would have been justified in accepting your complaint Ac 18:14.”

53 tn Grk “accepting your complaint, O Jews.”

54 tn Or “dispute.”

55 tn Grk “see to it” (an idiom).

56 tn Or “I am not willing to be.” Gallio would not adjudicate their religious dispute.

57 tn Grk “driven away,” but this could result in a misunderstanding in English (“driven” as in a cart or wagon?). “Forced away” conveys the idea; Gallio rejected their complaint. In contemporary English terminology the case was “thrown out of court.” The verb ἀπήλασεν (aphlasen) has been translated as a causative since Gallio probably did not perform this action in person, but ordered his aides or officers to remove the plaintiffs.

58 sn See the note on the term judgment seat in 18:12.

59 tn That is, “the official in charge of the synagogue”; ἀρχισυνάγωγος (arcisunagwgo") refers to the “leader/president of a synagogue” (so BDAG 139 s.v. and L&N 53.93).

sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

60 tn The imperfect verb ἔτυπτον (etupton) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.

61 sn See the note on the term judgment seat in 18:12.

62 tn L&N 25.223 has “‘none of these things were of any concern to Gallio’ Ac 18:17.”

sn Rome was officially indifferent to such disputes. Gallio understood how sensitive some Jews would be about his meddling in their affairs. This is similar to the way Pilate dealt with Jesus. In the end, he let the Jewish leadership and people make the judgment against Jesus.



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