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Events in the Life of Paul according to "Acts of the Apostles"

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The apostle Paul first visited Corinth in AD 51 or 52, when Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul. Paul resided here for eighteen months (see Acts 18:1-18). Here he first became acquainted with Aquila and Priscilla, and soon after his departure Apollos came from Ephesus.

Paul visited Corinth for a "second benefit" (see 2 Corinthians 1:15), and remained for three months, according to Acts 20:3. During this second visit in the spring of 58 it is likely the Epistle to the Romans was written.

Paul also wrote two of his epistles to the Christian community at Corinth, the First Epistle to the Corinthians and the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. The first Epistle reflects the difficulties of maintaining a Christian community in such a cosmopolitan city.



Corinth, once a great and prosperous Greek seaport city of ancient times, rose and fell and faced total destruction by a great world power (See Roman Republic) until it was somewhat restored to its former glory by one of the leaders of that power. The city resumed its old habits involving sexual immorality, paganism and idolatry, and general corruption-things that would later pose a threat to those seeking salvation from the good news about Christ. For this was a time when the saving gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was starting to be preached in the known world for all to hear. The Apostle Paul, as led by the Holy Spirit, was sent there to found a church and bring its diverse population of slaves, Jews, Gentile, rich and poor into the unity of the Spirit through the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order that they, like many before them, might be saved.

Corinth, at one time the largest city in Greece - sat astride [with one leg on each side] the Isthmus [narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas] of Corinth [This was a narrow stretch of land that linked the Pelopennesus [southern Greece] to the mainland of Greece. Civilization on Corinth can be traced back to 3000 BC, and perhaps even further. Corinth was founded around 900 BC, however, and reached its peak around 700 BC. In spite of its great wealth, it was beset with those things that are typical of large and prosperous cities of that time such as pagan cults and great moral depravity.


Greek Orthodox Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Corinth

It's Rise and Fall[]

Corinth's rise to power and wealth is attributed to its strategic location. Being poised between two important waterways, it became the vital seaport for trade and commerce. As a result, it became rich, famous and powerful. To secure it protection, a fortress or citadel was built to guard the city.

Corinth's downfall came during the Battle of Corinth. This was a battle fought between the Roman Republic [1] [2] the Greek state of Corinth and its allies in the Achaean League, in 146 BC. The outcome was the complete and total destruction of the state of The Romans killed the men and sold the women and children into slavery. Some of the wealthier families escaped to the island of Delos. For the next 100 years, only a handful of squatters occupied the site.

[3] (See Also [4]) The Romans came against Corinth when it had put up a resistance to them while they ere trying to disband the Achaean League - and they retaliated severely. Julius Caesar, however, sought to restore the city to some of its former glory in 44-46 B.C, reviving the old Hellenistic traditions of learning and its varuous cult practices of paganism and idolatry. He named the city "Colonia Laus Julia Corinthiensis," and populated it with conscripted Italian, Greek, Syrian, Egyptian and Judean freed slaves. [This was its condition when the apostle Paul visited it in or around AD 51.]

Centuries later, Corinth was again laid waste by the invading Goths around AD 395, and by an earthquake in AD 521.

Reminders of what Old Corinth was like can be seen in its ruins. Only traces of the marketplace, fountains, the temple of Apollo, and a Roman amphitheater can now be found. [5]


Ancient Corinth, Apollo temple

The Apostle Paul and the Church of Corinth[]

His Initial Visit[]

When the Apostle Paul was led to found the Church of Corinth in AD 52, the city was under Roman rule and steeped in the traditional Hellenism of the past. It was also, as mentioned earlier, a very diverse community of Italians, Greeks, Jews, etc. - slaves and free men.(Also see[6])

Acts 18:1-5 provides information concerning Paul's initial visit to Corinth. Here, it reads:

"1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ." [7]

We learn from scripture that the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive to him. As a result, he went to the Gentiles [See Acts 18:6].

The supporting verse in Acts 18:9-10 says:

"7Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized" (Acts 18:7-8).

