Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;Chap. 18:1.] Corinth was at this time a colony (see note, ch. 16:12), the capital of the Roman province of Achaia, and the residence of the proconsul. For further particulars, see Prolegg. to 1 Cor. § ii.
2. Ἰουδαῖον] It appears that Aquila and Priscilla were not Christians at this time: it is the similarity of employment only which draws them to Paul, and their conversion is left to be inferred as taking place in consequence: see ver. 26.
Ποντικὸν τ. γ.] It is remarkable, that Pontius Aquila is a name found in the Pontian gens at Rome more than once in the days of the Republic (see Cicero, ad Fam. x. 33; Suet., Jul. Cæs 78; Smith’s Dict. of Biogr., art. Aquila, Pontius); whence some have supposed that this may have been a freedman of a Pontius Aquila, and that Ποντ. τῷ γένει may have been an inference from his name. But besides that Luke’s acquaintance with the real origin of Aquila could hardly but have been accurate,—Aquila, the translator of the O. T. into Greek, was also a native of Pontus.
From the notices of Aquila and Priscilla in the Epistles, they appear to have travelled, fixing their abode by turns in different principal cities, for the sake of their business. In ver. 19, we have them left at Ephesus (see also ver. 26); in 1Corinthians 16:19, still there; in Romans 16:3 ff., again at Rome; in 2Timothy 4:19, again at Ephesus.
διὰ τὸ διατεταχέναι …] Suet. Claud. 25, says, ‘Judæos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit:’ but as he gives this without any fixed note of time,—as the words ‘impulsore Chresto’ may be taken in three ways (as indicative either (1) of an actual leader of that name, or (2) of some tumult connected with the expectations of a Messiah, or (3) of some dispute about Christianity),—Neander well observes, that after all which has been said on it, no secure historical inference respecting the date of the event, or its connexion with any Christian church at Rome, can be drawn. It was as a Jew that Aquila was driven from Rome: and there is not a word of Christians here. If one could identify this expulsion of the Jews with that of the ‘mathematici’ in Tacitus (Ann. xii. 52), which took place Fausto Sulla, Othone Coss. (a.d. 52), we might be on surer ground,—but this is very uncertain, and even improbable. The two could hardly have been united. The circumstance related by Dio Cassius, lx. 6, which seems to contradict Suetonius and our text,—τοὺς Ἰουδαίους πλεονάσαντας αὖθις, ὥστε χαλεπῶς ἂν ἄνευ ταραχῆς ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου σφῶν τῆς πόλεως εἰρχθῆναι, οὐκ ἐξήλασε μέν, τῷ δὲ πατρίῳ νόμῳ βίῳ χρωμένους ἐκέλευσε μὴ συναθροίζεσθαι,—probably describes a step taken by Claudius previously to this expulsion, which not improbably occasioned the tumults which made the expulsion necessary.
The edict soon became invalid, or the prohibition was taken off: we find Aquila at Rome, Romans 16:3, and many Jews resident there, ch. 28:17 ff.
3. ἠργάζετο] “The Jewish Rabbis having no state pay, it was their practice to teach their children a trade. ‘What is commanded of a father towards his son?’ asks a Talmudic writer. ‘To circumcise him, to teach him the law, to teach him a trade.’ Rabbi Judah saith, ‘He that teacheth not his son a trade, doth the same as if he taught him to be a thief:’ and Rabban Gamaliel saith, ‘He that hath a trade in his hand, to what is he like? He is like a vineyard that is fenced.’ ” C. and H. i. p. 58.
The places where Paul refers to his supporting himself by his own manual labour are,—ch. 20:34 (Ephesus):—1Corinthians 9:12 ff.; 2Corinthians 7:2 (Corinth):—1Thessalonians 2:9; 2Thessalonians 3:8 (Thessalonica).
