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On the Path of Apostle Paul

Epistles to the Corinthians

St. Paul the Apostle

St. Paul the Apostle, original name Saul of Tarsus, (born 4 bce?, Tarsus in Cilicia [now in Turkey]—died c. 62–64 ce, Rome [Italy]), one of the leaders of the first generation of Christians, often considered to be the most important person after Jesus in the history of Christianity. In his own day, although he was a major figure within the very small Christian movement, he also had many enemies and detractors, and his contemporaries probably did not accord him as much respect as they gave Peter and James. Paul was compelled to struggle, therefore, to establish his own worth and authority. His surviving letters, however, have had enormous influence on subsequent Christianity and secure his place as one of the greatest religious leaders of all time.

St. Paul founds the Church at Corinth

Saint Paul appears to have been very disappointed with Athens. He did not visit it again, and it is never mentioned in his letters. The disappointed and solitary Apostle left Athens and travelled westwards, to Corinth, then the capital of Greece. Corinth, which had been destroyed by the Romans, was re-established as a colony by Julius Cesar 46 B.C., and made the capital of the Roman Province of Achaia by Augustus. It was built on the southern extremity of the isthmus connecting the mainland with the Morea, and was on the great line of traffic between East and West. Its two magnificent harbours, one at each side of the isthmus, were crowded with shipping and were the scenes of constant bustle and activity. 
It was to this centre of traffic, excitement, wealth, and vice that St. Paul came, probably about the end of A.D. 51; and here he spent upwards of eighteen months of his Apostolic career. He took up his residence with two Christian Jews, Aquila and his wife Priscilla (refugees from Rome), because they were of the same trade as himself. Like all Jews he had learnt a trade in his youth, and in their house he supported himself by working at this trade, viz., that of tentmaker, as he had determined not to receive any support from the money-loving Corinthians. He began by preaching in the synagogue every Sabbath; “and he persuaded the Jews and the Greeks”. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, and his family, and several of the Corinthians were converted and baptized. 

The Letter of Paul to the Corinthians

The Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians

The Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, also called The Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, either of two New Testament letters, or epistles, addressed from the apostle Paul to the Christian community that he had founded at Corinth, Greece. The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians and The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians are now respectively the seventh and eighth books of the New Testament canon.

The First Letter of Paul, probably written about 53–54 ce at Ephesus, Asia Minor, deals with problems that arose in the early years after Paul’s initial missionary visit (c. 50–51) to Corinth and his establishment there of a Christian community. The letter is valuable for its illuminations both of Paul’s thoughts and of the problems of the early church. Saddened by reports of dissension among the converts of various Apostles, Paul begins his letter with a reminder that all are “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (4:1). Then, while answering questions sent from Corinth, he addresses questions of immorality, marriage and celibacy, the conduct of women, the propriety of eating meat offered to idols, and the worthy reception of the Eucharist. To members of the community quarreling about the nature and distribution of spiritual gifts, Paul replies that jealousy among those working in the Spirit of God is as irrational as jealousy between the eye and the ear—both are essential to the well-being of the body as a whole. Then, in one of the most significant of all Pauline texts (chapter 13), the apostle explains to his fellow Christians that no gift of God, whether it be the gift of tongues, faith that moves mountains, or knowledge of mysteries, has meaning unless it is accompanied by love. He also reaffirms the reality of Christ’s. Resurrection—doubted or denied by some—as the very foundation of Christian faith.


The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (II Corinthians in the New Testament) was written from Macedonia in about 55 ce. The letter, which may have been written after an actual visit by Paul to Corinth, refers to an upheaval among the Christians there, during the course of which Paul had been insulted and his apostolic authority challenged. Because of this incident, Paul resolved not to go to Corinth again in person. Instead, he evidently wrote an intervening letter (2:3–4; 7:8, 12), now lost, in which he told the Corinthians of his anguish and displeasure. Presumably, he sent a fellow-worker, Titus, to deliver the letter to the community at Corinth. In the second letter, Paul expresses his joy at the news, just received from Titus, that the Corinthians had repented, that his (Paul’s) authority among them had been reaffirmed, and that the troublemaker had been punished. After expressing his happiness and relief, Paul urges the Corinthians to respond generously to his plea for contributions to assist the poor of Jerusalem.

The last four chapters of the letter, a sharp and vigorous defense of Paul’s apostolic authority, differ markedly in tone from the earlier chapters, suggesting that chapters 10–13 may have been written earlier, before Paul had received Titus’ message. Some scholars view these chapters as a misplaced part of another letter to the Corinthians, thus supporting the speculation about the loss of some intervening communication.

The growing opposition of the Jews, however, and the wicked state of the city had a depressing influence upon him; but “the Lord said to Paul in the night, by a vision: Do not fear, but speak; and hold not thy peace, because I am with thee; and no man shall set upon thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city. And he stayed there a year and six months, teaching among them the word of God” (Acts 18:9-11). Many were converted; some of them noble, wealthy, and learned, but the great majority neither learned, nor powerful, nor noble (1 Corinthians 1:26). During this long period the Faith was planted not only in Corinth but in other portions of Achaia, especially in Cenchreæ, the eastern port. 

