In December 1999, my husband and I honeymooned in Athens and took a day trip over to Corinth. We even drove up to the ruins of the Acrocorinth with ancient columns from the Temple of Aphrodite.
Acts 18 recounts the transition from Paul’s second to third missionary journey. He left Athens and went to Corinth on his own, the final stop on his second itinerary. Ancient Corinth was strategically located, with an eastern and western port. It was the largest city of the Roman empire with 200,000 residents (20 times more than Athens). The main north-south roads converged here. It was a prosperous city and the worship center for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Her temple was home to a thousand temple prostitutes, which provides context for the love chapter in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 13).
When Paul arrived at Corinth, he was weak and fearful (1 Cor. 2:3). The work had been arduous. But he was quickly welcomed into the home of fellow-tentmakers, Priscilla and Aquila. Paul stayed with them, making tents during the week and preaching the gospel on the Sabbath in the synagogue to the Jews, and also to the Greeks.
Paul’s focus shifted, however, when the Jews of Corinth became abusive. In response, Paul “shook out his clothes in protest” and turned his attention solely to the Gentiles—with surprising response. Crispus, the synagogue ruler believed, as did many Corinthians (v. 8).
The ministry was so fruitful that Paul stayed in Corinth for almost two years. In that time, he had developed a deep and trusting relationship with Priscilla and Aquila, so much so that he took them along as he began his third missionary journey. The three sailed first to Ephesus, where Paul left the couple to serve as teachers and guardians of the gospel.
>> Ministry isn’t meant to be done solo. We need partners in the mission who can strengthen us when we’re weak and share with us in the work.
Today we pray for believers in ministry who feel alone and unsupported. Give them friends and mentors who will foster their spiritual growth, offer guidance in their ministry, and encourage them to press on.