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The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the July 28 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: July 28
<< Acts 17

For New King James text and comment, click here.

Acts 18-20     Listen Podcast

 

 

Paul goes to Corinth (Acts 18:1-17)

1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,
13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.
14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:
15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.
16 And he drave them from the judgment seat.
17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

The Roman Emperor Claudius

Claudius was the fourth Roman emperor, reigning for over 13 years (41–54 AD). Following Caligula's rule, in which he demonstrated great animosity toward the Jews throughout the empire, Claudius allowed the Jews in all parts of the empire to observe their laws and customs without persecution. Ironically, the Jews of Rome, who had become very numerous, were not allowed to have corporate gatherings there. Later on during the reign of Claudius, the Jews were banished from Rome altogether; among these were Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2). With the reign of Claudius is also associated the famine which was foretold by Agabus in Acts 11:28. Classical writers during that period also report that the reign of Claudius was characterized as a time of general distress and scarcity over the whole world.

Paul leaves Athens and arrives in Corinth. There, he hitches up with Aquila and Priscilla who were tent makers like himself and stays in Corinth for about a year and a half. During the reign of Emperor Claudius, the Jews had been asked to leave Rome; that's how this couple happened to settle in Corinth. Silas and Timothy rejoin Paul in verse 5; Paul had left them in Berea prior to going to Athens back in Acts 17:10-15 (see notes).

There was apparently a shift in Paul's preaching to these Jewish Corinthians after Silas and Timothy arrive when you look closely at verses 4 and 5. After their arrival, Paul put the pieces together that he had apparently been laying down in the weeks prior to their arrival by declaring that Jesus is, indeed, the Messiah. Paul continued to preach in the synagogue every Sabbath resulting in the salvation of many, including the ruler of the synagogue, Crispus. You may recall in I Corinthians 1:14-16 (see notes) that Paul refers to Crispus as one who was baptized by Paul himself.

Toward the end of his stay in Corinth, the Jewish leaders attempted to take Paul to Roman court for trial. But when Gallio, the Proconsul of the province, realized that this was a dispute over the application of Jewish doctrine (Christianity was recognized by Rome as a sect of Judaism), he dismissed the case, saying that it was no concern of his. But wait! There's more! When the Greeks saw that the case was dismissed, they took this opportunity to do a little Jew bashing; they took Sosthenes, the new ruler of the synagogue (I guess they held him accountable for the charges against Paul), and beat him. Now that's a change; usually Paul gets the beating! Well, forget about preaching in the synagogue any longer, Paul! However, though it's not conclusive that it's the same person, I Corinthians 1:1 (see notes) does make reference to "Sosthenes our brother." Perhaps the new ruler of the synagogue subsequently got saved also.

Incidentally, Paul really stirred things up back at the synagogue at Corinth when in verse 6 he declared, "Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles." This is not the first time Paul had used this leverage on Jewish antagonists. He had made a similar statement to the Jews back in Antioch in Acts 13:46 (see notes) after a similar row fomented by Jewish leaders during Paul's first missionary journey. Isn't it ironic that Gentiles heard the Gospel message from Paul as a result of the antagonistic rejection of the message by the Jews?

It's back to Antioch (Acts 18:18-22)

18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;
21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

As things had heated up in Corinth, it's time to head back to Syria (Antioch). Note that Paul was finishing up on a Nazarite vow. This vow had to be completed at Jerusalem. There the hair would be presented to God and sacrifices offered according to Numbers 6:1-21 (see notes). It is important to once again emphasize that Christianity was regarded by the Roman Empire as a sect of Judaism during this period. Paul is looking for opportunities to take the Gospel message to Jews and Gentiles alike. Therefore, it was quite natural for Paul to engage in the Nazarite ritual in the process of transitioning Jewish thought from Judaism to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul summarizes his philosophy regarding this incident in I Corinthians 9:19-20 (see notes), "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law." Paul saw no difficulty in practicing those traditional rituals that did not compromise the Gospel message in order to win Jews to Jesus Christ as their Savior.

These verses draw to a conclusion Paul's second missionary journey (see map). We see here that after leaving Corinth he passed through Cenchrea, sailed over to Ephesus, and then he sailed down to Jerusalem's port city of Caesarea. From there we see in verse 22, "And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch." The phrase "gone up" is the manner in which they referred to going to Jerusalem regardless of its geographical direction. The phrase "saluted the church" undoubtedly refers to the church at Jerusalem. We do know from verse 21 that Paul was compelled to go to Jerusalem to complete his Nazarite vow. After completing his business in Jerusalem, he "went down to Antioch." In Old and New Testament terminology, leaving Jerusalem to anywhere in any direction was "going down." From Antioch in verse 23, Paul embarks upon his third missionary journey.

Incidentally, we see that Priscilla and Aquila accompanied Paul on a portion of this trip, but remained in Ephesus after Paul departed for Jerusalem. Their presence in Ephesus plays a role in the education of Apollos in the verses following.

