Acts 18:28
For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
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(28) He mightily convinced the Jews.—The conclusion to which he led the Jews was the same as that which St. Paul urged on them. The process was, perhaps, somewhat different, as the line of argument in the Epistle to the Hebrews differs from that in the Epistle to the Galatians. To lead men on, after the manner of Philo, into the deeper meanings that lay beneath the letter of Scripture, to deal with them as those who were pressing forwards to the perfection of maturity in spiritual growth (Hebrews 5:11-14), instead of treating them as children who must be fed with milk and not with “strong meat” (i.e., solid food), as St. Paul had done (1Corinthians 1:2)—it was natural that this should attract followers to the new preacher, and give him a larger measure of real or apparent success in dealing with the Jews than had attended the labours of St. Paul. As Apollos does not appear again in the Acts, it may be well to bring together what is known as to his after-history. At Corinth, as has been said, his name was used as the watchword of a party, probably that of the philosophising Jews and proselytes, as distinguished from the narrower party of the circumcision that rallied round the name of Cephas (1Corinthians 1:12). Not a word escapes from St. Paul that indicates any doctrinal difference between himself and Apollos, and as the latter had been instructed by St. Paul’s friends, Aquila and Priscilla, this was, indeed, hardly probable. It would appear from 1Corinthians 16:12, that he returned to Ephesus, probably with letters of commendation from the Church of Corinth (2Corinthians 3:1). St. Paul’s confidence in him is shown by his desire that he should return once more to Corinth with Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus. His own reluctance to be the occasion even of the semblance of schism explains his unwillingness to go (1Corinthians 16:12). After this we lose sight of him for some years. These, we may well believe, were well filled up by evangelising labours after the pattern of those which we have seen at Ephesus and Corinth. Towards the close of St. Paul’s ministry (A. D. 65) we get our last glimpse of him, in Titus 3:13. He is in company with Zenas, the lawyer (see Note on Matthew 22:35), one, i.e., who, like himself, had a special reputation for the profounder knowledge of the Law of Moses. St. Paul’s feeling towards him is still, as of old, one of affectionate interest, and he desires that Titus will help him in all things. He has been labouring at Crete, and there also has gathered round him a distinct company of disciples, whom St. Paul distinguishes from his own; “Let our’s also learn to maintain good works” (Titus 3:14). After this, probably after St. Paul’s death, he wrote—if we accept Luther’s conjecture—the Epistle to the Hebrews, addressed, as some have thought, to the Jewish Christians of Palestine, and specially of Cæsarea, but, more probably, as I have been led to believe, to the Christian ascetics, known as Therapeutæ, trained, like himself, in the school of Philo, with whom he had formerly been associated at Alexandria. The mention of disciples of, or from, Italy in Hebrews 13:24 suggests a connection with some other Italian Christians than those of Rome, probably with those of Puteoli. (See Note on Acts 28:14.)

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.For he mightily convinced the Jews - He did it by strong arguments; he bore down all opposition, and effectually silenced them.

And that publicly - In his public preaching in the synagogue and elsewhere.

Showing by the scriptures - Proving from the Old Testament. Showing that Jesus of Nazareth corresponded with the account of the Messiah given by the prophets. See the notes on John 5:39.

That Jesus was Christ - See the margin. That Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.

28. For he mightily convinced the Jews—The word is very strong: "stoutly bore them down in argument," "vigorously argued them down," and the tense in that he continued to do it, or that this was the characteristic of his ministry.

showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ—Rather, "that the Christ (or Messiah) was Jesus." This expression, when compared with Ac 18:25, seems to imply a richer testimony than with his partial knowledge he was at first able to bear; and the power with which he bore down all opposition in argument is that which made him such an acquisition to the brethren. Thus his ministry would be as good as another visitation to the Achaian churches by the apostle himself (see 1Co 3:6) and the more as, in so far as he was indebted for it to Priscilla and Aquila, it would have a decidedly Pauline cast.

Mightily; with great constancy, perseverance, and enduring of opposition.

Showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ; as Acts 17:3. Some think that Christ ought to be the subject, and Jesus the predicate; and then the sense is, that Christ is our Jesus, or Saviour. The Messiah, that was sent from God, is the Saviour of the world. For he mightily convinced the Jews,.... His reasoning was so strong and nervous, his arguments so weighty and powerful, and the passages he produced out of the Old Testament so full and pertinent, that the Jews were not able to stand against him; they could not object to the texts of Scripture he urged, nor to the sense he gave of them, nor answer the arguments founded upon them; he was an overmatch for them; they were refuted by him over and over, and were confounded to the last degree:

and that publicly, in their synagogue, before all the people; which increased their shame and confusion; and was the means of spreading the Gospel, of bringing others to the faith of it, and of establishing them in it, who had already received it: showing by the Scriptures; of the Old Testament, which the Jews received and acknowledged as the word of God:

that Jesus was Christ; or that Christ, that Messiah, which these Scriptures spoke of, whom God had promised, and the church of God expected; and which was the main thing in controversy between the Jews and the Christians, as it still is.

For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
Acts 18:28. Εὐτόνως] nervously, vigorously, also in Greek writers used of orators. Comp. Luke 23:10.

διακατηλ.] stronger than κατηλ.; not preserved elsewhere. The dative of reference (comp. Symm., Job 39:30 : διελεγχόμενος Θεῷ) is to be rendered: for the Jews, i.e. over against the Jews, to instruct them better, he held public refutations, so that he showed, etc.

δημοσίᾳ] The opposite is ἰδίᾳ, Xen. Hier. xi. 9. It comprehends more than the activity in the synagogue. See Acts 19:9.

διὰ τῶν γραφ.] by means of the Scriptures, whose expressions he made use of for the explanation and proof of his proposition that Jesus was the Messiah (Ἰησοῦν is the subject, comp. Acts 18:5).

The description of the ministry of Apollos, Acts 18:27-28, entirely agrees with 1 Corinthians 3:6.Acts 18:28. εὐτόνως: “powerfully,” only in Luke, cf. Luke 23:10, “vehemently,” like Latin, intente, acriter, Joshua 6(7):8 (-νος, 2Ma 12:23, 4Ma 7:10, A R); found also in classical Greek, and may be one of the “colloquial” words common to the N.T. and Aristophanes, cf. Plutus, 1096 (Kennedy, p. 78). But as the word is used only by St. Luke, it may be noted that it is very frequently employed by medical writers, opposed to ἄτονος.—διακατηλέγχετο: “powerfully confuted,” R.V. The word does not prove that Apollos convinced them (A.V. “mightily convinced”), lit[327], he argued them down; but to confute is not of necessity to convince. The double compound, a very strong word, is not found elsewhere, but in classical Greek διελέγχω, to refute utterly (in LXX, middle, to dispute), κατελέγχω, to convict of falsehood, to belie.—ἐπιδεικνὺς: only once elsewhere in N.T., Hebrews 6:17, and in classical Greek as in Plato, to prove, to demonstrate.

[327] literal, literally.

Additional note on Acts 18:23 (see on Acts 16:6).

