1 Corinthians Overview

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I know we already talked about Corinth the other day when Paul went there.  But he was left and received a report or letter from them.  Here is a little recap.

So far our letters to the churches all regarded the “outside” factors that affect the church.  For example,  the persecution or the false teachings that were going on in the world.  This time we are reading about the “inside” of the church and the troubles they are having.  This book is as modern as the day it was written. (uhh they all are)

First, the city of Corinth was a rich town just outside Athens.

  • Consisting of about 300,000 free citizens with 450,000 slaves by the 2nd Century.
  • Theaters would hold about 14,000 people (often for pagan worship).
  • The city included 1000 high-end prostitutes.
  • The temple in town was a temple for Aphrodite, the love goddess!  Cleary sexual immorality is a huge part of the lifestyle.
  • The city was best known for the beauty and sexuality of the woman, they all attained to look like Greek Goddesses.

So while Paul was in Ephesus he received a report on Corinth:

  1. The church was in disunity.
  2. They were spiritual immature
  3. Sexual immorality (inside the church)
  4. “Freedom on Christ” was taken out of context.

Paul also needed to answer their questions about marriage, divorce, celibacy, food, idolatry, worship, and spiritual gifts.

So Paul is going to write back and address the Churches of Corinth.

We will be in both 1 and 2  Corinthians for eight days (It’s going to be good!).

Acts 18:19-19:41

Map of Paul the Apostle's Third Missionary Journey in the New Testament

Paul heads through Galatia again.  In the meantime, a Jew named Apollos is a believer but does not have the full testimony of the death and Resurrection.

  • Think about the details on that though
    • He was named after Zeus’ (very steeped in Greek culture)
    • The word from the Passover events had really spread
    • People just need gaps filled in who missed the 2nd feast (Pentecost)
    • Aquila and Priscilla, friends of Paul, who spent some time with Apollos and filled in the gaps, he immediately began a preaching ministry and was used to share the gospel.

Chapter 19- Ephesus

Ephesus becomes the new “headquarters” for Paul.  As you read chapter 19 you will see the gaps are being filled in regarding the Gospel.  Now that people know that John’s message has been fulfilled in the death and resurrection they can now fully understand the gift of the Holy Spirit.  As predicted many times in the Old Testament, false prophets come on the scene BUT we also see the miraculous work of the Gospel spread.

He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

“All the Jews and Greeks heard the Word”-    Paul uses the lure of this city to spread the Gospel.  Look at this map.  Look at the location of Ephesus.  Now, look at some of the major churches that grew in the area that Paul never even walked through! (if you don’t recognize the names…you will 😁)Ephesus - Valuable Bible Connections to the Ancient City - Travelling Pioneers

21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.” 22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer. (Sadly he will visit Rome…but not like he wants to)

So why were so many people coming to Ephesus? 

What was the #1 activity on the Trip Advisor app?? 

The Temple of Artemis!The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus - Drive Thru History Adventures


Artemis (the Roman name was Diana) was a goddess worshiped in the ancient world. The Greeks considered her the twin sister of Apollo (daughter of Zeus). She was the goddess of hunting and wilderness and the protector of unmarried girls. Her temple in Ephesus was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Artemis was a “queen of heaven” emphasizing fertility, virginity, and the protection of childbearing. It employed many priests in the temple to perform animal sacrifices. There were many priestesses, too. It is uncertain whether or not the priestesses engaged in ritual prostitution. (Being it was a popular place, I assume probably). The temple became a MAJOR tourist attraction and place to worship, so just like today, it was filled with souvenir shops.  Idols were sold so that they could worship Atememis after they left (I grew up in a superstitions house,  so I totally understand this). This is the idol of Atemesis.  She is a multi-breasted figure.  Women would pray to her when they had fertility issues.

Artemis, the Chaste Huntress: You Really Didn't Want to Mess With This Greek Goddess | Ancient Origins

The Riot in Ephesus-

The silversmith knew that each convert meant less money in his pocket.  If people believed in the ‘One True God’, not only will they NOT come to the temple, but certainly they would not buy the fake idols.  So a riot began.  Oh, and just to show you history repeats itself:

verse32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. (ha)

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The city clerk is just looking out for his best interest.  If the local government officials cannot control a providence, Rome will come in and replace the local leaders with new ones.

What a great read!!