June 7th Paul sails for Syria
18: And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. 19: And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 20: When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 21: But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. 22: And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. 23: And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
24: And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25: This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26: And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. 27: And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 28: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
And so Paul’s eastern missionary journey comes to an end. The next obvious place to go to would be Rome. But that would have to be for another day. Paul heads west to Cenchrea the eastern port opposite Corinth and from there by ship to Ephesus. He travelled with Priscilla and Aquila. He had shaved his head at Cenchrea because he had a vow to fulfil. When he arrived at Ephesus he left his companions Aquila and Pricilla there. While Paul was at Ephesus he went to the synagogue to meet the Christians and they pleaded for him to stay but he said no l must go to Jerusalem to keep the Jewish feast, but he promised to return. Paul arrived at Caesarea and went straight to Jerusalem and then set out again north for Antioch. Then he returned to southern Turkey to the country of Galatia. He strengthened the believers in all the churches there. There was a certain Jew who was a disciple of John the Baptist called Apollos. He has been born in Alexandria. He was devote and very eloquent and greatly read in the OT scriptures. He was very fervent in his preaching but he knew only the teachings of John the Baptist. He began to preach very courageously in the synagogue and Aquila and Pricilla heard him. They took him to themselves and taught him the message of Christ and of the Gospel. He went on to distinguish himself in his ministry of the Gospel in Achaia having been recommended by the believers in a letter. He was very effective in preaching to the Jews and convincing them publically that Jesus of Nazareth was the Jewish Messiah. (Often as Christians we fail to realise the steady ongoing development of Christian truth. There were thousands of people in NT times that had only ever heard of John the Baptists ministry, others had gone on to hear Christs preaching and the Apostles and at this time no one had heard of Paul’s teaching regarding the Church – the body of Christ. Paul had not outlined it yet in his letter to the Ephesians. Most of the Church were Jewish and they saw the body of Christians as an extension of Judaism. Yet Gentiles were also coming to faith in Christ and this lead to a clash between Jewish Christianity and Gentile Christianity. The Apostles had consulted and agreed on a way forward but the Gentile churches far away had yet to hear of their letter described in Ch 15)
- Why was Paul trying to get to Jerusalem?
- Who was Apollos and how would you describe his understanding of the scriptures?
- How far had christianity come in the Acts?