Acts 18:23-19:7

Oct 13, 2019 // By:Dave // No Comment

23 And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Welcome to the Third missionary journey of Paul.  No fanfare, no ticket tape parade.  Just  “He left…”

The next verse is the similar effect you get when you read a good book or watch a movie, where the camera and scene change to a completely different location, with different characters.  We see this and react “what is this having to do with our story?” while the words “meanwhile, over here” come over the speakers   )two disjointed stories that will intersect later on.

24 ¶ Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures.


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Alexadria is second largest city in Roman Empire (founded around 230 bc by Alexander the Great)

600,000 citizens, (250,000 were jews) it had the largest library in world  (700,000 volumes in this library) lost in 48 bc when Rome attacked

Also the home of Euclid.

Also where the septuagint was finished around 130 bc (greek translation of OT)

25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John;

What do we know about Apollos from these verses ?

Apollos was eloquent and mighty in OT scriptures, fervent in spirit, spoke accurately about Jesus (prophetically about the Christ, but only knew about baptism of repentance)

26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

He was likely teaching from side of law, which can only take you as far as repentance, not the crucifixion or resurrection.

but he was on fire for the Lord and working with what he had. … But he had gaps in his theology.

Here was this great speaker, persuasive, eloquent, knows scripture … too bad he knows nothing about Jesus !!

more importantly , Apollos was apparently teachable. we read that the brethren in Ephesus endorsed him to the brothers in Achaia, if his teaching was errant, they would not have recommended him.  His openness to being teachable allowed for grace to be added to his knowledge.  He now has a complete picture (law & grace) to minister with now.

27 And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace,

28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

what a package ! 

  • educated
  • eloquent
  • can effectively teach law and grace
  • refute the jews powerfully
  • probably good looking and athletic too !!

(1 COR 1:10-12 shows that there was a development of division later over this man.)

What is the cause of the division ?

some believers became distracted by the man, instead of focusing on the God of the man.

they focused on the messenger instead of the message.

Apollos became idolized. (some followed Paul, some Apollos, some Peter)

Acts 19:1 ¶ It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.

Acts 19:2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

Acts 19:3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

What is “John’s baptism”?

1 Cor 3:6 “I planted, Apollos watered, but it is God who gives the increase”)

Acts 19:4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul filled in the gaps.

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

Acts 19:7 There were in all about twelve men.

Who are these guys and why does Paul pray over them ?

there are two explanations of who these men are and what is happening:

  1. disciples of Apollos who believed unto baptism of repentance (as taught by Apollos before Priscilla straightened him out doctrinally>>> that is he was still looking forward to Christ, and Priscilla and Aquilla told him He already came)
  2. more in line with penecostal doctrine, these men were believers, but lacked the power of the Spirit, and Paul imparted it to them

Which is more scriptural interpretation ?

All of us are tools in His hands.

no jealosy or competition between Paul an Apollos  (Titus 3:13 “see too it they lack nothing”)

Some scholars suspect the writer of Hebrews might be Apollos.

  • since there is no introduction containing credit to Paul
  • remarkable knowledge of OT scripture and messianic prophecy
  • written in classical greek (such as that of Alexandrian education) not koina greek such as used by Paul

Paul was alone (aside from the company of Barnabas then Silas)

but he was teaching alone.

then Apollos (fine tuned by Priscilla and Aquilla … all they did was basically invite a guy over for supper and teach him about the cross) , then Luke, Timothy, Titus.

Apollos became a powerful, accurate evangelist thanks to a small gesture by Priscilla and Aquilla.

We see excellent example of portions and gifts working together

no competition

no jealousy

appreciation for each other’s portion and the entire body benefits

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