From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Famed for its commerce, chiefly due to its situation between the Ionian and AEgean seas, on the isthmus connecting the Peloponnese with Greece. In Paul's time it was capital of Achaia, and seat of the Roman proconsul ( Acts 18:12). Its people had the Greek love of philosophical subtleties. The immorality was notorious even in the pagan world; so that "to Corinthianize" was proverbial for playing the wanton. The worship of Venus, whose temple was on Acrocorinthus, was attended with shameless profligacy, 1,000 female slaves being maintained for the service of strangers. Hence, arose dangers to the purity of the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 5-7), founded by Paul on his first visit in his second missionary journey ( Acts 18:1-17). The early Greek Corinth had been left desolate for 100 years; its merchants had withdrawn to Delos, and the presidency of the isthmian games had been transferred to Sicyon, when Julius Caesar refounded the city as a Roman colony.

Gallio the philosopher, Seneca's brother, was proconsul during Paul's first residence, in Claudius' reign. Paul had come from Athens, shortly afterward Silas and Timothy from Macedonia joined him. His two earliest epistles, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, were written there, A.D. 52 or 53. Here he made the friendship of Aquila and Priscilla, and labored at tentmaking with the former. Here, after his departure, Apollos came from Ephesus. The number of Latin names in Paul's epistle to the Romans, written during his second visit of three months at Corinth ( Acts 20:3), A.D. 58, is in undesigned harmony with the origin of many of its people as a Roman colony. At the time of Paul's visit Claudius' decree banishing the Jews from Rome caused an influx of them to Corinth. Hence, many Jewish converts were in the Corinthian church (Acts 18), and a Judaizing spirit arose.

Clement's epistles to the Corinthians are still extant. Corinth is now the seat of an episcopal see. It is a poor village, called by a corruption of the old name, Gortho. The remains of its ancient Greek temple, and of the Posidonium or sanctuary of Neptune (N.E. of Corinth, near the Saronic gulf), the scene of the Isthmian games, are remarkably interesting. The stadium for the foot race (alluded to in  1 Corinthians 9:24), and the theater where the pugilists fought ( 1 Corinthians 9:26), and the pine trees of which was woven the "corruptible crown" or wreath for the conquerors in the games ( 1 Corinthians 9:25), are still to be seen. The Acrocorinthus eminence rising 2,000 feet above the sea was near Corinth, and as a fortress was deemed the key of Greece. N. of it was the port Lechaeum on the Corinthian gulf; on the other side on the Saronic gulf was Cenchraea ( Acts 18:18). The ornate "Corinthian order" of architecture, and "the Corinthian brass" or choice bronze statuary, attest the refinement of its people.

'''First Epistle To The Corinthians''' . Its authenticity is attested by Clement of Rome (Ep., c. 47), Polycarp (Ep. to Philipp., c. 11), Ignatius (ad Eph., 2), and Irenaeus (Adv. Haer., 4:27, section 3). Its occasion and subject. Paul had been instrumental in converting many Gentiles ( 1 Corinthians 12:2) and some Jews ( Acts 18:8), notwithstanding the Jews' opposition ( Acts 18:5-6), during his one year and a half sojourn. The converts were mostly of the humbler classes ( 1 Corinthians 1:26). Crispus, Erastus, and Gaius (Caius), however, were men of rank ( 1 Corinthians 1:14;  Acts 18:8;  Romans 16:23).  1 Corinthians 11:22 implies a variety of classes. The immoralities abounding outside at Corinth, and the craving even within the church for Greek philosophy and rhetoric which Apollos' eloquent style gratified, rather than for the simple preaching of Christ crucified ( 1 Corinthians 2:1, etc.;  Acts 18:24, etc.), as also the opposition of Judaizing teachers who boasted of having "letters of commendation" from Jerusalem the metropolis of the faith, caused the apostle anxiety.

The Judaizers depreciated his apostolic authority ( 1 Corinthians 9:1-2;  2 Corinthians 10:1;  2 Corinthians 10:7-8), professing, some to be the followers of the chief apostle, Cephas; others to belong to Christ Himself, rejecting all subordinate teaching ( 1 Corinthians 1:12;  2 Corinthians 10:7). Some gave themselves out to be apostles ( 2 Corinthians 11:5;  2 Corinthians 11:13), alleging that Paul was not of the twelve nor an eye-witness of the gospel facts, and did not dare to prove his apostleship by claiming support from the church (1 Corinthians 9). Even those who declared themselves Paul's followers did so in a party spirit, glorying in the minister instead of in Christ. Apollos' followers also rested too much on his Alexandrian rhetoric, to the disparagement of Paul, who studied simplicity lest aught should interpose between the Corinthians and the Spirit's demonstration of the Savior (1 Corinthians 2).

Epicurean self-indulgence led some to deny the resurrection ( 1 Corinthians 15:32). Hence, they connived at the incest of one of them with his stepmother (1 Corinthians 5). The elders of the church had written to consult Paul on minor points: (1) meats offered to idols; (2) celibacy and marriage; (3) the proper use of spiritual gifts in public worship; (4) the collection for the saints at Jerusalem ( 1 Corinthians 16:1, etc.). But they never told him about the serious evils, which came to his ears only through some of the household of Chloe ( 1 Corinthians 1:11), contentions, divisions, lawsuits brought before pagan courts by Christian brethren against brethren ( 1 Corinthians 6:1). Moreover, some abused spiritual gifts to display and fanaticism (1 Corinthians 14); simultaneous ministrations interrupted the seemly order of public worship; women spoke unveiled, in violation of eastern usage, and usurped the office of men; even the Holy Communion was desecrated by reveling (1 Corinthians 11).

