Jim Humphrey Consulting


Vol 4, No 40

29th Occasion of Believe in Acts & The Apostle Apollos:

Volume 4, Number 41
Created Date: November 19, 2018
Posted Date: November 19, 2018

We’ve studied the context of the 27th and 28th occasions of the word “believed” in Acts where used in regard to Paul’s ministry in Corinth: “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed (27th occasion) on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, (28th occasion) and were baptized.” Acts 18:88 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

. Today, we’ll cover the 29th occasion, also involving Corinthians who “believed,” but this time used in relation to the Apostle Apollos’ follow-up ministry there: “And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, (to Corinth) helped them much which had believed (29th occasion) through grace: Acts 18:2727 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

.

A review of two Gospels:

1) The Gospel of the Kingdom was what the 12 Apostles with Peter as leader, preached to Israel as recorded in the first chapters of Acts, directed only to Jews. They were to believe Jesus was their Messiah; He was the one who had been promised in the Old Testament (OT); believing - they were to repent and be baptized and they would receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit as enumerated in Mark 16:15 - 1815 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

.

2) The Lord Jesus Christ revealed the Gospel of the Grace of God to the Apostle Paul and He preached it.

Simply put, the book of Acts records the phasing out of The Gospel of the Kingdom and introduces the Gospel of the Grace of God; documenting the transition from the one to the other. And as has been pointed out in previous studies, the Corinthian church was a microcosm or axis in that transition. We see this by comparing the account in Acts 18:1 - 171 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.

8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

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

10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,

13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:

15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.

16 And he drave them from the judgment seat.

17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

to what Paul wrote back to them in 1st and 2nd Corinthians. Signs of the Kingdom Gospel existed in Corinth, i.e., prophesy and the ability to speak in other languages (tongues). It’s clear that at that time, for Jews to be saved they first would have had to recognize and believe Jesus was Israel’s promised Messiah. After that they would be positioned to understand and believe the Gospel of God’s Grace for both Jews and Gentiles, Acts 20:2424 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

. It is indisputable that believing the Gospel of God’s Grace saved both Jew and Gentile Corinthians, because that is what the Apostle Paul proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 41 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

.

Let’s review Paul’s departure from Corinth and Apollos’ appearance there: Acts 18:1111 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

states Paul continued teaching the Word of God in Corinth for 1 ½ years when unbelieving Jews rose up against him and hauled him to the Judgement seat of the Governor, Acts 18:12 - 1712 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,

13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:

15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.

16 And he drave them from the judgment seat.

17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

. Acts 18:1818 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

a states Paul “tarried there yet a good while” and then he, with Pricilla and Aquilla left Corinth to sail into Syria. Paul shaved his head at Cenchrea, having taken a vow, Acts 18:8b. Cenchrea was a small seaport town on the east end of the Isthmus of Corinth about 8 or 9 miles from the City of Corinth. Ships sailing to and from the east docked at Cenchrea to move their goods across the Isthmus or to visit Corinth. (Lechea was Corinth’s seaport on the west side of the Isthmus.) Therefore, Cenchrea would be where Paul, Aquilla, Pricilla and others in their company boarded ship to leave for Syria.

The town of Cenchrea is mentioned twice in Romans: “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:” Romans 16:11 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

. Romans ends with: “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” - “Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.” Romans 16:2727 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

. This tells us Paul had established an assembly of believers in Cenchrea and a woman named Phebe was a servant of that church. The Greek word translated servant is “diakonos,” which in the King James Version is translated “minister” 20 times, “servant” 7 times and “deacon” 3 times. Thus, Phoebe ministered to the poor in the church at Cenchrea. There was no government welfare for the physically handicapped, widows and orphans so each assembly took care of the less fortunate. We also get the idea from these verses that Phoebe was a highly trusted and capable woman of means.

The brief mention of Paul shaving his head, having taken a vow at Cenchrea, Acts 18:18b refers to the vow of a Nazarite, which was part of the Law God gave Moses. It could be either temporary or permanent, Numbers 6:1 - 211 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:

3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.

4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.

5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.

6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.

7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.

8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.

9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.

10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.

12 And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

14 And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,

15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.

16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering:

17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.

18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven:

20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.

21 This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.

. Nazarite means separate or consecrated, thus, one who took this vow was separated from the world and consecrated to God. No details are supplied about what Paul vowed but it must have had something to do with reaching his fellow countrymen - the Jews.

Paul was commissioned by the Lord Jesus to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God, Acts 20:24 to the Gentiles, Kings and the Children of Israel, Acts 9:1515 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

. We have already covered the fact Paul ministered to Kings (Vol 4, No 38) and that he went to the Jews first everywhere he went. But Acts also records that on 3 separate occasions he proclaimed that he was turning from the Jews when they rejected the Gospel and going to the Gentiles; in Antioch, Pisidia, Acts 13:3939 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

; in Corinth, Greece, Acts 18:66 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

and finally in Rome, Italy, Acts 28:2828 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

. Thus, Paul was primarily an Apostle to the Gentiles, Romans 11:1313 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

, 1 Timothy 2:77 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

and 2 Timothy 1:1111 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

, but he never-the-less loved the his fellow countrymen, the Jews (just as we Gentiles should). Paul stated emphatically: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them that are without law.” 1 Corinthians 9:19 - 2119 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

.

Paul and his associates sailed to Ephesus where Paul again went to the Synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. But even though they wanted him to continue with them, he told them he needed to keep a feast in Jerusalem. The vow and the feast in Jerusalem were part of Moses’ Law, indicating his desire to reach the Jews with the Gospel. He sailed from Ephesus to Caesarea and from there went up to Jerusalem where he greeted the believers. He then traveled to Antioch and from there to Galatia and Phrygia, encouraging the believers in those areas, Acts 18:19 - 2319 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.

20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;

21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

.

This short narrative of Paul’s travels stops here, and we are brought back to Ephesus, where Apollos, a Jew from Alexandria, Egypt is introduced as an excellent speaker who was well learned in the OT. He had come to Ephesus and was spiritually zealous in teaching about Jesus in the Synagogue there. However, he only knew the baptism of John, which means he recognized Jesus was the fulfillment of OT prophesies concerning Israel’s Messiah, but he was not versed in the Gospel of Grace revealed to Paul, Acts 18:24 - 2624 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

a. Here it should be noted that Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great and served as the Capital of Egypt for 1000 years. For some time, it had the largest library and was the intellectual and cultural center of the world. At one time, it had the largest urban Jewish community in the world. It was in Alexandria in the mid third century BC that the first five books of the OT were translated into Greek from the original Hebrew, which is called the Septuagint. Tradition holds that 70 to 72 Hebrew scholars, 6 from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel were commissioned by the ruler to translate the Septuagint. The rest of the OT was translated into Greek there, in the years following.

Thus, we learn that Apollos was learned in the OT and had come to understand that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah as prophesied in the OT. He was well equipped to teach and as would be expected, he taught in the Synagogue when he came to Ephesus. However, when Pricilla and Aquilla heard him they brought him to their home where they taught him the way of God more perfectly, Acts 18:2626 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

b. That would have been the Gospel of the Grace of God they had learned from the Apostle Paul, i.e., that believing Christ had died, was buried and rose again was what saved them, 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 4. Apollos decided to go to Corinth and the brethren in Ephesus wrote a letter recommending him to the Corinthians. He went there, ministered to the believers and being so well versed in the OT Scriptures, was able to convince the Jews that Jesus was their Messiah, Acts 18:27 - 2827 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

, which was the first step to believing the Gospel of the Grace of God, as Paul said: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24. Paul taught this to Pricilla and Aquilla who passed it on to Apollos.

Apollos’ name is mentioned twice in Acts; 7 times in 1 Corinthians and once in Titus for a total of 10 times. He was used by God mightily in Corinth and it is clear Paul valued him as a fellow Apostle, 1 Corinthians 16:1212 As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.

; Titus 3:1313 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

. However, Apollos was also used as a lesson to believers not to attach themselves to one man in the ministry over another when divisions and contentions came up among the Corinthians with some claiming Apollos as their leader while others claimed Paul or others, 1 Corinthians 1:1212 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

; 1 Corinthians 3:4 - 64 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

; 1 Corinthians 3:2222 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your's;

; 1 Corinthians 4:66 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

. Sounds like what happens among believers today, doesn’t it? God knew this would happen among believers and the Corinthians’ example should warn and teach us to avoid exalting one man over another.

“For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:4 - 114 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

.


Jim Humphrey
Vol 4, No 40