Acts 18:18b-28 Apollos, And Believing Through Grace-God Willing.

The time Paul spent with Priscilla and Aquila evidently sealed their bonds with each other, because they together decided to leave Corinth and sail for Syria, settling in Ephesus. However, before entering Ephesus Paul had his hair cut because of a vow he had made, and he would also leave Priscilla and Aquila at Ephesus because he also was committed to return to Jerusalem (vv. 18b-20 Cf. 19:21; 20:16; 21:24). As always, these were Paul’s plans which would only come to fruition if God was willing (v. 21 Cf. I Cor. 4:19). He also followed his practice all along the way, of first going to the synagogues and then strengthening the churches (vv. 19, 22-23).

Apollos was another prominent messenger at Ephesus, “an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures” (v. 24). “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John” (v. 25). This again shows how this was still a time of transition, as John’s baptism was for this period. He also “spoke boldly in the synagogue” (v. 26a). However, because he was still teaching the baptism of John, Priscilla and Aquila “took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (v. 26b).

Apollos only needed to be corrected with respect to the baptism of John, that since the transition was moving forward there was a moving on from this to the Trinitarian baptism as the sign of the new covenant administration. In all other respects he was “mighty in the Scriptures.” Therefore, having been corrected with regard to the place of John’s baptism, he wanted to move on and help the saints in Achaia. To this end, a letter was sent encouraging the disciples there to receive him, and “he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ” (v. 27-28).

Apollos “greatly helped those who had believed through grace.” Apollos was a great help because he was “mighty in the scriptures.” The Lord used messengers who preached the word to effect this change, but it was only through grace that they were able to believe. This is an important point. We are called to share and expound the word, because this is the only means God has chosen to reach His own, but His own can only receive this word in a saving way because of grace. Paul made this same point in his first letter to the Corinthians, saying “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (3:6).

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