These then formed topics of his epistle, and occasioned his sending Timothy to them after his journey to Macedonia ( 1 Corinthians 4:17). In  1 Corinthians 4:18;  1 Corinthians 5:9, he implies that he had sent a previous letter to them; probably enjoining also a contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Upon their asking directions as to the mode, he now replies ( 1 Corinthians 16:2). In it he also announced his design of visiting them on his way to and from Macedon ( 2 Corinthians 1:15-16), which design he changed on hearing the unfavorable report from Chloe's household ( 1 Corinthians 16:5-7), for which he was charged with fickleness ( 2 Corinthians 1:15-17). Alford remarks, Paul in 1 Corinthians alludes to the fornication only in a summary way, as if replying to an excuse set up after his rebuke, rather than introducing it for the first time.

Before this former letter, he paid a second visit (probably during his three years' sojourn at Ephesus, from which he could pass readily by sea to Corinth  Acts 19:10;  Acts 20:31); for in  2 Corinthians 12:14;  2 Corinthians 13:1, he declares his intention to pay a third visit. In  1 Corinthians 13:2 translated "I have already said (at my second visit), and declare now beforehand, as (I did) when I was present the second time, so also (I declare) now in my absence to them who have heretofore sinned (namely, before my second visit,  1 Corinthians 12:21) and to all others" (who have sinned since it, or are in danger of sinning). "I write," the Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Sinaiticus manuscripts rightly omit; KJV "as if I were present the second time," namely, this time, is inconsistent with verse 1, "this is the third time I am coming" (compare  2 Corinthians 1:15-16).

The second visit was a painful one, owing to the misconduct of many of his converts ( 2 Corinthians 2:1). Then followed his letter before the 1 Corinthians, charging them "not to company with fornicators." In  1 Corinthians 5:9-12 he corrects their misapprehensions of that injunction. The Acts omits that second visit, as it omits other incidents of Paul's life, e.g. his visit to Arabia ( Galatians 1:17-28). The place of writing was Ephesus ( 1 Corinthians 16:8). The English subscription "from Philippi" arose from mistranslating  1 Corinthians 16:5, "I am passing through Macedonia;" he intended ( 1 Corinthians 16:8) leaving Ephesus after Pentecost that year. He left it about A.D. 57 ( Acts 19:21). The Passover imagery makes it likely the date was Easter time ( 1 Corinthians 5:7), A.D. 57.

Just before his conflict with the beastlike mob of Ephesus,  1 Corinthians 15:32 implies that already he had premonitory symptoms; the storm was gathering, his "adversaries many" ( 1 Corinthians 16:9;  Romans 16:4). The tumult ( Acts 19:29-30) had not yet taken place, for immediately after it he left Ephesus for Macedon. Sosthenes, the ruler of the Jews' synagogue, after being beaten, seems to have been won by Paul's love to an adversary in affliction ( Acts 18:12-17). Converted, like Crispus his predecessor in office, he is joined with Paul in the inscription, as "our brother." A marvelous triumph of Christian love! Paul's persecutor paid in his own coin by the Greeks, before Gallio's eyes, and then subdued to Christ by the love of him whom he sought to persecute. Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, were probably the bearers of the epistle ( 1 Corinthians 16:17-18); see the subscription.

'''Second Epistle To The Corinthians''' . Reasons for writing. To explain why he deferred his promised visit to Corinth on his way to Macedonia ( 1 Corinthians 4:19;  1 Corinthians 16:5;  2 Corinthians 1:15-16), and so to explain his apostolic walk, and vindicate his apostleship against gainsayers ( 2 Corinthians 1:12;  2 Corinthians 1:24;  2 Corinthians 6:3-18;  2 Corinthians 7:2;  2 Corinthians 7:10;  2 Corinthians 7:11;  2 Corinthians 7:12). Also to praise them for obeying his first epistle, and to charge them to pardon the transgressor, as already punished sufficiently ( 2 Corinthians 2:1-11;  2 Corinthians 7:6-16). Also to urge them to contributions for the poor brethren at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8). Its genuineness is attested by Irenaeus (Haer., 3:7, section 1), Athenagoras (De Res. Mort.), Clement of Alexandria (Strom., 3:94, 4:101), and Tertullian (Pudic., 13).

Time of writing. After Pentecost A.D. 57, when Paul left Ephesus for Troas. Having stayed for a time at Troas preaching with success ( 2 Corinthians 2:12-13), he went on to Macedonia to meet Titus there, since he was disappointed in not finding him at Troas as he had expected. In Macedonia he heard from him the comforting intelligence of the good effect of the first epistle upon the Corinthians, and having experienced the liberality of the Macedonian churches (2 Corinthians 8) he wrote this second epistle and then went on to Greece, where he stayed three months; then he reached Philippi by land about Passover or Easter, A.D. 58 ( Acts 20:1-6). So that the autumn of A.D. 57 will be the date of 2 Corinthians. Place of writing. Macedonia, as  2 Corinthians 9:2 proves. In "ASIA" (see) he had been in great peril ( 2 Corinthians 1:8-9), whether from the tumult at Ephesus ( Acts 19:23-41) or a dangerous illness (Alford).