In a brief attempt to refer to a few difficulties connected with this verse, it is well to bear in mind at the outset that St. Luke never uses the noun Γαλατία (which is twice used by St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 16:1, Galatians 1:2), but the adjective Γαλατικός, Acts 18:23 and Acts 16:6, in both cases with the noun χώρα; St. Paul in each case is speaking of the “Churches of Galatia”; St. Luke in each case is speaking of the Apostle’s journeys. How may we account for this different phraseology? If St. Luke had meant Galatia proper, we may believe that he would have used the word Γαλατία, but as he says Γαλατικὴ χώρα he speaks as a Greek and indicates the Roman province Galatia, or the Galatic province; a name by which the Greek-speaking natives called it, whilst sometimes they enumerated its parts, e.g., Pontus Galaticus, Phrygia Galatica, Expositor, pp. 126, 127, August, 1898 (Ramsay), and Hastings’ B.D., “Galatia” (Ramsay), pp. 87–89, 1899; cf. the form of the derived adjective in -ικός in the pair Λακωνικὴ γῆ and Λακωνία. St. Paul on the other hand, speaking as a Roman citizen, used the word Γαλατία as = the Roman province, for not only is there evidence that Γαλ. could be so employed in current official usage (the contrary hypothesis is now abandoned by Schürer, one of its former staunch supporters, see Expositor, u. s., p. 128, and Hastings’ B.D., ii., 86), but it seems beyond all dispute that St. Paul in other cases classified his Churches in accordance with the Roman provinces, Asia, Macedonia, Achaia, Expositor, u. s., p. 125; Zahn, Einleitung, i., 124; Renan, Saint Paul, p. 51; Hausrath, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, iii., p. 135; Clemen, Chron. der Paulinischen Briefe, p. 121. Why then should the Churches of Galatia be interpreted otherwise? Ramsay (“Questions,” Expositor, January, 1899) may well appeal to Dr. Hort’s decisive acceptance of the view that in 1 Peter 1:1 (First Epistle of St. Peter, pp. 17, 158) the Churches are named according to the provinces of the Roman empire (a point emphasised by Hausrath, u. s., in advocating the South-Galatian theory), and that in provincial Galatia St. Peter included at least the Churches founded by St. Paul in Galatia proper, i.e., in Phrygia and Lycaonia, although it must be remembered that Dr. Hort still followed Lightfoot in maintaining that the Galatians of St. Paul’s Epistle were true Galatians, and not the inhabitants of the Roman province. “But if St. Peter, as Hort declares, classed Antioch, Iconium, Derbe and Lystra among the Churches of Galatia, must not Paul have done the same thing? Is it likely that 1 Peter, a letter so penetrated with the Pauline spirit, so much influenced by at least two Pauline Epistles, composed in such close relations with two of Paul’s coadjutors, Silas and Mark, should class the Pauline Churches after a method that Paul would not employ?” (Ramsay, Expositor, January, 1899.) The Churches which in this view are thus included in the province Galatia, viz., Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, would be fitly addressed as Galatians by a Roman citizen writing to provincials proud of Roman names and titles (although Wendt (1899) urges this mode of address, Galatians 3:1, as one of two decisive points against the South Galatian theory). For we must not forget that two of the four Churches in South Galatia were Roman coloniæ, Antioch and Lystra, whilst the two others mentioned in Acts 14 bore an emperor s name, Claudio-Iconium, Claudio-Derbe. That the title “Galatians” might be so applied to the people of Roman “Galatia” has been sufficiently illustrated by Zahn, Einleitung, i., p. 130, and Ramsay, Expositor, August, 1898, cf. Tac., Ann., xiii., 35, xv., 6; Hist., ii., 9; and it is very noteworthy that in Php 4:15 St. Paul in addressing the inhabitants of a Roman colonia addresses them by a Latin and not a Greek form of their name, φιλιππήσιοι = Latin, Philippenses, so that in addressing the four Churches of South Galatia, so closely connected with Rome as we have seen, St. Paul would naturally address them by the one title common to them all as belonging to a Roman province, Galatæ, Galatians; Ramsay, Expositor, August, 1898; McGiffert, Apostolic Age, pp. 177–179.

St. Paul then uses the term Galatia as a Roman citizen would use it, while St. Luke employs the phraseology common in the Ægean land amongst his contemporaries; he does not speak of Galatia, by which term he would as a Greek mean North Galatia, but of the “Galatic territory” or of the region or regions with which he was concerned; see on this Expositor, August, 1898, pp. 126, 127, and Hastings’ B.D., “Galatia”. In Acts 16:6 he writes of a missionary tour (see on διῆλθον, note, l. c.) through the Phrygo-Galatic region; in Acts 18:23 he speaks of a missionary tour through the Galatic region (Derbe and Lystra) and the Phrygian (Iconium and Antioch). It is, moreover, important to note that whether we take φρυγία, Acts 18:23, as an adjective, χώρα being understood, or as a noun, the same sense prevails, for we have evidence from inscriptions of Antioch that Galatic Phrygia was often designated by the noun, “and St. Luke may be allowed to speak as the people of Antioch wrote,” Ramsay, Hastings’ B.D., ii., p. 90, 1899. See further the same writer’s reference to the testimony of Asterius, Bishop of Amasia in Pontus Galaticus, A.D. 400, in favour of the above view, who paraphrases Acts 18:23, τὴν Λυκαονίαν καὶ τὰς τῆς φρυγίας πόλεις, and places the journey through Lycaonia and Phrygia immediately before the visit to Asia, Acts 19:1; see especially Ramsay, Studia Biblica, iv., p. 16 ff. and p. 90; Hastings’ B.D., u. s., as against Zahn, Einleitung, i., p. 136.

