The unbelieving Jews were upset with Paul. Even the synagogue leader, Crispus and his family had become Christians. I sure in the mind of these Jews, they wanted Paul stopped. They devised a rather devious plan. They would take Paul to court and accuse him of breaking the Roman rules about religion.
Jews were considered a religio licita, or a legal religion. By this time, the Caesars were considered gods and were to be worshiped by citizens of the empire. Of course, Jews only worshipped the one true God and were allowed to pray “for” but not “to” the Caesar. If Christianity was a sect of Judaism, it would be a legal religion. But, if they could prove that Christianity was a different religion, then it would be prohibited by the laws of the Empire.
Acts 18: 14 Just as Paul was about to speak in his defense, Gallio interrupted and said, “Wait! If this involved some major crime or fraud, it would be my responsibility to hear the case. 15 But this is nothing more than a disagreement among yourselves over semantics and personalities and traditions of your own Jewish laws. Go and settle it yourselves! I refuse to be the judge of these issues.” 16 So Gallio dismissed them from the court.
Gallio, who was the brother of Nero’s tutor Seneca, refused to even hear the case. This would provide case law that affirmed that Christianity was part of Judaism and thus a legal religion. This ruling stood for more than 10 years and allowed the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The plans of the unbelieving Jews backfired in a big way.
This favorable ruling also fulfills Paul’s vision. God did protect him, and Paul would be able to proclaim the word. We don’t know exactly when the court case happened during Paul’s stay in Corinth, but most likely towards the beginning. Paul’s stay in Corinth was the longest to date on any mission trip. He would not be chased out but leave on his own time.
Where has God given you favor from a usual source? Where has God answered your prayers in a surprising way? To hear more about the trial of Paul in Corinth, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere