Acts 18:23
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.
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(23) Went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order.—It is clear from the Epistle to the Galatians that on this visit he found few traces, or none at all, of the work of the Judaisers. The change came afterwards. Some falling away from their first love, some relapse into old national vices, he may have noticed already which called for earnest warning (Galatians 5:21). As he passed through the churches he had founded on his previous journey, he gave the directions for the weekly appropriation of what men could spare from their earnings (the term, a weekly “offertory,” though often employed of it, does not represent the facts of the case), to which he refers in 1Corinthians 16:2. What churches in Phrygia were visited we are unable to say. A possible construction of Colossians 2:1 might lead us to think of those of the valley of the Lycus, Colossæ, Hierapolis, Laodicea, as having been founded by him, but the more probable interpretation of that passage is, that he included them in the list of those who had not seen his face in the flesh.

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.The country of Galatia and Phrygia - He had been over these regions before, preaching the gospel, Acts 16:6.

Strengthening - Establishing them by exhortation and counsel. See the notes on Acts 14:22.

Ac 18:23-21:16. Paul's Third and Last Missionary Journey—He Visits the Churches of Galatia and Phrygia.

23. And after he had spent some time there—but probably not long.

he departed—little thinking, probably, he was never more to return to Antioch.

went over all … Galatia and Phrygia in order—visiting the several churches in succession. See on [2050]Ac 16:6. Galatia is mentioned first here, as he would come to it first from Antioch. It was on this visitation that he ordained the weekly collection (1Co 16:1, 2), which has been since adopted generally, and converted into a public usage throughout Christendom. Timotheus and Erastus, Gaius and Aristarchus, appear to have accompanied him on this journey (Ac 19:22, 29; 2Co 1:1), and from Second Corinthians we may presume, Titus also. The details of this visit, as of the former (Ac 16:6), are not given.

Had spent some time there; this work might take up the constant care and indefatigable pains of the apostle.

Galatia; where he had converted many.

Phrygia: see Acts 16:6.

Strengthening all the disciples; though the seed be duly sown, yet it must be seasonably watered; and redit labor actus in orbem.

And after he had spent some time there,.... At Antioch:

he departed; from thence:

and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples; that were in those parts, confirming them in the faith of Christ, and fortifying their minds against the temptations of Satan, and encouraging them to bear the reproaches and persecutions of men; which shows the affection, diligence, and industry of the apostle: it seems there were disciples in these countries of Galatia and Phrygia, which very likely were made by the apostle, when he passed trough those places, Acts 16:6 and who were the beginning of Gospel churches in these places, which continued for ages after: certain it is, there were churches in Galatia in the apostle's time, of whom he makes mention, and to whom he wrote, 1 Corinthians 16:1. According to the apostolical constitutions, Crescens, mentioned 2 Timothy 4:10 was appointed by the apostles bishop of the churches of Galatia; and particularly it is said, that he was bishop of Chalcedon in Galatia; See Gill on Luke 10:1 and in the "second" century, there was a church at Ancyra, which was disturbed by the heresy of Montanus, and was established by Apolinarius, who makes mention of the elders of this church (q): in the "third" century there were churches in Galatia, which Stephen bishop of Rome threatened with excommunication, because they rebaptized heretics: in the beginning of the "fourth" century, there were bishops from hence, which assisted at the council of Nice, against Arius, and at the synod of Sardica, in the same century; and at the beginning of it, Clemens bishop of Ancyra, after he had taught twenty nine years, suffered much in the persecution of Dioclesian, first at Rome, then at Nicomedia, and at last was put to death by the sword; in this age also lived Basil, bishop of Ancyra, under Constantius; he first came to the bishopric of that place under Constantine, but being deprived of it for four years, was restored by Constantius in the council of Sardica; under the former he disputed against Photinus, as Epiphanius (r) relates; who makes mention of Anysius his deacon, and Eutyches and Theodulus his notaries; and the same writer (s) takes notice of several elders and officers of the same church in that age, as Photinus, Eustathius, another Photinus, and Sigerius, elders, Hyginus deacon, Heracides subdeacon, Elpidus reader, and Cyriacus president of the church: in the "fifth" century, there were many churches in Galatia, yea, they are said to be innumerable; Leontius was bishop of Ancyra in the times of Arcadius and Honorius; and was succeeded by Theodotus, who was in the first Ephesine synod against Nestorius, as was also Eusebius bishop of the same church, at another synod in the same place; Anastasius was bishop of the said church, lived under the emperor Leo the first, and was at the synod of Constantinople; Meliphthongus, bishop of Juliopolis in the same country, assisted at several synods; Eusebius, bishop of Aspona in Galatia, was present in the first synod at Ephesus, against Nestorius; likewise Peter bishop of Gangrae, and Theoctistus bishop of Pessinus, both lived in the time of the two synods, the infamous one at Ephesus, and the other at Chalcedon: in the "sixth" century, there were bishops of Ancyra, Juliopolis, and other cities in Galatia, who were present at the Roman and Constantipolitan synod; in this age, under Anastasius the emperor, lived Dorotheus bishop of Ancyra: in the "seventh" century were present, at the sixth council at Constantinople, several bishops of the churches of Galatia; as of Sinope, Pessinus, Aspona, and others: in the "eighth" century, mention is made of Basil, bishop of the church at Ancyra, Nicodemus bishop of Didymi, Gregory bishop of Sinope: and even in the ninth century a garrison of Christians was placed in Ancyra, against the incursions of the Saracens (t); so long the Christian name remained in those parts: and that there were also churches in Phrygia is as evident; Aristarchus, a companion of the apostle Paul, is said to be bishop of Apamea, which was a city in Phrygia; See Gill on Luke 10:1 the second century, Papias, a disciple of the Apostle John, was bishop of Hierapolis in this country (u); and in the same age there was a church at Philomelium in Phrygia, to which the church at Smyrna wrote a letter, still extant in Eusebius (w), which gives an account of the martyrdom of Polycarp; likewise the church at Lyons, in France, sent a letter to the churches in Asia and Phrygia, giving an account of their martyrs, which is to be seen in the same writer (x); in this century lived Apolinarius, bishop of Hierapolis, who opposed the Phrygian heresy of Montanus; and who makes mention of Zoticus, of the village of Comana, and Julianus of Apamea, both in Phrygia, as his fellow elders and bishops (y): Dionysius, of Alexandria, speaks of a church, and of the brethren at Synnada, which was in Phrygia, in a letter of his to Philemon, a presbyter at Rome (z); at Lampsacus in Phrygia, there were martyrs that suffered under Decius: in the third century, there was a church at Hierapolis, famous from the times of the apostles. Tertullian makes mention of the believers in Christ in Phrygia, in his time (a): in the beginning of the "fourth" century under Dioclesian, a whole city in Phrygia of Christians was set on fire and burnt, men, women, and children, calling upon Christ the God of all (b); and at the council of Nice, under Constantine, were present bishops of many churches in Phrygia; as Ilium, Synnada, Eucarpia, Hierapolis, and others; at Lampsacus, in this country, was held a memorable synod against Eudoxus and Acacius, the chief of the Arian faction: in the "fifth" century there were churches in Phrygia; Theodosius and Agapetus were bishops of Synnada in Phrygia Pacatiana; Marinianus, bishop of the same place, was present at the several synods in this century; Nunechius of Laodicea, Gennadius of Acmonii, Thomas and Olympius, both of Theodosiopolis, Lucianus of Ipsa, Albertus of Hierapolis, Eusebius of Doryleus, with many others, all in Phrygia, are made mention of in history: in the "sixth" century, several bishops of Phrygia, as of Philomelium, &c. were present at the synod held at Rome and Constantinople: in the "seventh" century, bishops of several churches in this country, as of Hierapolis, Synnada, &c. assisted at the sixth synod at Constantinople: in the eighth century were many churches here, whose bishops were present at the Nicene synod, as Basil, bishop of Pergamus, Nicetas of Ilium, John of Synnada, and others (c).

(q) Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 5. c. 16. (r) Contra Haeres. l. 3. Haeres. 71. (s) Ib. Haeres. 72. (t) Magdeburg. cent. 3. c. 7. p. 117. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. c. 9. p. 350, 425. c. 10. p. 550, 554. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 604, 605. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 5. c. 10. p. 341. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 254. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 5. c. 10. p. 360. cent. 9. c. 2. p. 3.((u) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 36. (w) Ib. l. 4. c. 15. (x) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 5. c. 1.((y) Ib. c. 16. (z) Ib. l. 7. c. 7. (a) Adv. Judaeos, c. 7. (b) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 8. c. 11. (c) Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 2. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. c. 9. p. 48l. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 597. &c. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 254. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 366.

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.
Acts 18:23. ποιήσας χρόνον τινὰ: St. Paul would naturally have spent some time in a place so associated with the origin of Gentile Christianity, and with his own labours, the starting place of each of his missionary journeys; on the phrase in St. Luke see Friedrich, cf. Acts 15:33, Acts 20:3, Jam 4:13, Revelation 13:5, St.Matthew 20:12, 2 Corinthians 11:25.—The stay was probably not lengthy, especially if advantage was to be taken of the travelling season for the highlands of Asia Minor, Turner, Chronology of N. T., p. 422, Hastings’ B.D. On the connection of the Galatian Epistle with this stay in Antioch see Ramsay, especially St. Paul, pp. 190, 265.—ἐξῆλθε, on his third missionary journey.—καθεξῆς, see above on p. 118.—διερχόμενος, see above on Acts 13:6.

23. And after he had spent some time there] Having felt for themselves the troubles of the Judaizers, the people at Antioch would sympathize with the Apostle, if he were experiencing like opposition now to his own work.

he departed] Starting from Antioch as on both his former missions.

and went over all the country (region) of Galatia and Phrygia in order] Taking no doubt the same direction as before, and so visiting Lystra and Derbe, before he came to the more northern portions of Asia Minor.

strengthening all the disciples] The verb is elsewhere always rendered “confirming” both in the A. V. and in the Revised Version (cp. Acts 14:22; Acts 15:32; Acts 15:41). Here in the Rev. Ver. it is changed to “stablishing” which does perhaps contain the idea of “making firm” a little more fully than “strengthen” does. “Confirming” was to be avoided here because of the use of that word now as signifying the Church’s rite of “Confirmation.”

Acts 18:23. Διερχόμενος, going through) A new visitation of the churches.

Verse 23. - Having for after he had, A.V.; through the region for over all the country, A.V.; stablishing for strengthening, A.V. Having spent some time there (Acts 15:33, note). How long we have no means of knowing; probably under six months; "quelques mois" (Renan, pp. 329,330 ); "four months" (Lewin, 1:370, note; camp. 1 Car. 16:6, 7; Acts 19:22). According to Renan, Lewin, 'Speaker's Commentary,' and many others, it was at this time that the meeting with St. Peter occurred to which St. Paul refers in Galatians 2:11, etc. And Renan ingeniously connects that perversion of the faith of the Galatians which led to St. Paul's Epistle being addressed to them, with the visit to Antioch of James's emissaries, Lewin also identifies the journey of St Paul to Jerusalem mentioned in Galatians 2:1 with that recorded in our ver. 22. But neither of these theories is borne out by any known facts, nor is in itself probable. There is no appearance of Barnabas or Titus being with St. Paul at this time, and it is very unlikely that any should have come from James to Antioch so immediately after St. Paul's salutation of the Church at Jerusalem and the fulfillment of his vow there. The time preceding the visit of Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, as related in Acts 15, is far the most likely for the encounter of the two apostles (see Acts 14:28; Acts 15:1, and note). Went through; διερχόμενος, as in Acts 8:4, 40; Acts 10:38; Acts 13:6; Acts 16:6; Acts 17:23, etc. The region of Galatia and Phrygia. In Acts 16:6 the order is inverted, "the region of Phrygia and Galatia," R.V., or "Phrygia and the region of Galatia," A.V. The natural inference from this is, as Lewin says, with whom Farrar agrees, that on this occasion St. Paul went straight from Antioch to Galatia, passing through the Cilician Gates and by Mazaca, or Caesarea, as it was called by Tiberius Caesar, in Cappadocia, and not visiting the Churches of Lycaonia. He proceeded from Galatia through Phrygia to Ephesus. The distance from Antioch to Tarsus was one hundred and forty-one miles, from whence to Tavium in Galatia was two hundred and seventy-one miles, making the whole distance from Antioch to Tavium in Galatia four hundred and twelve miles, or about a three weeks' journey including rest on the sabbath days. From Galatia to Ephesus would be between six hundred and seven hundred miles. The entire journey would thus be considerably more than a thousand miles, a journey of forty days exclusive of all stoppages. Six months probably must have elapsed between his departure from Antioch and his arrival at Ephesus; Lewin says "several months" (p. 330, note). In order; in the same order, though inverted, in which he had first visited them, leaving out none. Stablishing, etc. (ἐπιστηρίζων); see above, Acts 14:22; Acts 15:32, 41. Acts 18:23
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