Scripture Reading: Acts 18:23—19:20

In 18:19-21 Paul made a short visit to the strategic city of Ephesus. When he took leave of them he said, “I will come back to you again, God willing” (v. 21). As we shall see, on his third ministry journey (18:23—21:17), Paul returned to Ephesus and stayed there for three years (18:24—19:41).

Acts 18:23 says, “And having spent some time there, he went off, passing through the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, establishing all the disciples.” This was the start of Paul’s third ministry journey, which ended in 21:17.


Instructed in the Way of the Lord
but Knowing Only the Baptism of John

Acts 18:24 and 25 say, “And a certain Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent man, arrived at Ephesus, and he was powerful in the Scriptures. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John.” In verse 25 “the way of the Lord” is not the doctrine concerning the Lord, but the practical way in which the New Testament believers should walk.

According to 18:25, Apollos knew only the baptism of John. This indicates that Apollos did not have a complete revelation of God’s New Testament economy, although he was instructed in the way of the Lord. Hence, there was a deficiency in the result of his ministry (19:2).

Verse 26 continues, “And this man began to speak boldly in the synagogue. And when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him to themselves and expounded the way of God to him more accurately.” In Acts “the way” (9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22) denotes the Lord’s full salvation in God’s New Testament economy. It is the way God dispenses Himself into the believers through Christ’s redemption and the Spirit’s anointing; it is the way the believers partake of God and enjoy God; it is the way the believers worship God in their spirit by enjoying Him and follow the persecuted Jesus by being one with Him; and it is the way the believers are brought into the church and built up into the Body of Christ to bear the testimony of Jesus.

Helping the Believers through Grace

Acts 18:27 and 28 go on to say, “And when he intended to pass through into Achaia, the brothers wrote, urging the disciples to welcome him; and when he arrived, he helped much through grace those who had believed; for he vigorously confuted the Jews publicly, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.” Literally, the Greek words rendered “grace” in verse 27 mean “the grace,” indicating the particular grace which Apollos enjoyed in the Lord. This grace is just God Himself in Christ as the portion to the believers in Christ. As we have pointed out elsewhere, this grace is the resurrected Christ becoming the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) to bring the processed God in resurrection into us to be our life and life supply so that we may live in resurrection. Therefore, grace is the Triune God becoming life and everything to us.