Acts 18:3
(3) Because he was of the same craft.--The calling was one which St. Paul had probably learnt and practised in his native city, which was noted then, as now, for the rough goat's-hair fabrics known to the Romans, from the name of the province, as Cilicium ( = sack-cloth). The material was one used for the sails of ships and for tents, and on the whole, though some have supposed that leather was used for the latter, it seems more probable that this was the material which St. Paul worked at. It may be added that Pontus, from which Aquila came, was also famous for the same manufacture, the material in each case being furnished by the goats which fed upon the slopes of the Taurus, and the mountain ranges of that province. The fact that St. Paul had learnt this trade is not inconsistent with the comparative opulence suggested by his education both in boyhood at Tarsus and at the feet of Gamaliel in Jerusalem. The Rabbinic proverb, that "He who does not teach his son a trade, teaches him to be a thief," made such instruction almost universal. So the great Hillel was a carpenter. Here, it is clear, he took the course of working for his livelihood, as he had done at Thessalonica, that he might keep himself from the suspicion of self-interest in his work as a teacher (1Corinthians 9:15-19; 2Corinthians 11:7-13). Such was the beginning of his labours at Corinth. A new artisan was working for wages, or as a partner, probably the latter, as afterwards with Philemon (Philemon 1:17), in the workshop of the Jew, not as yet known to the outer world as more than a Jew, who had recently arrived in Corinth from Rome.

(3) We may add to this motive the principle on which St. Paul acted of being "all things to all men," and, therefore, as a Jew to Jews (1Corinthians 9:20). A Nazarite vow would testify to all his brethren by blood that he did not despise the Law himself nor teach other Jews to despise it. (See Notes on Acts 21:21-24.) Such a vow, involving, as it did, for a time a greater asceticism than that of common life, furnishes a link in the succession of thoughts in 1Corinthians 9:22-25, between the Apostle's being made "all things to all men" and his "keeping under his body, and bringing it into subjection."

Verse 3. - Trade for craft, A.V.; they wrought for (he) wrought, A.V. and T.R.; trade for occupation, A.V. (τέχνῃ). Of the same trade; ὁμότεχνον. This word occurs here only in the New Testament, but is of frequent use in Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Galen (Hobart, as before). Tent-makers; σκηνοποιοί, which is paraphrased by σκηοῥῤάφοι, tent-stitchers or tailors, by Chrysostom and Theodoret. Hug and others erroneously interpret it "makers of tent-cloth," from the fact that a certain kind of cloth made of goats' hair, called κιλίκιον, was manufactured in Paul's native country of Cilicia. But the fact of such manufacture would equally lead persons who were living in Cilicia to exercise the trade of making tents of the cloth so manufactured. St. Paul alludes to his manual labor in Acts 20:33-35; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8, 9.

18:1-6 Though Paul was entitled to support from the churches he planted, and from the people to whom he preached, yet he worked at his calling. An honest trade, by which a man may get his bread, is not to be looked upon with contempt by any. It was the custom of the Jews to bring up their children to some trade, though they gave them learning or estates. Paul was careful to prevent prejudices, even the most unreasonable. The love of Christ is the best bond of the saints; and the communings of the saints with each other, sweeten labour, contempt, and even persecution. Most of the Jews persisted in contradicting the gospel of Christ, and blasphemed. They would not believe themselves, and did all they could to keep others from believing. Paul hereupon left them. He did not give over his work; for though Israel be not gathered, Christ and his gospel shall be glorious. The Jews could not complain, for they had the first offer. When some oppose the gospel, we must turn to others. Grief that many persist in unbelief should not prevent gratitude for the conversion of some to Christ.And because he was of the same craft, Art, occupation, or trade:

he abode with them; in the same house in which they were:

and wrought; with his own hands, to support himself, for he was a stranger in this place; and as yet here was no church to minister to him; and when there was, he would take nothing of them, that the false teachers, who rose up among them, might not make any handle of it against him, and to the prejudice of the Gospel; though otherwise he thought it his just due to receive a maintenance from the churches; and insisted upon it as an ordination of Christ. He learned a trade whilst among the Jews, with whom it was common for their greatest doctors to be brought up to some trade or another; See Gill on Mark 6:3.

for by their occupation they were tent makers; either for the soldiers, and which were made of sack cloth of hair, or of leather, and of the skins of various animals (f), sewed together; hence the phrase, "sub pellibus", "under the skins", is used for to lie in tents (g): or those tents they made, were canopies made of linen, and other things, which were erected in the summer season to shade and screen from the heat of the sun; though others take them for a sort of tapestry, or hangings, which they made for theatres, palaces, and stately rooms; and according to the Syriac version, they were horses' trappings which they made: perhaps they were of the same occupation with Menedemus the philosopher, who was "a sewer of tents" (h).

(f) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 1. c. 12. (g) Caesar. Comment. l. 5. de Bello Africano. p. 471. Liv. Hist. l. 5. in principio. (h) Laert. Vit. Philosoph. l. 2. p. 172.

Acts 18:2
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