We begin in chapter 18 this week: Acts 18:18-28
v18: Syria is landlocked today but in those days Lebanon (on the coast) was part of Syria.
- Cenchreae was a port of Corinth.
- Paul, in a very literal way, applied the commandments to his life. Here he probably took a Nazarite vow – Numbers 6:1-21. People made this vow as it demonstrated commitment (denying oneself) in order to draw closer to G-d. When the vow ended the person shaved their hair and offerings would be given to G-d.
v19: In verse 6 of this chapter Paul (in frustration) had said from then on he would go to the nations but the very next new city he goes to he keeps to his custom and still goes to the Jews first 😀
v20: This is an unusual response from the people as they usually oppose Paul, but the fact that Paul declined their offer is equally surprising. Why did he decline the invite?
v21: Paul wanted to attend one of the upcoming Feasts (G-d’s appointed festival) in Jerusalem, so he was in a hurry to get to there. These festivals reveal truth to us (Col2:17). Some of the festivals were fulfilled by Yeshua at His first coming and some are going to be fulfilled by Him at His second. Today these festivals cannot be kept in their entirety as there is no temple.
- “G-d willing” – the decisions we make should be part of G-d’s will. Everything is dependent on Him and not on us.
v22 :”Gone up” – usually always a reference Biblically for going to Jerusalem. So after landing at Caesarea Paul went to greet the church in Jerusalem (and participate in the festival) and from there he went down again into Antioch.
v23: Paul did things in an orderly fashion. Strengthening – helping others to take root/become established. Paul’s desire was to help others mature so they could serve G-d effectively.
v25: Apollos was an eloquent speaker who had great zeal and commitment.
Many translations insert the name of Yeshua into this verse. However, in the original, Yeshua is not mentioned in this verse. It just says “L-rd” – which translators have translated (?incorrectly) as “Yeshua”. John had not detailed who Yeshua was so if Apollos only knew up to the baptism of John how could he have taught about Yeshua accurately?? 🤔 Apollos could have been teaching accurately from the Scripture (OT at that time) about the L-rd Almighty – the G-d of Israel-and not actually about Yeshua (please remember to search these things out for yourselves. Don’t just accept other people’s words on Scripture but make sure you can see it for yourself) In light of this verse we can conclude that Apollos is sharing about Jehovah G-d. At this point he did not know who the Messiah was and he had not yet received Yeshua.
v26: Apollos was not teaching anything wrong, his teaching was just incomplete as he only knew the baptism of John (a need to repent and turn away from sin). It was only after being discipled by A&P that he came to full understanding.
v27: Previously Apollos had taught about the way of the L-rd in a general sense but after being discipled (in a more excellent way) focusing on Yeshua he was now able to speak by grace. He was now able to disciple others more adequately by means of G-d’s grace.
v28: The only way we can “refute” properly is when we do so based upon the Scripture.
What we are seeing in this passage is an emphasis on discipleship. Evangelism is foundational for people. But once they believe (through the grace of G-d) they need to be discipled.