But further: if the Phrygo-Galatic district thus lay on the road to Ephesus, it is difficult to see how St. Paul could be conceived of as going to a distance of some 300 miles out of his route to Galatia in the narrower ethnical sense of the word; and this is one of the many points which influences Mr. Turner to regard the South Galatia view as almost demonstrably true, Chron. of the N.T.; Hastings’ B.D., i., 422 (see also to the same effect, Renan, Saint Paul, p. 52; and Rendall, Acts, p. 275; Salmon, Introd., p. 377). McGiffert (so too Renan, Hausrath) maintains that if the North Galatian theory is correct, and St. Paul is not addressing the Churches founded on his first missionary journey, but only those founded, as we must suppose, during a period of missionary labour in North Galatia, a period inserted without a hint from St. Luke in Acts 16:6, it seems incomprehensible why Barnabas should be mentioned in the Galatian Epistle. The Churches in North Galatia could scarcely have known anything about him, especially as ex hypothesi they had been evangelised after the rupture between Paul and Barnabas, Acts 15:36 ff. If, however, the Churches of the Epistle = the Churches founded in Acts 13, 14, then we can at once understand the mention of Barnabas. But Mr. Askwith has lately pointed out with much force (Epistle to the Galatians, p. 77, 1899) that this argument must not be pressed too far. The introduction of Barnabas in the Galatian Epistle does not prove that he was known personally to the Galatians (although it may reasonably warrant the inference that he was known by name) any more than the allusion to him, 1 Corinthians 9:6, proves that he was personally known to the Corinthians, cf. also Lightfoot, Colossians, p. 28.

One more significant and weighty fact deserves mention. In St. Paul’s collection for the poor Saints (on the importance of which see Acts 24:17) there is every reason to believe that all the Pauline Churches shared; in 1 Corinthians 16:1 appeal is made to the Churches of Galatia and Achaia, and the Churches of Macedonia and Asia subsequently contributed to the fund. If by Galatia we understand Galatia proper, and not the Roman province, then the four South Galatian Churches are not included in the list of subscribers, and they are not even asked to contribute. This appears inconceivable; whereas, if we look at the list of delegates, Acts 20:4, whilst Macedonia and Asia are represented, and Gaius and Timothy represent the Churches of South Galatia, no delegate is mentioned from any North Galatian community (see Rendall: “Pauline collection for the Saints,” Expositor, Nov., 1898, and “The Galatians of St. Paul,” Expositor, April, 1894; also Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age, i., 272, E.T., and McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 180, Askwith, Epistle to the Galatians, p. 88 ff. (1899)). For the literature of the question see Ramsay, “Galatia,” Hastings’ B.D., ii., p. 89, 1899; Zahn, Einleitung, i., pp. 129, 130; Wendt (1899), p. 276, and “Galatians, Epistle to the,” Marcus Dods, Hastings’ B.D., ii., 94. To the list given in the last reference may be added the names of Wendt, O. Holtzmann, Clemen.V. Weber (Würsburg), Page, Rendall, McGiffert, in favour of the South Galatian view, and most recently Askwith, Epistle to the Galatians (1899); whilst to the other side may be added Volkmar, Schürer, Holsten, who has examined the whole subject closely in his Das Evangelium des Paulus, p. 35 ff. (chiefly in reply to Hausrath’s strong support of the opposing view), Zöckler, Jülicher, Hilgenfeld, Zeitschrift für wissenschaft. Theol., p. 186 ff. and p. 353, 1896, Schmiedel, and amongst English writers, Findlay, Epistles of St. Paul, p. 288 ff., and very fully Dr. Chase, Expositor, 1893, 1894.

We can only make a passing allusion to the date or possible date of the Galatian Epistle. Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 189 ff., places it at the close of the Apostle’s second missionary journey during his stay at Antioch, Acts 18:22 (A.D. 55), whilst McGiffert also places it at Antioch, but before the Apostle started on this same journey, not at its close, Apostolic Age, p. 226. Rendall, Expositor, April, 1894, has assigned it an earlier date, 51, 52, and places it amongst the earliest of St. Paul’s Epistles, and more recently Zahn has dated it almost equally early in the beginning of 53, and upon somewhat similar grounds, Einleitung, i., p. 139 (the three oldest Epistles of St. Paul according to him being the group of Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, all written in the same year). But on the other hand, Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 43 ff., and Salmon, Introd., p. 376, not only place the Epistle later than any of the dates suggested above, but assign it a place between 2 Corinthians and Romans, arguing from the similarity of subject and style between the three Epistles. Most of the continental critics would place it in the same group, but as the earliest of the four great Epistles written in the earlier period of the Apostle’s long residence at Ephesus, Acts 19:1.

Lightfoot places it apparently on the journey between Macedonia and Achaia, Acts 20:2, 2 Corinthians having been previously written during the Apostle’s residence in Macedonia (so Zahn), Romans being dated a little later whilst St. Paul stayed in Corinth, Acts 20:2-3 (Galatians, pp. 39, 55). Dr. Clemen has since defended at great length his view, first put forward in Chronol. der Paul. Briefe, p. 199 ff., that Romans preceded Galatians, in Studien und Kritiken, 1897, 2, pp. 219–270; but see as against Clemen, Zahn, Einleitung, i., p. 142; Zöckler, Die Briefe an die Thess. und Galater, p. 71; Sanday and Headlam, Romans, p. xxxviii. Mr. Askwith has recently discussed the points at issue between Ramsay and Lightfoot as to the date of Galatians, and in accepting the latter’s position as his own, he has shown that this is not incompatible with a firm recognition of the South Galatian theory, Epistle to the Galatians, p. 98 ff. Harnack, Chronol., p. 239, declines to commit himself to any definite date for Galatians, and perhaps this conclusion is not surprising in relation to an Epistle of which it may be truly said that it has been placed by different critics in the beginning, in the close, and in every intermediate stage of St. Paul’s epistolary activity, cf. Dr. Marcus Dods, “Galatians,” Hastings’ B.D.28. for he mightily convinced the Jews] The verb expresses more than is given thus. He brought the objections of the Jews to the test of Scripture and confuted them. The disciples, who had already believed, appear to have been suffering from Jewish gainsayers. It was by his power in the Scriptures that Apollos was helpful against these adversaries of the faith. The Revised Version has changed “mightily” into “powerfully” to little profit. Shakespeare says “you have mightily persuaded” (As you Like it, i. 2. 218).

and that publickly] By his discourses in the synagogue. This was an important feature in the help that Apollos gave. He was a learned Jew, able to set forth to whole Jewish congregations how their Scriptures were receiving their fulfilment. Thus they who already believed would be strengthened.

shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ] See above, on Acts 18:5. The Jews had complained before Gallio that St Paul’s teaching was a religion “contrary to the law.” Those who heard Apollos learnt that in Jesus they were accepting the “fulfiller of the law.”Acts 18:28. Τὸν) The article is emphatic in the predicate: for the subject is sufficiently determined by the proper name itself; “that Jesus is the Christ.”Verse 28. - Powerfully confuted for mightily convinced, A.V.; the Christ for Christ, A.V. Powerfully confuted; διακατηλέγχετο, one of St. Luke's peculiar compounds, found nowhere else; εὐτόνως here and Luke 23:10 (vehemently), but nowhere else in the New Testament. The adjective εὔτονος, meaning "nervous," "vehement," and the adverb εὐτόνως, meaning "vigorously," "with force," are very frequent in medical writers; εὐτόνως is also found in the LXX. of Joshua 6:7, Σημαινέτωσαν εὐτόνως, "Let them blow a loud blast." Showing by the Scriptures, etc. The same line of preaching as St. Peter and St. Paul always adopted when address-lug Jews (see Acts 2; Acts 13; Acts 17:3; Acts 18:5, etc.). It is remarkable that the success of Apollos at Corinth seems to have been chiefly among the Jews, who had opposed themselves so vehemently to St. Paul (ver. 6). It is one of the many proofs of the singleness of eye and simplicity of purpose of the great apostle, that the success of this novice where he himself had failed did not excite the least jealousy (1 Corinthians 16:12). St. Luke, too, Paul's friend and biographer, here speaks of the powers and work of Apollos with no stinted measure of praise.

Mightily (εὐτόνως)

See on Luke 23:10.

Convinced (διακατηλέγχετο)

Only here in New Testament. See on tell him his fault, Matthew 18:15. The compound here is a very strong expression for thorough confutation. Confute (Rev.) is better than convince. Note the prepositions. He confuted them thoroughly (διά), against (κατά) all their arguments.

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