Acts 18:26
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.
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(26) Whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard . . .—Many of the best MSS. put Priscilla’s name first, as in Acts 18:18. The fact mentioned is interesting as showing (1) that Aquila and his wife continued to attend the services of the synagogue, and (2) that Apollos appeared there, as St. Paul had done, in the character of a Rabbi who had a message to deliver, and was therefore allowed, or, it may be, requested (as in Acts 13:15), to address the people.

And expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.—Better, as maintaining the right relation of the comparative to the positive adverb of the previous verse, more accurately. The prominence given to Priscilla in this instruction implies that she was a woman of more than ordinary culture, a student of the older Scriptures, able, with a prophetic insight, to help even the disciple of Philo to understand them better than he had done before. It follows of necessity that “the way of God” which they “expounded” to him was the gospel as they had learnt it from St. Paul, perhaps as they had learnt it, at an earlier stage, from the lips of Stephen or his followers. (See Note on Acts 18:2.) It would include, to put the matter somewhat technically, the doctrines of salvation by grace, and justification by faith, and the gift of the Spirit, and union with Christ through baptism and the Supper of the Lord. It would seem to follow almost necessarily, as in the case of the twelve disciples in the next chapter (Acts 19:1-6), that Apollos, who had before known only the baptism of John, was now baptised into “the name of the Lord Jesus.”

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 expounded - Explained.

The way of God - Gave him full and ample instructions respecting the Messiah as having already come, and respecting the nature of his work.

26. speak boldly in the synagogue, whom when Aquila and Priscilla heard—joying to observe the extent of Scripture knowledge and evangelical truth which he displayed, and the fervency, courage, and eloquence with which he preached the truth.

they took him unto them—privately.

and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly—opening up those truths, to him as yet unknown, on which the Spirit had shed such glorious light. (In what appears to be the true reading of this verse, Priscilla is put before Aquila, as in Ac 18:18 [see on [2051]Ac 18:18]; she being probably the more intelligent and devoted of the two). One cannot but observe how providential it was that this couple should have been left at Ephesus when Paul sailed thence for Syria; and no doubt it was chiefly to pave the way for the better understanding of this episode that the fact is expressly mentioned by the historian in Ac 18:19. We see here also an example of not only lay agency (as it is called), but female agency of the highest kind and with the most admirable fruit. Nor can one help admiring the humility and teachableness of so gifted a teacher in sitting at the feet of a Christian woman and her husband.

If we allow Priscilla to have contributed towards the instruction of Apollos, as doubtless we may, it is certain it was only in private discourse; which being joined with a meek and humble behaviour, might be very effectual for the conversion of souls, 1 Peter 3:1,2. Thus Timothy was indebted for his knowledge in the things of God to his mother and grandmother, 2 Timothy 1:5. But otherwise it is not lawful for a woman to teach, 1 Timothy 2:11,12.

And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue,.... Of the Jews at Ephesus; using great freedom of speech, and showing much intrepidity and greatness of soul, and presence of mind; not fearing the faces of men, nor the revilings and contradictions of the Jews:

whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard; they attending at the synagogue, and having observed what he delivered, that there was some deficiency in it, though they took no notice of it publicly; partly on their own account, it not being proper, especially for Priscilla, to speak in public, nor was it allowed in the Jewish synagogues for a woman to speak there; and partly on his account, that they might not put him to the blush, and discourage him; and chiefly on account of the Gospel, that they might not lay any stumblingblocks in the way of that, and of young converts, and give an occasion to the adversary to make advantages: wherefore

they took him unto them; they took him aside when he came out of the synagogue, and privately conversed with him; they had him "to their own house"; as the Syriac version renders it;

and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly; these two doubtless had received a considerable measure of evangelical light and knowledge from the Apostle Paul, during the time of their conversation with him; and as they freely received from him, they freely imparted it to Apollos, with a good design to spread the truth of the Gospel, and to promote it and the interest of Christ in the world: and as on the one hand it was a good office, and a kind part in them, to communicate knowledge to him, so it was an instance of a good spirit, and of condescension in him, to be taught and instructed by them; especially since one of them was a woman, and both mechanics, and made but a mean figure: and from hence it may be observed, that women of grace, knowledge, and experience, though they are not allowed to teach in public, yet they may, and ought to communicate in private, what they know of divine things, for the use of others.