Thence he passed by way of Troas to Philippi, the first city that would meet him in entering Macedonia ( Acts 20:1), and the seat of the important Philippian church. On comparing  2 Corinthians 11:9 with  Philippians 4:15-16 it appears that by "Macedonia" there Paul means Philippi. The plural "churches," however, ( 2 Corinthians 8:1) proves that Paul visited other Macedonian churches also, e.g. Thessalonica and Berea. But Philippi, as the chief one, would be the center to which all the collections would be sent, and probably the place of writing 2 Corinthians Titus, who was to follow up at Corinth the collection, begun at the place of his first visit ( 2 Corinthians 8:6). The style passes rapidly from the gentle, joyous, and consolatory, to stern reproof and vindication of his apostleship against his opponents. His ardent temperament was tried by a chronic malady ( 2 Corinthians 4:7;  2 Corinthians 5:1-4;  2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

Then too "the care of all the churches" pressed on him; the weight of which was added to by Judaizing emissaries at Corinth, who wished to restrict the church's freedom and catholicity by bonds of letter and form ( 2 Corinthians 3:8-18). Hence, he speaks of ( 2 Corinthians 7:5-6) "rightings without" and "fears within" until Titus brought him good news of the Corinthian church. Even then, while the majority at Corinth repented and excommunicated, at Paul's command, the incestuous person, and contributed to the Jerusalem poor fund, a minority still accused him of personal objects in the collection, though he had guarded against possibility of suspicion by having others beside himself to take charge of the money ( 2 Corinthians 8:18-28). Moreover, their insinuation was inconsistent with their other charge, that his not claiming maintenance proved him to be no apostle.

They alleged too that he was always threatening severe measures, but was too cowardly to execute them ( 2 Corinthians 10:8-16;  2 Corinthians 13:2); that he was inconsistent, for he had circumcised Timothy but did not circumcise Titus, a Jew among the Jews, a Greek among the Greeks ( 1 Corinthians 9:20, etc.;  Galatians 2:3). That many of his detractors were Judaizers appears from  2 Corinthians 11:22. An emissary from Judaea, arrogantly assuming Christ's own title "he that cometh" ( Matthew 11:3), headed the party ( 2 Corinthians 11:4); he bore "epistles of commendation" ( 2 Corinthians 3:1), and boasted of pure Hebrew descent, and close connection with Christ Himself ( 2 Corinthians 11:13;  2 Corinthians 11:22-23). His high-sounding pretensions and rhetoric contrasted with Paul's unadorned style, and carried weight with some ( 2 Corinthians 10:10;  2 Corinthians 10:13;  2 Corinthians 11:6). The diversity in tone, in part, is due to the diversity between the penitent majority and the refractory minority. Two deputies chosen by the churches to take charge of the collection accompanied Titus, who bore this 2 Corinthians ( 2 Corinthians 8:18-22).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

CORINTH was the capital of the Roman province Achaia, and, in every respect except educationally (see Athens), the most important city in Greece in Roman times. It was also a most important station on the route between E. and W., the next station to it on the E. being Ephesus, with which it was in close and continual connexion. Its situation made it a leading centre of Christianity. The city occupied a powerful position at the S. extremity of the narrow isthmus which connected the mainland of Greece with the Peloponnese. Its citadel rises 1800 feet above sea-level, and it was in addition defended by its high walls, which not only surrounded the city but also reached to the harbour Lechæum, on the W. (1 1 / 2 miles away). The other harbour, Cenchreæ, on the E., on the Saronic Gulf, was about 8 1 /2 miles away. The view from the citadel is splendid. The poverty of the stony soil and the neighbourhood of two quiet seas made the Corinthians a maritime people. It was customary to haul ships across from the one sea to the other on a made track called the Diolkos. This method at once saved time and protected the sailors from the dangers of a voyage round Cape Malea (S. of the Peloponnese). Larger ships could not, of course, be conveyed in this way, and in their case the goods must have been conveyed across and transhipped at the other harbour. The place was always crowded with traders and other travellers, and we find St. Paul speaking of Gaius of Corinth as ‘my host and of the whole Church’ (  Romans 16:23 ).

The city had been destroyed by the Romans in 146 b.c., but exactly a hundred years afterwards it was refounded by Julius Cæsar as a colonia , under the name Laus Julia Corinthus (see Colony). A number of Roman names in the NT are found in connexion with Corinth; Crispus, Titius Justus (  Acts 18:7-8 ), Lucius, Tertius, Gaius, Quartus (  Romans 16:21-23 ), Fortunatus (  1 Corinthians 16:17 ). The population would consist of (1) descendants of the Roman colonists of 46 b.c., the local aristocracy; (2) resident Romans, government officials and business men; (3) a large Greek population; (4) other resident strangers, of whom Jews would form a large number (their synagogue   Acts 18:4 ). Of these some joined St. Paul (  Acts 18:4-8 ,   Romans 16:21 ,   1 Corinthians 9:20 ), and the hatred against him in consequence led to a plot against his life. The church, however, consisted chiefly of non-Jews (see   1 Corinthians 12:2 ).

St. Paul did not at first intend to make Corinth a centre of work ( Acts 18:1 ), but a special revelation altered his plans (  Acts 18:9-10 ), and he remained there at least 18 months. The opposition he met in the Jewish synagogue made him turn to the Gentiles. St. Paul left the baptism of his converts almost entirely to his subordinates, and himself baptized only Stephanas (  1 Corinthians 16:15 ), Gaius (  Romans 16:23 ), and Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue (  1 Corinthians 1:14-16 ). Some weeks after his arrival in Corinth, St. Paul was joined by Silas and Timothy, returning from Macedonia. News brought by Timothy caused him to write there the First Ep. to the Thess. (  1 Thessalonians 3:6 ), and the Second was probably written there also, immediately after the receipt of an answer to the First. While St. Paul was in Corinth, Gallio came there as proconsul of the second grade to govern Achaia, probably in the summer of the year 52 a.d. The Jews brought an action before him against St. Paul, but Gallio, rightly recognizing that his court could take no cognizance of a charge of the sort they brought, dismissed the action. St. Paul’s preaching was thus declared to he in no way an offence against Roman law, and in future he relied more on his relation to the State, against the enmity of the Jews. After the examination Gallio permitted the populace to show their hatred to the Jews (  Acts 18:17 ). It was in Corinth that St. Paul became acquainted with Prisca and Aquila (  Acts 18:2-3;   Acts 18:18;   Acts 18:26 ), and he lived in their house during all his stay. They worked at the same industry as himself, and no doubt influenced his plans for later work. They also left for Ephesus with him.