σκηνοποιοί] The general opinion now is, that Paul was a maker of tents from the ‘cilicium,’ or hair-cloth of Cilician goats. Thus Kuinoel, citing from Hug and Eichhorn, says of the former, “Ad hanc sententiam comprobandam monuit, Ciliciam, Pauli patriam, refertam fuisse hircis et capris villosis, eorumque villis Cilices usos esse ad conficiendum pannum, Cilicium inde dictum. Suidas: Κίλικος τράγος· ὁ δασύς τοιοῦτοι γὰρ ἐν Κιλικίᾳ γίνονται τράγοι, ὅθεν καὶ τὰ ἐκ τῶν τριχῶν συντιθέμενα Κιλίκια καλοῦνται.
Hoc panno usos esse milites, nautas, Nomadas, ad tentoria conficienda, v. Vegetius, de Re Mil. 4:6. Plin. N. H. vi. 28, ‘Nomades, infestatoresque Chaldæorum scenitæ … et ipsi vagi, sed a tabernaculis cognominati, quæ ciliciis metantur, ubi libuit.’ Solin. 33, ‘Scenitæ caussam nominis inde ducunt, quod tentoriis succedunt, nec alias domos habent, ipsa autem tentoria cilicina sunt; ita nuncupantur velamenta caprarum pilis texta.’ ” If it be objected, that Paul would hardly find the raw material for this work in cities far from Cilicia, it may be answered, that this would not be required in the fabrication of tents from the haircloth, which doubtless itself would be an article of commerce in the markets of Greece.
Chrysost. calls Paul sometimes σκηνοῤῥάφος, sometimes σκυτοτόμος, a leather-cutter, imagining that the tents were made of leather; ἐπὶ σκηνοῤῥαφείου ἑστὼς δέρματα ἔῤῥαπτε (in Catena).
5.] See ch. 17:15; 1Thessalonians 3:6.
συνείχετο τῷ λόγῳ] ‘When Silas and Timotheus arrived [see ch. 17:15 note] from Macedonia, they found Paul anxiously occupied in discoursing to the Jews.’ This I believe to be the meaning: that they found him in a state of more than ordinary anxiety,—more than usually absorbed in the work of testifying to the Jews (see reff.):—a crisis in the work being imminent, which resulted in their rejection of the word of life. (On the whole character of his early preaching at Corinth, see notes, 1Corinthians 2:1-5.) Thus only, the δέ in ver. 5 and that in ver. 6 will both be satisfied: he discoursed in the synagogue, &c.… but when Silas and Timotheus arrived, he was earnestly occupied in discoursing, &c. But, as they opposed themselves and blasphemed, &c. Wordsworth adopts the view that after the arrival of Silas and Timotheus with supplies from Macedonia, Paul gave up his tent-making and gave himself up (συνείχετο) to preaching. But surely this is ungrammatical. The aor. (ὡς κατῆλθον) and imperf. (συνείχετο) require the rendering ‘when they arrived, they found him συνεχόμενον.’
6.] αἷμα as in ch. 20:26. The image and nearly the words, are from Ezekiel 33:4. De Wette should have known better than to call a citation from the LXX an ‘unpaulinischer Sprachgebrauch.’
ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν] Not absolutely, only at Corinth: for ver. 19 we find him arguing with the Jews again in the synagogue at Ephesus. I have adopted the punctuation of Lachmann, erasing the colon after ἐγώ: I shall henceforth with a pure conscience go to the Gentiles.
7.] In order to shew that he henceforth separated himself from the Jews, he, on leaving the synagogue, went no longer to the house of the Jew Aquila (who appears afterwards to have been converted), but to the house of a Gentile proselyte of the gate, close to the synagogue: q. d. ‘in the sight of all the congregation in the synagogue:’ for this seems to be the object in mentioning the circumstance.
8.] On this, a schism took place among the Jews. The ruler of the synagogue attached himself to Paul, and was, together with Gaius, baptized by the Apostle himself (1Corinthians 1:14): and with him many of the Corinthians (Jews and Gentiles, it being the house of a proselyte), probably Aquila and Priscilla also, believed and were baptized.
10. ἐπιθ. σοι] See ref. and examples of this usage in Wetst.:—shall set on thee, as E. V.
