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Acts 18 (NKJV)
1
After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.
2
And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.

NOTE:
Note in particular Acts 18, verse 2: “…he [i.e., Paul] found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus…”

Discovering the location of Pontus revealed to me more of God’s working in history.

According to the IVP NT Commentary on Acts 18, note where Aquila (“eagle”) and Priscilla (“venerated or esteemed woman”) are from:

“Luke introduces Aquila as a native of Pontus, an area of north-central Asia Minor, bordering on the Black Sea, which formed an administrative unit with Bithynia.”

This is very interesting to me, especially in light of the fact that the Spirit of Jesus specifically would not allow Paul earlier to go to Bithynia, as noted below:

Acts 16 (NKJV)
7
After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit [of Jesus] did not permit them.

Paul had such a passion for the Gospel, and to honor the Gospel and Presence of the Lord Jesus.

Paul had such a passion that—even though (for whatever reason) Jesus Himself would not allow Paul to go to Bithynia—God brought Bithynia to him!

Do I have a passion for Jesus and His Gospel? Do you? Do we? These are not meant to be condemning questions, but honest questions that I need to take time to meditate upon.

This reminds me of another verse in Acts 18.
Acts 18 (NKJV)
5
When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

John Wesley said about verse 5 (John Wesley’s notes on the Bible):
“Every Christian ought diligently to observe any such pressure in his own spirit, and if it agree with Scripture, to follow it: if he does not he will feel great heaviness.”

CONTINUED NOTE:
And how did the people in Bithynia hear about Jesus, the Christ (the Anointed One)?

Acts 18:2 provides part of the answer: “…Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome…”

IVP NT commentary adds another very interesting historical footnote to this part of verse 2:

“Suetonius tells why [i.e., Jews were commanded to depart from Rome]—‘since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus’ (Claudius 25.4).”

“Writing seventy years after the event, Suetonius may have assumed ‘Chrestus’ was simply a local troublemaker; however, the dispute in the Jewish community over Jesus Christus (the names would have been pronounced similarly) was the real issue.”

Who was Suetonius? According to Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia):

“Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (ca 75 AD - after 130 AD ), also known as Suetonius, was a prominent Roman historian and biographer.”

“Suetonius was a close friend to Senator and Historian Pliny the Younger. Pliny describes him as quiet and studious, a man dedicated to writing.”

“Suetonius served on Pliny’s staff when Pliny was Proconsul of Bithynia Pontus (northern Asia Minor) between 110 and 112.”

It is interesting that somehow—even though Paul was not allowed to go to Bithynia to preach the Gospel—the Name of the Lord Jesus was being raised up in Bithynia, albeit by the complaints of Jews against “Jesus Christus” as Roman historian Suetonius writes.

Finally, the IVP NT commentary provides this insight:

“Through the Roman Jews' resistance to the gospel and an emperor's edict, God's sovereign care worked to bring Paul and this couple together.”

Acts 18 (NKJV)
9
Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;
10
for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”
11
And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

NOTE:
When we surrender ourselves fully, entirely, and wholly over to the Lord—this allows Jesus to manifest to us the full, entire, and whole surrender on the Cross that He has already provided for our salvation and protection to do God’s will.

This reminds me of a song from the Young Life songbook called “Surrender To Me”– Words and Music: Tony Congi © 1981, Wooden Story Music

Surrender to me with your heart and your soul
Surrender to me
I’ll make you whole
My love for you will outlast the stars
Surrender to Me Like I surrendered for you

Are you frightened…
By a world that won’t accept you
By your mistakes that won’t forget you
By the chance to be someone

Can you believe in…
A love that made this whole universe
A love that came and He walked this earth
A love that died but now is risen for you, then…

Surrender to me with your heart and your soul
Surrender to me
I’ll make you whole
My love for you will outlast the stars
Surrender to Me Like I surrendered for you

Vance

One thing that's pretty cool is that Sosthenes (the synagogue ruler that got beat up by the Jews) must have become a Christian because he is named/listed with Paul as one of the writers to the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 1:1. God used Paul to convert not just 1 but 2 synagogue rulers!

Vance!

I love that song from the Young Life songbook. It's one of the ones we sang the weekend I gave my life to Christ. Love it, love it, love it. Thanks for posting the lyrics.

Corinth

Some elaboration:

Corinth was a major city of the Roman Empire, at an important crossroads of trade and travel; it was also a city notorious for its hedonism and immorality.

i. Even in Paul’s day, Corinth was an ancient city. It was a commercial center with two harbors and a long rival to its northern neighbor, Athens. Corinth was a city with a remarkable reputation for loose living and especially sexual immorality. In classical Greek, to act like a Corinthian was to practice fornication, and a Corinthian companion was a prostitute. This sexual immorality was permitted under the extremely prevalent worship of Aphrodite (also known as Venus, the goddess of fertility and sexuality). In 146 BC, Corinth rebelled against Rome and was brutally destroyed by Roman armies. It lay in ruins for a century, until Julius Caesar rebuilt the city, and it quickly re-established its former position as a center for both trade and immorality of every sort.

ii. “It is significant that it was from this city that Paul wrote his Roman letter; and when one reads his description of Gentile corruption in that Roman letter, one has almost certainly a mirror of what he found in Corinth. (Romans 1:22-32)” (Morgan)

iii. One ancient writer described Corinth as a town where “none but the tough could survive.”