Christianity grew fast in Corinth, but the inevitable dissensions occurred. Apollos had crossed from Ephesus to Corinth ( Acts 18:27 ,   2 Corinthians 3:1 ) and done valuable work there (  Acts 18:27-28 ,   1 Corinthians 1:12 ). He unconsciously helped to bring about this dissension, as did also Cephas, if (but see next art. § 3 ) he visited Corinth. The subject of these dissensions is, however, more appropriately dealt with under the following two articles. The Apostle wrote at least three letters to the church: the first, which is lost (  1 Corinthians 5:9 ); the second, which we call First Corinthians, and which was probably carried by Titus (Timothy also visited Corinth at the instance of St. Paul,   1 Corinthians 4:17 ); the third, our Second Corinthians, which was taken by Titus and Luke (  2 Corinthians 8:16-18;   2 Corinthians 12:18 ). St. Paul spent three months in Greece, chiefly no doubt at Corinth, in the winter of 56 57. Whether the Corinthians actually contributed or not to St. Paul’s collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem must remain uncertain (but see p. 159 b , § 2 ad fin .).

A. Souter.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

a celebrated city, the capital of Achaia, situated on the isthmus which separates the Peloponnesus from Attica. This city was one of the best peopled and most wealthy of Greece. Its situation between two seas drew thither the trade of both the east and west. Its riches produced pride, ostentation, effeminacy, and all vices, the consequences of abundance. For its insolence to the Roman legates, it was destroyed by L. Mummius. In the burning of it, so many statues of different metals were melted together, that they produced the famous Corinthian brass. It was afterward restored to its former splendour by Julius Caesar.

Christianity was first planted at Corinth by St. Paul, who resided here eighteen months, between the years 51 and 53; during which time he enjoyed the friendship of Aquila and his wife Priscilla, two Jewish Christians, who had been expelled from Italy, with other Jews, by an edict of Claudius. The church consisted both of Jews and of Gentiles; but St. Paul began, as usual, by preaching in the synagogue, until the Jews violently opposed him, and blasphemed the name of Christ; when the Apostle, shaking his garment, and declaring their blood to be upon their own heads, left them, and made use afterward of a house adjoining the synagogue, belonging to a man named Justus. The rage of the Jews, however, did not stop here; but, raising a tumult, they arrested Paul, and hurrying him before the tribunal of the pro-consul Gallio, the brother of the famous Seneca, accused him of persuading men to worship God contrary to the law. But Gallio, who was equally indifferent both to Judaism and Christianity, and finding that Paul had committed no breach of morality, or of the public peace, refused to hear their complaint, and drove them all from the judgment seat. The Jews being thus disappointed in their malicious designs, St. Paul was at liberty to remain some time longer at Corinth; and after his departure, Apollos, a zealous and eloquent Jewish convert of Alexandria, was made a powerful instrument in confirming the church, and in silencing the opposition of the Jews, Acts 18. How much it stood in need of such support, is evident from the Epistles of St. Paul; who cautions the Corinthians against divisions and party spirit; fornication, incest, partaking of meats offered to idols, thereby giving an occasion of scandal, and encouragement to idolatry; abusing the gifts of the Spirit, litigiousness, &c. The Corinthians, indeed, were in great danger: they lived at ease, free from every kind of persecution, and were exposed to much temptation. The manners of the citizens were particularly corrupt: they were, indeed, infamous to a proverb. In the centre of the city was a celebrated temple of Venus, a part of whose worship consisted in prostitution; for there a thousand priestesses of the goddess ministered to dissoluteness under the patronage of religion: an example which gave the Corinthians very lax ideas on the illicit intercourse of the sexes. Corinth also possessed numerous schools of philosophy and rhetoric; in which, as at Alexandria, the purity of the faith by an easy and natural process, became early corrupted.

There occurs a chronological difficulty in the visits of St. Paul to Corinth. In  2 Corinthians 12:14;  2 Corinthians 13:1-2 , the Apostle expresses his design of visiting that city a third time; whereas only one visit before the date of the Second Epistle is noticed in the  Acts 18:1 , about A.D. 51; and the next time that he visited Greece,  Acts 20:2 , about A.D. 57, no mention is made of his going to Corinth. Mr. Horne observes on this subject, "It has been conjectured by Grotius, and Drs. Hammond and Paley, that his First Epistle virtually supplied the place of his presence; and that it is so represented by the Apostle in a corresponding passage,  1 Corinthians 5:3 . Admitting this solution to be probable, it is, however, far-fetched, and is not satisfactory as a matter of fact. Michaelis has produced another, more simple and natural; namely, that Paul, on his return from Crete, visited Corinth a second time before he went to winter at Nicopolis. This second visit is unnoticed in the Acts, because the voyage itself is unnoticed. The third visit, promised in  2 Corinthians 12:14;  2 Corinthians 13:1-2 , was actually paid on the Apostle's second return to Rome, when he took Corinth in his way,  2 Timothy 4:20 . ‘Thus critically,' says. Dr. Hales, ‘does the book of the Acts harmonize, even in its omissions, with the epistles; and these with each other, in the minute incidental circumstances of the third visit.'"

