Acts 18:24
And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria.—The name was probably a contraction of Apollonius or Apollodorus. The facts in the New Testament connected with him show that he occupied a prominent position in the history of the Apostolic Church. Conjectures, more or less probable, indicate a yet more representative character and a wider range of influence. Luther, looking to the obviously Alexandrian character of the Epistle to the Hebrews and to the mystery which shrouds its authorship, and which led Origen to the conclusion that God alone knew who wrote it, hazarded the thought that Apollos was the writer. Later critics have adopted the hypothesis, and have brought it to a closer approximation to certainty by an induction from numerous parallelisms in thought and language between the Epistle and the writings of Philo, who lived between B.C. 20 and A.D. 40 or 50. The present writer has carried the inquiry one step further. Among the ethical books of the LXX. there is one, the Wisdom of Solomon, the authorship of which is also an unsolved problem. It is not named or quoted by any pre-Christian writer, Clement of Rome being the first writer who shows traces of its influence, just as he is the first who reproduces the thoughts of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It has been ascribed to Philo partly on the external evidence of a doubtful passage in the Muratorian Canon, partly on the internal evidence of numerous coincidences with his writings. A careful comparison of the two books shows so close an agreement in style and language between the Wisdom of Solomon and the Epistle to the Hebrews that it is scarcely possible to resist the inference that they must have come from the same pen, and that they represent, therefore, different stages in the spiritual growth of the same man. Those who wish to carry the inquiry further will find the subject discussed at length in two papers, “On the Writings of Apollos,” in Vol. I. of the Expositor. Without assuming more than the probability of this inference, it is yet obvious that a Jew coming from Alexandria at this time could hardly fail to have come under Philo’s influence, and that his mode of interpreting the Scriptures would naturally present many analogies to that of the Alexandrian thinker. To him accordingly may be assigned, without much risk of error, the first introduction of the characteristic idea of Philo that the Unseen Godhead manifests itself in the Logos, the Divine Word, or Thought, as seen in the visible creation, and in the spirit and heart of man (Wisdom Of Solomon 9:1-2; Wisdom Of Solomon 9:4; Wisdom Of Solomon 16:12; Wisdom Of Solomon 18:15; Hebrews 4:12). It will be remembered that Jews of Alexandria were among those who disputed with Stephen (Acts 6:9). Some of these may have been more or less persuaded by his. preaching, and have carried back to their native city some knowledge, more or less complete, of the new faith.

An eloquent man.—The Greek adjective implies learning as well as eloquence. It was applied pre-eminently to those who wrote history with fulness and insight (Herod. i. 1; ii. 3, 77). The treatment of the history of Israel both in Wisdom 10, 11, 18, and Hebrews 11 might well be described by it.

