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The Scriptorium

Settling In

Paul in Corinth. Acts 18.1-4

Corinth to Antioch (1)

Pray Psalm 25.4, 5.
Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;

On You I wait all the day.

Sing Psalm 25.4, 5.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

Read and meditate on Acts 18.1-4.

Preparation
1. Whom did Paul meet in Corinth?

2. What did he do with them?

Meditation
Paul’s strategy in Corinth marks a change in his approach to pursuing the ongoing work of Christ. Why did he decide to settle in with this man and woman and take up a “day job” in Corinth? Well, we don’t know, but we can assume the Lord was leading him in this way, as will be confirmed in v. 9.

Paul took up with Aquilla and Priscilla, joining them in their trade to support his work (vv. 2, 3). We note that God had providentially brought this couple to Corinth from Rome (v. 2), undoubtedly for the purpose of learning from and helping to provide for Paul. Paul continued in Corinth for 18 months, the longest he had stayed in one place to this point. He pursued his ministry in the synagogue week by week, and wherever else he could meet people, to reason with them, as time permitted (v. 4). God blessed him with converts from both the Jews and the Greeks (v. 4).

Tentmaking – bi-vocational work – is a reasonable option for Christians called to the ministry of the Word. But the fact that a man has other employment to support him in his ministry, does not excuse those who are served by his labors from helping to meet his needs (Gal. 6.6; cf. 1 Cor. 9.3-18). And the fact that others may have their work in a full-time occupation other than proclaiming the Word does not excuse them from being witnesses for the Lord (Acts 1.8).

Paul was committed to doing whatever was necessary to keep the ongoing work of Christ going forward (1 Cor. 9.19-23). The Corinthians – except for Priscilla and Aquila – were neither very hospitable nor generous where Paul was concerned. From his two epistles, we learn that they seem to have been an immature, contentious, and self-centered lot. But God kept Paul there for 18 months (v. 11).

The ongoing work of Christ is not always pleasant, but it is always ongoing.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul is training us to be faithful in all our endeavors by his example in Corinth. (Acts 18.3, 4).

It does not matter what job we are called to; what matters is that we are faithful to do the work in our Personal Mission Field, regardless of our field of endeavor.

“Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful…” (Ps. 31.23).
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things…” (Matt. 25.23).
“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much…” (Lk. 16.10).

Up to this point, Paul has had a rather dramatic life. First a tormenter and killer of Christians; then a tormented and outspoken Christian speaker and writer. Now, he is a tentmaker.

Paul’s enthusiasm for life never waned, regardless of his calling. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he took on the job of making tents with pride and sincerity. The conversations about the Lord Jesus between Aquila and Priscilla and Paul must have been fascinating and mind-expanding. The one-on-one teaching during the times of work must have been uplifting. We can almost hear the singing of hymns and the quoting of psalms and the discussions about the Sabbath reasoning in the synagogue.

And what a blessing this was for Aquila and Priscilla! They had been run out of their home in Rome by Claudius simply for being Jews (Acts 18.2), And now they were fellowshipping with Paul the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So often in hindsight, we can see the blessings God has planned for us, that have emanated from a sad and hard time in our lives. For these three souls it appears like a time of refreshing and restoration that God knew they all needed.

Paul’s ministry was taking place all day, every day. Not just on the Sabbath when he reasoned with the folks in the synagogue. Paul never got confused about where his Personal Mission Field was because it was everywhere. In the church, or the marketplace, speaking to crowds, or making a tent.

We need to learn this very thing from him. Our work as Christians takes place everywhere, too. We must be committed, as Paul was, to doing whatever is necessary to keep the ongoing work of Christ going forward!

Here are Paul’s words written back to the church in Corinth: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1Cor. 15.58).

For reflection

1. The work we’ve been given to do in God’s Kingdom is greater than the job at which we work. Explain. But it includes our job. Explain.

2. What will you do today to encourage and equip other disciples of Jesus who are in your Personal Mission Field?

3. Paul “reasoned” with unbelievers, but always from the Scriptures. What does that mean? How ready are you to do this work?

Paul, after countless journeys, despite such great wonders, stayed with a tentmaker and sewed skins. Angels honored him and demons trembled at him, and still he was not ashamed to say, “These same hands served my needs and those who were with me.”John Chrysostom (344-407), Catena on the Acts of the Apostles 18.3-5

Pray Psalm 25.6-10.
Thank God for His abundant lovingkindness toward you. Enumerate His blessings, mercy, and goodness to you. Seek His guidance for this day, that you may serve Him in truth and according to His covenant.

Sing Psalm 25.6-10.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
Remember mercy, Lord, and steadfast love to me!
And all my sins before You let them not remembered be!

My sins have been of old, Your love is new each day;
according to Your goodness, Lord, regard my sinful way.

Upright and good are You, You lead us in Your way;
the humble You instruct in truth and guide him day by day.

The paths of God are all of love and faithfulness;
all they who keep His covenant the Lord will surely bless.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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