About A.D. 268, the Heruli burned Corinth to ashes. In 525, it was again almost ruined by an earthquake. About 1180, Roger, king of Sicily, took and plundered it. Since 1458, it was till lately under the power of the Turks; and is so decayed, that its inhabitants amount to no more than about fifteen hundred, or two thousand; half Mohammedans, and half Christians. A late French writer, who visited this country, observes, "When the Caesars rebuilt the walls of Corinth, and the temples of the gods rose from their ruins more magnificent than ever, an obscure architect was rearing in silence an edifice which still remains standing amidst the ruins of Greece. This man, unknown to the great, despised by the multitude, rejected as the offscouring of the world, at first associated himself with only two companions, Crispus and Gaius, and with the family of Stephanas. These were the humble architects of an indestructible temple, and the first believers at Corinth. The traveller surveys the site of this celebrated city; he discovers not a vestige of the altars of Paganism, but perceives some Christian chapels rising from among the cottages of the Greeks. The Apostle might still, from his celestial abode, give the salutation of peace to his children, and address them in the words, "Paul to the church of God, which is at Corinth."

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

 Acts 18:1-18

History of Corinth Corinth was located on the southwest end of the isthmus that joined the southern part of the Greek peninsula with the mainland to the north. The city was located on an elevated plain at the foot of Acrocorinth, a rugged hill reaching 1,886 feet above sea level. Corinth was a maritime city located between two important seaports: the port of Lechaion on the Gulf of Corinth about two miles to the north and the port of Cenchreae on the Saronic Gulf about six miles east of Corinth.

Corinth was an important city long before becoming a Roman colony in 44 B.C. In addition to the extant works of early writers, modern archaeology has contributed to knowledge of ancient Corinth. Excavation was begun by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens in 1896. From the results of this continuing work, important information has been published.

The discovery of stone implements and pottery indicates that the area was populated in the Late Stone Age. Metal tools have been found that reveal occupation during the Early Bronze Age (between 3000 B.C. and 2000 B.C.). The rising importance of Corinth during the classical period began with the Dorian invasion about 1000 B.C.

Located at the foot of Acrocorinth and at the southwest end of the isthmus, Corinth was relatively easy to defend. The Corinthians controlled the east-west trade across the isthmus as well as trade between Peloponnesus and the area of Greece to the north. The city experienced rapid growth and prosperity, even colonizing Siracuse on Sicily and the Island of Corcyra on the eastern shore of the Adriatic. Pottery and bronze were exported throughout the Mediterranean world.

For a century (about 350 to 250 B.C.) Corinth was the largest and most prosperous city of mainland Greece. Later, as a member of the Achaean League, Corinth clashed with Rome. Finally, the city was destroyed in 146 B.C. L Mummius, the Roman consul, burned the city, killed the men, and sold the women and children into slavery. For a hundred years the city was desolate.

Julius Caesar rebuilt the city in 44 B.C., and it quickly became an important city in the Roman Empire. An overland shiproad across the isthmus connected the ports of Lechaion and Cenchreae. Cargo from large ships was unloaded, transported across the isthmus, and reloaded on other ships. Small ships were moved across on a system of rollers. Ships were able, therefore, to avoid 200 miles of stormy travel around the southern part of the Greek peninsula. Today, a modern ship canal, constructed in A.D. 1881–1893, connects the two ports.

Description of Corinth in Paul's Day When Paul visited Corinth, the rebuilt city was little more than a century old. It had become, however, an important metropolitan center. Except where the city was protected by Acrocorinth, a wall about six miles in circumference surrounded it. The Lechaion road entered the city from the north, connecting it with the port on the Gulf of Corinth. As the road entered the city, it widened to more than twenty feet with walks on either side. From the southern part of the city a road ran southeast to Cenchreae.

Approaching the city from the north, the Lechaion road passed through the Propylaea, the beautiful gate marking the entrance into the agora (market). The agora was rectangular and contained many shops. A line of shops divided the agora into a northern and a southern section. Near the center of this dividing line the Bema was located. The Bema consisted of a large elevated speaker's platform and benches on the back and sides. Here is probably the place Paul was brought before Gallio ( Acts 18:12-17 ).

Religions of Corinth Although the restored city of Paul's day was a Roman city, the inhabitants continued to worship Greek gods. West of the Lechaion road and north of the agora stood the old temple of Apollo. Probably partially destroyed by Mummius in 146 B.C., seven of the original thirty-eight columns still stand. On the east side of the road was the shrine to Apollo. In the city were shrines also to Hermes, Heracles, Athena, and Poseidon.

Corinth had a famous temple dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing, and his daughter Hygieia. Several buildings were constructed around the temple for the sick who came for healing. The patients left at the temple terra cotta replicas of the parts of their bodies that had been healed. Some of these replicas have been found in the ruins.

The most significant pagan cult in Corinth was the cult of Aphrodite. The worship of Aphrodite had flourished in old Corinth before its destruction in 146 B.C. and was revived in Roman Corinth. A temple for the worship of Aphrodite was located on the top of the Acropolis. Strabo wrote concerning this temple.

And the temple of Aphrodite was so rich that it owned more than a thousand temple-slaves, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedicated to the goddess. And therefore it was also on account of these women that the city was crowded with people and grew rich; for instance, the ship-captains freely squandered their money, and hence the proverb, “Not for every man is the voyage to Corinth.”

Although the accuracy of Strabo has been questioned, his description is in harmony with the life-style reflected in Paul's letters to the Corinthians.

Jewish worship also was a part of the religious life of the city. Paul began his Corinthian ministry in the synagogue in Corinth.

Summary The city of Corinth as Paul found it was a cosmopolitan city composed of people from varying cultural backgrounds. Being near the site of the Isthmian games held every two years, the Corinthians enjoyed both the pleasures of these games and the wealth that the visitors brought to the city. While their ships were being carried across the isthmus, sailors came to the city to spend their money on the pleasures of Corinth. Even in an age of sexual immorality, Corinth was known for its licentious life-style.

