Daily Word

Switch ministry focus | Acts 18:5-11

5 And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”

7 Then he left and went to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized.

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10 For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” 11 So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God.

Acts 18:5-11 (NLT) 中文


Paul and Silas are finishing up the 2nd missionary journey. After visiting a few of the churches from the first missionary journey, 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, saw a few converts, then headed to Corinth where he made tents with Aquila and Priscilla…and shared in the synagogue.

Sharpen focus

While Paul had been waiting for Silas and Timothy to come, he was working as a tent-maker. He was also reaching out to Jews and Gentiles in the synagogue. Now that they’re here, he focuses on preaching the word. I guess maybe Silas and Timothy worked to cover expenses. 

Poor reception

But many of the jews in the synagogue didn’t receive Paul and his teaching; they opposed and insulted him. So Paul, “shook the dust from his clothing” or, “shook the dust off his feet”. “Shaking the dust off the feet is a symbolic indication that one has done all that can be done in a situation and therefore carries no further responsibility for it.” (gotquestions.org) Or we might say, “I’ve done all I can to help you. You’re on your own.” In frustration, he went to the Gentiles of the city.

Switch focus

So Paul switches focus from the synagogue Jews to the Gentiles. He set up shop at the home of Titius, a believing Greek – who happened to live next to the synagogue. But in the process, the synagogue leader,  Crispus, came to faith – with his whole household! “He certainly did not forbid Jewish people from coming to Jesus; he merely switched the focus of his evangelism from the Jews to the Gentiles.” (enduringword.com) Others also believed and were baptized and the Corinthian church was planted.

Encouraging dream

In the midst of the rejection and change of focus, Jesus comes again to Paul in a vision (remember the road to Damascus vision – Acts 9:19) and encourages him. How? He gave Paul a promise to protect his life (but not from all trials). And, God gave Paul insight into His redemptive plan – “many people in this city belong to me”.


  • Sometimes, we hit what seem like dead ends in ministry. Paul thought he did, but after he switched focus, Jews believed – even the synagogue leader! God will work with us. Even if we get frustrated or disappointed and give up, He can still use us. But we must, like Paul, keep serving and doing the work of the gospel.
  • Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord knows our situation. And He will give us the encouragement we need – when we need it. Sometimes we just need to look for it. Are you discouraged or disappointed right now? Let the Lord know and look, in faith, for His provision. He will not leave us nor forsake us! (Hebrews 13:5)
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