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I Will Be With You (Acts 18:9-18)

Submitted by on Friday, 22 May 2009No Comment


The account of Paul’s sojourn in Corinth continues in Acts 18:9ff. He stays there for a year and a half teaching the word of God (v.11). This is due to a vision that Paul received at night where the Lord tells him:

Do not fear
but speak and do not be quiet
Because I will be with you
and no one will set himself against you
	so as to harm you
Indeed, the people on my side in this city
	are many

Throughout the Acts until now, advances in the growth of the Church have been preceded by visions. We’ve seen this in the case of Ananias’ vision about Paul (9:10ff) and also about Peter’s vision about the unclean food (10:3ff), and the call to Macedonia (16:9). In the vision, Paul is commanded to “speak and not be quiet (or “silenced”)”. Hostility has been shown him because of his teachings about the Messiah, and we know that the hostility can become physically violent (see v.17, and the previous cases in other places.) The command to speak is framed by “Do not fear … I will be with you.” The assurance is from the Risen and Exalted Lord who has chosen Paul “to bring my Name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). He who has been chosen will not be left alone by the one who chose him. The Lord’s “I will be with you” echoes the promise in Matthew 28, but here, the promise is for a collective and is very similar to the assurance Yahweh gives Israel through the prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah’s Book of Consolation).

It is not possible for everyone to go to Corinth

It is not possible for everyone to go to Corinth

For Paul, the “I will be with you” is similar to the promise given to Joshua (Joshua 1:9) and to Jeremiah (1:8.19): the one to take care of Israel as they enter the Promised Land, and the other, the prophet who will announce the destruction of sinful Judah and its future restoration in righteousness. There is also something special in this “I will be with you” — it includes the assurance that the Lord’s own is going to support Paul. The Greek phrase used here literally goes “the people — the Greek laos is used — who are mine/at my side in this city are many”. The reference here is not to the Church since Paul will be consolidating it for the next year and a half, but to “men and women of good will” already mentioned by the angels at Jesus’ birth. These would be made up of both Jews and Gentiles who will be sympathetic to the cause of the apostle because even though they do not know it, they already belong to the Lord. The word laos, “people” is normally used in reference to Israel; here is one case where the extension of the term is widened. The first example given is Gallio who refused to hear the accussations of the Jews against Paul. That Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half also indicates how many supported Paul. Corinth is a city that had a prohibitive cost of living among the cities in Greece. Cost of living was so high that Horace is quoted to have said: “Non licet omnibus adire Corinthum” — It is not possible for everyone to go to Corinth. Paul supported himself there while working as a tentmaker. But support could also have come from from the kindness of the people around him.

Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia

The Universal Church celebrates the memorial of St. Rita of Cascia today; the Order of St. Augustine celebrates her feast. She is numbered among the Religious, for so she is. I wonder whether it is known that before she became a nun, she was first a wife and a mother. Below are some webpages dedicated to her

Acts 18:9
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
9And the Lord said to Paul in the nights, by a vision: Do not fear, but speak; and hold not thy peace,
Acts 9:15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
15And the Lord said to him: Go thy way; for this man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
Joshua 1:9
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
9Behold I command thee, take courage, and be strong. Fear not and be not dismayed: because the Lord thy God is with thee in all things whatsoever thou shalt go to.

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