R. E. Glaze

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

Called anciently Ephyra, the capital of Achaia, and seated on the isthmus which separates the Ionian Sea from the Aegean, and hence called bimaris, "on two seas." The city itself stood a little inland; but it had two ports, Lechaeum on the west, and Cenchrea on the east. Its position gave it great commercial and military importance; for while the traffic of the east and west poured through its gates, as over the isthmus of Darien the commerce of two oceans, it was also at the gate of the Peloponnesus, and was the highway between Northern and Southern Greece. Its defense, besides the city walls, was in the Acro-corinth, a mass of rock, rising 2,000 feet above the sea, with precipitous sides, and with room for a town upon its summit. Corinth thus became one of the most populous and wealthy cities of Greece; but its riches produced pride, ostentation, effeminacy, and all the vices generally consequent on plenty. Lasciviousness, particularly, was not only tolerated, but consecrated here, by the worship of Venus, and the notorious prostitution of numerous attendants devoted to her. Corinth was destroyed by the Romans, B.C. 146. It was afterwards restored by Julius Caesar, who planted in it a Roman colony; but though it soon regained its ancient splendor, it also relapsed into all its former dissipation and licentiousness. Paul arrived at Corinth, A. D. 52,  Acts 18:1 , and lodged with Aquila and his wife Priscilla, who, as well as himself, were tentmakers. Supporting himself by this labor, he remained at Corinth a year and a half, preaching the gospel at first to the Jews, and afterwards more successfully to the Gentiles. During this time he wrote the epistles to the Thessalonians; and in a subsequent visit, the epistles to the Galatians and Romans. Some suppose he made a short intervening visit, not narrated in the Bible. Compare  2 Corinthians 13:1 with   2 Corinthians 1:15   2:1   12:14,21   13:2 . Apollos followed him in his labors at Corinth, and Aquila and Sosthenes were also among its early minister,  Acts 18:1   1 Corinthians 1:1   16:19 . Its sited is now unhealthy and almost deserted, with few vestiges of its former greatness.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Cor'inth. An ancient and celebrated city of Greece, on the Isthmus of Corinth, and about 40 miles west of Athens. In consequence of its geographical position, it formed the most direct communication between the Ionian and Aegean seas. A remarkable feature was the Acrocorinthus , a vast citadel of rock, which rises abruptly to the height of 2000 feet above the level of the sea, and the summit of which is so extensive that it once contained a whole town.

The situation of Corinth, and the possession of its eastern and western harbors, Cenchreae and Lechaeum, are the secrets of its history. Corinth was a place of great mental activity, as well as of commercial and manufacturing enterprise. Its wealth was so celebrated as to be proverbial; so were the vice and profligacy of its inhabitants. The worship of Venus there was attended with shameful licentiousness.

Corinth is still an episcopal see. The city has now shrunk to a wretched village, on the old site and bearing the old name, which, however, is corrupted into Gortho . St. Paul preached here,  Acts 18:11, and founded a church, to which his Epistles to the Corinthians are addressed. See Corinthians, The First Epistle to The; Corinthians, The Second Epistle to The .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Corinth ( Kŏr'Inth ), the capital of Achaia and a noted city of Greece. It had two seaports, Cenchrea and Lechæum. On the south a rocky mountain called Acrocorinthus rises abruptly to the height of 2000 feet, upon the summit of which was a temple of Venus. Paul preached at Corinth, about a.d. 53, a year and six months,  Acts 18:11; paid it, a.d. 54-57, a short second visit ("by the way"), not mentioned in the Acts, but implied in  1 Corinthians 16:7;  2 Corinthians 12:13-14;  2 Corinthians 13:1, where he speaks of an intended Third journey to Corinth, which coincides with that in  Acts 20:2; and spent there the three winter months, from 57 to 58, during which he wrote the Epistle to the Romans.  Acts 20:2-3; comp.  1 Corinthians 16:6;  Romans 16:1, He wrote two letters to the Christians in that city, rebuking their sins, and refers to the Isthmian games celebrated at Corinth every Olympiad. The city is now desolate, the little miserable village of Gortho occupying its site.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [8]

The city of Corinth was a prosperous manufacturing and trading centre in Achaia, the southern province of Greece (see map under Acts, Book Of ) An overland route went north from Corinth to Macedonia, and sea routes went east, west and south. The city was so well known for its immorality and vice that people of the time commonly referred to a person of loose morals as one who ‘behaved like a Corinthian’ (cf.  1 Corinthians 6:9-11;  1 Corinthians 6:15-18).

Paul’s first visit to Corinth was on his second missionary journey. He stayed eighteen months, and during that time he founded the Corinthian church ( Acts 18:1-17). Another church was established at Cenchreae, the seaport a few kilometres east ( Acts 18:18;  Romans 16:1-2). Paul revisited the church at Corinth during his third missionary journey ( Acts 20:2-3). He also wrote the church a number of letters, two of which have been preserved in the New Testament. (For the added information these letters give concerning life in Corinth see Corinthians, Letters To The )

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

Capital of the province of Achaia. The city visited by Paul was founded by Julius Caesar about a century after the fall of a former Corinth on the same site. It was a great centre of commercial traffic on the route from Rome to the East. It was also rich and very profligate. Paul on his first visit remained there eighteen months (A.D. 52-3), and from thence wrote the two epistles to the Thessalonians. A church was gathered out, to which Paul wrote two epistles. In A.D. 58 he again visited Corinth, staying three months,  Acts 20:2,3 , during which time he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. The Jews plotted against his life, and he left the city.  Acts 18:1,11;  Acts 19:1;  1 Corinthians 1:2;  2 Corinthians 1:1,23;  2 Timothy 4:20 . It is now a mean village, called Gortho, with only relics here and there of its former greatness.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Acts 18:12-16

Some have argued from  2 Corinthians 12:14;  13:1 , that Paul visited Corinth a third time (i.e., that on some unrecorded occasion he visited the city between what are usually called the first and second visits). But the passages referred to only indicate Paul's intention to visit Corinth (Compare  1 Corinthians 16:5 , where the Greek present tense denotes an intention), an intention which was in some way frustrated. We can hardly suppose that such a visit could have been made by the apostle without more distinct reference to it.

