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Acts 18:18-23

Paul Returns to Antioch in Syria

18:18 Paul, after staying 1  many more days in Corinth, 2  said farewell to 3  the brothers and sailed away to Syria accompanied by 4  Priscilla and Aquila. 5  He 6  had his hair cut off 7  at Cenchrea 8  because he had made a vow. 9  18:19 When they reached Ephesus, 10  Paul 11  left Priscilla and Aquila 12  behind there, but he himself went 13  into the synagogue 14  and addressed 15  the Jews. 18:20 When they asked him to stay longer, he would not consent, 16  18:21 but said farewell to 17  them and added, 18  “I will come back 19  to you again if God wills.” 20  Then 21  he set sail from Ephesus, 18:22 and when he arrived 22  at Caesarea, 23  he went up and greeted 24  the church at Jerusalem 25  and then went down to Antioch. 26  18:23 After he spent 27  some time there, Paul left and went through the region of Galatia 28  and Phrygia, 29  strengthening all the disciples.

1 tn The participle προσμείνας (prosmeina") is taken temporally.

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

3 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.

4 tn Grk “Syria, and with him.”

5 sn See the note on Aquila in 18:2.

6 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.

7 tn The word “off” is supplied in the translation to indicate that this was not a normal haircut, but the shaving of the head connected with taking the vow (see Acts 21:24).

8 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.

9 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.

10 sn Ephesus was an influential city in Asia Minor. It was the location of the famous temple of Artemis. In 334 b.c. control of the city had passed to Alexander the Great, who contributed a large sum to the building of a new and more elaborate temple of Artemis, which became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and lasted until destroyed by the Goths in a.d. 263. This major port city would be reached from Corinth by ship. It was 250 mi (400 km) east of Corinth by sea.

map For location see JP1 D2; JP2 D2; JP3 D2; JP4 D2.

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

12 tn Grk “left them”; the referents (Priscilla and Aquila) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 tn Grk “going”; the participle εἰσελθών (eiselqwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

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

15 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 18:19. 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.

16 sn He would not consent. Paul probably refused because he wanted to reach Jerusalem for the festival season before the seas became impassable during the winter.

17 tn Or “but took leave of.”

18 tn Grk “and saying”; the participle εἰπών (eipwn) has been translated as “added” rather than “said” to avoid redundancy with the previous “said farewell.” The participle εἰπών has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

19 tn Or “will return.”

20 tn The participle θέλοντος (qelontos), a genitive absolute construction, has been translated as a conditional adverbial participle. Again Paul acts in dependence on God.

21 tn A new sentence was begun here in the translation due to the length of the sentence in Greek and the requirements of contemporary English style, which generally uses shorter sentences.

22 tn BDAG 531 s.v. κατέρχομαι 2 states, “arrive, put in, nautical t.t. of ships and those who sail in them, who ‘come down’ fr. the ‘high seas’…εἴς τι at someth. a harbor Ac 18:22; 21:3; 27:5.”

23 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1. This was a sea voyage of 620 mi (990 km).

map For location see Map2 C1; Map4 B3; Map5 F2; Map7 A1; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

24 tn Grk “going up and greeting.” The participles ἀναβάς (anabas) and ἀσπασάμενος (aspasameno") are translated as finite verbs due to requirements of contemporary English style.

25 tn The words “at Jerusalem” are not in the Greek text, but are implied by the participle ἀναβάς (anabas). The expression “go up” refers almost exclusively to the direction of Jerusalem, while the corresponding “go down” (κατέβη, katebh) refers to directions away from Jerusalem. Both expressions are based on a Hebrew idiom. Assuming Jerusalem is meant, this is another indication of keeping that key church informed. If Jerusalem is not referred to here, then Caesarea is in view. Paul was trying to honor a vow, which also implies a visit to Jerusalem.

map For the location of Jerusalem see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

26 sn Went down to Antioch. The city of Antioch in Syria lies due north of Jerusalem. In Western languages it is common to speak of north as “up” and south as “down,” but the NT maintains the Hebrew idiom which speaks of any direction away from Jerusalem as down (since Mount Zion was thought of in terms of altitude). This marks the end of the second missionary journey which began in Acts 15:36. From Caesarea to Antioch is a journey of 280 mi (450 km).

map For location see JP1 F2; JP2 F2; JP3 F2; JP4 F2.

27 tn Grk “Having spent”; the participle ποιήσας (poihsas) is taken temporally.

28 sn Galatia refers to either (1) the region of the old kingdom of Galatia in the central part of Asia Minor, or (2) the Roman province of Galatia, whose principal cities in the 1st century were Ancyra and Pisidian Antioch. The exact extent and meaning of this area has been a subject of considerable controversy in modern NT studies.

29 sn Phrygia was a district in central Asia Minor west of Pisidia. See Acts 16:6.

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