Paul's Third Missionary Journey MapThen there was Apollos (Acts 18:23-28)

23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Verse 23 marks the beginning of Paul's third missionary journey, which begins from Antioch in Syria. In verse 24, we find the first mention of Apollos, an eloquent man with learning gaps when it came to the Messiah. He only knew of the baptism of John. You will recall in the preceding verses that Paul had left Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus as he departed for Jerusalem. It is these two who take on the mission of educating Apollos regarding the whole story of Jesus. Apollos departed Ephesus prior to Paul's arrival.

News traveled a little slowly back then. It's been over 20 years since the Day of Pentecost, but Apollos knew nothing of any of that. As a matter of fact, since the baptism of John preceded the entire earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, he was likely ignorant of that as well. However, the trip from Jerusalem to Ephesus was over 1,000 miles by land or 600 miles across the Mediterranean Sea. Word just traveled slowly about anything over that long of a distance. Paul had just left Ephesus on his way to Antioch. After Apollos was brought up to speed on Jesus and his Messiahship - including the death, burial, resurrection and fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic prophecy; he became a mighty champion and preached Jesus to the Jews. As a matter of fact, Apollos became a well-respected teacher in Corinth - receives mention in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians in 1:12; 3:4-6, 22; 4:6; 16:12.

Paul in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-10)

1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7 And all the men were about twelve.
8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

In Ephesus Paul finds some other people similar to Apollos who haven't been updated in a long time - a really long time. Like Apollos, they are only familiar with the preaching and baptizing of John the Baptist. It doesn't actually say here that they were not familiar with the ministry of Christ himself, but it is implied. After Paul preaches to them, they are baptized and afterward duplicate the miracles of the Day of Pentecost. This incident stands alone as unique - people discovered 20 years after the establishment of the church who are totally unfamiliar with those events. Look at verse 10, "And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks." Paul stayed in this part of Asia Minor and did a thorough job of evangelizing this part of the world which is today known as Turkey.

This passage has come to be the foundation (along with others) for a "second blessing" doctrine prevalent in charismatic and pentecostal churches. To them, the passage provides the foundation for a doctrine that the Holy Spirit is not necessarily received by a Believer at salvation, but must follow as a second act of grace accompanied by speaking in tongues.

To properly address this notion, several New Testament principles must be considered as follows:

The passages listed above give us every occurrence of speaking in tongues (stated or implied) in the New Testament. In order to properly understand the issue, each passage must be fully understood in its proper context.

The sons of Sceva bite off more than they can chew! (Acts 19:11-20)

11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

A lot of miracles are taking place as a result of Paul's ministry. Unfortunately, there is a thriving business today based upon verse 12, the sale by charlatans of prayer cloths designed to bring special miracles and healings to the purchasers. There is no doctrinal basis for this deceitful practice. However, the miracles centered around Paul's ministry are impressive to all around Ephesus. Subsequently, some Jewish sons of the local synagogue priest decide to trail on the coattails of Paul's success by casting out demons through the power of Jesus Christ. Only one problem though, they themselves showed no signs of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So, when they tried, verse 15 says that the evil spirit spoke back to them saying, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" The man in whom the evil spirit resided leaped on them and overtook them. Note: only a fireman should attempt to put out a multi-alarm fire. Notice that the seven sons were left naked and wounded. (You gotta love this story!) Big things took place in Ephesus; verses 17-20 tell us that the Word of God prevailed and many forsook their practices of witchcraft.

Paul interferes with the local economy (Acts 19:21-41)

21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.
23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.
24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;
25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.
28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.
31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.
32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?
36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.
37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.
39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

In verse 22 we see that Paul stayed in Asia for awhile, but he sent Timothy and Erastus on to Macedonia. Paul makes reference to the anticipated arrival of Timothy to Corinth in I Corinthians 16:10 (see notes).

Here's the deal. Paul was preaching in Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey) and many folks got saved. Notice the reference to Christianity in verse 23, "And the same time there arose no small stir about that way." Well, of course, those who received Christ were opposed to pagan temples and idol worship. So were the Jews, but the text would indicate that, for the sake of the economy, they turned a blind eye to this idol worship. You see, this temple of Diana was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. It was huge - 33% larger than a football field, and it included this giant statue identified as Diana that they claimed fell from the sky. Since the tourist trade was an important part of the economy in Ephesus, these same tourists bought souvenir statues made by the local silversmiths.

These local silversmiths are the guys who panicked when they saw so many people around them getting saved and forsaking idol worship. The meeting started at one place, the people were worked into a frenzy, and the meeting moved to the open theater which seated about 24,000. When Alexander stood up to represent the Jews, we get the sense that the Jews did not want to rock the boat. The people attempt to shout him down for two hours by crying out in unison, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" A city official finally is able to calm the crowd so Alexander can speak. If Rome hears about riots in Ephesus, who knows what might happen. He calms the people by pointing out that Paul and company were (KJV) "neither robbers of churches [Greek: "hierosulos" - "temple desecrators"], nor yet blasphemers of your goddess." This served to appease the people by, in their minds, diminishing the threat to the economy, and the local official convinces the people to go home before things get out of hand. Paul then realizes that it might be time to leave...and he does. This just goes to show you that people will compromise principles for money and security...as had the local Jewish population.