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(1): (n.) A city of Greece, famed for its luxury and extravagance.

(2): (n.) A small fruit; a currant.

King James Dictionary [12]


1. A city of Greece. Hence, 2. A small fruit, now called currant, which see.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

kor´inth ( Κόρινθος , Kórinthos , "ornament"): A celebrated city of the Peloponnesus, capital of Corinthia, which lay North of Argolis, and with the 1sthmus joined the peninsula to the mainland. Corinth had three good harbors (Lechaeum, on the Corinthian, and Cenchrea and Schoenus on the Saronic Gulf), and Thus commanded the traffic of both the eastern and the western seas. The larger ships could not be hauled across the isthmus ( Acts 27:6 ,  Acts 27:37 ); smaller vessels were taken over by means of a ship tramway with wooden rails. The Phoenicians, who settled here very early, left many traces of their civilization in the industrial arts, such as dyeing and weaving, as well as in their religion and mythology. The Corinthian cult of Aphrodite, of Melikertes (Melkart) and of Athene Phoenike are of Phoenician origin. Poseidon, too, and other sea deities were held in high esteem in the commercial city. Various arts were cultivated and the Corinthians, even in the earliest times, were famous for their cleverness, inventiveness and artistic sense, and they prided themselves on surpassing the other Greeks in the embellishment of their city and in the adornment of their temples. There were many celebrated painters in Corinth, and the city became famous for the Corinthian order of architecture: an order, which, by the way, though held in high esteem by the Romans, was very little used by the Greeks themselves. It was here, too, that the dithyramb (hymn to Dionysus) was first arranged artistically to be sung by a chorus; and the 1sthmian games, held every two years, were celebrated just outside the city on the 1sthmus near the Saronic Gulf. But the commercial and materialistic spirit prevailed later. Not a single Corinthian distinguished himself in literature. Statesmen, however, there were in abundance: Periander, Phidon, Timoleon.

Harbors are few on the Corinthian Gulf. Hence, no other city could wrest the commerce of these waters from Corinth. According to Thucydides, the first ships of war were built here in 664 bc. In those early days Corinth held a leading position among the Greek cities; but in consequence of her great material prosperity she would not risk all as Athens did, and win eternal supremacy over men: she had too much to 1ose to jeopardize her material interests for principle, and she soon sank into the second class. But when Athens, Thebes, Sparta and Argos fell away, Corinth came to the front again as the wealthiest and most important city in Greece; and when it was destroyed by Mummius in 146 bc, the treasures of art carried to Rome were as great as those of Athens. Delos became the commercial center for a time; but when Julius Caesar restored Corinth a century later (46 bc), it grew so rapidly that the Roman colony soon became again one of the most prominent centers in Greece. When Paul visited Corinth, he found it the metropolis of the Peloponnesus. Jews flocked to this center of trade (Acts 18:1-18;  Romans 16:21;  1 Corinthians 9:20 ), the natural site for a great mart, and flourishing under the lavish hand of the Caesars; and this is one reason why Paul remained there so long ( Acts 18:11 ) instead of sojourning in the old seats of aristocracy, such as Argos, Sparta and Athens. He found a strong Jewish nucleus to begin with; and it was in direct communication with Ephesus. But earthquake, malaria, and the harsh Turkish rule finally swept everything away except seven columns of one old Doric temple, the only object above ground left today to mark the site of the ancient city of wealth and luxury and immorality - the city of vice par excellence in the Roman world. Near the temple have been excavated the ruins of the famous fount of Peirene, so celebrated in Greek literature. Directly South of the city is the high rock (over 1,800 ft.) AcrocorinThus, which formed an impregnable fortress. Traces of the old ship-canal across the 1sthmus (attempted by Nero in 66-67 ad) were to be seen before excavations were begun for the present canal. At this time the city was thoroughly Roman. Hence, the many Latin names in the New Testament: Lucius, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus (  Romans 16:21-23 ), Crispus, Titus Justus ( Acts 18:7 ,  Acts 18:8 ), Fortunatus, Achaicus ( 1 Corinthians 16:17 ). According to the testimony of Dio Chrysostomus, Corinth had become in the 2nd century of our era the richest city in Greece. Its monuments and public buildings and art treasures are described in detail by Pausanias.

