One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid anymore, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you in order to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” So he settled there for a year and six months, teaching them the word of God [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ].
But when [a]Gallio was proconsul of Achaia (southern Greece), the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before [b]the judgment seat, declaring, “This man is persuading people to worship God in violation of the law [of Moses].” But when Paul was about to reply, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of some misdemeanor or serious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to put up with you; but since it is merely a question [of doctrine within your religion] about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I am [c]unwilling to judge these matters.” And he drove them away from the judgment seat. Then the Greeks all seized [d]Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him right in front of the judgment seat; but Gallio paid no attention to any of this.
Paul stayed for a while longer, and then told the [e]brothers and sisters goodbye and sailed for Syria; and he was accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchrea [the southeastern port of Corinth] he had his hair cut, because he was keeping a [Nazirite] vow [of abstention]. Then they arrived in Ephesus, and he left the others there; but he entered the synagogue and reasoned and debated with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he refused; but after telling them goodbye and saying, “I will return again if God is willing,” he set sail from Ephesus.
When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and [f]greeted the church [at Jerusalem], and then went down to Antioch.
Paul’s Third Missionary Journey
After spending some time there, he left and traveled through the territory of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening and encouraging all the disciples.
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent and cultured man, and well versed in the [Hebrew] Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being spiritually impassioned, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things about Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John; and he began to speak boldly and fearlessly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained more accurately to him the way of God [and the full story of the life of Christ]. And when Apollos wanted to go across to Achaia (southern Greece), the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples, [urging them] to welcome him gladly. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who, through grace, had believed and had followed Jesus as Lord and Savior, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public discussions, proving by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
- Acts 18:12 Junius Gallio’s term as proconsul was brief a.d. 51-52, but is validated by an ancient inscription found at Delphi. This is important because it establishes the date of Paul’s visit to Corinth while on his second missionary journey and sets the date of his letters to the church at Thessalonica.
- Acts 18:12 The proconsul tried cases from a large, raised stone platform situated in front of his official residence.
- Acts 18:15 Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia, in essence ruled Paul’s teachings to be a form of Judaism and therefore legal under Roman law.
- Acts 18:17 As leader of the synagogue Sosthenes would have presented the charges against Paul. Apparently something related to this made him the target of the attack. If this Sosthenes is the same man mentioned in 1 Cor 1:1, he later became a believer and follower of Christ.
- Acts 18:18 Lit brethren.
- Acts 18:22 This marks the end of Paul’s second missionary journey.
Paul at Ephesus
It happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the upper [inland] districts and came down to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed [in Jesus as the Christ]?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he asked, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John performed a baptism of repentance, continually telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, [to confidently accept and joyfully believe] in Jesus [the Messiah and Savior].” After hearing this, they were baptized [again, this time] in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.
And he went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient [to the word of God], discrediting and speaking evil of [a]the Way (Jesus, Christianity) before the congregation, Paul left them, taking the disciples with him, and went on holding [b]daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus [instead of in the synagogue]. This continued for two years, so that all the inhabitants of [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor], Jews as well as Greeks, heard the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ].
Miracles at Ephesus
God was doing extraordinary and unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or face-towels or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out [of them]. Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists also attempted to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I implore you and solemnly command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!”
- Acts 19:9 See John 14:6.
- Acts 19:9 One Greek manuscript says Paul used the lecture hall from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.