The apostle Paul had arrived in the city of Corinth in the Roman province of Achaia (West-Central Greece) as a missionary around 50 AD and stayed there around two years. He began work as a tentmaker and began his preaching in the synagogue, eventually moving to the house of Gaius next door. In spite of opposition and difficulties a new church was and established. Paul then left Corinth and journeyed back to his sending Church in Antioch. He wrote this letter a few years later (AD 56) when staying with the Church at Ephesus.
WHAT WAS CORINTH LIKE?
Corinth was a large seaport of several hundred thousands of people. Brisk trade between Italy and Asia made it wealthy city, oratory and learning were highly prized and every few years the Isthmian games were held there. Like many seaports Corinth was an immoral city, and the term ‘Corinthian’ had become a by word for excess. Paul wrote the letter to the Romans when he was at Corinth- chapter 1 of that epistle is thought to be a description of what he saw. One of the causes for this was that Corinth was also famous for the worship of the Greek goddess Venus (Aphrodite). At the time Paul wrote there were over 1000 cult prostitutes associated with the Temple of Venus: a huge institutionalised sex industry.
WHY DID PAUL WRITE?
Although Corinth Evangelical Church was founded by an apostle and possessed many of spiritual gifts including prophecy and speaking in tongues, it had problems which Paul addresses in this letter. In the Church there were divisions (factions), wrong teaching, a shocking case of immorality, disorder in the worship services and around the Lord’s table. As we look at the way the Paul the apostle addresses these and other lessons, we learn valuable lessons both for our lives and our local Churches today.