Acts 18:9-11 (ESV)
9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,10 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.”11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Our Scripture text for this week is an account of the 18 months that Paul spends in Corinth. (v. 11) While our focus is on a night vision that Paul received, the first part of the chapter gives us the background. (1-8) Paul has left his ministry in Athens and gone about 50 miles to Corinth. This is a thriving political and economic center in Roman times, as well as a transit point for merchant ships in the region. Corinth had actually surpassed the influence of Athens at this moment in history.
In Corinth, Paul meets Aquila and Priscilla, (2) and they spend a lot of time together, not only as fellow followers of Jesus, but because they all are tentmakers by trade. Silas and Timothy join the team as Paul focuses his ministry on the synagogues in Corinth and subsequently experiences considerable opposition. Paul responds to this challenge with an increasing focus on preaching the Gospel to Gentiles. (5–6) Even though the Jewish opposition presented a continuing challenge, Paul wins a Jewish synagogue leader (Crispus) to Christ. This breakthrough seems to open the doors for scores of people (both Jew and Gentile) living in Corinth to hear the Gospel, believe in Christ and be baptized. (7-8)
Despite the growing success of Paul’s ministry in Corinth, this is still a volatile situation. One night Paul receives a vision to continue his preaching without fear. God encourages Paul that attacks may continue, but no personal harm would come to him. The Lord also reminds Paul that his preaching has had a bigger impact than he thinks. The numbers of Christians in Corinth are actually bigger than Paul could imagine. This miraculous promise sent in the form of a night vision sustains him as he continues to powerfully preach the Gospel, despite considerable opposition and violence. (See also vs. 12-17.)
Vice President, ChildHope
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.