They may not have seemed a very promising lot, these
Corinthians to whom Paul preached. Corinth was a seaport; and like every seaport, where the ships bring men from the
ends of the earth, there was plenty of weakness and vice. The first disciples were obscure men and women who would have
had a hard time being good in such a place as Corinth; and, good or
bad, they would have seemed to the city too
unimportant for it to matter, one way or the other, what they were.
But Paul summoned these men and women to a new greatness in the sight of God. "You see your calling, brethren," he wrote, "how that not many wise men according to the flesh, not many mighty ones, and not many noble ones are called. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put the wise ones to confusion; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound those that are mighty. The base things of the world, and the things which are despised has God chosen; yes, he has chosen the things which are not, to bring to nothing things which are; so that no flesh should glory in his presence.
In turbulent Corinth he was met often, not with love, but with
vindictive opposition. Nevertheless, he held on his way. Once in the night he had a vision, and in the vision he heard the voice
of God. "Be not afraid," it said, "speak, and be not silenced, for I am with thee. No man shall set on thee to hurt thee. I
have many people in this city." So in Corinth, for a year and six months, Paul continued, teaching the word of God.
Later, when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the whole Jewish population made an uprising against Paul and brought
him before the bar of judgment. "This fellow is persuading men to worship God contrary to the law," they cried. And as
Paul was about to answer, Gallio, interrupting, said to the Jews "If this were a question of crime or violence, it would be
reasonable that I should bear with you Jews; but if it is a question
of words and names and of your law, see to the matter yourselves; for I will be judge of no such questions."
And he drove them out from his tribunal. Whereupon the Greeks took
Sosthenes, the president of the synagogue, and beat him in the judgment hall, and
Gallio took no notice of them.
For a considerable time longer Paul tarried in Corinth, and then, taking leave of the brethren, he sailed for Syria, taking
with him Priscilla and Aquila; and reaching Ephesus, he left these two there; but he himself went into the synagogue, and
reasoned with the Jews. When they urged him to stay a longer time, he
would not consent; but bidding farewell to them, he said, "I will return to you again, if it is God's will." And so he
sailed from Ephesus.
Landing at Caesarea, and greeting the
church there, he went on once more to Antioch.