20 May 2015

Acts 18:1-16

“One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision. ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you’” (vv. 9-10)

Psalm: Psalm 12


In this passage we find Paul in Corinth. Corinth is a seaport with all that goes with such places - a transient population and quite a bit of immorality. Like Philippi, Corinth is a Roman colony and also capital of its region. In some ways it tried to be more Roman than Rome itself.

Here we see Paul initially back to his former pattern of mission - going to the synagogue and telling people about Jesus. If he found no welcome there or even rejection, as in the case in this passage, he moved on to the Gentile God-fearers. In many of the places that Paul visited, as related in these chapters of Acts, he only stayed for a short time. Here we see him staying in Corinth for one and a half years - a comparatively long time.

There were probably several reasons why Paul stayed longer - he met up with the God-fearers Aquila and Priscilla, who had the same trade as him - tentmaking and it looks as if he worked with or for them. Corinth was also a bigger and more cosmopolitan place in which to preach. However the most important reason for Paul to stay there is that he had a vision to stay there - a vision in which God spoke to him directly and assured him that he would be safe (verses 9-10). It was this vision that really kept Paul loyal to his task. Corinth was where God wanted Paul to be at that time even though  the Jews attacked him. They took him before the courts but the Roman proconsul sent them packing for bringing petty things to court.

To Ponder

  • In the church community of which you are a part, to what extent is the pattern of evangelism and outreach flexible and receptive to changing situations as Paul's was?
  • Faith is always forward looking with a vision both for the community of believers and for those outside. What sort of a vision which directs your community's worship and outreach?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jennifer Potter

The Revd Jennifer Potter is a Methodist minister at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London. Prior to being appointed to serve there she worked in the Connexional Team from 1996-2002 as the secretary for international affairs.