The church in Corinth consisted principally of non-Jews ( 1 Corinthians 12:2 ). Paul had no intention at first of making the city a base of operations ( Acts 18:1;  Acts 16:9 ,  Acts 16:10 ); for he wished to return to Thessalonica ( 1 Thessalonians 2:17 ,  1 Thessalonians 2:18 ). His plans were changed by a revelation ( Acts 18:9 ,  Acts 18:10 ). The Lord commanded him to speak boldly, and he did so, remaining in the city eighteen months. Finding strong opposition in the synagogue he left the Jews and went to the Gentiles ( Acts 18:6 ). Nevertheless, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue and his household were believers and baptisms were numerous ( Acts 18:8 ); but no Corinthians were baptized by Paul himself except Crispus, Gaius and some of the household of Stephanas ( 1 Corinthians 1:14 ,  1 Corinthians 1:16 ) "the firstfruits of Achaia" ( 1 Corinthians 16:15 ). One of these, Gaius, was Paul's host the next time he visited the city ( Romans 16:23 ). Silas and Timothy, who had been left at Berea, came on to Corinth about 45 days after Paul's arrival. It was at this time that Paul wrote his first Epistle to the Thessalonians ( 1 Thessalonians 3:6 ). During Gallio's administration the Jews accused Paul, but the proconsul refused to allow the case to be brought to trial. This decision must have been looked upon with favor by a large majority of the Corinthians, who had a great dislike for the Jews ( Acts 18:17 ). Paul became acquainted also with Priscilla and Aquila ( Acts 18:18 ,  Acts 18:26;  Romans 16:3;  2 Timothy 4:19 ), and later they accompanied him to Ephesus. Within a few years after Paul's first visit to Corinth the Christians had increased so rapidly that they made quite a large congregation, but it was composed mainly of the lower classes: they were neither 'learned, influential, nor of noble birth' ( 1 Corinthians 1:26 ).

Paul probably left Corinth to attend the celebration of the feast at Jerusalem ( Acts 18:21 ). Little is known of the history of the church in Corinth after his departure. Apollos came from Ephesus with a letter of recommendation to the brethren in Achaia ( Acts 18:27;  2 Corinthians 3:1 ); and he exercised a powerful influence ( Acts 18:27 ,  Acts 18:28;  1 Corinthians 1:12 ); and Paul came down later from Macedonia. His first letter to the Corinthians was written from Ephesus. Both Titus and Timothy were sent to Corinth from Ephesus ( 2 Corinthians 7:13 ,  2 Corinthians 7:15;  1 Corinthians 4:17 ), and Timothy returned by land, meeting Paul in Macedonia ( 2 Corinthians 1:1 ), who visited Greece again in 56-57 or 57-58.


Leake, Travels in the Morea , IlI, 229-304; Peloponnesiaca , 392ff; Curtius, Peloponnesos, II, 514ff; Clark, Peloponnesus , 42-61; Conybeare and Howson, The Life and Epistles St. of Paul , chapter xii; Ramsay, "Corinth" (in HDB ); Holm, History of Greece , I, 286ff; II, 142, and 306-16; III, 31-44, and 283; IV, 221, 251, 347 and 410-12.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Co´rinth, a Grecian city, placed on the isthmus which joins Peloponnesus (now called the Morea) to the continent of Greece. A lofty rock rises above it, on which was the citadel, or the Acrocorinthus. It had two harbors: Cenchrea, on the eastern side, about 70 stadia distant; and Lechaeum, on the modern Gulf of Lepanto, only 12 stadia from the city. Its earliest name, as given by Homer, is Ephyre. Owing to the great difficulty of weathering Malea, the southern promontory of Greece, merchandise passed through Corinth from sea to sea; the city becoming an entrepôt for the goods of Asia and Italy (Strabo, viii. 6). At the same time it commanded the traffic by land from north to south. An attempt made to dig through the isthmus was frustrated by the rocky nature of the soil; at one period, however, they had an invention for drawing galleys across from sea to sea on trucks. With such advantages of position, Corinth was very early renowned for riches, and seems to have been made by nature for the capital of Greece. The numerous colonies which she sent forth, chiefly to the west and to Sicily, gave her points of attachment in many parts; and the good will, which, as a mercantile state, she carefully maintained, made her a valuable link between the various Greek tribes. The public and foreign policy of Corinth appears to have been generally remarkable for honor and justice; and the Isthmian games, which were celebrated there every other year, might have been converted into a national congress, if the Corinthians had been less peaceful and more ambitious.

When the Achæan league was rallying the chief powers of southern Greece, Corinth became its military center; and as the spirit of freedom was active in that confederacy, they were certain, sooner or later, to give the Romans a pretence for attacking them. The fatal blow fell on Corinth (B.C. 146), when L. Mummius, by order of the Roman Senate, barbarously destroyed that beautiful town, eminent even in Greece for painting, sculpture, and all working in metal and pottery; and as the territory was given over to the Sicyonians, we must infer that the whole population was sold into slavery.

The Corinth of which we read in the New Testament was quite a new city, having been rebuilt and established as a Roman colony, and peopled with freedmen from Rome by the dictator Caesar, a little before his assassination. Although the soil was too rocky to be fertile, and the territory very limited, Corinth again became a great and wealthy city in a short time, especially as the Roman proconsuls made it the seat of government (Acts 18) for southern Greece, which was now called the province of Achaia. In earlier times Corinth had been celebrated for the great wealth of its Temple of Venus, which had a gainful traffic of a most dishonorable kind with the numerous merchants resident there. The same phenomena, no doubt, reappeared in the later and Christian age. The little which is said in the New Testament seems to indicate a wealthy and luxurious community, prone to impurity of morals; nevertheless, all Greece was so contaminated, that we may easily overcharge the accusation against Corinth.

The Corinthian Church is remarkable in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul by the variety of its spiritual gifts, which seem for the time to have eclipsed or superseded the office of the elder or bishop, which in most churches became from the beginning so prominent. Very soon, however, this peculiarity was lost, and the bishops of Corinth take a place co-ordinate to those of other capital cities. One of them, Dionysius, appears to have exercised a great influence over many and distant churches, in the latter part of the second century.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [15]

An ancient city of Greece, and one of the most flourishing, on an isthmus of the name connecting the Peloponnesus with the mainland; a great centre of trade and of material wealth, and as a centre of luxury a centre of vice; the seat of the worship of Aphrodité, a very different goddess from Athene, to whom Athens was dedicated.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Corinth'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.