{9} And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, {10} for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” {11} And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. {12} But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribual. (Acts 18:9-12)

The Lord’s promise to protect Paul from attacks seems to be immediately broken. However, the translation has confused the situation. The NLT is clearer

{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 harm you because many people here in this city belong to me.” {11} So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God. {12} But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose in concerted action against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. (Acts 18:9-12 NLT)

The first occurrence of “attack” means to physically harm someone, while the second occurrence refers to an attempt to bring legal action against Paul and does not carry the sense of physical harm.

It is interesting to see why the Lord made this promise in the first place. Paul had travelled through Philippi where he had been flogged and imprisoned (Acts 16:22-24), Thessalonica where he had been run out of town by a riotous mob (Acts 17:5-10), and Berea where he once again escaped from the mob (Acts 17:13-14). By the time Paul reached Corinth, it seems he had become fearful of further attack. He hints of this in 1 Cor 2:3; 2 Cor 1:8–9; 2:12–13; 7:5–6; 12:7–10. It appears that Paul may even have stopped preaching as a result of these fears, and so needed the encouragement to continue the work to which he had been called.

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