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/4418.htm

Corinth in Paul's day was a large and prosperous commercial city, one of the leading cities in Greece. It owed prosperity not only to the trade that flowed through it, but to several other factors as well. Corinth hosted the biennial Isthmian Games, which drew large crowds to the city. It a had the coveted status of a Roman colony and was the capital of the main province of Achaia (which is why the city's unbelieving Jews were able to bring Paul before the Roman governor, Gallio; Acts 18:12-17). Corinthian brass and pottery wares were famous throughout the Roman world.

But Corinth also had its dark side. A sizeable percentage of its population consisted of slaves, and it was a center of the slave trade. Corinth was such an immoral city that its name became a byword for sexual vice; the verb "to Corinthianize" meant to commit sexual immorality, and 'Corinthian girl" became a slang term for a prostitute.
http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/sf-2cor.htm

The Corinth of Paul's day was relatively new. The old Corinth (which
was famous and powerful in the days of the Peloponnesian War) was
burned in 146 B.C. by the Roman proconsul, L. Mummius. Because it was
a city devoted to the gods, a hundred years were required to pass
before the city could be rebuilt. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar rebuilt
the city, populated it with a colony of veterans and freedmen, and
named it Julia Corinthus. It soon became a very important commercial
center.

With a population of 400,000 and being a prominent center of commerce
in the Mediterranean world, it was a place for all sorts of vice. An
example of its immorality was found in the temple of Venus (Aphrodite),
which hosted 1000 priestesses dedicated to prostitution in the name of
religion. The city's close proximity to the city of Athens probably
added the problem of intellectualism. As noticed in the epistle, such
an environment had its effect upon the church in Corinth. It is
amazing that a church existed at all in such a city.

http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/1co/1co_00.htm

Acts 18:9-10

"Afraid" and "Speak" are in the "present imperative" - a command. Can be translated as below:

And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; -NASB

Now the Lord appears to him at night again, with a threefold command attached to a threefold promise, all expressed in biblical language (Deut 31:6; Josh 1:5; Is 41:10; 43:5; Jer 1:7-9):

Do not be afraid (literally, "Stop being afraid")/I am with you

Keep on speaking/No one is going to attack and harm you

Do not be (literally, "become") silent/Because I have many people in this city

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=5&source=1&seq=i.51.18.1

Apparently Paul was afraid - maybe as Bob said because success in preaching to Gentiles may intensify opposition. Maybe because Corinth was "such a tough town". Regardless the Lord gave Paul assurance that he would not be physically harmed. At this time it must be that Paul needed this to be a fearless and tireless preacher of the "Word".

Neat to know that the field is "white" for harvest, that hearts were softened, and people would be receptive to Paul's message. Whatever one's belief in "election" is, the verb construct is "present indicative" saying, 'I have (ongoing)many people.'

As before time when God knows the very number of the hairs on our head, God knows His people - and provides for them. In Corinth at this time - Paul is that provision.
======================================================
Gallio sets Precedent

In approaching the proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth are trying to stop Paul not only in Corinth, but also in the entire province (Achaia).

i. “If Gallio had accepted the Jewish charge and found Paul guilty of the alleged offense, provincial governors everywhere would have had a precedent, and Paul’s ministry would have been severely restricted. As it was, Gallio’s refusal to act in the matter was tantamount to the recognition of Christianity as a "religio licita” (Longenecker)

religio licita: Latin for "legal religion"

Julius Caser accorded this status (religio licita) to Judaism, and it is more than likely that Gallio - as other Romans (in government) thought - considered Christianity a branch of Judaism.

Around 60 A.D. this staus for Christianity changed as Rome realized it was a distinct religion from Judaism. Chrisitianity became an "illegal religion" and the persecutions started and grew in intensity.

Interesting how God works:

1) as a dispersed nation it was important For Judaism to have this protection - without it, it is doubtful the people or religion would have survived.

2) God took the church's biggest persecutor (Paul) and made him one of the early church's greatest evangelists. Avoiding elimination and ensuring growth.

3) Christianity's early status as a "legal religion" protected it from persecution (elimination) until a time where it had grown past "critical mass" (such a size that it would be impossible to eliminate).

oops -

The "legal religion" status was a Roman thing. It did not keep the Jews from trying to stop growth or from persecuting Christians.

And if Rome got involved it would be because of alleged "civil unrest", rebellion or something of that ilk.

While incidents of that did occur with Roman officials getting invovled - they were sporadic. It was not until the persecutions of (around) 60 A.D. and on - that persecution became widespread.

