An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 10 - Practical Truth - Page 112 of 277
Suetonius, a Latin historian, says that Claudius expelled the Jews from
Rome because of the tumults among them stirred up by one, Chrestus.  Whether
Chrestus was the actual name of some disturber of the peace, or, as some
believe, an ignorant misreading of the name Christ, cannot be determined.  We
know that there were pious Jews from Rome who heard Peter's message on the
day of Pentecost, just as there were Jews from Pontus, the birthplace of
Aquila.  Whatever the fact may be, one result of this edict was the migration
of Aquila to Corinth, and there the apostle found him.  There is nothing in
the narrative to suggest that Paul was acquainted with Aquila and sought him
out.  The narrative rather suggests that he looked for suitable shelter in
the Jewish quarter of Corinth, and that he was guided by the Lord unknown to
himself.  However, the narrative continues:
'And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought;
for by their occupation they were tentmakers' (Acts 18:3).
A harmful affectation sometimes assumed by those having a literary
bent, or who pose as scholars, is to boast of their uselessness in manual
work, as though inability to distinguish between chisel and screwdriver
enhanced their pose.  Paul needed no such pretension to bolster up his
dignity.  He was as great while stitching his leather tents as when he wrote
Ephesians, for in both he was doing the will of the Lord.  It is written in
the Talmud:
'What is commanded of a father towards his son?
To circumcise him, to
teach him the law, to teach him a trade'.
Gamaliel said:
'He that hath a trade in his hand, to what is he like?
He is like a
vineyard that is fenced'.
There are several references by Paul in his writings to the fact that
he supported himself by his own manual labour.  He did so at Ephesus (Acts
20:34), at Corinth (1 Cor. 9:12; 2 Cor. 7:2); and Thessalonica (1 Thess. 2:9;
2 Thess. 3:8).  No doubt these are but typical instances of his habit.
Because cilicium, a hair cloth, was in common use at the time, it has
been assumed that the tents made by Aquila and Paul must of necessity have
been of goats' hair.  Chrysostom, however, who was born at Antioch, and died
in a.d. 407, says on this subject:
'St. Paul, after working miracles, stood in his workshop at Corinth,
and stitched hides of leather together with his own hands, and the
angels regarded him with love, and the devils with fear'.
We may be excused a thrill upon reading this, as we too in our early years
learned and practised leather craft.  We find that after maintaining a
witness at Corinth extending over a period of eighteen months, Paul set sail
for Syria, Priscilla and Aquila accompanying him.  On the journey they
touched at Ephesus and there Paul parted from Aquila for
a time (Acts 18:18 -28).  It was at Ephesus that these two companions of Paul
did such splendid service in that they took Apollos with them and expounded
unto him the way of God more perfectly.  The apostle mentions these
companions in three epistles: