309 - Finding Companions in Corinth
NOVEMBER 5 - Nº 309 Acts 18:1-17; Romans 16:3-4; 2 Corinthians 11:9
After Paul had spoken on Mars Hill in Athens (see #308 - Athens and Idols), he decided to travel to Corinth. He waited there for Silas and Timothy to arrive. Corinth was the capital of the Roman province of Achaia and an important commercial center. It had two harbors that were separated by a wide isthmus. From one side, ships could sail across the Ionian Sea to Italy, and from the other side they could sail across the Aegean to Asia. Corinth had become a busy commercial center. Not only was the city filled with wealthy businessmen and women, but the Corinthians had also earned a reputation for being raucous and unruly. Their idol worship often included sexual immorality. They had built three temples and dedicated them to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. These places of “worship” were filled with prostitutes. When Paul arrived in Corinth, he met a Jewish couple named Aquila and Priscilla. They were also new to the city. They had been forced to leave Rome when Emperor Claudius had expelled all the Jews. Since they were tentmakers, they had set up a shop in the marketplace. When they discovered that this was an occupation that Paul had pursued as a young man, Aquila and Priscilla invited him to join them. At some point—when they lived in Rome or in their early days of working with Paul—Aquila and Priscilla became believers. Paul soon moved in with them, and the three became lifelong friends. Their friendship was so strong that Priscilla and Aquila were later willing to risk their lives for Paul. Just as he did wherever he went, every Sabbath day Paul went to the synagogue to teach about Jesus. When Silas and Timothy finally arrived in Corinth, they brought financial gifts to him from the believers in Macedonia. These gifts allowed Paul to devote himself exclusively to teaching and ministering. He no longer had to spend time making tents. But it wasn’t long before some of the Jews in Corinth became upset with what Paul was teaching about Jesus. They forced him to leave the synagogue. So, he began teaching in the home of a Gentile named Justus. Many people followed him there, including the synagogue leader, a man named Crispus, who wanted to learn more. Soon Crispus and his family believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and they were baptized. One night God spoke to Paul in a vision. “Do not be afraid,” He said. “I want you to keep speaking. I am with you. No one is going to attack you or harm you. I have many people in this city.” So, Paul stayed and taught in Corinth for a year and a half. Over time the Jews grew upset again and decided to attack Paul. They grabbed him and took him before Gallio, the Roman governor of Achaia, and charged him with violating their laws. But before Paul could defend himself, Gallio yelled at the Jewish instigators, “How dare you come to me with this. I don’t care about your laws. If you were bringing him to me for a misdemeanor or a serious crime, I would listen. But this has to do with petty matters in your own religious laws. Settle it yourself.” He dismissed them, but before they left, the crowd turned on the new synagogue leader (Sosthenes) and beat him in front of everyone. Gallio didn’t even look up to stop them. God protected Paul as He had promised He would. So, Paul stayed in Corinth and continued to teach about Jesus.
When Aquila and Priscilla were kicked out of Rome, they had no idea how God was going to use them. But He had plans for them to become Paul’s friends, traveling companions, and supporters. Although their role was always behind the scenes, Aquila and Priscilla had a vital part in spreading the Gospel around the world. God wants us to help others who are serving Him in any way that we can.