The Lord, in response to Paul's abuse, came to him and comforted him, saying, "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city" (Acts 18:9-10). [8]

We learn further from scripture that the Apostle resided in Corinth for eighteen months teaching them the word of God. Here he first became acquainted with Aquila and Priscilla, devoted Christians who were close to the Apostle. They and the Apostle Paul shared in the job of tent-making.

The Church's Transgressions[]

The Church of Corinth, needless to say, was negatively impacted by the corrupt religious and sexual practices going on around them. Although gifted and blessed in many ways by God and Christ, [9], some of the brothers and sisters had still succumbed to these evil influences. The church was found to be engaging in practices that were contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ, and some were even distorting His message about the resurrection from the dead. This matter was reported to Paul by concerned brethren from the Church. Paul responded to this problem mainly through his epistles, making it is heart-felt objective to get the church back on the right footing with the Lord.

Paul's Message to the Corinthian Church[]

Paul's reaction to the transgressions at the church was swift and earnest. After informing the parishioners how they had been enriched by Christ, he offered sound advice on Christian doctrine and church discipline. He also gave them encouragement. [2]

First Corinthians[]

In his first epistle to the Corinthians [1 Corinthians], he addressed the immediate problems at hand. From the testimonies of others, Paul learned that there were moral irregularities, (chs. 5–6), incest, believers taking other believers to the pagan courts to seek justice, members eating foods sacrificed to idols, women refusing to cover the head in worship when in the company of men; parishioners abusing the Lord's Supper by refusing to eat or share meals with others, divisions in the church, disbelief by some in the resurrection of the dead and the questioning by them on how are the dead raised.


Below are some of the topics that Paul discussed in his epistle to the congregation at Corinth, along with their scriptural references:

  • For Leaders

"2 Now it is required that those [leaders] who have been given a trust must prove faithful." (1 Corinthinas 4:2)

  • On Sexual Immorality

Each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband." (1 Corinthians 7:2) "4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man [the one practicing sexual immorality with his father's wife] over to Satan for the destruction of the sinful nature so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord"; "Your boasting (about such an act) is not good" (1 Corinthians 5:6) "Do not associate with sexually immoral people."(1 Corinthians 5:9) "You must not associate with any who claim to be fellow believers but are sexually immoral or greedy, idolaters or slanderers, drunkards or swindlers. With such persons do not even eat." (1 Corinthians 5:11) "Expel the wicked person [in this case, the man practicing incest] from among you." (1Corinthians 5:13) "The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." (1 Corinthians 6:12) "18 Flee from sexual immorality."(1 Corinthians 6:18)

  • On Christ's Teaching

"Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other." (1 Corinthians 4:6)

  • On Woman's Head Covering

"But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved." (1 Corinthians 11:3-5); " 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman." (1 Corinthians 11:11)

  • On Taking Believers to Pagan Courts

"…dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord's people?" (1 Corinthians 6:1)

  • On Eating Foods Sacrificed to Idols

"4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that "An idol is nothing at all in the world" and that "There is no God but one."(1 Corinthians 8:4) "6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." (1 Corinthians 8:6) "9 We should not test Christ, as some of them [the Israelites] did." (1 Corinthians 10:9) "Flee from idolatry." (1 Corinthians 10:14) "The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God." (1 Corinthians 10:20) "You cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons." (1 Corinthians 10:21)

  • On Stumbling Other Believers through Food

"13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall." (1 Corinthians 8:13)

"27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord."(1 Corinthians 11:27) Concerning the Eucharist supper, Paul writes "33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together." (1 Corinthians 11:33)[3]

  • On Church Unity, Gifts and Orderliness

"But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other..." (1 Corinthians 12:24 and 25) "1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy." (1 Corinthians 14:1) "40 But everything (pertaining to church procedures) should be done in a fitting and orderly way." (1 Corinthians 14:40)

  • On Christ and the Resurrection

The Resurrection of Christ: "3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance [a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, [b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.(1 Corinthians 15:3-7)

The Resurrection of the Dead: "17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But in this order: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death." (1 Corinthians 15:20-25)

The Resurrected Body: "When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Human beings have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another"(1 Corinthians 15:37-39); "42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: "The first Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man (Jesus Christ)." (1 Corinthians 15:38-49)

The Apostle Paul then wrote some personal requests and gave his final greetings. Near the close of his letter, he said, "13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).


The Severe Letter

After writing 1 Corinthians, Paul learned that certain men had come to Corinth and had presented themselves to the congregation as apostles. Paul further learned that 1 Corinthians was not achieving the desired results he wanted in the church. In addition, his integrity was being threatened due to these events. [10]

The Apostle was therefor moved to make a quick visit to Corinth (12:4; 13:1–2) to correct the situation there. This visit was painful for him, according to the letter, and did not accomplish its goal. When the Apostle Paul returned to Ephesus after the visit to Corinth, he wrote the Corinthians a severe letter and which is presumed by many to have been lost.

2 Corinthians

Second Corinthians was written in AD 55 and is held to have been written from Macedonia. It was addressed to the church in Corinth and to Christians throughout Achaia.

Although still deeply concerned about recent events at Corinth, [and despite the fact that the Lord had opened up an opportunity to preach the gospel at Troas], Paul said good-by to the believers there and moved on to Macedonia, where he met Titus. To his relief, the news that Titus had brought him from the Corinthian church was basically good. The severe letter had produced positive results (7:5–16). The report from Titus of the improved situation at Corinth prompted Paul to soon write 2 Corinthians. [11]


Noted below are some of the topics discussed by the Apostle in his second letter to the Corinthians:

  1. The comfort of God [Chapter 1]
  2. The greater glory of God's New Covenant in contrast to the Old Covenant [Chapter 3]
  3. The Resurrection Life of the Apostle "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. [Chapter 4]
  4. The ministry of reconciliation whereby God reconciled humanity to Himself through Christ's Blood [Chapter 5]
  5. Paul's great joy oover the church's repentance; He states, "10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation." [Chapter 7]
  6. Generosity is encouraged Paul sates how "12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God." [Chapter 9]
  7. Paul promise of one husband to the church who is Christ, so that he might present them as a pure virgin to him. [Chapter 11]
  8. Paul's necessary "thorn in the flesh" from the Lord - He states, "7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. "2 Corinthians 12:7-9 [Chapter 12]
  9. The things that mark an apostle; "12 The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance." [Chapter 12];
  10. His third visit to them in order to obtain, not possessions, but them. [Chapter 12]

He thus says, "I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged."

  1. Paul's final warning: "On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" [Chapter 13]
  2. Paul's Final Greetings - "11 Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you." [Chapter 13]


Romans is believed to have been written in the early spring of AD 57 or 58. The Apostle Paul was no doubt on his third missionary journey, ready to return to Jerusalem with the offering from the mission churches for poverty-stricken believers in Jerusalem. In Romans 15:26, it is suggested that Paul had already received contributions from the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, so he either was at Corinth or Cenchrea (about six miles away) because of references to Phoebe of Cenchrea and to Gaius.

Paul’s reasons for writing this letter varied. He wrote to prepare the way for his coming visit to Rome and his proposed mission to Spain (1:10–15; 15:22–29). He also wrote to show believers God's plan of salvation and to explain the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in God’s overall plan of redemption. As one source notes, "the Jewish Christians were being rejected by the larger Gentile group in the church because the Jewish believers still felt constrained to observe dietary laws and sacred days."

The main message in Romans is God’s plan of salvation and his desire for righteousness for all people - Jews and Gentiles. This righteousness from God has as its main component, faith[12] [4] (Also See Law Covenant Exodus 24:4-8).

In regards to the content of this book, Paul begins by looking at the spiritual condition of all people and noting how all are sinners, he mentions the salvation that God has wrought through His Son Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross. Again, it is a provision that can only be received by faith (See Abrahamic Covenant).Paul then explains how believers are freed from sin, law and death due to the the provision made by God whereby they are placed in union with Christ in both death and resurrection, and by the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Paul explains how Israel, "though presently in a state of unbelief, has a place in God’s sovereign redemptive plan." Now she consists of only a remnant, allowing for the conversion of the Gentiles, but the time will come when “all Israel will be saved” The letter end with Paul appealing to the readers to work out their Christian faith in practical ways, both in the church and in the world at large.

