|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:18-23 While Paul found he laboured not in vain, he continued labouring. Our times are in God's hand; we purpose, but he disposes; therefore we must make all promises with submission to the will of God; not only if providence permits, but if God does not otherwise direct our motions. A very good refreshment it is to a faithful minister, to have for awhile the society of his brethren. Disciples are compassed about with infirmity; ministers must do what they can to strengthen them, by directing them to Christ, who is their Strength. Let us earnestly seek, in our several places, to promote the cause of Christ, forming plans that appear to us most proper, but relying on the Lord to bring them to pass if he sees good.
Verse 19. - They came for he came, A.V. and T.R.; he left for left, A.V. They came to Ephesus. "No voyage across the AEgean was more frequently made than that between Corinth and Ephesus. They were the capitals of the two flourishing and peaceful provinces of Achaia and Asia, and the two great mercantile towns on opposite sides of the sea" (Howson, vol. 1:454). The voyage would take from ten to fifteen days. Reasoned; διελέχθη, as in Acts 17:2, 17; ver. 4, 19:8,9; 20:7, 9; 24:25. As regards the expression, left them there, it probably arises from some actual detail which made it the natural one to use. If, for example, the synagogue was just outside the city, and Paul, parting with Aquila and Priscilla in the city, had gone off immediately to the synagogue, the phrase used would be the natural one; or the words, "he left them there," may be spoken with reference to the main narrative, which is momentarily interrupted by the mention of St. Paul's visit to the synagogue. Note the extreme importance of this brief visit to Ephesus, where the foundation of a vigorous and flourishing Church seems to have been laid. He who knows "the times and the seasons" sent St. Paul there now, though two years before he had forbidden him to go to Asia.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he came to Ephesus,.... The metropolis of Asia; according to Pliny (c), it had been called by many names; at the time of the Trojan war, Alopes, then Ortygia and Morges, also Smyrna Trachea, Samornion and Prelea, and which he calls the work of the Amazons: some say (d) it was called Ephesus, because Hercules permitted the Amazons to dwell in it, Ephesus in the Greek language signifying "permission"; Pausanias (e) denies, that the famous temple in it was built by them, but by Ephesus the son of Caystrus, and says that from him the city had its name; though others say it was built by Androclus, the son of Codrus, king of Athens, in the time of David king of Israel; and that having suffered by the sea, it was rebuilt by Lysimachus king of Thrace, who called it after his wife's name Arsinoe; but he being dead, it was called by its ancient name Ephesus: it is now a poor village in the hands of the Turks, and with them goes by the name of Aiasalik; though with others it still has the name of Epheso; the Syriac version reads, "they came"; not only Paul, but Aquila and Priscilla; and certain it is that they came with him thither, since it follows,
and left them there; unless this is to be understood of Cenchrea: this clause is not here read in the Syriac version, but is placed at the end of Acts 18:21, where it reads much better; as that he should leave them at Ephesus, when he departed from thence, than when he first came thither; unless the sense is, that he left them in some part of the city, whilst he went to the Jewish synagogue; since it follows,
but he himself entered into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews; concerning Jesus being the Messiah, and the abrogation of the law; and the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of Christ, and not by the deeds of the law: which were the principal things in debate, between him and the Jews: Beza's ancient copy reads, "and the sabbath following he left them there".
(c) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 29. (d) Heraclides de politiis, p. 456. (e) Achaica sive, l. 7. p. 399.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. he came to Ephesus—the capital of the Roman province of Asia. (See Introduction to Ephesians). It was a sail, right across from the west to the east side of the Ægean Sea, of some eight or ten days, with a fair wind.
left them there—Aquila and Priscilla.
but he himself entered into the synagogue—merely taking advantage of the vessel putting in there.
and reasoned with the Jews—the tense here not being the usual one denoting continuous action (as in Ac 17:2; 18:4), but that expressing a transient act. He had been forbidden to preach the word in Asia (Ac 16:6), but he would not consider that as precluding this passing exercise of his ministry when Providence brought him to its capital; nor did it follow that the prohibition was still in force.
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