Lesson 18--Paul's Second Missionary Journey: Corinth to Antioch

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Paul's Second Missionary Journey

Corinth to Antioch

Where did Paul go after leaving Athens?

Acts 18:1


Whom did Paul meet in Corinth?

Acts 18:2-3


Aquila and Priscilla—who are these two individuals, who became Paul’s close friends? The Bible tells us that Aquila was a Jew from Pontus, a province of Asia Minor. Priscilla’s background is not mentioned. She may have been a native of Rome, perhaps even a Gentile. Some have suggested that she was a noble-woman, because her name is derived from the Latin "Prisca," and it would appear she was quite well educated (cf. Acts 18:26 ). However, Aquila is also a Latin name. It is more probable that both took on Latin names while carrying on their business in Rome. They appear to have been rather well-to-do, for they moved around readily from Rome to Corinth, then to Ephesus, and then back to Rome again! (cf. Acts 18:2,18; Romans 16:3)

What was the result of Paul’s ministry in Corinth?

Acts 18:4-8


What special encouragement did the Lord give Paul while he was in Corinth?

Acts 18:9-10


How long did Paul stay in Corinth?

Acts 18:11


How did the Lord keep His promise to Paul that he would not be hurt in Corinth?

Acts 12:12-17


Lucius Junius Gallio came to Corinth as proconsul of Achaia in July of 51 AD. Gallio’s original name was Marcus Annaeus Seneca. His younger brother was the famous Stoic philosopher Seneca, who was the tutor of Emperor Nero. He changed his name after having been adopted as heir by a friend of his father, Lucius Junius Gallio. Seneca once wrote of Gallio, "No one else is so agreeable to his most intimate friends as Gallio is to all. Even those who love my brother Gallio to the very utmost of their power yet do no love him enough." After being proconsul for only a short time Gallio left for Egypt for health reasons. Later Emperor Nero forced him to commit suicide.

Were there one or two Sosthenes in Corinth? We are told in Acts 18:17 that Sosthenes, who had replaced Crispus as the ruler of the Jewish synagogue after Crispus had become a Christian, was beaten before the judgment seat of Gallio. Later we find in 1 Corinthians 1:1 that Sosthenes , Paul’s "brother," joins Paul in sending greetings to the church in Corinth. Were there two, or did the Sosthenes of the synagogue also become a Christian? It is highly unlikely, as John Pollock in his book "The Apostle" suggests, that Sosthenes of Acts 18:17 was a Christian at the time of his beating. Mr. Pollock suggests that Paul urged Sosthenes to remain as the synagogue leader after becoming a Christian and that the unbelieving Jews beat him in anger after the court battle, because Paul was not around. First of all, the account tells us that it was the "Greeks" not the "Jews" who beat Sosthenes. Secondly, Gallio would hardly have allowed one of Paul’s friends to have been beaten in his presence after having ruled in their favor. Thirdly, Paul would hardly have urged a Christian to remain the ruler of the synagogue after having condemned the unbelieving Jews so soundly in Acts 18:6. It would appear that the Sosthenes of Acts 18:17 was either converted at a later time, or that there were two Sosthenes. We simply cannot say for sure.

Trace Paul’s journey from Corinth to Antioch:

Acts 18:12-17


Why did Paul take a vow? Pious Jews often took vows upon being delivered from sickness or serious trial. Perhaps Paul’s vow was in response to the salvation worked by the Lord before Gallio. In accordance with the Nazaritic vow, Paul would refrain from drinking wine for thirty days, after which he would shave his head. If the individual taking the vow were not in Jerusalem when he shaved his head, he would save the hair. After arriving in Jerusalem, he would cut his hair once again and then burn all of it in the fire under the sacrifice of a peace offering (cf. Numbers 6:13-21 ).

Discussion Topics:

Reread Acts 18:6 —What do Paul’s actions symbolize? What do his words mean? (Check Nehemiah 5:13; 2 Samuel 1:16; and Ezekiel 3:18-19) How might Paul’s words and actions serve as an example for us with regard to our handling of Christian discipline today?

How did the Lord use both a positive and negative action of the officials of Rome to further His purpose in Corinth? How can this serve to encourage us as we survey the political scene of our day?