The United States has a lot of Corinths, but I don’t know of any Pauls. Such as Los Angeles (especially Hollywood), New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Boston, etc. And look at Corinth now.
As they say, “Birds of a feather flock together,” so I would say their destruction will come too.
I didn’t mention Washington D.C. and that’s because it’s not a Corinth, it’s one of the devil’s home-away-from-home.
Tomorrow we’ll look at…
2 Corinthians 1
The God of all Comfort
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
“Achaia” – Greece, as distinct from Macedonia in the north.
2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
“Asia” – The Roman province of that name in western Asia Minor, now Turkish territory. The precise location where Paul’s hardships occurred is not given, nor is the nature of affliction.
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
Paul’s hardships were so life-threatening that he regarded his survival and recovery as tantamount to being raised from the dead.
“Trust…in God” – a key principle of this letter. God’s grace is all-sufficient and our weakness is precisely the opportunity for His power to be displayed.
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;
16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.
17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? Or he things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?
18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
The ancient city of Corinth lay on an isthmus between the Greek mainland and the Peloponnese, the southwestern corner of Greece.
The Isthmus was about 6,000 miles wide at its narrowest point, which led many to consider digging a canal there (a dream not realized until modern times).
Two harbors were nearby: Lechaeum to the north on the Gulf of Corinth, and Cenchrea to the south, on the Saronic Gulf.
Corinth’s location made the city a site of great strategic and economic importance.
Ships often preferred to sail into Corinth and transport their goods overland across the isthmus on the portage road rather than risk the wild seas around the Peloponnese.
This brought lively trade to the city—along with the vices often associated with bustling commercial centers. It is not surprising; therefore, that ancient Corinth became a byword for sexual immorality.
Corinth’s history may be divided into two distinct periods: its long duration as one of the major cities of classical Greek civilization and its subsequent years after the Roman conquest as a cosmopolitan crossroads.
The classical city was at one time a major player in the politics of Greece and was particularly important in the long history of competition between Athens and Sparta (Corinth was usually on the side of Sparta).
Later, as head of the Achaean League (a coalition of Greek cities), it led resistance to Roman aggression.
Its role as host of the Isthmian games (second only to the Olympic Games in prestige) greatly enhanced Corinth’s ancient status.
This city, however, was destroyed in 146 B.C. by the Roman general Lucius Mummius. While some inhabitants stayed in the vicinity of Corinth, the city did not rise to prominence again until 44 B.C., when Julius Caesar refounded it as a Roman colony.
The new city was Roman in its administration and architecture, with the majority of its settlers being freedmen. The natural advantages of the site, coupled with the entrepreneurial vigor of the freedmen, soon led to renewed prosperity.
The Corinth of the New Testament era was reputed to be one of the most beautiful cities of the Greco-Roman world. Its importance in trade and its status as a Roman administrative center made Corinth a significant city in Paul’s day.
Corinth had a mixed, cosmopolitan populace, as reflected in its many religious shrines:
* Visitors to Corinth can still find archaeological evidence of votive offerings made to Asdepius, the god of medicine, in gratitude for healings. These offerings were clay models of body parts (often arms, legs or sexual organs) the god had supposedly healed, hung around the temple as tributes to Asclepius.
* Corinth was home to a famous temple to Aphrodite that supposedly employed 1,000 temple-prostitutes. While this number may be an exaggeration, scholars can hardly doubt that this port city supported a thriving prostitution industry, probably centered on such a shrine.
* There were also temples to other Greek gods, such as to Poseidon, god of the sea (appropriate for a port city), and to Demeter and Kore, goddesses of an ancient Greek fertility cult.
* The cosmopolitan nature of Corinth is reflected in the fact that it also had numerousslaces of worship for foreign deities, such as a shrine to the Egyptian goddess Isis—as well as a Jewish synagogue.
With its cultural diversity, wealth, paganism and infamous debauchery, Corinth was perhaps not the place onlookers would have expected the church to flourish.
Yet it was precisely here that Paul enjoyed one of his most successful ministries—and also here that he experienced some of his greatest challenges with early converts to Christianity.
…Paul’s visits and letter to Corinth.