λαός ἐστί μοι πολύς] See John 10:16. As our Lord forewarned Paul in Jerusalem that they would not receive his testimony concerning Him, so here He encourages him, by a promise of much success in Corinth. The word λαός, the express title beforetime of the Jews, is still used now, notwithstanding their secession.
11.] The year and a half may extend either to his departure, or to the incident in vv. 12 ff. Meyer would confine it to the latter, taking ἐκάθισεν in the sense of ‘remained in quiet:’ but (see reff.) it will hardly bear such emphasis: and seeing that the incident in vv. 12 ff. was a notable fulfilment of the promise,—for though they set on him, they could not hurt him,—I should be disposed to take the other view, and regard ver. 12 to ἱκανάς, ver. 18, to have happened during this time.
12. Γαλλίωνος] His original name was Marcus Annæus Novatus: but, having been adopted into the family of the rhetorician Lucius Junius Gallio, he took the name of Junius Annæus Gallio. He was brother of Lucius Annæus Seneca, the philosopher, whose character of him is in exact accordance with that which we may infer from this narrative: ‘Nemo mortalium mihi tam dulcis est, quam hic omnibus:’ ‘Gallionem fratrem meum, quem nemo non parum amat, etiam qui amare plus non potest.’ He is called ‘dulcis Gallio’ by Statius, Silv. ii. 7. 32. He appears to have given up the province of Achaia from ill health: ‘Illud mihi in ore erat domini mei Gallionis qui cum in Achaia febrem habere cœpisset, protinus navem ascendit, clamitans non corporis esse sed loci morbum.’ Senec. Ep. 104. He was spared after the execution of his brother (Tacit. Ann. xv. 73): but Dio Cassius, lxii. 25, adds, οἱ ἀδελφοὶ ὕστερον ἐπαπώλοντο, and Euseb. Chron. ad ann. 818 (a.d. 66), says that he put an end to himself after his brother’s death.
ἀνθυπάτου] See note on ch. 13:7. Achaia was originally a senatorial province (Dio Cass. liii. 12), but was temporarily made an imperial one by Tiberius. Tacit. Ann. i. 76, ‘Achaiam ac Macedoniam, onera deprecantes, levari in præsens proconsulari imperio, tradique Cæsari placuit.’ Claudius (Suet. Claud. 25) ‘Provincias Achaiam et Macedoniam quas Tiberius ad curam suam transtulerat, senatui reddidit.’
τ. Ἀχαΐας] The Roman province of Achaia contained Hellas and the Peloponnesus, and, with Macedonia, embraced all their Grecian dominions. It was so called, according to Pausanias (vii. 16. 7), because the Romans ἐχειρώσαντο Ἕλληνας διʼ Ἀχαιῶν τότε τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ προεστηκότων (the Achaian league).
“The βῆμα is mentioned three times in the course of this narrative (see vv. 16, 17). It was of two kinds: (1) fixed in some public and open place: (2) moveable, and taken by the Roman magistrates to be placed wherever they might sit in a judicial character. Probably here and in the case of Pilate (John 19:13), the former kind of seat is intended. See Smith’s Dict. of Antiquities, under ‘Sella.’ See also some remarks on the tribunal—‘the indispensable symbol of the Roman judgment-seat,’ in the Edinburgh Review for Jan. 1847, p. 151.” C. and H. vol. i. 494.
13. παρὰ τ. νόμον] Against the Mosaic law:—the exercise of which, as a ‘religio licita,’ was allowed to the Jews.
14.] Though manuscript authority is so strong against the οὖν, I have retained it, as also has Tischdf. (Exo_7 [not Exo_8]). Its omission may be easily accounted for, from the copyists finding it unnecessary and seemingly out of place: but on no supposition can its insertion be rendered probable. It stands very appropriately here, referring to the complaint of the Jews, either as uttered by them, or perhaps recapitulated by Gallio:—‘Ye have charged this man with lawless conduct. If now this had really been so.…’ κατὰ λόγον
κατὰ λόγον] See reff. We have the opposite παρὰ λόγον in 2 Macc. 4:36.
