A Reconstruction of Paul’s Interactions with Corinth

Posted by on March 6, 2013 under Curriculum, Resources

1. Paul arrived in Corinth and founded the church, staying for a year and a half (Acts 18).

2. He then left for Syria and arrived in Ephesus (Acts 18). From there he wrote a letter that carried an exhortation not to associate with immoral persons in their midst (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

3. The church misunderstood this as a plea for exclusivity (1 Corinthians 5:12).

4. After a visit by Chloe’s people and the reception of a letter from Corinth, Paul finds it necessary to address various questions (7:1).  Foremost among these, are the continuing problem of sexual immorality (5:1-8) and division (1:10-11).

5. Timothy is sent with this letter (1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10) and he is to remind them of Paul’s ethical teaching about Christ.

6. Paul intended on visiting Corinth (2 Cor 1:15), but word reached him that his letter (1 Cor) had troubled the church and they had become critical of Paul and his companions (1:17-22; 3:1; 4:5; 10:1; 10:8; 10:10; 12:16-19).  Thus Paul decided that it was best to head to Macedonia via Troas instead of Corinth (2:12).

7. In Troas, Paul hoped to encounter Titus who would have the latest word on Corinth since he had been there recently to begin the collection (8:6).  When Paul eventually encountered Titus in Macedonia, there was consoling news that the church had repented (7:9-13).

8. Paul now felt comfortable enough to prepare for a new visit (12:14).  However, some were irritated that Paul did not keep his original plans (1:17-21).  Thus Paul found it necessary to send along 2 Corinthians with Titus, whom he had urged to restart the collection (12:18).

9. The purpose of 2 Corinthians then was to give Paul’s apology for his missed visit and to warn the Corinthians that he would correct them if they had not handled their problems as they should have (12:21).  So, they should put things in order, listen to Paul, and start living peaceably (13:11).

10. Whether Paul made his intended visit is ultimately unknown, but the force of 2 Corinthians suggests he did.  Luke’s account in Acts 20:2 only says that Paul went to Greece, but it is possible that Corinth was among the visits that he made in Greece.