EGW SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6


Chapter 18

1-3 (2 Corinthians 10:1, 7, 8; see EGW on Acts 20:17-35). The Apostles Counseled Over Methods of Labor—When Paul came to Corinth, he solicited work from Aquila. The apostles counseled and prayed together, and decided that they would preach the gospel as it should be preached, in disinterested love for the souls who were perishing for lack of knowledge. Paul would work at tentmaking, and teach his fellow laborers to work with their hands, so that in any emergency they could support themselves. Some of his ministering brethren presented such a course as inconsistent, saying that by so doing they would lose their influence as ministers of the gospel. The tenth chapter of Second Corinthians records the difficulties Paul had to contend with, and his vindication of his course. God had placed special honor upon Paul. He had given him his credentials, and had laid upon him weighty responsibility. And the apostle writes, “I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you,”—because he humbled himself to do mechanical work—“but being absent am bold toward you” [2 Corinthians 10:7, 8 quoted] (The Review and Herald, March 6, 1900). 6BC 1062.7

(Ch. 20:33, 34; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8.) Paul Resorted to His Trade—Paul ... abode with them [Aquila and Priscilla]; and having in his youth learned their trade of making tents, which were much used in that warm climate, he worked at this business for his own support.... 6BC 1062.8

Paul was highly educated, and was admired for his genius and eloquence. He was chosen by his countrymen as a member of the Sanhedrim, and was a rabbi of distinguished ability; yet his education had not been considered complete until he had served an apprenticeship at some useful trade. He rejoiced that he was able to support himself by manual labor, and frequently declared that his own hands had ministered to his necessities. While in a city of strangers, he would not be chargeable to anyone. When his means had been expended to advance the cause of Christ, he resorted to his trade in order to gain a livelihood (Sketches from the Life of Paul, 99, 100). 6BC 1063.1

Although feeble in health, he [Paul] labored during the day in serving the cause of Christ, and then toiled a large part of the night, and frequently all night, that he might provide for his own and others’ necessities (The Youth's Instructor, February 27, 1902). 6BC 1063.2

A Skilled Workman—Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, learned the trade of tentmaking. There were higher and lower branches of tentmaking. Paul learned the higher branches, and he could also work at the common branches when circumstances required. Tentmaking did not bring returns so quickly as some other occupations, and at times it was only by the strictest economy that Paul could supply his necessities (The Review and Herald, March 6, 1900). 6BC 1063.3

An Educator—Paul was an educator. He preached the gospel with his voice, and in his intelligent labor he preached it with his hands. He educated others in the same way in which he had been educated by one who was regarded as the wisest of human teachers. As Paul worked quickly and skillfully with his hands, he related to his fellow workers the specifications Christ had given Moses in regard to the building of the tabernacle. He showed them that the skill and wisdom and genius brought into that work were given by God to be used to His glory. He taught them that supreme honor is to be given to God (The Review and Herald, March 6, 1900). 6BC 1063.4

2 (ch. 8:4; Romans 1:7, 8). Opposition Did Not Silence Gospel—After the ascension of Christ, the apostles went everywhere preaching the Word. They bore witness to Christ's work as a teacher and healer. Their testimony in Jerusalem, in Rome, and in other places was positive and powerful. The Jews, who refused to receive the truth, could but acknowledge that a powerful influence attended Christ's followers, because the Holy Spirit accompanied them. This created greater opposition; but notwithstanding the opposition, twenty years after the crucifixion of Christ there was a live, earnest church in Rome. This church was strong and zealous, and the Lord worked for it. 6BC 1063.5

The envy and rage of the Jews against the Christians knew no bounds, and the unbelieving residents were constantly stirred up. They made complaints that the Christian Jews were disorderly, and dangerous to the public good. Constantly they were setting in motion something that would stir up strife. This caused the Christians to be banished from Rome. Among those banished, were Aquila and Priscilla, who went to Corinth, and there established a business as manufacturers of tents (The Review and Herald, March 6, 1900). 6BC 1063.6

24-26. Learned Apollos Instructed by Humble Tentmakers—Apollos ... had received the highest Grecian culture, and was a scholar and an orator.... Aquila and Priscilla listened to him, and saw that his teachings were defective. He had not a thorough knowledge of the mission of Christ, His resurrection and ascension, and of the work of His Spirit, the Comforter which He sent down to remain with His people during His absence. They accordingly sent for Apollos, and the educated orator received instruction from them with grateful surprise and joy. Through their teachings he obtained a clearer understanding of the Scriptures, and became one of the ablest defenders of the Christian church. Thus a thorough scholar and brilliant orator learned the way of the Lord more perfectly from the teachings of a Christian man and woman whose humble employment was that of tentmaking (Sketches from the Life of Paul, 119). 6BC 1063.7