ἂν ἠνεσχ. ὑμ.] I should have borne with (patiently heard) you.
15.] ζητήματα has apparently been alterèd to ζήτημα to suit the sense, there being but one question before Gallio. But the plural expresses contempt: If it is questions, &c.: as we should say, ‘a parcel of questions.’ See ch. 23:29.
ὀνομάτων] e.g. Paul asserted Jesus to be the Christ, which the Jews denied. This to a Roman would be a question of names.
τ. καθʼ ὑμᾶς, with emphasis: see reff. So Lysias (ch. 23:29) declined to decide Paul’s case; and Festus (ch. 25:20), though he did not altogether put the enquiry by, wished to judge it at Jerusalem, where he might have the counsel of those learned in the Jewish law.
17. πάντες] Apparently, all the mob, i.e. the Gentile population present. Sosthenes, as the ruler of the synagogue (ἀρχ. = either the ruler, or one of the rulers; perhaps he had succeeded Crispus), had been the chief of the complainant Jews, and therefore, on their cause being rejected, and themselves ignominiously dismissed, was roughly treated by the mob. From this, certainly the right explanation, has arisen the gloss οἱ Ἕλληνες. The other gloss, οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, has sprung from the notion that this Sosthenes was the same person with the Sosthenes of 1Corinthians 1:1, a Christian and a companion of Paul. But, not to insist on the improbability of the party driven from the tribunal having beaten one of their antagonists in front of the tribunal,—why did they not beat Paul himself? There is no ground for supposing the two persons to be the same, Sosthenes being no uncommon name. If they were, this man must have been converted afterwards; but he is not among those who accompanied Paul into Asia, either in ver. 18, or ch. 20:4.
The carelessness of Gallio about the matter clearly seems to be a further instance of his contempt for the Jews, and indisposition to favour them or their persecution of Paul. Had this been otherwise meant, certainly καί would not have been the copula. ‘So little did the information against Paul prosper, that the informers themselves were beaten without interference of the judge.’ Meyer.
18.] It has been considered doubtful whether the words κειρ. τ. κεφ. κ.τ.λ. apply to Paul, the subject of the sentence, or to Aquila, the last subject. The former is held by Chrys., Theoph., , , , , Calv., Beza, Calov., Wolf, Olsh., Neand., De Wette, Baumgarten, Hackett, Wordsworth (whose note may be profitably consulted), al.:—the latter by (Vulg.), Grot., Alberti, Kuinoel, Meyer, al., and more recently Dean Howson, vol. i. p. 498. But I quite agree with Neander (Pfl. u. Leit. p. 348, note), that if we consider the matter carefully, there can be no doubt that they can only apply to Paul. For, although this vow differed from that of the Nazarite, who shaved his hair at the end of his votive period, in the temple at Jerusalem, and burnt it with his peace-offering (Numbers 6:1-21), Josephus gives us a description of a somewhat similar one, B. J. ii. 15. 1, τοὺς γὰρ ἢ νόσῳ καταπονουμένους ἤ τισιν ἄλλαις ἀνάγκαις, ἔθος εὔχεσθαι πρὸ τριάκοντα ἡμερῶν ἧς ἀποδώσειν μέλλοιεν θυσίας, οἴνου τε ἀφέξεσθαι καὶ ξυρήσασθαι τὰς κόμας,—where it appears from ξυρήσασθαι (which, as Neander observes, if it applied to the end of the time, would be ξυρήσεσθαι (or perhaps rather θρέψειν)), that the hair was shaved thirty days before the sacrifice. At all events, no sacrifice could be offered any where but at Jerusalem: and every such vow would conclude with a sacrifice. Now we find, on comparing the subsequent course of Aquila with that of Paul,—that the former did not go up to Jerusalem, but remained at Ephesus (ver. 26): but that Paul hastened by Ephesus, and did go up to Jerusalem: see ver. 22. Again, it would be quite irrelevant to the purpose of Luke, to relate such a fact of one of Paul’s companions. That he should do so apologetically, to shew that the Apostle still countenanced conformity with the law, is a view which I cannot find justified by any features of this book: and it surely would be a very far-fetched apology, and one likely to escape the notice of many readers, seeing that Aquila would not appear as being under Paul’s influence, and even his conversion to the Gospel has not been related, but is left to be implied from ver. 26. Again, Meyer’s ground for referring κειράμ. to Aquila,—that his name is here placed after that of his wife,—is untenable, seeing that, for some reason, probably the superior character or office in the church, of Priscilla, the same arrangement is found (in the best mss. at ver. 26, and) at Romans 16:3; 2Timothy 4:19. Lastly, the very form of the sentence is against a change of subject at κειράμενος. There are, from ver. 18 to 23 incl.,—a section forming a distinct narration, and complete in itself,—no less than nine aorist participles, eight of which indisputably apply to Paul as the subject of the section: leaving it hardly open to question that κειράμενος also must be referred to him.
