Working Together in the Ministry

Key Verse: “Because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”
—Acts 18:3

Selected Scripture:
Acts 18:1-4, 24-28

IN THIS LESSON WE FIND Paul seeming to proclaim strange gods to a group of men gathered on Mars’ hill in Athens. As he spoke, he mentioned having observed a local altar bearing the words, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” (Acts 17:23) Citing a contrary scripture, he continued, saying, “He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them.”—vss. 31-33

“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth.” (chap. 18:1) Here he found a Jew named Aquilla and his wife, Priscilla. Because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and they all worked together, ‘for by their occupation they were tentmakers.’ He preached in the synagogue every Sabbath and tried to persuade both Jews and Greeks. (vss. 2-4) When Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself entirely to delivering the message to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

“But when they resisted and blasphemed … he said to them, Your blood be upon your head! I am pure; from this time I will go to the Gentiles.” (vs. 6, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott) Paul was here alluding to his later statement of Acts 20:26-28. “I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own [Son, WED] blood.” Paul realized that his mission going forward was to be primarily toward the Gentiles, the Jews having, for the most part, now shut their ears to the Gospel message.

When Paul reached Ephesus on his third missionary journey he found some disciples there. “He said to them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers? No, they said, We never even heard that there was a Holy Spirit. How then were you baptized, he asked? With John’s baptism, they answered. John’s baptism was a baptism in token of repentance, said Paul, and he told the people to believe in him who was to follow him, that is, Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and when Paul laid his hands on them the Holy Spirit came on them.

“He went to the synagogue there, and for three months spoke confidently, holding discussions and trying to persuade them about the kingdom of God. But as some of them were obstinate and refused to believe, finding fault with that way before the people, he left them, and withdrew the disciples, and held daily discussions in the lecture room of Tyrannous. This went on for two years, so that everyone who lived in Asia, Greeks as well as Jews, heard the Lord’s message.”—Acts 19:1-10, Goodspeed Translation

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