During Paul‘s stay in Corinth, he was brought for judgment before the proconsul Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus, also known as Gallio, on the accusation of conducting illegal teachings. Gallio, however, refused to judge what he considered to be a mere religious dispute among the Jews. According to tradition, the site of Paul’s trial was the Bema, a large elevated rostrum standing prominently in the centre of the Roman Forum of ancient Corinth and from where the city’s officials addressed the public. Probably because of the monument’s connection to Saint Paul, the Bema was transformed into a Christian church during the Byzantine period.


Paul's First Missionary Journey

The First Missionary Journey (Acts 13-14) takes Paul
from Antioch to Cyprus then southern Asia Minor (Anatolia),
and back to Antioch. Barnabas and John Mark are with him.

In Cyprus, Paul rebukes Elymas, the magician (Acts 13:8-12) who was criticizing their teachings. They sail to Perga in Pamphylia. John Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem.

Paul and Barnabas go on to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they go into to the synagogue and preach Jesus and the Gospel. Both the Jews and the Gentiles invite them to talk more next Sabbath day and at that time almost the whole city gathers. This upsets some Jews who speak against them. Paul then announces a change in his Evangelical Mission which from then on would be mainly to the Gentiles (Acts 13:13-48).

The Paul’s First Missionary Journey Map outlines his first Evangelical Mission itinerary.


Paul's Second Missionary Journey

Paul and his companion Barnabas left for the Second Missionary Journey from Jerusalem, in late Autumn 49 AD, after the meeting of the Council of Jerusalem where the circumcision question was debated.

They stopped in Antioch where they had a sharp argument about taking John Mark with them on their trips, as in the previous trip he had left them and gone home. Unable to resolve the dispute, Paul and Barnabas decided to separate; Barnabas took John Mark with him, while Silas joined Paul.

Paul and Silas initially visited Tarsus (Paul’s birthplace), Derbe and Lystra. In Lystra, they met a disciple named Timothy, who was well-spoken of by the Christians who were at Lystra and Iconium, and decided to take him with them. Meanwhile, the number of believers kept growing daily (Acts 16:5).

In Philippi, they met a woman named Lydia, a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God and welcomed them in her house, and then Paul cast a spirit of divination out of a slave girl. Her masters were upset about the loss of income her soothsaying provided (Acts 16:16-24), so they turned the city against the missionaries, and Paul and Silas were put in jail. After a miraculous earthquake, the gates of the prison fell apart and Paul and Silas could have escaped but remained; this event led to the conversion of the jailor (Acts 16:25-40). They continued traveling, going by Berea and then to Athens where Paul preached to the Jews and to the believing Greeks in the synagogue and to the Greek intellectuals and philosophers in the Areopagus/Mars’ Hill.

Around 50-52 AD, Paul spent a year and a half in Corinth. In Corinth, Paul met Priscilla and Aquila who became believers and helped Paul through his other missionary journeys. The couple followed Paul and his companions to Ephesus, and stayed there to start a Church. In 52 AD, Paul and Silas sailed to Caesarea to greet the Church there and then traveled north to Antioch where they stayed for about a year before leaving again on their third missionary journey.

The Paul’s Second Missionary Journey Map outlines his Second Evangelical Mission itinerary.



Paul's Third Missionary Journey

Paul began his Third Missionary Journey by traveling all around the region of Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen, teach and rebuke the Christian believers.

Paul then traveled to Ephesus and stayed there for nearly three years. In Ephesus he performed miracles, healed people and cast out demons by the power of God, he preached and taught the Gospel of Christ (Acts 19:11-12). Even sorcerers turned from their evil practices and repented upon witnessing the power of God (Acts 19:17-20).

Paul eventually found himself in grave danger from worshipers of the pagan goddess Artemis (also known as “Diana of the Ephesians”), and those who were in the business of supplying them (Acts 19:24-27). Paul left the city after an attack from a local silversmith resulted in a pro-Artemis riot in which most of the city was involved. (Acts 19:28-41).

Paul went through Macedonia into Achaea and while awaiting to sail for Syria, he discovered another plot against him, so he instead returned through Macedonia (Acts 20:3).

Paul and his companions visited other cities on their way back to Jerusalem such as Philippi, Troas, Miletus, Rhodes, and Tyre. At Miletus the church elders from Ephesus came up to meet with him for the last time (Acts 20:17-38).

Paul finished his trip with a stop in Caesarea where he and his companions stayed with Philip the Evangelist before finally arriving at Jerusalem (Acts 21:8-10 – 21:15).

The Paul’s Third Missionary Journey Map outlines his Third Evangelical Mission itinerary.


Did you know that…

The Rostra (Bema) of the Roman Forum
During his eighteen months in Corinth (in 51-52AD), Paul writes his First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians, in which he encourages the new Gentile believers to stand firm under persecution, instructs them how to lead a godly life and clears up some confusion about the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
The Rostra (Bema) of the Roman Forum
Paul likely viewed himself as a Jewish prophet rather than a separate Christian prophet.
The Rostra (Bema) of the Roman Forum
Paul, was a tentmaker (making tents and other leather articles from ‘cilicium’, a felted goat-hair cloth originating from Cilicia, the area around Tarsus), and worked with others in the agora of Corinth– making and repairing awnings and shelters to protect people from the hot Mediterranean sun.
The Rostra (Bema) of the Roman Forum
Some claim that chapter 13 was written by someone other than Paul.
The Rostra (Bema) of the Roman Forum
The King James Version of the Bible translated agape as charity.
The Rostra (Bema) of the Roman Forum
In 1997, England’s prime minister Tony Blair read 1Cor 13 at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales


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