Paul visited Corinth after leaving Athens, as one of the last cities he evangelized on his second missionary journey. Corinth had the political prestige of being the capital city of Achaia and boasted of its wealth and culture. It was also a great commercial and trade centre, situated between two ports, positioned ideally to take the gospel ‘to the ends of the earth’. Corinth was widely associated with immorality. The temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stood behind the city and was served by a thousand female slaves who roamed the streets as prostitutes. It was into this culture that Paul ‘decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and much fear and trembling…’ (1Corin. 2:2-3)
1. Look back over Paul’s second missionary journey and the five main cities he visited (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth – 16:6-18:22). Summarize briefly the themes Luke has been developing in these chapters.
2. Identify how, on this second journey, each hindrance to the gospel and rejection of it opened up new opportunities for ministry.
3. How does this encourage you as you/we face opposition to the gospel, both individually and corporately?
4. How do we even see that opposition to the gospel has brought encouragement to Paul in 18:1-4?
5. What now familiar pattern of Paul’s ministry does Luke describe in vv. 5-11? What evidence is there to encourage Paul that this was the right decision?
6. What do you think is significant about the actions of Gallio in vv. 12-17?
7. We have seen in these last chapters, and will see increasingly in Acts, that Paul had to defend himself before secular rulers. In what ways do we see the secular authorities interacting with the gospel today in our culture?
9. In a sentence or two, summarize the main point (the ‘big idea’) of this passage.