January 15th, 2007
People have fierce religious debates all the time. They argue about whether Mohammed was the greatest prophet, whether Jesus was God or just human, whether Jesus will return and if so what will happen then, whether some believers have apostolic spiritual gifts nowadays, whether pentecostalism is right or wrong, whether the Pope speaks with the authority of God, and many other issues. If you’ve got no direct interest in the debate, you will probably be inclined to dismiss it all as merely arguments about words and names. But the participants in the argument aren’t likely to see it that way.
The Acts of the Apostles — Chapter 18
18:1 Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 18:2 He encountered a Jewish man named Aquila, who was originally from Pontus. He had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul came to 18:3 live and work with them, because they were tent makers by trade and he practised the same trade. 18:4 He spoke in the synagogue every Sabbath, persuading both Jews and Greeks. 18:5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul concentrated on preaching the message, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 18:6 When they opposed and insulted him, he shook out his clothing and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles!”
18:7 He left and went into a house next door to the synagogue, owned by Titius Justus, a God-fearing Gentile. 18:8 Crispus the synagogue leader believed in the Lord as did all his household. Many of the Corinthians believed when they heard, and were baptized. 18:9 The Lord said to Paul in a vision one night, “Don’t be afraid. Speak and don’t be silent. 18:10 I am with you and no one will harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
18:11 He lived there for 18 months, teaching them the word of God. 18:12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews got together against Paul and brought him to the tribunal, 18:13 saying, “This man persuades people to worship God illegally.”
18:14 When Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If you Jews were complaining about a matter of crime or serious wrongdoing, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you, 18:15 but if they are merely issues of words and names and your own law, sort it out yourselves. I don’t want to be a judge of such things.” 18:16 He sent them out from the tribunal. 18:17 Then all the Greeks seized Sosthenes the synagogue leader, and assaulted him in front of the tribunal. None of these things mattered to Gallio.
18:18 Paul stayed for some time after this, then took his leave of the believers and sailed for Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. He shaved his head in Cenchreae, because he made a vow. 18:19 He arrived in Ephesus and left them there; but he himself went into the synagogue and spoke to the Jews. 18:20 When they asked him to stay with them a while longer, he declined. 18:21 He took his leave of them and set sail from Ephesus, saying, “I will return to you if God wills.” 18:22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went to greet the church, then travelled to Antioch. 18:23 After spending some time there, he left, and travelled systematically through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia, encouraging all the disciples.
18:24 A Jewish man named Apollos came to Ephesus. Originally from Alexandria, he was a talented speaker and knew the Scriptures well. 18:25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately about Jesus, although he was only aware of the baptism of John. 18:26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
18:27 When Apollos decided to travel to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who had believed through grace. 18:28 He powerfully refuted the Jews, publicly showing from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
Entry Filed under: Searching