Acts 18:1-4 says, “After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius [the Emperor] had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.”
Here, we have an example of bi-vocational ministry. In other places, Paul asserts that ministers of God’s word should be taken care of by the church, such that they shouldn’t have to work. But there were some cases where Paul worked in order to not cause anyone to stumble. Paul worked at least Monday through Friday and then labored on Saturday in the synagogue and then probably worshiped with the believers on Sunday.
Verses 5-6 continue, “When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’” There’s no need to think that Paul flew off the handle here. He was just stating the truth. He proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ, and if they chose to oppose him and revile him, that’s their own downfall.
Verse 7-8: “And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household.” This is another of the moments in the book of Acts that just wants to make us say, “AMEN!” This must’ve grieved many of the unbelieving Jews, to see the ruler of the synagogue turn to Jesus.
By the way, this household language helps us to understand Lydia’s household baptism earlier. It says here that Crispus’ entire household believed in the Lord. Either there were no babies in the household, or Luke excludes babies from the phrase “household”.
Luke goes on in verses 8-10, “And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized [AMEN AGAIN!]. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
How amazing is the sovereignty of God! Now, Paul was accustomed to being attacked and harmed. But God guaranteed that here in Corinth, He would protect him so that he wouldn’t be driven out. Why? Because He had many people there, other sheep that the Shepherd was calling to Himself.
This is a controversial verse, but I’d rather we just see it as a beautiful verse. Why is this verse so beautiful? It shows us that God always gets His man. He is never bound by anything. Whomever He pleases to save, He does it. And He works everything out in such a way that His success rate is 100%, while still preserving our will and responsibility. How great is our God!