Acts 18:4
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) He persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.—It is necessary to remind the reader that the latter word does not mean Greek-speaking Jews, or proselytes in the full sense of the word, but, as elsewhere (see Note on Acts 11:22), is used for those who were Gentiles by birth, and who, though worshipping in the synagogue, had not accepted circumcision.

(4) So far we have found reasons for the vow. But taken by itself, the vow would seem to have involved a continuous growth of hair rather than cropping it. How was that act connected with the vow? A probable answer to the question is found in the Apostle’s language as to social customs in matters of this kind, in 1Corinthians 11:14. He condemns long hair as effeminate. But the Nazarite vow led to long hair as its natural consequence, and there was, therefore, the risk that while practising a rigorous austerity, he might seem to outside observers to be adopting an unmanly refinement. At Corinth men would, perhaps, know what his act meant, but in the regions to which he was now going it was wise to guard against the suspicion by a modification of the vow, such as Jewish law allowed.

Cenchreæ was, as has been said, the eastern harbour of Corinth on the Saronic Gulf. Romans 16:1 indicates the existence of an organised Church there. The warm language of gratitude in which St. Paul speaks of Phœbe, the deaconess of the Church there, is best explained by supposing that she had ministered to him as such when he was suffering from bodily pain or infirmity, and this, in its turn, may afford another probable explanation of the vow.

Acts 18:4. And he reasoned in the synagogue, &c. — The Jews being numerous in Corinth, Paul, according to his custom, began his ministry in the synagogue; and persuaded — That is, endeavoured to persuade; the Jews and Greeks — It is probable that most of these Greeks, since they attended the Jewish synagogue, were a kind of proselytes. It is possible, however, that some of them might not be such, but Gentiles, who were drawn out of curiosity to attend in the synagogue (though they did not commonly worship there) to hear such an extraordinary preacher as Paul was, especially considering the miracles which he wrought at Corinth, and to which he so often refers in the two epistles afterward written to the church formed there.18:1-6 Though Paul was entitled to support from the churches he planted, and from the people to whom he preached, yet he worked at his calling. An honest trade, by which a man may get his bread, is not to be looked upon with contempt by any. It was the custom of the Jews to bring up their children to some trade, though they gave them learning or estates. Paul was careful to prevent prejudices, even the most unreasonable. The love of Christ is the best bond of the saints; and the communings of the saints with each other, sweeten labour, contempt, and even persecution. Most of the Jews persisted in contradicting the gospel of Christ, and blasphemed. They would not believe themselves, and did all they could to keep others from believing. Paul hereupon left them. He did not give over his work; for though Israel be not gathered, Christ and his gospel shall be glorious. The Jews could not complain, for they had the first offer. When some oppose the gospel, we must turn to others. Grief that many persist in unbelief should not prevent gratitude for the conversion of some to Christ.And he reasoned ... - See the notes on Acts 17:2. 4. the Greeks—that is, Gentile proselytes; for to the heathen, as usual, he only turned when rejected by the Jews (Ac 18:6). He reasoned in the synagogue; or argued and disputed, giving his reasons out of Scripture, and answering their objections.

And persuaded the Jews; not only using cogent arguments, but, as some understand the verb, such as did prevail upon them.

And the Greeks; not such as were of the Jewish race, and after the dispersion used the Scripture in the Greek tongue; but such as were Gentile Greeks, Greeks by descent. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath,.... In Corinth there was a synagogue of the Jews, in which they met together for worship on the seventh day of the week, which was their sabbath; and hither Paul went, and took the opportunity of reasoning with them out of the Scriptures, concerning Christ, his person, and offices, his incarnation, obedience, sufferings, and death, and about redemption and salvation by him: we may observe the diligence, industry, and indefatigableness of the apostle; on the sabbath day he went to the synagogue, and preached Christ to those who there attended; and on the weekdays he laboured with his own hands. Beza's most ancient copy, and the Vulgate Latin version add here, "interposing the name of the Lord Jesus"; frequently making mention of his name, or calling upon it, and doing miracles in it.

And persuaded the Jews and the Greeks; this was the effect of his reasoning, and the success that attended it; some, both of the Jews, who were so by birth, as well as religion, and of the Greeks, or Gentiles, who were Jewish proselytes, and attended synagogue worship, were convinced by his arguments, and were induced to believe the truth of his doctrine, and to embrace it; or at least he endeavoured to persuade them that they were lost sinners, and that there was salvation for them in Christ, and in him only.

{2} And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and {b} persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

(2) The truth ought always to be freely uttered, yet nonetheless the doctrine may be moderated in accordance with the hearers, so that they are most profited.

(b) Exhorted so that he persuaded, and that is what the word signifies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 18:4. διελέγετο δὲἔπειθέ τε: “and he used to discourse … and tried to persuade,” so Ramsay, marking the imperfects, see also Hackett’s note.—Ἐλληνας: proselytes, since they are represented as in the synagogue, cf. Acts 14:1. The heathen are not addressed until Acts 18:6. McGiffert considers that this notice of work in the synagogue is untrustworthy (p. 268) and at variance with the fact that in St. Paul’s own Epistles there is no hint of it, but cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20, words which we may reasonably suppose had a special application to Corinth, or the Apostle would scarcely have so expressed himself. It would have been strange if in such a commercial centre there had been no Jewish synagogue.4. and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks] There are no articles in the original and they are omitted in the Revised Version. No doubt, as in other Gentile cities, the religion of the Jews in Corinth gained the attention of many among the Gentiles, who as proselytes or inclining thereto would form part of the Sabbath audience in the synagogue. According to his rule St Paul addressed himself to the Jews first.Verse 4. - Jews and Greeks for the Jews and the Greeks, A.V. Observe again the influence of the synagogue upon the Greek population. Reasoned (see Acts 17:2, 17, note).
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