I. "AND PAUL AFTER THIS."
A. That is after appearing before Gallio the Roman procurator.
B. "Tarried there a good while."
1. It would appear that Paul spent a year and a half in Corinth before he was brought before Gallio. After that he remained a good while, perhaps another six months. So he was possibly there for two years.
a. The Lord had told Paul to speak boldly for He had many people in that city.
b. Paul was a man that was yielded to the leading of the Lord. c The reason for his staying there so long was no doubt ordained by the Lord.
2. How important it is for us to live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and be led by the Spirit.
3. The Bible tells us that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his ways. Psalm 37:23
C. He took his leave of the brethren as he sailed to Syria.
1. Syria was his ultimate destination but he would go in steps.
2. First he sailed across the Agean to Ephesus.
a. Priscilla and Aquila whom he met when he first came to Corinth went with him to Ephesus.
b. They appeared to people of means. They were business people and evidently able to move about freely.
3. At Cenchrea, which is the port city of Corinth on the Agean side, Paul had shaved his head because he had made a vow.
a. We are not told what the vow was, but the shaving of the head would indicate the type of vow. The vow of a Nazarite, which was a vow of gratitude for special blessings and a commitment to God. It was usually for a period of thirty days, but could be much longer.
b. During the time of the vow, a person would not eat meat or drink wine. He would not cut his hair or shave until he came to the temple and then he shaved his hair and burned it on the altar before the Lord.
c. Paul could have been showing gratitude for the success of the ministry in Corinth, or was grateful to be returning to Jerusalem to observe one of the great feasts.
D. He would leave Pricilla and Aquila in Ephesus where they later started a church in their home.
1. When Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians from Ephesus, he sent the greetings of Priscilla and Aquila to them and also greetings from those who were in the church in their home. A home Bible study.
2. While in Ephesus, probably waiting for a ship that was going to Caesarea, Paul went into the Synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
3. Paul loved to reason with the Jews out of their own scriptures.
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
a. The scriptures can stand up to reasoning.
b. Many people try to give that intellectual difficulty excuse.
c. They are only demonstrating their own ignorance. They have not really intellectually examined the scriptures.
4. At one time Paul had been forbidden by the Spirit to preach the gospel in Asia, but now while here in Ephesus on this Sabbath day he goes to the Synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
5. The Jews were intrigued enough to try to persuade Paul to remain with them longer, but he felt under the constraint to get to Jerusalem for the feast.
a. Which feast we do not know, some think Passover, others think Pentecost.
b. There has been much argument among the scholars and much written to support one over the other. What a foolish waste of time and energy. What difference does it make?
6. He left them with the promise to return, which he did in 19:1.
II. WHEN HE LANDED AT CAESAREA.
A. Caesarea was a beautiful port built by Herod the Great. The ruins are still being excavated today. It was the closest port to Jerusalem, and the busiest port at that time along the coast of Israel.
B. He went from Caesarea up to Jerusalem and greeted the church.
1. Nothing is shared with us of his experiences in Jerusalem at this time.
2. His observance of the feast, his witness while there, the reception by the church fathers. Nothing.
C. He went from there to Antioch.
1. Antioch was Paul's home church.
2. It might be called his sending church.
3. He had been gone for quite some time on the second missionary journey.
4. So much had transpired.
5. The gospel has been taken into Europe.
6. Again we have a gap in the story, and are not told of any of the particulars of his visit there.
a. It is amazing the changes that can take place in, say, four or five years.
b. People who were once very active in the fellowship here and have moved to other areas, when they return a few years later, find that many of the old friends are no longer here. Some have died, others have moved on.
c. When you go back, it is never quite the same.
D. After he had spent some time there, how long, we are not told. Paul's heart and close friends are scattered all over the civilized world by this time.
1. He could never settle down and be content here in Antioch.
2. His heart longs for the hundreds of people that he had led to the Lord and must retrace his steps throughout the regions where he had shared the gospel to find out how they are doing.
E. So Paul strikes out again to Galatia and Phrygia to visit the works he had established to strengthen all of the disciples.
1. It would seem that in his earlier trips to these areas, it was to make disciples, now it was to strengthen the disciples.