Acts 18:24-26. And a certain Jew, &c. — While Paul was thus visiting the churches of Galatia and Phrygia, there came to Ephesus a Jew, named Apollos — A native of Alexandria in Egypt; an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures — Namely, those of the Old Testament. Observe, reader, every talent may be of use in the kingdom of Christ, if joined with the knowledge of the Scriptures, and fervour of spirit. Now this man was instructed — Though not perfectly; in the way of the Lord — In the doctrine of Christ; and being fervent in spirit — That is, earnestly desirous of promoting the progress of truth, and the conversion of souls; he spake and taught diligently — Greek, ακριβως, accurately, or with exactness, according to the best light he had; knowing only the baptism of John — That is, what John taught those whom he baptized, namely, the nature and necessity of repentance toward God, and faith in a Messiah shortly to appear. It is thought he had heard John the Baptist preach, and had become his disciple in Judea: if so, as John was beheaded more than twenty years before this time, and as Apollos seems to have had little or no knowledge of the Christians, it is probable he had not remained in Judea, but had returned to Alexandria, his native city, after he had been baptized by John, and had continued there till nearly the time of his coming to Ephesus. Hence he had had no opportunity of being fully acquainted with the doctrines of the gospel, as delivered by Christ and his apostles. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue — Pleading the cause of God and real vital religion with an earnestness becoming the importance of the subject, as well as freely reproving the Jews for their vices, which were so commonly practised among them, and showing the vanity of those hopes which, as the seed of Abraham, and the disciples of Moses, they were so ready to entertain. Whom when Aquila and Priscilla — Being then at Ephesus; had heard — Perceiving that he manifested an upright mind, and great zeal for the worship and service of the living and true God; they took him unto them — Probably to their house; and expounded to him the way of God more perfectly — By informing him that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, whose coming John had announced, and by assuring him that John had even pointed him out as the Christ to his disciples. Besides, these well- instructed Christians, who, during Paul’s abode with them, had gained a perfect knowledge of the gospel, doubtless gave Apollos a particular account of the supernatural conception and birth, of the doctrine, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus; and informed him that he had proved himself to be the Christ, not only by his miracles and resurrection, but by his baptizing his disciples with the Holy Ghost and with fire, as John had foretold.18:24-28 Apollos taught in the gospel of Christ, as far as John's ministry would carry him, and no further. We cannot but think he had heard of Christ's death and resurrection, but he was not informed as to the mystery of them. Though he had not the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, as the apostles, he made use of the gifts he had. The dispensation of the Spirit, whatever the measure of it may be, is given to every man to profit withal. He was a lively, affectionate preacher; fervent in spirit. He was full of zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of precious souls. Here was a complete man of God, thoroughly furnished for his work. Aquila and Priscilla encouraged his ministry, by attendance upon it. They did not despise Apollos themselves, or undervalue him to others; but considered the disadvantages he had laboured under. And having themselves got knowledge in the truths of the gospel by their long intercourse with Paul, they told what they knew to him. Young scholars may gain a great deal by converse with old Christians. Those who do believe through grace, yet still need help. As long as they are in this world, there are remainders of unbelief, and something lacking in their faith to be perfected, and the work of faith to be fulfilled. If the Jews were convinced that Jesus is Christ, even their own law would teach them to hear him. The business of ministers is to preach Christ. Not only to preach the truth, but to prove and defend it, with meekness, yet with power.And a certain Jew named Apollos - Apollos afterward became a distinguished and successful preacher of the gospel, 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:5-6; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Titus 3:13. Nothing more is known of him than is stated in these passages.

Born at Alexandria - Alexandria was a celebrated city in Egypt, founded by Alexander the Great. There were large numbers of Jews resident there. See the notes on Acts 6:9.

An eloquent man - Alexandria was famous for its schools, and it is probable that Apollos, in addition to his natural endowments, had enjoyed the benefit of these schools.

Mighty in the scriptures - Well instructed, or able in the Old Testament. The foundation was thus laid for future usefulness in the Christian church. See the notes on Luke 24:19.

Ac 18:24-28. Episode Concerning Apollos at Ephesus and in Achaia.

This is one of the most interesting and suggestive incidental narratives in this precious history.

24, 25. a … Jew named Apollos—a contraction from Apollonius.

born at Alexandria—the celebrated city of Egypt on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean, called after its founder, Alexander the Great. Nowhere was there such a fusion of Greek, Jewish, and Oriental peculiarities, and an intelligent Jew educated in that city could hardly fail to manifest all these elements in his mental character.

eloquent—turning his Alexandrian culture to high account.

and mighty in the scriptures—his eloquence enabling him to express clearly and enforce skilfully what, as a Jew, he had gathered from a diligent study of the Old Testament Scriptures.

came to Ephesus—on what errand is not known.

Apollos; who is thought also to be called Apelles, Romans 16:10.

Born at Alexandria; his parents having lived there.

An eloquent man; a rational, prudent, and learned man. Though the kingdom of God is not in any excellency of speech, 1 Corinthians 2:1,4, yet this Egyptian jewel may be used to adorn the tabernacle.

Mighty in the Scriptures; in quoting, explaining, and urging of them. And a certain Jew named Apollos,.... Who by some is thought to be the same with Apelles, Romans 16:10, his name is Greek, though he was a Jew, not only by religion, but by birth, being of a Jewish extract:

born at Alexandria; in Egypt, which was built by Alexander the great, from whence it had its name; it was the metropolis of Egypt, and the seat of the kings of it; great numbers of Jews were in this place; here lived Philo the famous Jew:

an eloquent man; in speech, as well as learned, wise, and "prudent", as the Ethiopic version renders it:

and mighty in the Scriptures; of the Old Testament, particularly in the prophecies of them concerning the Messiah; he had thoroughly read them, and carefully examined them, and could readily cite them; as well as had great knowledge of them, and was capable of explaining them; he was "skilful in the Scriptures", as the Syriac version renders it; or he "knew" them, as the Ethiopic; he had large acquaintance with them, and was well versed in them: it is a Jewish way of speaking; so Ahithophel is said to be , "mighty in the law" (d); the same is said of the sons of Reuben (e): this man

came to Ephesus; after the departure of the Apostle Paul, and while Aquila and Priscilla were there; the reason of his coming hither was to preach the word, as he did.