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 {o} way of God more perfectly.

(o) The way that leads to God.

Acts 18:26. Τέ] to which δέ afterwards corresponds, see Winer, p. 409 [E. T. 548]; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. v. 5. 8.

ἤρξατο] beginning of the παῤῥησ. ἐν τῇ συναγ. Immediately afterwards Aquila and Priscilla, who had temporarily settled in Ephesus (Acts 18:18 f.), and had heard him speak—from which they could not but learn what he lacked—took him to themselves for private instruction.

τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὁδόν] the same as τὴν ὁδὸν τ. Κυρίου, Acts 18:25, inasmuch as the whole work of Christ is the work of God. That, also, Christian baptism was administered to Apollos by Aquila, is neither to be assumed as self-evident (Erasmus, Grotius, and others), nor is it to be arbitrarily added, with Olshausen, that he first received the Holy Spirit at Corinth by Paul (?). Ewald correctly remarks: “there could be no mention of a new baptism in the case of a man already, in a spiritual sense, moved deeply enough.” See on Acts 19:5. The Holy Spirit had already taken up His abode in his fervent spirit,—a relation which could only be furthered by the instruction of Aquila and Priscilla.

Acts 18:26. παῤῥησιάζεσθαι, see above on p. 242; whatever was the exact form of the belief of Apollos, he had at all events the courage of his convictions.—ἀκούσαντες showing that Priscilla and Aquila had not separated themselves from their fellow-countrymen.—προσελάβοντο, cf. Acts 17:5, i.e., for instruction in private.—ἀκριβέστερον: on its use by St. Luke see above on Acts 18:25. The word is used by Dioscorides in his preface to his De Materia Medica: see Weiss-Meyer’s Kommentar on Luke 1:1, and Vogel, p. 17, as an instance of medical language.—ἐξέθεντο: we are not told whether he was baptised, but Acts 19:5 makes it probable that he was; see Zöckler’s note. “Qui Jesum Christum novit, potentes in Scriptura docere potest,” Bengel, and Vogel u. s.

26. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue] For the Jews were not all ready to listen to announcements of the approach of the Messiah. The speaker must be prepared with arguments as well as courage who dwelt on this theme, about which the Jews had been deluded by many impostors.

But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him] This is the commencement of a new sentence in the original, and the oldest texts put the name of the wife before that of her husband as in Acts 18:18. By joining her in this marked way with Aquila in the communications with Apollos, the historian indicates that she was a woman of great power and zeal among the Christians. It has been suggested that she was perhaps a born Jewess and her husband not so, which might account for the prominence given in several places to her name. It may be noted here, as so often, that Aquila and his wife, like the other Judæo-Christians, still attended the worship of the synagogue.

they took him unto them] He would be much more in sympathy with them than with the Jewish congregation. He was prepared to accept the Messiah, but did not yet understand that Jesus was He.

and expounded unto him the way of God more carefully] The adverb here is the same as in the previous verse, and the use of it seems to shew that the studies of Aquila and his wife in the Scriptures had been of the same earnest kind as those of Apollos. By the “way of God” we must understand God’s further working out of the Old Testament prediction in the closing events of the life of Jesus, and in the gift of the Holy Ghost. That Joel’s prophecy, quoted by St Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:16), had been thus fulfilled, was new learning for the eloquent Alexandrian. As also the newly appointed means of grace in baptism and the breaking of bread, with the promise of salvation to faith in Christ. These also may be included as part of the “way of God,” being means whereby men are brought nearer to Him.

Acts 18:26. Ἤρξατο, he began) To him who hath it shall be given.—ἀκούσαντες, having heard) They thus distinguished what was wanting in him.—ἐξέθεντο, expounded) by private instruction. He who knows Jesus Christ, can teach those powerful in the Scripture; and the latter are readily taught by the former.

Acts 18:26More perfectly (ἀκριβέστερον)

The comparative of the same word. More accurately.

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