There need be no enquiry what danger can have prompted such a vow on his part, when we recollect the catalogue given by him in 2Co_11. Besides, he had, since his last visit to Jerusalem, been νόσῳ καταπονούμενος (see Jos. above, note on ch. 16:6, and Prolegg. to Gal. § ii. 3): it is true, a considerable time ago, but this need not prevent our supposing that the vow may have been then made, to be paid on his next visit to Jerusalem. That he had not sooner paid it, is accounted for by his having been since that time under continual pressure of preaching and founding churches, and having finally been detained by special command at Corinth. That he was now so anxious to pay it (ver. 21), consists well with the supposition of its having been long delayed.
ἐν Κεγχρεαῖς] Κεγχρεαὶ κώμη κ. λιμὴν ἀπέχων τῆς πόλεως ὅσον ἑβδομήκοντα στάδια. τούτῳ μὲν χρῶνται πρὸς τοὺς ἐκ τῆς Ἀσίας, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς ἐκ τῆς Ἰταλίας τῷ Λεχαίῳ. Strabo, viii. 380. There was soon after a Christian church there: see Romans 16:1.
19. Ἔφεσον] Ephesus was the ancient capital of Ionia (Ptol. v. 2. 8), and at this time, of the Roman proconsular province of Asia,—on the Caÿster, near the coast, between Symrna and Miletus. It was famed for its commerce, but even more for its magnificent temple of Artemis (see ch. 19:24, 27, and notes). See a full account of its situation and history, secular and Christian, in the Prolegg. to Eph. § ii. 2-6; and an interesting description, with plan, in Mr. Lewin’s Life and Epistles of St. Paul, i. 344 ff.
αὐτοῦ] Perhaps this may be said proleptically, referring to his journey to Palestine (De Wette): but on account of the δέ which follows, I should rather understand it to mean that the Jewish synagogue was (as sometimes the case, see Winer, Realw., ‘Synagogen’) outside the town, and that Priscilla and Aquila were left in the town.
διελέχθη, aor., referring to one, and a transient occasion: διελέγετο, imperf., ver. 4, of his long stay, and continual discourses in the Corinthian synagogue.
21.] The omission of the words here inserted in rec., δεῖ με πάντως τὴν ἑορτὴν τὴν ἐρχομένην ποιῆσαι εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, seems necessitated on the principle of being guided in doubtful cases by the testimony of our most ancient mss. The text thus produced is the shortest and simplest, and the facts, of other glosses having been attempted on this verse, and of ms. 36 inserting the words without altering the construction to suit them, and omitting the καί before ἀνήχθη, and the δέ before ἀνακάμψω, tend perhaps to throw discredit on the insertion. The gloss, if such it be, has probably been owing to an endeavour to conform the circumstances to those related in ch. 20:16. If they stand, and for those who read them, it may still be interesting to enquire at what feast they may be supposed to point. (1) Not at the Passover: for the ordinary duration of the ‘mare clausum’ was (Livy xxxvii. 9) till the vernal equinox. According to Vegetius de Re Milit. iv. 39, ‘ex die iii. Id. Novembr. usque in diem vi. Id. Martii, maria claudebantur.’ And we are not at liberty to assume an exceptional case, such as sometimes occurred (Philo, Leg. ad Caium, § 29, vol. ii. p. 573; Tacit. Ann. xii. 43; Plin. ii. 47). Hence, if the voyage from Corinth at all approached the length of that from Philippi to Jerusalem in ch. 20, 21, he would have set sail at a time when it would have been hardly possible. (2) Not at the feast of Tabernacles. For if it were, he must have sailed from Corinth in August or September. Now, as he stayed there something more than a year and a half, his sea-voyage from Berœa to Athens would in this case have been made in the depth of winter; which (especially as a choice of land or water was open to him) is impossible. (3) It remains, then, that the feast should have been Pentecost; at which Paul also visited Jerusalem, ch. 20:16. (The above is the argument of Wieseler, Chron. d. Apostelgesch. pp. 48-50, who however allows too long for the voyage from Corinth, forgetting that from the seven weeks’ voyage of ch. 20, 21 are to be taken seven days at Troas (20:6), seven at Tyre (21:4), one at Ptolemais (21:7), ἡμέραι πλείους at Cæsarea (21:10),—in all certainly not less than three weeks.)
The Apostle’s promise of return was fulfilled ch. 19:1 ff.
22. ἀναβάς] To Jerusalem: for (1) it would be out of the question to suppose that Paul made the long detour by Cæsarea only to go up into the town from the beach, as supposed by most of those who omit δεῖ … Ἱερος. in ver. 21, and salute the disciples,—and (2) the expression κατέβη εἰς Ἀντ., which suits a journey from Jerusalem (ch. 11:27), would not apply to one from Cæsarea.
ἀσπ. τ. ἐκκλ.] The payment of his vow is not mentioned, partly because it is understood from the mere mention of the vow itself, ver. 18,—partly, perhaps, because it was privately done, and with no view to attract notice as in ch. 21.
23.] Paul’s visit to the churches in Galatia and Phrygia.
Either (1) Galatia is here a general term including Lycaonia, and Paul went by Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, &c. as before in ch. 16, or (2) he did not visit Lycaonia this time, but went through Cappadocia: to which also the words διελθόντα τὰ ἀνωτερικὰ μέρη (ch. 19:1) seem to point, ἡ ἄνω Ἀσία being the country east of the Halys. We find Christian churches in Cappadocia, 1Peter 1:1. On this journey, as connected with the state of the Galatian churches, see Prolegg. to Gal. § iii. 1.
καθεξῆς implies taking the churches in order; regularly visiting them, each as they lay in his route.
One work accomplished by him in this journey was the ordaining (but apparently not collecting) a contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem: see 1Corinthians 16:1.
Timotheus and Erastus probably accompanied him, see ch. 19:22; 2Corinthians 1:1; and Gaius and Aristarchus, ch. 19:29; and perhaps Titus, 2Corinthians 12:18 al. (and Sosthenes? (1Corinthians 1:1), but see on ver. 17.)
24-28.] Apollos at Ephesus, and in Achaia.
Ἀπολλώς] abbreviated from Ἀπολλώνιος [as Lucas from Lucanus, &c.]: see var. read.
Ἀλεξανδρεύς] Alexandria was the great seat of the Hellenistic [or later Greek] language, learning, and philosophy (see ch. 6:9). A large number of Jews had been planted there by its founder, Alexander the Great. The celebrated LXX version of the O. T. was made there under the Ptolemies. There took place that remarkable fusion of Greek, Oriental, and Judaic elements of thought and belief, which was destined to enter so widely, for good and for evil, into the minds and writings of Christians. We see in the providential calling of Apollos to the ministry, an instance of adaptation of the workman to the work. A masterly exposition of the Scriptures by a learned Hellenist of Alexandria formed the most appropriate watering (1Corinthians 3:6) for those who had been planted by the pupil of Gamaliel.
λόγιος] either (1) learned, as Philo, Vita Mos. i. 5, vol. ii. p. 84, Αἰγυπτίων οἱ λόγιοι, and Jos. B. J. vi. 5. 3, who distinguishes, in the interpretation of the omens preceding the siege, οἱ ἰδιῶται from οἱ λόγιοι,—or (2) eloquent: so Jos. Antt. xvii. 6. 2 calls Judas and Matthias, Ἰουδαίων λογιώτατοι and πατρίων ἐξηγηταὶ νόμων. The etymologists make the former the ancient,—the latter a subsequent meaning. So Thom. Mag.: λογίους τοὺς πολυΐστορας οἱ ἀρχαῖοι Ἀττικίζοντες, ὡς καὶ Ἡρόδοτος· λογίους δὲ τοὺς διαλεκτικοὺς οἱ ὕστερον. The latter meaning is most appropriate here, both because the peculiar kind of learning implied by λόγιος [acquaintance with stories and legends] would not be likely to be predicated of Apollos,—and because the subsequent words, δυνατὸς ἐν τ. γραφαῖς, sufficiently indicate his learning, and in what it lay.
See on λόγιος as applied to Papias by Eusebius, prolegg. to Matt. § ii. 1 (α) note.
25.] Apollos had received (from his youth?) the true doctrine of the Messiahship of Jesus, as pointed out by John the Baptist: doubtless from some disciple of John: but more than this he knew not. The doctrines of the Cross,—the Resurrection,—the outpouring of the Spirit,—these were unknown to him: but more particularly (from the words ἐπιστ. μόνον τὸ βάπτ. Ἰωάν.) the latter, as connected with Christian baptism: see further on ch. 19:2, 3.
The mistake of supposing that he did not know Jesus to be the Messiah, has arisen from the description of his subsequent work at Corinth, ver. 28, but by no means follows from it: this he did before, but not so completely. The same mistake has led to the alteration of Ἰησοῦ into the κυρίου of the rec., it having been well imagined that he could not teach ἀκριβῶς τὰ π. τοῦ Ἰησοῦ if he did not know him to be the Messiah: whereas by these words is imported that he knew and taught accurately the facts respecting Jesus, but of the consequences of that which he taught, of all which may be summed up in the doctrine of Christian baptism, he had no idea.
ἐπιστ. μόνον] Meyer well remarks, that it is not meant that he was absolutely ignorant of the fact of there being such a thing as Christian baptism, but ignorant of its being any thing different from that of John: he knew, or recognized in baptism only that which the baptism of John was: a sign of repentance.
26. ἀκριβέστερον] The former accuracy was only in facts: this is the still more expanded accuracy of doctrine. That was merely τὰ περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, as He lived and ministered on earth: this included also the promise of the Spirit, and its performance.
27. προτρεψάμενοι] probably Priscilla and Aquila principally. It may have been from their account of the Corinthian church, that he was desirous to go to Achaia. After προτρεψ. not Apollos, but the disciples (at Corinth) must be understood as an object. Otherwise αὐτόν would have been expressed. So the remarkable reading of D.
συνεβ.] contulit, Vulg. contributed, to their help.
διὰ τῆς χάριτος] Bengel, Olsh., Meyer, and others join these words with συνεβάλετο, and understand them ‘by the Grace of God which was in him.’ But this, from their position, is very unnatural; and hardly less so from the διὰ, whereas such a sense would rather require τῇ χάριτι. In the only other two places where the expression occurs (reff.), it refers (1) to the electing grace of God, ref. Gal., (2) to the grace assisting believers to His service, ref. Heb. So that I adopt the more natural rendering of the E. V., those who had believed through grace. “The γάρ should be noticed. His coming was a valuable assistance to the Christians against the Jews, in the controversies which had doubtless been going on since Paul’s departure.” C. and H., edn. 2, ii. p. 10.
28.] διακατηλέγχετο, argued down, as we say,—‘proved it in their teeth:’ and then the διὰ gives the sense of continuity,—that this was not done once or twice, but continuously.