12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, 13 saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. 15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” 16 And he drove them from the tribunal. 17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this. (Acts 18:12-17 (ESV)
A year and a half passed. We know Gallio as the older brother of the famous Roman Philosopher Seneca. We also know that he became proconsul in Achaia in 52. Corinth was the capital of this province. This is one of those things that allows us to date Paul’s work with quite a bit of accuracy.
But now when he becomes proconsul the Jews decide they have a chance to make a united effort and silence Paul. Gallio seems to have taken some of his younger brother’s wisdom though, and really could careless to hear the complaint. However in order to keep the peace, he doesn’t pay any attention as the disappointed crowd beats Sosthenes. Paul doesn’t get a chance to speak at this time but he will have his day in court soon enough.
The Jews complain that Paul is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law. This wouldn’t be anything against Roman law, not yet. .. The Jews had special permission to carry on with their customs and worship and refrain from worshiping Roman gods, or the emperor which would otherwise be considered impious. But the thing that bothered the Jews was the worship of Jesus who was a man. For them this was against the Torah, the law they speak of. The only problem is that Jesus is God. And deserves to be worshiped as such. He is the one who died and rose from the dead for our salvation. And the whole gospel is tied together with him being God.