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In Corinth October 11, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 18:1-17.

Summary: In this passage, Paul traveled to Corinth, where he rejoined Silas and Timothy. He went to the Jewish synagogue in that city and preached the Gospel message to those in attendance. As expected, the Jews rejected the Gospel message – yet many Gentiles believed it. The Jews attempted to harm Paul – yet God enabled him to continue preaching in their city. At some point, the Jews brought a charge of heresy against Paul before the proconsul, Gallio – yet Gallio refused to hear their grievances, as he correctly reasoned that their complaints were not germane to Roman law.

Thoughts: In verses 9 and 10, we see that the Lord commanded Paul to continue preaching the Gospel message in Corinth despite the opposition of the Jews. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 10:

If the Lord is ever so favorable to us, we must not despise such a comfort for our weakness. Meanwhile, let the following truth be enough for us to quash all corrupt fears of the flesh: as long as we fight under his banner, we will not be forsaken by him.

While I have not faced overt hostility from others in my spiritual walk, I have overcome internal struggles that could have derailed it. For example, I recall preparing for an interview for a position. On the night before the interview, I experienced qualms about my ability to obtain that position – especially since I had failed in several prior interviews. Yet God gave me the strength to proceed, and I performed well enough to obtain an offer from that company. I ended up accepting that offer, moving to a new city and glorifying God through many acts of service. That experience helped me realize that as long as God has tasks for us to complete in this life, He will enable us to complete them.

In this passage, we see that the proconsul of Achaia, Gallio, refused to hear the grievances of the Jews against Paul; he then ignored their attack on the synagogue leader, Sosthenes. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 17:

So Gallio would have liked all the Jews to kill one another, so that their religion might die with them. But the Spirit, through Luke, condemns Gallio’s negligence, because he did not protect a man who was being unjustly attacked. In the same way, our magistrates are far more inexcusable if they turn a blind eye to injuries and wrongs, if they do not restrain wrongdoers, and if they do not help the oppressed.

I am ambivalent about Gallio based on my understanding of this passage. On one hand, he did not harm Paul when the Jews brought their charges against him, as he knew that heresy under the Jewish law was not germane to the Roman law. That was commendable – especially in light of the conduct of the authorities in Philippi. On the other hand, why did he allow the Jews to attack Sosthenes? Were assault and battery not expressly prohibited by the Roman law? I hope that Gallio eventually realized his mistake in that regard.

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1. Thomas - October 11, 2016

The Romans were pragmatic – Gallio just did not care about the dispute in my opinion. He thought they were wasting his time but that doesn’t make him a good guy – he doesn’t help Paul at all. Paul was falsely accused and brought before him and he ignores or possibly supports the attack on Sosthenes.

The attack on Sosthenes was likely by a crowd of Gentiles not Jews that were there to hear the disputes. The awesome postscript of this is by the time we get to Paul writing 1 Corinthians, it is written from Paul and Sothenes. So Sometimes God allows injustice and is to get a little beaten up in life to get us to him.


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