Key Verse: “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”
FOLLOWING A BRIEF STAY in Athens, the Lord’s providential leadings directed Paul to Corinth, a city noted for its immorality. There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, and his wife, Priscilla, who, like himself, were tent makers. Paul abode with them as he ministered in Corinth. “He reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”—Acts 18:1-5
Although Paul had followed his customary practice of witnessing in the synagogue, the unbelieving Jews strongly opposed his efforts. Paul then dramatically “shook his raiment,” and told them that thenceforth he would focus upon bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles. Nevertheless, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, as well as many others in Corinth, believed what he taught and were baptized.—vss. 6-8
As recorded in our Key Verses, the Lord appeared to Paul in a night vision and gave him assurance that he would be successful in Corinth. God promised that he would not be harmed, and that he should continue to preach Jesus Christ because there were many in the city who would become believers.
Despite the fact that Corinth was characterized by frivolity and licentious behavior, it yielded significant spiritual results. Unlike other cities Paul had visited, many of the inhabitants of Corinth appreciated Paul’s ministry. As a result, he spent eighteen months there “teaching the word of God” and strengthening the brethren.—vs. 11
Probably towards the end of Paul’s stay in Corinth, Gallio became proconsul of the region of Achaia. Believing he would favor them, the Jews brought Paul before the judgment seat there and accused him of promoting the worship of God contrary to the Jewish law. Gallio, however, indicated this situation did not come under his jurisdiction as it pertained to their religion, so he dismissed the case. When Paul finally departed from Corinth, Priscilla and Aquila decided to travel with him as far as Ephesus. Leaving them there, he journeyed back to Jerusalem and then to Antioch.—vss. 12-22
Observing present conditions among mankind, as it was in Paul’s day, it continues to be but a “little flock” that will be attracted to the message concerning God’s kingdom. As consecrated believers, we are invited to follow in Christ’s footsteps by witnessing to the Truth to all who may have a hearing ear. We should not become discouraged if the results of our efforts are meager. The Heavenly Father is supervising the entire process, which will end when the bride of the Lamb “hath made herself ready.”(Rev. 19:7) Let us persevere in doing the Lord’s work, confident that God’s arrangements are proceeding according to his will. “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”—I Cor. 9:16