The Gospel Spreads to Corinth: Acts 18:1-5
“1) After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. 2) And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, 3) and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. 4) And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. 5) But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.” Acts‬ ‭18‬:‭1‬-‭5‬
We now have the record of the gospel reaching the city of Corinth. This church was destined to become as important to the spread of Christianity as was Antioch because of the two Epistles Paul later wrote to this church.
It appears that Silas and Timothy remained for some time in Beria while Paul traveled through Athens alone and then on to Corinth. (Acts 17:14-15) They were becoming seasoned in ministry and were stepping up into key leadership roles. God was working through them in significant ways. This is the goal of leadership development.
When Paul arrived in Corinth, he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native from Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla. Persecution against the Jews was beginning to heat up because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. This soon put the Jews and early Christians in the same boat. Persecution was used by God to spread the gospel as people were uprooted.
While there is no mention of their conversion story, a study of Aguila and Priscilla yields the most beautiful picture of a ministry couple in the New Testament. They were always side by side in ministry together and joined Paul and his team in traveling for the spread of the gospel. (See Romans 16:3-5, 1 Corinthians 16:19)
The circumstance of their meeting is not mentioned, but they most likely crossed paths in the synagogue at Corinth. God has a way of orchestrating Divine meetings. Never take lightly the people God brings into your path.
It appears that Aquila and Priscilla made a living by tent making. Paul joined them for a while in the enterprise. Acts 18:3 is famous for launching the concept of “tent making ministry.” It was not beyond the early missionaries to labor with their own hands to earn their keep to assist the spread of the gospel. They were by no means lazy.
It is prudent for those preparing for missions to learn a trade. Access to many counties is only possible for those with a legitimate trade. Not only will the income be helpful, but initial key relationships for the gospel are often formed through the workplace.
Though Paul spent time daily working with his hands, his primary focus was spreading the gospel. His Sabbaths were devoted to building relationships among the Jews through the synagogue. Undoubtedly, his focus among them was giving evidence that Jesus was the Christ through the Old Testament Scrolls. (See Acts 18:5)
The rest of his spare time was devoted to reaching Greeks through the social network of Corinth. The text says he was trying to persuade both Jews and Greeks. (Vs 4) He reached out on both fronts. The gospel is for everyone.
There is no mention in the book of Acts of any signs or wonders taking place through his ministry in Corinth. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 1:22-24, Paul mentioned that the Jews were asking for signs and the Greeks were searching for wisdom, but he focused on the simple message of the gospel. Nevertheless, 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit was at work in powerful ways.
As momentum began to build and more were being converted, Paul devoted his full attention to the ministry of the word. He was shortly joined by Silas and Timothy in this endeavor. Never despise the days of small things, but as momentum for the gospel grows, be prepared be stretched. Follow the example of Acts 6:4 and devote yourself to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
Let me make an observation from the book of Acts; explosive church growth is a consistent New Testament Phenomenon. Church stagnation is an enigma with no biblical foundation or excuse. In situations of static results, the Spirit of God is often being quenched, prayer is being marginalized, sharing the gospel with the lost is silenced, biblical priorities are being ignored and sin and carnality have ascended to the throne. We need to stop making excuses for mediocrity in our churches. God has not changed!
Jesus wrote the letters to the seven churches in Revelation to address complacency and stagnation in the church. (Revelation 2 & 3) It is time to cry out for revival and awakening in our churches and seek God with renewed abandonment. One of the most often repeated words in the above two chapters in Revelation is “repent.” I need not elaborate on that call. It is time for be a bride of Christ to repent.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global