New Defender's Study Bible Notes
18:1 Corinth. Corinth was a very prosperous and very immoral commercial center occupying the entire width of the isthmus just south of Athens. It had a large Jewish colony and, as usual, Paul went first to the chief synagogue, where he preached Christ to its Jews and God-fearing Greek communicants.
18:2 Priscilla. Priscilla and Aquila had apparently become Christian believers while in Rome (note Romans 16:3).
18:3 occupation. Paul, in accordance with the practice of many of the Jewish scribes and rabbis, normally tried to provide his own material needs in order not to give occasion for complaint by the churches where he was ministering (note Acts 20:34; I Corinthians 4:12; I Thessalonians 2:9; II Thessalonians 3:8).
18:10 much people. Many Corinthians did, indeed, accept Christ during the year and a half that Paul preached there (Acts 18:11). It is significant, however, that the Lord already knew them and regarded them as His own people, even before they became believers. Although they eventually believed on Christ as a free choice by their own wills, the Lord had already prepared them to do this through their circumstances and by the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit (note John 16:7-11; Acts 13:48; Galatians 1:15; etc.).
18:12 Gallio. Gallio’s name, as proconsul of Achaia, has actually been found on an inscription at Delphi in Central Greece. He was a son of the famous rhetorician Lucius Junius Gallio and brother of the equally famous philosopher Seneca, and was appointed proconsul of Achaia by the emperor Claudius about A.D. 51. Corinth was the capital of Achaia, which included southern Greece, south of Macedonia.
18:17 Sosthenes. Sosthenes evidently became a Christian believer, for he later joined with Paul in addressing the first epistle to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 1:1). He had succeeded Crispus, who had also become a Christian, as chief ruler of the synagogue (Acts 18:8). When Gallio summarily rejected the Jews’ complaint against Paul (Acts 18:16), it gave the pagan Greeks an excuse to vent their anti-Jewish hostility in beating Sosthenes. Perhaps this experience contributed to his later conversion.
18:18 shorn his head. For some reason, Paul had apparently taken a Nazarite vow, not cutting his hair until the duration of the vow was finished. Possibly it was a vow of thanks for God’s promise of protection (Acts 18:10). Although this was strictly a Jewish institution (Numbers 6), Paul often made an effort to retain his Jewish identity, hoping thereby to reach the Jews more effectively (note I Corinthians 9:19-20; Acts 16:3; 21:18-26).
18:25 This man was instructed. Apollos is said to have been “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in the Spirit” (undoubtedly referring to the indwelling Holy Spirit), “instructed in the way of the Lord” (directly or indirectly instructed by John the Baptist), and teaching “diligently the things of the Lord.” Even though he knew “only the baptism of John,” he had surely believed all that John had taught, and—like the disciples of John who became the first disciples of Christ—was “prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17), needing only the up-to-date instruction of Priscilla and Aquila to know “the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:26) and then to become a mighty preacher like Paul. There is no indication that he—unlike the disciples of John at Ephesus (see notes on Acts 19:1-7)—had to be rebaptized, for he had already accepted by faith the coming one as preached by John. He then went on to Corinth, in Achaia, and continued with great success the work begun there by Paul (Acts 18:27-28; see also I Corinthians 3:5-6).