What does Acts 18:9 mean?
ESV: And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,
NIV: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: 'Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.
NASB: And the Lord said to Paul by a vision at night, 'Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;
CSB: The Lord said to Paul in a night vision, "Don't be afraid, but keep on speaking and don't be silent.
NLT: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, 'Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!
KJV: Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
NKJV: Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;
Verse Commentary:
This is a significant change in Paul's ministry. Although he spent years in his home base of Syrian Antioch, his missionary trips have been very transient. Luke doesn't tell us how long he spends at each city, but it's certainly no more than a few months.

Now, he is in Corinth, a pagan city known for pervasive sexual sin. So pervasive, in fact, that a Greek term for fornication, korinthiazomai, is derived from the name of the city. Paul has left the synagogue—and the protection of Judaism—and is meeting next door at the home of a Gentile who had attended the synagogue and now follows Jesus (Acts 18:6–7). Typically, by this point, the Jews in the synagogue would be convincing the prominent Gentiles of the city to force Paul out—or worse.

This time, however, God wants Paul to stay for a while. The people of the church in Corinth will need a lot of guidance. After Paul spends eighteen months establishing the church, Apollos will come and build on Paul's foundation (Acts 18:10–11; 1 Corinthians 3:6, 10). Paul will write four letters to the Corinthians, two of which we have as part of preserved Scripture. They show the Jesus-followers need significant help learning how to live godly lives.

Jesus appears to Paul in visions several times during his ministry. First at his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:5), then when he returns to Jerusalem (Acts 22:17–18). In Troas, Paul has a vision telling him to go to Macedonia (Acts 16:9). After his arrest in Jerusalem, Jesus will reassure him that he will go to Rome (Acts 23:11). We should not expect the same type of interaction with Jesus that Paul experienced. The beginning years of the church, as the message of Jesus' offer of forgiveness spread, required a lot of direct guidance. Now, God primarily speaks to us through the Bible.
Verse Context:
Acts 18:5–11 describes Paul in Corinth, making tents with Priscilla and Aquila. He is waiting for Silas and Timothy to arrive from Macedonia (Acts 18:1–3). Once they come, Paul can spend more time teaching about Jesus. As usual, the synagogue eventually rejects him, and he moves to the home of a Gentile God-fearer to continue his work. Despite the harassment of the unbelieving Jews, Jesus gives Paul a message that he is to stay in Corinth, which he does for eighteen months. Even when the Jews bring him to court, the proconsul will reject their charges as irrelevant religious squabbles (Acts 18:12–17).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 18 recounts the end of Paul's second missionary journey. He leaves Athens for Corinth, in southern Greece, and works with Priscilla and Aquila as a tentmaker until Silas and Timothy rejoin him. The team stays eighteen months with no significant pressure. Eventually, Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila sail east to Ephesus. Paul leaves a short time later for Judea and Syrian Antioch before returning to Galatia for his third missionary journey. Meanwhile, Priscilla and Aquilla host the church in Ephesus and train a talented speaker named Apollos to be a minister of Christ.
Chapter Context:
Acts 18 covers the last half of Paul's second missionary journey and the first part of the third. He and his team have traveled down the east coast of Macedonia and Greece to Corinth (Acts 17) where they will spend eighteen months. Paul will stop briefly in Ephesus on their way back to Judea before visiting Jerusalem and Syrian Antioch. From there, Paul will return to Galatia in modern-day Asia Minor before returning to Ephesus for an extended stay (Acts 19). He will revisit the churches in Macedonia and Greece before facing arrest in Jerusalem (Acts 21).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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