Acts 18


Reading Luke and Acts in 2020

Week 42  |  Acts 18

Acts 18 Reflections and Questions

By Tryphenia Speed

I went to college with the goal to become a teacher. I abandoned that idea after graduating college thinking I was too shy, and I needed to be a learner instead of a teacher. I accepted a position with the Federal Government because I was told I would be trained for the job thus I would be learning. It did not occur to me that I would have to share what I learned in some way. I now know, although I was shy, I was also afraid. I have encountered many persons and situations over the years. Some persons were like-minded and career-minded, some were encouragers and supporters, and others were in place to help guide me in the right way. But most of all I believe that through faith in God and standing on his promise He will be with me always; I am who I am today. He is still working on me and I am still on my journey.

In Act 18, Paul encountered persons on his journey to establish new churches and developed relationships which enable him to do his job. In Corinth, known for its immorality, he spent over 18 months seeking to establish churches. He lived with and worked with Aquila and Priscilla—Christian workers who moved from place to place seeking to help establish churches. They were tentmakers and this was Paul vocation as well. He joined himself with like-minded persons of faith who shared the same vocation and vision. Although he was a Pharisee, he understood Jewish customs and fit in well with Aquila and Priscilla.

I joined a church at one point in my life because of a friend. Someone who shared the same career as I did. But I could not forget the Methodist Church where I grew up. I returned to the Methodist Church having been encouraged on my journey by my friend and the studying of the word in this church.
Paul interacted with people in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to convince both Jews and Gentiles. Paul was doing his best to do his usual work in the synagogue, but he met with so much opposition that the work could not succeed. Even with the encouragement of Silas and Timothy’s arrival he still could not overcome the opposition. So, he shook the dust from his clothes as a sign that he would have no more to do with them (not even take any of their dust with him) and he left. I remember times in my life when I was frustrated and wanted to shake the dust and people off in protest to their response to me. I did not get the promotion I thought I deserved, and it was not because of my inability to do the job. I encountered disgruntled co-workers as well as clients. The expectations of those in-charge were too rigid, just to name a few of the many frustrations along the journey.  

Have you had times when you wanted to leave your situation? During my times of frustration, I wondered if should I have been a schoolteacher after all?

Paul’s work in the synagogue may have been frustrating, but it had not been fruitless. Titius, a Gentile who but worshiped the true God, allowed Paul to use his house as a teaching place, right next to the synagogue. The ruler of the synagogue, Crispus, had not opposed Paul. He continued to listen to Paul and was converted along with his family and many of the Corinthians.  Verses 9-10: One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.”  God was telling Paul to settle down and preach boldly, that God Himself will protect him from any harm. What a promise!

I believed that God promised Paul good Christian friends. He encouraged him to continue in his calling and assured him that He was in control and watching over him. God has made a promise to all of us, those who started out on a journey and end up on another, as well as those who are on the journey they started out with. We are not to be afraid but to be bold for He is always with us.

  • What are you doing to be bold for God? Identify a different place on a journey where you are being bold for the next five days.
  • Are there places that need improvement? What are they? 
Tryphenia Speed is president of the North Georgia Conference United Methodist Women.