Paul heads for Macedonia and Greece (Acts 20:1-6)

1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.
2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,
3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.
4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.
5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.
6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

He heads through Macedonia (modern-day Albania) and ends up in Greece. After three months, the Jews became agitated against him once again - plotted to kill him. Paul took a detour rather than heading directly back to Syria because of this threat. So...it's back up through Macedonia and east to Philippi from which they sailed back toward Syria. We see that Paul had some disciples as travel companions in verse 4. You will notice from Luke's personal pronoun "we" in verse 6 that he was traveling with Paul at this time.

A guy falls out of a third-story window (Acts 20:7-16)

7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.
14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.
15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.
16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.

On his way back, Paul stops for seven days in Troas. After supper he begins preaching. A guy (Eutychus) who was sitting in the window on the third floor falls asleep and tumbles three stories. Luke declares that he "was taken up dead" in verse 9. Paul arrives on the scene and declares that "his life is in him." This passage has provided me much comfort in my preaching ministry; if Paul couldn't keep everyone awake, how can I be expected to do so? Paul then continues his journey; his goal is to reach Jerusalem by the Festival of Pentecost. Watch it, Paul! Jerusalem may not be a very friendly environment.

Paul speaks to the Elders from Ephesus (Acts 20:17-38)

17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,
38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

Paul is headed for Jerusalem, but before he leaves Asia Minor, he calls all the elders from Ephesus down to Miletus that he might address them. One church I attended many years ago referred to Acts 20:20 as the "Acts 20/20 vision." Read it along with verse 21, and you'll see what they mean. That's "20/20 vision." Get it? (Pun intended) Paul is pretty sure that his trip to Jerusalem will be something less than enjoyable. Look at verses 23-24, "Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Paul knows that he'll be imprisoned and afflicted in Jerusalem, but he expresses in verse 24 that it does not matter; it is necessary to "finish my course with joy." It is interesting to compare this with Paul's last writing in II Timothy 4:6-7 (see notes) when he writes, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." Paul is convinced he must go to Jerusalem in order to "finish" his "course." He tells them that they will not see him again after this day, and he warns them to avoid false teachers. And then...it's off to Jerusalem. His arrival there is recorded beginning in Acts 21:15 (see notes).

Paul carefully words his statement of verse 21 when he speaks of the salvation process by specifying, "...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Many people today incorrectly teach the doctrine of repentance. The Old Testament Hebrew word generally translated repentance is "nacham," often associated with sorrow. The New Testament Greek word ("metanoia") holds no connotation as such. It literally is defined as "to change one's mind or attitude." That's why Paul is careful to specify here, "repentance toward God." Salvation requires one to turn to God. Those teachers today who have incorrectly defined "repentance" as "being sorry for one's sins" tend to present a confusing salvation invitation. We see in II Corinthians 7:10 (see notes) that "godly sorrow" and "repentance" are two separate concepts. Paul's salvation message was simply two fold, (1) "repentance toward God and (2) faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."

In understanding the process of salvation, it is important to recognize that the Holy Spirit incorporates both repentance and faith into one seamless process. Paul presents the salvation concept in Galatians 2:15-21 (see notes). Read the notes I have provided there very carefully to understand that "repentance" and "faith" are not to be separated. The Holy Spirit provides both in the salvation experience. In other words, you cannot have one without the other. Salvation is the supernatural act of God through the power of the Holy Spirit that provides us with the complete package necessary for eternal life.

A doctrinal note about elders, bishops and pastors:
From a technical perspective, this chapter reinforces a doctrine about terminology used with regard to the pastoral ministry. In verse 17, the men who are called together are referred to as "elders." The Greek word there is "presbuturos." In verse 28, Paul refers to them as "overseers." That Greek word is "episkopos." It is used 7 times in the New Testament and is translated "bishop" in the other 6 occurrences. That means that these "elders" are also referred to as "bishops." There is no distinction in scripture between "elders" and "bishops." But wait! There's more! Verse 28 also contains the Greek verb, "poimaino," translated "feed" here. The definition of this word is "to tend a flock as a shepherd." It just so happens that the noun form of this word, "poimaine" is translated "shepherd" in every scriptural occurrence except one, Ephesians 4:11 (see notes), where it is translated "pastor." In fact, the word "pastor" is only found one time in the New Testament and 8 times in the Old Testament and refers to the shepherds. It's also worth noting that Peter uses the same three Greek words in I Peter 5:1-5 (see notes), the only difference being that he uses the verb form "episkopeo" (translated "oversight") instead of the noun form "episkopos." Conclusion: There is no distinction between a pastor, a bishop or an elder in the scripture. They all refer to the exact same office. Some have suggested that the three words speak to different aspects of the pastoral ministry. Perhaps, but it is difficult to see the distinction. They are all scriptural terms designated for those who lead Believers in the local church.

For a more comprehensive look at the office of pastor/bishop/elder, click here.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner