Acts 18:9
Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
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(9) Then spake the Lord to Paul.—We note the recurrence of these visions at each great crisis of the Apostle’s life. He had seen the Lord at his conversion (Acts 9:4-6), he had heard the same voice and seen the same form in his trance in the Temple at Jerusalem (Acts 22:17). Now he saw and heard them once more. “In visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men,” he passed from the strife of tongues into the presence of the Divine Friend. The words “Be not afraid” imply that he too was subject to fear and depression, and felt keenly the trial of seeming failure and comparative isolation. His converts came chiefly from the slave or freed-man class, and those of a culture like his own, whether Greeks or Jews, were slow to accept his preaching (1Corinthians 1:26-27). And then, too, he carried, as it were, his life in his hands. The reviling of the Jews might any hour burst into furious violence or deliberate plots of assassination. No wonder that he needed the gracious words, “Be not afraid.” The temptation of such a moment of human weakness was to fall back, when words seem fruitless, into the safety of silence, and therefore the command followed, “Speak, and hold not thy peace.” We are reminded of the like passing mood of discouragement in one great crisis of Elijah’s life (1Kings 19:4-14), yet more, perhaps, of its frequent recurrence in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6-8; Jeremiah 15:15-21).

Acts 18:9-11. Then spake the Lord — The Lord Jesus; in the night by a vision to Paul — Who, probably, had been discouraged in view of the learning, politeness, and grandeur of many Gentile inhabitants of the city, to whom he was to speak, so that he was, as he himself expresses it, (1 Corinthians 2:3,) among them in weakness and fear, and in much trembling; which alarms were probably much increased by the violent assaults which had been made upon him in other places, and the contempt with which he had generally been treated: Be not afraid, but speak — My gospel boldly and courageously; and hold not thy peace — Be not silent through any present discouragement or future apprehension; for I am with thee — By my powerful and gracious presence, to protect, support, and comfort thee; and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee — A promise this which was fulfilled to Paul and also to others of God’s servants; so that whatsoever troubles they met with, even when they were killed, they were not hurt, Romans 8:28; Romans 8:36-39. For I have much people in this city — So he prophetically calls them that he foreknew would believe. And he continued there a year and six months — A long time! But how few souls are now gained frequently in a longer time than this by ministers of the gospel! Who is in the fault? generally both teachers and hearers. Teaching the word of God among them — It is probable this is not to be understood of the Corinthians alone, but of the inhabitants of the neighbouring parts of Achaia also. For it is reasonable to suppose that the apostle occasionally left Corinth, and went into the adjacent country of Peloponnesus, where there were many synagogues of the Jews, especially in the chief cities; and that, having preached to the Jews and Gentiles in those cities, he returned again to Corinth. This supposition is countenanced by Paul himself, 2 Corinthians 11:10, where he intimates that he preached in the region of Achaia, and where, according to 2 Corinthians 1:1, he made many disciples.

18:7-11 The Lord knows those that are his, yea, and those that shall be his; for it is by his work upon them that they become his. Let us not despair concerning any place, when even in wicked Corinth Christ had much people. He will gather in his chosen flock from the places where they are scattered Thus encouraged, the apostle continued at Corinth, and a numerous and flourishing church grew up.By a vision - Compare the notes on Acts 9:10; Acts 16:9.

Be not afraid - Perhaps Paul might have been intimidated by the learning, refinement, and splendor of Corinth; perhaps embarrassed in view of his duty of addressing the rich, the polite, and the great. To this he may allude in 1 Corinthians 2:3; "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." In such circumstances it pleased God to meet him, and disarm his fears. This he did by assuring him of success. The fact that God had much people in that city Acts 18:10 was employed to remove his apprehensions. The prospect of success in the ministry, and the certainty of the presence of God, will take away the fear of the rich, the learned, and the great.

9-11. Then spake the Lord to Paul … by a vision, Be not afraid … no man shall set on thee to hurt thee, &c.—From this it would seem that these signal successes were stirring up the wrath of the unbelieving Jews, and probably the apostle feared being driven by violence, as before, from this scene of such promising labor. He is reassured, however, from above. In the night by a vision; as Acts 16:9; it may be, by an angel.

Speak, and hold not thy peace; it is doubled again and again, as of greatest consequence:

1. To the Corinthians, whose salvation by this means might be procured.

2. To Paul himself, whose soul, howsoever, should be delivered, he having discharged his duty, Acts 20:26,27.

The fierceness of the enemies of God and his truth, should kindle a greater fervour in his servants for his glory. Should Satan have better servants than God? Should they dare for their master beyond what the servants of God are willing to do or suffer for him? Isaiah 62:1 Jeremiah 1:17,18.

Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision,.... On a certain night as he was asleep, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream, and spake after this manner to him:

be not afraid; it is very likely that after the baptism of Crispus and his family, and of many of the Corinthians, that both the Jews and the Gentiles were exasperated against the apostle; and his life might seem to be in danger, and he might be thinking of removing from hence for his preservation and safety; and might be advised to it by his friends, or at least that he should be incognito, and not be seen publicly: wherefore the Lord appears to him, and bids him not indulge any fears, or conceal himself and be silent,

but speak, and hold not thy peace; preach freely and boldly the Gospel without fear of men; the fear of men should not stop the mouths of Christ's ministers.