First Thessalonians

First Thessalonians is the Apostle Paul's earliest [canon]]ical letter (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2, 6). It was written from Corinth in about AD 51 -52. Sources conclude that it was written from Corinth, and not from Athens, because Silas and Timothy had already rejoined Paul (1 Thessalonians 1:1 and Acts 18:5). The purpose for writing First Thessalonians was to encourage the new converts in their persecution trials (3:3–5) since they had been left with little support when the Apostle Paul had to leave abruptly after a short stay there. It was also written to give instruction concerning godly living (4:1–12), and to give assurance concerning the future of believers who die before Christ returns (4:13–18. (Also see Acts 17:5–10) This epistle deals with the subject of eschatology (2 : of or relating to the end of the world or the events associated with it). Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians ends with a reference to the second coming of Christ, with chapter 4 giving it major consideration (1:9–10; 2:19–20; 3:13; 4:13–18; 5:23–24).

Second Thessalonians

Second Thessalonians was also written from Corinth soon after the first letter to them. Silas was with Paul when Second Thessalonians was written. After Paul left Corinth, there is no further mention of Silas traveling with Paul.

[The two Thessalonian letters are often designated as the eschatological letters of Paul.]

The Apostle's aim in writing 2 Thessalonians is very much the same as in his first letter to them. He writes (1) to encourage persecuted believers (1:4–10), (2) to correct a misunderstanding concerning the Lord’s return (2:1–12) and (3) to exhort the Thessalonians to be steadfast and to work for a living (2:13—3:15). Like 1 Thessalonians, this letter deals extensively with eschatology.

Corinth Today[]

Corinth Isthmus

Isthmus of Corinth

Corinth (kŏr`ĭnth) or Kórinthos (kô`rĭnthôs), capital of Corinth prefecture, S Greece, in the NE Peloponnesus, on the Gulf of Corinth. It is a port and major transportation center trading in olives, tobacco, raisins, and wine. Founded in 1858 after the destruction of Old Corinth by an earthquake, it was rebuilt after another earthquake in 1928. It formerly was known as New Corinth. Old Corinth, just southwest of modern Corinth, is now a village. [13]


A group of tourists to Corinth wrote: "What finally killed ancient Corinth was the earthquakes, but it has been extensively excavated. The museum contains many intriguing artifacts found there, e.g., a room of items used in healing ceremonies and a room of sculptures, including the beautiful Corinth sphinx and a portrait of the young Nero. It was quite interesting, but seemed a bit run down compared to the museum at Delphi. Outside, one sees acres of building and pavement stones, the arrangement of which make sense only after looking at a map of the area. We saw the well known synagogue lintel inscription, but learned later that it cannot be dated precisely. On one edge of the forum or agora was the famous "Bema" on which the Roman proconsul would hold court and where "Pastor Bob" read the account of Paul's appearance before Gallio" (Acts 18:12-15). [14]

Notes and References:

  1. The Roman Republic was the phase of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a republican form of government; a period which began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, c. 510 BC, and lasted over 450 years until its subversion
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:7-10 reads "Now, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"[b]— 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit."
  3. The Agape feast was the Eucharistic celebration of the early Christians. While centered on the ritual of the bread and wine, it also included various other ritual elements, including elements of the Passover seder and of Mediterranean funerary banquets, also termed Agape Feasts. Agape is one of the Greek words for love, particularly applied to selfless love. Such meals were widespread, though not universal, in the early Christian world. This service was apparently a full meal, with each participant bringing a contribution to the meal according to their means. Perhaps predictably enough, it could at times deteriorate into merely an occasion for eating and drinking, or for ostentatious displays by the wealthier members of the community. This was criticized by St. Paul in the New Testament (cf. 1 Cor 11:20-22). Because of such abuses, and the increased ritualization of the feast the Agape gradually fell into disfavor, and after being subjected to various regulations and restrictions, it was definitively dropped by the Church between the 6th and 8th centuries. Many Christians, however, after celebrating the Eucharist, now routinely participate in a sharing of light refreshments and conversation in an informal ritual that is functionally an Agape. This post-Eucharistic gathering is often called "fellowship hour" or "coffee hour" and is regarded by many clergy as a particularly opportune time for engaging adults in Christian education.]
  4. "21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood…" [1]
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