18:18-23 While Paul found he laboured not in vain, he continued labouring. Our times are in God's hand; we purpose, but he disposes; therefore we must make all promises with submission to the will of God; not only if providence permits, but if God does not otherwise direct our motions. A very good refreshment it is to a faithful minister, to have for awhile the society of his brethren. Disciples are compassed about with infirmity; ministers must do what they can to strengthen them, by directing them to Christ, who is their Strength. Let us earnestly seek, in our several places, to promote the cause of Christ, forming plans that appear to us most proper, but relying on the Lord to bring them to pass if he sees good.
18. Paul … tarried … yet a good while—During his long residence at Corinth, Paul planted other churches in Achaia (2Co 1:1).
then took … leave of the brethren, and sailed … into—rather, "for"
Syria—to Antioch, the starting-point of all the missions to the Gentiles, which he feels to be for the present concluded.
with him Priscilla and Aquila—In this order the names also occur in Ac 18:26 (according to the true reading); compare Ro 16:3; 2Ti 4:19, which seem to imply that the wife was the more prominent and helpful to the Church. Silas and Timotheus doubtless accompanied the apostle, as also Erastus, Gaius, and Aristarchus (Ac 19:22, 29). Of Silas, as Paul's associate, we read no more. His name occurs last in connection with Peter and the churches of Asia Minor [Webster and Wilkinson].
having shorn his head in Cenchrea—the eastern harbor of Corinth, about ten miles distant, where a church had been formed (Ro 16:1).
had a vow—That it was the Nazarite vow (Nu 6:1-27) is not likely. It was probably one made in one of his seasons of difficulty or danger, in prosecution of which he cuts off his hair and hastens to Jerusalem to offer the requisite sacrifice within the prescribed thirty days [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 2.15.1]. This explains the haste with which he leaves Ephesus (Ac 18:21), and the subsequent observance, on the recommendation of the brethren, of a similar vow (Ac 21:24). This one at Corinth was voluntary, and shows that even in heathen countries he systematically studied the prejudices of his Jewish brethren.