“After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth” (Acts 18:1).
When Paul left the City of Athens, he ventured alone to the Greek City of Corinth. Corinth was located due west of Athens and had a population of approximately 200,000 people. The city straddled a narrow strip of land between two harbors. It was a major hub for trade alone the Mediterranean coast.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Since 27 B.C., this city had been the capital of the Roman province of Achaia. It was 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Athens, near the isthmus that joins Attica and Peloponnesus. Corinth was large and prosperous in the eight to sixth centuries B.C. but it declined. It became a Roman colony in 44 B.C.”
Corinth’s population included Greeks, freedmen from Italy, veterans of the Roman army, businessmen, government officials, people from the Near East, Jews and slaves. The city was thoroughly pagan and immoral. The city was filled with pagan temples. If the Apostle Paul was grieved by the idolatry he saw in Athens, he would be even more so when he arrived in Corinth. It was while Paul was in Corinth that he wrote the epistle we know as I Thessalonians.
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “Because of their effective ministry, the Jews had Paul’s team evicted from the city (Acts 17:5–9), so they went south to evangelize Berea (Acts 17:10). There Paul had a similar experience to Thessalonica with conversions followed by hostility, so the believers sent Paul away. He headed for Athens, while Silvanus and Timothy remained in Berea (Acts 17:11–14). They rejoined Paul in Athens (cf. Acts 17:15–16 with 1 Thess. 3:1), from which Timothy was later dispatched back to Thessalonica (I Thess. 3:2). Apparently, Silas afterwards traveled from Athens to Philippi while Paul journeyed on alone to Corinth (Acts 18:1). It was after Timothy and Silvanus rejoined Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:5), that he wrote 1 Thessalonians in response to Timothy’s good report of the church.”
We will table our exegetical study of the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul from the Book of Acts, in order to introduce and summarize Paul’s first epistle (letter) to the church in Thessalonica.
Soli deo Gloria!