{4} Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:

(4) God does confirm and maintain the steadfastness of his servants.

Acts 18:9-11.[78] But Jesus Himself, appearing to Paul in a night-vision (comp. Acts 9:10), infused into him courage for fearless continuance in work.

λάλει κ. μὴ σιωπ.] solemnly emphatic. Comp. Isaiah 62:1, and see on John 1:3; John 1:20.

διότι is both times simply propterea quod.

ἐγώ] Bengel well says: “fundamentum fiduciae.”

ἐπιθήσεταί σοι τοῦ κακ. σε] will set on thee (aggredi) to injure thee. On the classical expression ἐπιτίθεσθαί τινι, to set on one, i.e. impetum facere in aliq., see many examples in Wetstein and Kypke. The attempt, in fact, which was made at a later period under Gallio, signally failed.

διότι λαός κ.τ.λ.] gives the reason of the assurance, ἐγώ εἰμι μετά σου, κ. οὐδ. ἐπιθήσ. σοι τοῦ κακ. σε. Under His people Jesus understands not only those already converted, but likewise proleptically (comp. John 10:16; John 11:52) those who are destined to be members of the church purchased by His blood (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:14),—the whole multitude of the τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον (Acts 13:48) at Corinth.

ἐνιαυτὸν κ. μῆνας ἕξ] The terminus ad quem is the attempt of the Jews (Acts 18:12), and not (in opposition to Anger, de temp. rat. p. 62 f., and Wieseler, p. 45 f.) the departure of Paul, Acts 18:18. For after Luke in Acts 18:9-10 has narrated the address and promise of Jesus, he immediately, Acts 18:11, observes how long Paul in consequence of this had his residence, i.e. his quiet abode, at Corinth (ἐκάθισε, as in Luke 24:49), attending to his ministry; and he then in Acts 18:12-18 relates how on the other hand (δέ, Acts 18:12, marks a contrast to Acts 18:11) an attack broke out, indeed, against him under Gallio, but passed over so harmlessly that he was able to spend before his departure yet (observe this ἔτι, Acts 18:18) a considerable time at Corinth (Acts 18:18).

ἐν αὐτοῖς] i.e. among the Corinthians, which is undoubtedly evident from the preceding ἐν τῇ πόλ. τ.

[78] According to Laurent, neut. Stud. p. 148 f., ver. 11 was a marginal note of Luke to ἡμέρας ἱκανάς, ver. 18. But ver. 11 is by no means superfluous in its present textual position, but attests the fulfilment of the promise, ver. 10.

Acts 18:9. So at other crises in the Apostle’s life, cf. Acts 22:17, Acts 27:23.—ὁ Κ., i.e., Jesus.—μὴ φοβοῦ, cf. Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 43:2, and for the phrase Luke 1:13; Luke 2:10; Luke 5:10; Luke 8:50; Luke 12:7; Luke 12:32, Acts, in loco, and Acts 27:24, characteristic of the Evangelist; Friedrich, p. 35, and Plummer on Luke 1:13. Cf. Acts 20:3 for the continued malignity of these Corinthian Jews; the Apostle’s apprehension as expressed here is confirmed by the statements in 1 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:7, which describe the Jewish opposition as existing at the time he wrote (see this fully acknowledged by McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 270). Hilgenfeld sees no reason to refer Acts 18:9-10 to the Reviser (with Jüngst). He finds them in his source [320] of which they are characteristic, cf. Acts 16:9-10; the vision refers not to what had preceded, but to what follows, and explains the stay of Paul at Corinth mentioned in Acts 18:11.—ἀλλὰ λάλει καὶ μὴ σιωπ., i.e., “continue to speak,” “speak on,” cf. Isaiah 58:1, affirmation and negation; solemnity in the double form; see too Jeremiah 1:6-8; Jeremiah 15:15-21; on the form of the tenses see Weiss, in loco. In 1 Corinthians 2:3-4 we have a proof of the effect of this assurance, and of the confidence with which the Apostle was inspired.

[320] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

9. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision] The rendering of the first word makes it seem as though the original were an adverb of time. Render, “And the Lord said, &c” We may judge from the language used to him that for some reason the heart of the Apostle was beginning to wax faint, and that he was in danger of bodily maltreatment. The communication was made in the same way as the call to come over into Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10). Only here the Lord appeared to his servant.

speak, and hold not thy peace] An exhortation to even more continuous preaching than before. Let nothing stop thy testimony.

Acts 18:9. Μὴ φοβοῦ, be not afraid) To this refer the first διότι, because, for, in Acts 18:10.—λάλει, speak) To this refer the second διότι, because, for, Acts 18:10.

Verse 9. - And the Lord said unto for then spake the Lord to, A.V. A vision (ὅραμα); literally, a thing seen, but always used of a wonderful "sight:" Matthew 17:9 of the Transfiguration, Acts 7:31 of the burning bush. But more commonly of a "vision," as in Acts 9:10, 12; Acts 10:3, 17, 19; Acts 11:5; Acts 12:9; Acts 16:9. So in the LXX. (Genesis 46:2, etc.). St. Paul received a similar gracious token of the Lord's watchful care of him soon after his conversion (Acts 22:17-21). He tells us that then he was in an "ecstasy," or trance. The ἔκστασις describes the mental condition of the person who sees an ὅραμαα. Acts 18:9
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