Acts 18:18-28 (web)

2nd Missionary Journey


18:18 Paul, having stayed after this many more days, took his leave of the brothers,
 and sailed from there for Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. 
He shaved his head in Cenchreae, for he had a vow. 
18:19 He came to Ephesus, and he left them there;
but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 
18:20 When they asked him to stay with them a longer time, he declined; 
18:21 but taking his leave of them, and saying, 
"I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem, 
but I will return again to you if God wills," he set sail from Ephesus. 
18:22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the assembly, 
and went down to Antioch. 
18:23 Having spent some time there, he departed,
and went through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia,
in order, establishing all the disciples. 


18:24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race,
an eloquent man, came to Ephesus. He was mighty in the Scriptures. 
18:25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; 
and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John. 
18:26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. 
But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside,
and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 
18:27 When he had determined to pass over into Achaia, the brothers encouraged him,
and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he had come, 
he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 
18:28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews, 
publicly showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. 


vs 18 Paul, as  Jew, may have been practicing a Nazirite vow, which was often practiced on a temporary basis by the Jews. The regulations of such a vow are detailed in Numbers chapter 6. Upon its completion the hair is cut off.

vs 19 It was on this return from his second Missionary journey that he first brought the gospel to the Ephesians. And again as was his practice he first went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews. 

vs 20-21 I infer that his insistence upon going to Jerusalem was in fulfillment of his vow. It is very important to keep vows, despite the fact that it may require sacrifices on our part. In describing righteous behavior, one of the things the psalmists says is "he keeps his oath even when it hurts " Ps 15:4 and   "When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said." Num 30:2 What vows have you made before the Lord? By now it seems Paul would have been used to being rejected by the Jews, but such wasn't the case in Ephesus. For the Jews responded well there. And so I suspect he longed to stay. But he had to fulfill his vow. However he would return and his third journey.

vs 22-23 So for his final return he came back to Antioch via Jerusalem. verse 23 speaks of the beginning of his third missionary journey, quickly following the second.

vs 24-28 Unlike Paul and Barnabus it appears that Apollos was not sent from an established church, but rather took his own initiative to do ministry. Yet he went on to become a leader of the Corinthian church. Thus we find that callings to ministry take many different forms and the Christian community should beware of limiting God from operating outside of certain dogmatic institutional formats. In fact one of the themes of the gospels and Acts is to uncover the false assumptions of those who say "God can't do it that way."

Apollos was probably a disciple of John the Baptist but was probably unaware of much of the life and ministry of Jesus when Aquila and Priscilla met him. He had received John's baptism, but probably had not been baptized as a Christian nor received the Spirit yet. The couple led him to Christ and he went on to argue with the Jews from the scriptures that Jesus was Christ. So if Apollos could start his minstry even before receiving the Spirit or knowing accurately the way of the Lord, then what's stopping you?

Apollos was zealous in spirit, and this should be characteristic of all of us. This is not a special "gift", but rather a Christian characteristic like love. Paul writes to the Christians in Rome saying, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Rom 12:11

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jan 28,2022