Passage: Acts 18
v1-17 - Paul moves on from Athens to Corinth, the Roman version of Las Vegas. Even though this city is one of the most decadent cities ever, even by Roman standards, the love that Jesus has for it is evident in v9-10. No matter how sinful a city or a person is, they're never too sinful to escape the love of Christ. In Corinth Paul meets a couple that will be hugely supportive of the new Church - Priscilla and Aquila. Following his same pattern as in other cities, Paul begins teaching in the Synagogue, and following earlier patterns, many of the Jews come to believe in the name of Jesus, but many violently reject the gospel. This time they hauled Paul to court, although the judge didn't want anything to do with this case.
v18-23 - Paul and his new friends visit Ephesus, though he doesn't stay for long. Before the trip, he shaved his head "because of a vow he had taken (v18)." It's interesting how Paul firmly rejects Jewish law as a basis for a person's salvation, but yet he still follows many Jewish customs, including regular synagogue attendance. One reason he does this is so that he won't offend the people he's trying to win for the gospel.
v24-28 - Paul is not the only messenger of the gospel. In v24 we're introduced to Apollos, who has a style and manner very different from Paul. There's good reason to think that Paul was not a very polished public speaker, whereas we read that Apollos "spoke with great fervor (v25)." Yet God blessed both of these apostles' ministry, because it's His Word that contains the power, not the speaking skill of the one proclaiming it.
Old Testament Reference -
Numbers 6:1-21 describe the process of a Nazarite vow, which may have been the type of vow Paul took that's described in v18. Congratulations to Jennifer Weg for being January's winner!
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions. For every comment or reply you post, you will receive an entry for this month's prize.
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: How long did Paul stay in Corinth, teaching the word of God? (See v11 for answer)
We often despair of the ungodly condition of our nation and world. How do Jesus' words in v9-10 change your view of the world?
From what you’ve seen in Acts, how would you explain in your own words what Paul considered to be his calling from God? Could you articulate God's calling in your life?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to pay for the sins of His people (v9-10)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be able to discern God's calling in your life as clearly as what Paul did in his.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
We're looking forward to celebrating Communion on Feb 7 at Worthington Christian Reformed Church. As you prepare, consider these words from theologian Herman Bavinck:
First we are to consider by ourselves our sins and the curse due unto them, to the end that we may humble ourselves before God...
Secondly, we are to examine our own hearts to see whether we believe this faithful promise of God:
that all our sins are forgiven us,
only for the sake of the passion and death of Jesus Christ
and that the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed [put into us] and freely given unto us as our own.