Daily Word

Tent making missions | Acts 18:1-4

1 After these events Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, 3 and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them, and they worked together, for they were tent-makers by trade. 4 And Paul was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Acts 18:1-4 (NASB) 中文


Paul and Silas are finishing up the 2nd missionary journey. They first visited a few of the churches from the first missionary journey. Then God directed Paul and Silas to new territory in Macedonia, modern-day Europe. In Thessalonica and Berea, the replay button is pressed and they’re kicked out of town. In Athens, while waiting for Silas and Timothy, Paul shared the good news in the synagogue and then in the market. He’s just given a 2-minute gospel presentation to their city elders. A few believed; others wanted to philosophize more.


And it seems that Paul didn’t want to continue to just talk about philosophy if it wouldn’t lead to salvation. This may be the reason he didn’t seem to stick around Athens too long and headed to Corinth. “Corinth was significant in the ancient Roman world because of its geography, its wealth, and its regional influence… Corinth was the capital of the Roman province of Achaia and was situated on the Isthmus of Corinth, and about 40 miles west of Athens in Greece.” (gotquestions.org)


Paul planned to be in Corinth for a while so he found Aquilla and his wife who were Jewish tent-makers and started working with them. While he worked, he also, per his MO, went to the synagogues to reason with the Jews and believing Gentiles there.

This has become a model for missions. Respond to a call to go to a people or area by raising prayer support and maybe some financial support. But the majority of your living expenses are covered from working in the field. And the work environment becomes part of the mission field.

Jewish persecution

Though it’s not the main point of the passage, in light of modern-day events, it’s important to note that Jewish people have been persecuted throughout the centuries. In verse two we see, “Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.” Jews are probably the most persecuted people of all time. We should also realize much of the persecution came from people who identified as Christians. 


  • “Just as Paul was an ambassador of Christ to the Corinthians, we can be His ambassadors in our world, imploring people ‘on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:20–21).’” (gotquestions.org)
  • Are we as focused in our work as Paul was? Remember he was sent as a missionary / evangelist / church planter. It seems he didn’t expect too much fruit from continued philosophical discussions so left Athens. We do well to abide in the Lord (John 15:4-11) and keep trusting Him to direct our steps (Prov 3:5-6). Be prepared to shift fields as He directs.
Bedouin tent setup in Abu Dhabi dessert. Image from rhitents.com *

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