Corinth and the Apostle Paul

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The Grecian city of Corinth, located on a narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, is about 48 miles west of Athens. Its history goes back at least as far as 900 B.C. Myth states that the city was founded by Corinthos, a descendant of the Sun god Helios.

Starting in the 5th century B.C., the advantageous location of Corinth on an Isthmus soon made it a very wealthy city. Its three excellent harbors made it ideal to handle commercial traffic on both the western and eastern seas. Its riches eventually rivaled those of Athens.

After fighting a few wars over the years the Corinth city-state was controlled by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. The city was destroyed by the Romans in the battle in 146 B.C. and was rebuilt about a century later. Under the Romans Corinth became the seat of government for Southern Greece or Achaia.

At its peak, Corinth was known not only for its riches but also for its painters and its unique architecture. Building columns created in the Corinthian style were some of the most ornate in the ancient world.

Pagan temple ruins in Corinth
Pagan temple ruins in Corinth

Sadly, Corinth was also known for its vices. Immorality and sexual sins were rampant, in part, due to a pagan temple within the city limits that was dedicated to the pagan goddess Venus (i.e. it was dedicated to lust). The temple's illicit services employed more than 1,000+ women as prostitutes whom they referred to as "priestesses."

During his second missionary journey, in the summer of 50 A.D., the apostle Paul leaves Athens and travels to the city. In it he meets Priscilla and Aquila, a couple who will greatly aid him in his ministry. When they discover Paul is a tent maker like themselves they let him stay in their home.

Now after these things, Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth; And there he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with Priscilla his wife (because Claudius had ordered all the Jews out of Rome). And he came to their house. And because he was of the same trade, he dwelt with them and worked; for they were tent makers by trade. (Acts 18:1 - 3, HBFV)

Paul's friends and fellow evangelists Silas and Timothy join him in Corinth. He preaches the gospel every Sabbath until he leaves the city around Autumn of 52 A.D. Paul revisits the city in 58 A.D. during his third missionary journey (see Acts 20:1 - 3). He writes at least two letters to the church in the city (in late winter of 56 and another in the late summer of 57).

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