(d) T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 29. 1.((e) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 60. 1.

{8} And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and {n} mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

(8) Apollos, a godly and learned man, does not refuse to profit in the school of a base and abject handicraftsman, and also of a woman: and so becomes and excellent minister of the Church.

(n) Very well instructed in the knowledge of the scriptures.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 18:24.[88] Ἀπολλώς] the abbreviated ἈΠΟΛΛΏΝΙΟς, as D actually has it. His working was peculiarly influential in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:5 f., Acts 4:6 ff.

ΛΌΓΙΟς] may mean either learned or eloquent. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 198; Jacobs, ad Anthol. XII. p. 116. Neander (also Vatablus) takes it in the former signification. But the usual rendering, eloquens, corresponds quite as well with his Alexandrian training (after the style of Philo), and is decidedly indicated as preferable by the reference to Acts 18:25; Acts 18:28, as well as by the characteristic mode of Apollo’s work at Corinth. Besides, his Scripture-learning is particularly brought forward alongside of λογιότης by ΔΥΝΑΤῸς ὪΝ ἘΝ Τ. ΓΡΑΦ.: he had in the Scriptures, in the understanding, exposition, and application of them, a peculiar power, for the conviction and winning of hearts, refutation of opponents, and the like.

[88] On Apollos, see Heymann in the Sächs. Stud. 1843, p. 222 ff.; Bleek on Hebr. Introd. p. 394 ff.; Ewald, p. 513 ff. We should know him better, if he were the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which, however, remains a matter of great uncertainty.

Acts 18:24-28. Notice interposed concerning Apollos, who, during Paul’s absence from Ephesus, came thither as a Messianic preacher proceeding from the school of the disciples of John, completed his Christian training there, and then before the return of the apostle (Acts 19:1) departed to Achaia.Acts 18:24. Ἀλεξ., cf. Acts 6:9, Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., p. 226, E.T. At Alexandria the LXX was written and Philo lived; here too was the magnificent mosque of which it was said that he who had not worshipped in it had not witnessed the glory of Israel, Edersheim, History of the Jewish People, pp. 67, 186, 405, 409; on the contact of Jewish and Greek thought in Alexandria, “Alexandria,” B.D.2 (Westcott). What was the exact influence of his Alexandrian training upon Apollos we are not told, but as a cultured Jew of such a centre of Hellenistic influence, it is quite possible that Aquila and Priscilla chose him for the work at Corinth because they thought that his training and learning would attract the attention of a Corinthian audience. Possibly his preaching may have included some Philonian speculations, but the difference between him and St. Paul in their teaching at Corinth may have consisted in outward form and delivery rather than in substance; see Canon Evans, Speaker’s Commentary, iii., p. 240. No doubt the subtle Corinthian would admire the eloquence of Apollos and pervert his words, but there is no reason to suppose that Apollos encouraged any such party spirit. On his work at Corinth and the last notice of him, Titus 3:13, see “Apollos,” B. D.2, and Hastings’ B.D., cf. 1 Corinthians 16:12, for his unambitious and peaceful character, and Plumptre, in loco. The Book of Wisdom was attributed to Apollos by Dean Plumptre, but see on the other hand “Wisdom of Solomon,” B.D.2 (Westcott), and Speaker’s Commentary, “Apocrypha,” vol. i., p. 413.—λόγιος; “learned,” R.V., “eloquent,” margin; A.V., “eloquent”; the word may include both learning and eloquence. In classical Greek of a man learned, as, e.g., in history (Herod.), but in Plutarch λογιότης, eloquence, and so λόγιος, eloquent. Meyer rendered the word “eloquent,” so Weiss, Zöckler, Page, Alford, Hackett, Felten, Blass (doctus ap. antiquos), δυνατός referring rather to his learning and acquaintance with the Scriptures: “a good speaker and well read in the Scriptures” (Ramsay). Rendall however takes δυνατός as conveying the idea of eloquence, but in Acts 7:22 the word cannot mean eloquent as applied to Moses, but rather denotes the wise and weighty nature of his utterances, see Lobeck, Phryn., p. 198.24–28. Visit of Apollos to Ephesus, and his teaching there. He is more fully instructed by Aquila and Priscilla, and afterwards passing over into Achaia, preaches Christ there with great power

24. And [Now] a certain Jew named Apollos] As this interposed narrative about Apollos is an unconnected digression, preparatory to what will be mentioned in the following chapter, it is better to render the conjunction by a less distinctly conjunctive word. So “Now” is better than “And.”

The name Apollos is an abbreviation of Apollonius, which is read in one MS. (D). His influence as a Christian teacher made itself most felt in Corinth. (Cp. 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 4:6.)

born at Alexandria (lit. an Alexandrian by birth)] On Alexandria as a place abounding with Jews cp. Acts 6:9. It was in Alexandria and by Jews that the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament was made.

an eloquent man] The word in the original expresses not only ability as an orator, but also the possession of stores of learning. Hence the Rev. Ver. gives “learned.” Either rendering only gives half the idea. He was learned and could use his learning with effect.

came to Ephesus, and he was mighty in the Scriptures] This is the arrangement and construction of the original. The study of the Old Testament flourished greatly in Alexandria, and Apollos had great power in the exposition and application of these Scriptures. The literary activity and philosophic pursuits of the Greek population of Alexandria were not without their effect on the more conservative Jews, and we find from many sources that the Jewish writings were studied with all the literary exactness which marked the Greek scholarship of the time, and the Jews, conscious of the antiquity of their own records and yet impressed with the philosophic character of their cultured fellow-citizens, bent themselves greatly to find analogies between the Mosaic writings and the teachings of the schools. In study like this Apollos had no doubt been fully trained.Acts 18:24. Ἀλεξανδρεὺς, an Alexandrian) That city was the seat of all branches of learning.—λόγιος) learned, eloquent. All accomplishments may be made useful in the kingdom of GOD, if pride do not accompany them: but especially there ought to be with them power in the Scriptures, and fervour of the Spirit, whereby even ordinary attainments are strengthened. And yet the fruit springs from grace, not from human attainments or accomplishments: Acts 18:27.Verse 24. - Now for and, A.V.; an Alexandrian by race for born at Alexandria, A.V.; learned for eloquent, A.V. (λόγιος); came to Ephesus; and he was mighty, etc., for and mighty in the Scriptures, came, etc., A.V. From ver. 24 to ver. 28 is a distinct episode, and an important one, as containing the first mention of a very remarkable man, Apollos (a short form of Apollonius, like Epaphras for Epaphroditus) of Alexandria, a city destined to play a conspicuous part in Church history, as the traditional Church and see of St. Mark, the school of the Neoplatonists, the scene of the labors of Origen, Clement, and many other men of note, and the birthplace of the Gnostic leaders Cerinthus, Basilides, and Valentinus. The notices of Apollos in the New Testament are Acts 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4, 5, 6, 22; 1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 16:12; Titus 3:13; and all show St. Paul's high esteem for him. It was no more his fault than St. Peter's and St. Paul's that the factious Corinthians elevated him, or rather degraded him, into the leader of a party, Eloquent seems to be a better translation of λόγιος here than learned. The Greek word, which only occurs here in the New Testament, has both meanings. Eloquent (λόγιος)

Only here in New Testament. The word is used in Greek literature in several senses. As λόγος means either reason or speech, so this derivative may signify either one who has thought much, and has much to say, or one who can say it well. Hence it is used: 1. Of one skilled in history. Herodotus, for example, says that the Heliopolitans are the most learned in history (λογιώτατοι) of all the Egyptians. 2. Of an eloquent person. An epithet of Hermes or Mercury, as the god of speech and eloquence. 3. Of a learned person generally. There seems hardly sufficient reason for changing the rendering of the A. V. (Rev., learned), especially as the scripture-learning of Apollos is specified in the words mighty in the scriptures, and his superior eloquence appears to have been the reason why some of the Corinthians preferred him to Paul. See 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 10:10.

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