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!” 18:14 But just as Paul was about to speak, 8 Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of some crime or serious piece of villainy, 9 I would have been justified in accepting the complaint 10 of you Jews, 11 18:15 but since it concerns points of disagreement 12 about words and names and your own law, settle 13 it yourselves. I will not be 14 a judge of these things!” 18:16 Then he had them forced away 15 from the judgment seat. 16 18:17 So they all seized Sosthenes, the president of the synagogue, 17 and began to beat 18 him in front of the judgment seat. 19 Yet none of these things were of any concern 20 to Gallio.
18:18 Paul, after staying 21 many more days in Corinth, 22 said farewell to 23 the brothers and sailed away to Syria accompanied by 24 Priscilla and Aquila. 25 He 26 had his hair cut off 27 at Cenchrea 28 because he had made a vow. 29
1 sn Gallio was proconsul of Achaia from
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
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.
8 tn Grk “about to open his mouth” (an idiom).
9 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).”
11 tn Grk “accepting your complaint, O Jews.”
12 tn Or “dispute.”
13 tn Grk “see to it” (an idiom).
14 tn Or “I am not willing to be.” Gallio would not adjudicate their religious dispute.
15 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.
17 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.
18 tn The imperfect verb ἔτυπτον (etupton) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.
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.
21 tn The participle προσμείνας (prosmeina") is taken temporally.
23 tn Or “Corinth, took leave of.” Grk “saying farewell to”; the participle ἀποταξάμενος (apotaxameno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
24 tn Grk “Syria, and with him.”
26 tn Or “Aquila, who.” The relationship of the participle κειράμενος (keirameno") is difficult to determine. Traditionally it is taken to refer to Paul, meaning that Paul had his hair cut off because of the vow. However, due to the proximity of the noun ᾿Ακύλας (Akula") and the reversal of the normal order (Aquila and Priscilla, Acts 17:34), the participle is taken as adjectival referring to Aquila by H. Greeven, TDNT 2:777, n. 11. The later references to Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 21:23) do not resolve the problem, because the cutting of Paul’s own hair, while it may be implied, is not specifically mentioned in connection with the completion of the vows made by the other four.
28 tn That is, “before he sailed from Cenchrea.”
sn Cenchrea was one of the seaports for the city of Corinth, on the eastern side of the Isthmus of Corinth, on the Aegean Sea. It was 7 mi (11 km) east of Corinth.
29 sn He had made a vow. It is debated whether this vow is a private vow of thanksgiving or the Nazirite vow, because it is not clear whether the Nazirite vow could be taken outside Jerusalem. Some have cited the Mishnah (m. Nazir 3:6, 5:4) to argue that the shaving of the hair can occur outside Jerusalem, and Josephus, J. W. 2.15.1 (2.313) is sometimes suggested as a parallel, but these references are not clear. H. Greeven, TDNT 2:777, is certain that this refers to the Nazirite vow. Regardless, it is clear that Paul reflected his pious dependence on God.