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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

Cenchreae (not ‘Cenchrea,’ as in Authorized Version; Κεγχρεαί [Tischendorf], Κενχρεαί [Westcott-Hort’s Greek Testament]; now the village of Kichries ) was the eastern port of Corinth, 7 miles from the city, on the Saronic Gulf, opposite to Lechaeum on the Corinthian Gulf. ‘Cenchreae,’ says Strabo, ‘serves for the trade with Asia, and Lechaeum for that with Italy’ (viii. vi. 22). From the town of Schœnus-4 miles north of Cenchreae-where the isthmus is less than 5 miles wide, a tramway (δίολκος) was laid to the other side, upon which vessels of smaller tonnage were conveyed bodily from sea to sea, avoiding a circuitous passage by the stormy headland of Malea. In a.d. 67, Nero, impressed by an idea which had previously commended itself to greater minds-notably to that of Julius Caesar-made an abortive attempt to cut a canal across the Isthmus, a piece of engineering which was not accomplished till the end of the 19th century (1881-1893). Between Cenchreae and Schœnus was a famous sanctuary, in which stood ‘the temple of Isthmian Neptune, shaded above with a grove of pine-trees, where the Corinthians celebrated the Isthmian games’ (Strabo, loc. cit .). From the pines were cut those garlands for the brows of the victors in the stadium, which St. Paul contrasts with immortal crowns ( 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). At Cenchreae, St. Paul, on the eve of his sailing for Syria to attend the Passover, had his head shorn on account of a vow ( Acts 18:18). During his prolonged residence in Corinth, Cenchreae had become the seat of a church, of which Phœbe was a διάκονος-if not a deaconess in the full technical meaning of later times, at any rate in a more definite sense than is implied by ‘servant’ ( Romans 16:1). She was a προστάσις-succourer, patroness, guardian-of many wayfaring Christians who passed through that bustling seaport (16:2). It has generally been assumed that this Cenchrean lady, whom St. Paul so warmly commends, was the bearer of the Roman Epistle to its destination (Renan, St. Paul , 1869, p. 219), but there is strong reason to believe that Romans 16 is a letter meant for Ephesus (see Romans).

Literature.-Conybeare-Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul , 1856, ii. 224; T. Lewin, Life and Epistles of St. Paul 3, 1875, i. 299ff.; J. G. Frazer, Pausanias , 1898, iii. 6ff.; E. B. Redlich, St. Paul and his Companions , 1913, index, s.v.

James Strahan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

CENCHREÆ (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] Cenchrea is wrong) was the southern harbour of Corinth, and was on the Saronic Gulf about 7 miles E. of Corinth. It was a mere village, and existed solely for the transit of goods to and from Corinth. Thence St. Paul set sail for Syria (  Acts 18:18 ). PhÅ“be, the lady commended for her service to the church here (  Romans 16:1 ), carried St. Paul’s Epistle to Rome.

A. Souter.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [3]

sen´krē̇ - ē ( Κεγχρεαί , Kegchreaı́ , Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek Kenchreaı́  ; the King James Version incorrectly Cenchrea ): A seaport of Corinth on the eastern side of the 1sthmus (see Corinth ). Here according to  Acts 18:18 , Paul had his hair shorn before sailing for Syria, since he had a vow. A local church must have been established there by Paul, since Phoebe, the deaconess of Cenchrea, was entrusted with the Epistle to the Romans, and was commended to them in the highest terms by the apostle, who charged them to "assist her in whatsoever matter she may have need" ( Romans 16:1 ,  Romans 16:2 ).