Thursday, May 23, 2013

Church of Christ Crucified in Corinth Corrupt City


Corinth was well situated for trade, and consequently very rich.  It is no wonder that, in its heathen state, it was exceedingly corrupt. Notwithstanding this, every part of the Grecian learning was highly cultivated here. Yet the inhabitants of it were as lascivious as they were learned.

Public prostitution formed a considerable part of their religion; and they were accustomed in their public prayers, to request the gods to multiply their prostitutes! and in order to express their gratitude to their deities for the favors they received, they bound themselves, by vows, to increase the number of such women; for commerce with them was neither esteemed sinful nor disgraceful.

So notorious was this city for such conduct, that the verb κορινθιαζεσθαι (korinthiazesthai), to corinthize, signified to act the prostitute. I mention these things the more particularly because they account for several things mentioned by the apostle in his letters to this city, and things which, without this knowledge of their previous Gentile state and customs, we could not comprehend.

It is true, as the apostle states, that they carried these things to an extent that was not practised in any other Gentile country. And yet, even in Corinth - the Gospel of Jesus Christ prevailing over universal corruption - there was founded a Christian Church!

The church in Corinth consisted principally of non-Jews (1 Corinthians 12:2). Paul had no intention at first of making the city a base of operations (Acts 18:1; Acts 16:9, 10); for he wished to return to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:17, 18). His plans were changed by a revelation (Acts 18:9, 10). The Lord commanded him to speak boldly, and he did so, remaining in the city eighteen months. Finding strong opposition in the synagogue he left the Jews and went to the Gentiles (Acts 18:6).

Nevertheless, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue and his household were believers and baptisms were numerous (Acts 18:8); but no Corinthians were baptized by Paul himself except Crispus, Gaius and some of the household of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:14, 16) "the firstfruits of Achaia" (1 Corinthians 16:15). One of these, Gaius, was Paul's host the next time he visited the city (Romans 16:23). Silas and Timothy, who had been left at Berea, came on to Corinth about 45 days after Paul's arrival. It was at this time that Paul wrote his first Epistle to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 3:6).

During Gallio's administration the Jews accused Paul, but the proconsul refused to allow the case to be brought to trial. This decision must have been looked upon with favor by a large majority of the Corinthians, who had a great dislike for the Jews (Acts 18:17). Paul became acquainted also with Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18, 26 Romans 16:3 2 Timothy 4:19), and later they accompanied him to Ephesus. Within a few years after Paul's first visit to Corinth the Christians had increased so rapidly that they made quite a large congregation, but it was composed mainly of the lower classes: they were neither ‘learned, influential, nor of noble birth’ (1 Corinthians 1:26).

Paul probably left Corinth to attend the celebration of the feast at Jerusalem (
Acts 18:21). Little is known of the history of the church in Corinth after his departure. Apollos came from Ephesus with a letter of recommendation to the brethren in Achaia (Acts 18:27 2 Corinthians 3:1); and he exercised a powerful influence (Acts 18:27, 28 1 Corinthians 1:12); and Paul came down later from Macedonia. His first letter to the Corinthians was written from Ephesus. Both Titus and Timothy were sent to Corinth from Ephesus (2 Corinthians 7:13, 15 1 Corinthians 4:17), and Timothy returned by land, meeting Paul in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 1:1), who visited Greece again in 56-57 or 57-58 A.D.

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