Re: comments made yesterday June 26th

Okay John and Roslyn I stand corrected. I am sorry that I shared the Einstein story in yesterdays comment section, with our group. I guess I need to stick to the bible and the study. The gentleman that E-mailed this story to me is someone I met online. He is a well meaning Christian man who is on disability. He was injured and almost died on the job. I think he has way too much time on his hands and is somewhat lonely. He attends church and does ministry work. I actually met him in Christian chat room #3. Not that I condon visiting chat rooms. Another avenue of fellowship. I would just to add, that I invited this friend to join our group because I know that I enjoy reading the word and value everyones comments. This is our chance to get to know each other and to fellowhip, even though this is the internet. I have learned so much from all of you. I respect your rebukes as well and understand your point.

Roslyn made a very good point when she said that our experience of God does defy all logic and principles of physics. Her comments really made me think.

I would just like to let the group know that, I am taking full resonsibilty for passing along this false (but interesting and amusing to some story) and will be be more carefull what I post. John thanks for the urban legend link. I read it and learned something. And thanks to you all for the heads up. Blessings....... Laura

2 Kings 10:32-12:21

Random thoughts or things that make me go, “Hmmm.”

Jehu: One can carry out the will of God, operate in obedience to God’s directions and command and still turn their backs on God. Activity and movement without momentum does not that someone is righteous. WE must wait around for the fruit to appear and then inspect it.

Athaliah: Many a time I get this strong unction that, the devil does his best recruiting on the “church bench.” Yet here we see that the best place to hide the future king was in the Temple. Athaliah never thought to look there because no one every whet there to worship anymore or she just had this “thing” about going inside the House of the Lord.
I also see from her that we have the propensity to demand of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves. Athaliah cried, “Treason,” when she saw Josiah being crowned king, yet she had treasonously killed off ever heir to the thrown, except Josiah seven years before. We cannot demand from others what we are unwilling to do ourselves. We become hypocrites.

The clergy of yesteryear had as much trouble keeping their hands out of the cookie jar as they do today. It was the “working class/blue collar” man that dealt honestly with the monies given to them to repair the Temple. The priests in charge of the collection could not be trusted to “take some of the money to repair the temple,” (II Kings 12:5). No matter what we think the preacher is or is not doing with the collection box, we are suppose to do what God tells us to do, give and do the work of the ministry.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

2Kings

Jehu

Twenty-eight years: This was a long reign, but notable only at its beginning. Jehu had the energy and influence to truly turn the nation back to God, but his half-commitment to God left that potential unfulfilled and points to a lack of any real relationship with God.

i. “We have no chronicles in which there is any thing farther spoken of this bad man. His reign was long, twenty-eight years; and yet we know nothing of it but the commencement.” (Clarke)

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1210.htm

But Jehosheba: This little-known woman had an important place in God’s plan of the ages. Through her courage and ingenuity, she preserved the royal line of David through which the Messiah would come. Evil people like Athaliah will begin their work, but God can always raise up a Jehosheba.

[Note: How many times do we see insignificant "players" play significant roles in God's plan.]

Joash

a. He brought out the king’s son: First the king’s son had to be revealed. No one could support him and he could not take his rightful throne until he was brought out before the people.

b. Put the crown on him: Next the king’s son had to be crowned. This was the public and official recognition of him as king.

c. And gave him the Testimony: The king’s son had to come with the Word of God. Joash appeared before the people holding the scrolls of God’s Word.

i. Deuteronomy 17:18 says that the king should have his own copy of the Scriptures. “This is the basis for the British custom of presenting the monarch with a copy of the Bible during the coronation service.” (Wiseman)

And all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down:

One reason the people resented this worship of Baal in Jerusalem so much was because according to 2 Chronicles 24:7, Athaliah had directed that sacred objects from the temple of the Lord be put into the temple of Baal: For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God, and had also presented all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord to the Baals.

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1211.htm

But Joash king of Judah took all the sacred objects dedicated by his fathers—Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, the kings of Judah—and the gifts he himself had dedicated and all the gold found in the treasuries of the temple of the LORD and of the royal palace, and he sent them to Hazael king of Aram, who then withdrew from Jerusalem. NIV

[Note: Once again a king in Israel (Judah here) did not go to God or trust in God, but thought he could buy safety (foreshadowing salvation???) with earthly treasures.]

There is no record of repentance on Joash’s part. He never came back to or fulfilled his bright early promise.....His servants arose and formed a conspiracy, and killed Joash: This is startling, and shows that the blessing of God long before vanished from the compromised king who began so well, but failed to finish well.
http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1212.htm


Sorry Laura,

I was not rebuking you. I thought you presented the email "as is" for our consumption. Having seen the story several times before (with various people said to be student), I thought I would do some checking up on the story.

The way I look at it, if you had not posted it 2,700 people would not have had the opportunity to see the thought provoking discussion, and be warned about going out and claiming "Einstein" said this to others.

If presented to a skeptic, they could attack the veracity of Einstein being the student, and ignore the point of the story. An easy diversionary tactic in a discussion.

That is the only reason I brought it up.

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