Paul At Corinth
Acts 18:1-17
After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;…


1. Failure was the cause generally of his changing his place of work. At some places (Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus) he stayed a considerable time. It was because his attempt to lead men to Christ there passed from the point of endeavour to the point of success. At other places he preached until he was stoned out of the gates, or met with such complete unsusceptibility of heart, that not even antagonism was aroused. Paul had not been maltreated at Athens, but he had made little or no impression. It is easier to be learned than it is to be humble.

2. That a place seemed unpromising for gospel work did not deter Paul from entering it. Athens might have been considered a favourable spot for the attempt, and Corinth not. But Paul went on as readily to Corinth as to Athens. From the luxurious fashionable set who gave Corinthian society its character, Paul could hope for little, nor could he expect any heed from the representatives of the Roman State, who would sneer at anything religious, particularly if it came from among the Jews. Yet what a mistake he would have made if he had not gone to Corinth. He was to win many souls there for Christ, was to establish one of the best-known Churches in Christendom there. The badness of a place is not a good ground for keeping the gospel from it, but the contrary.

II. PAUL HAD A DEFINITE WAY OF DETERMINING WHO HIS ASSOCIATES WERE TO BE IN ANY PLACE. There is nothing mysterious in his method, nor is it different from that followed by every other man. Each man, by the laws of personal affinity, goes to "his own." Paul naturally gravitated towards men of similar mind with himself.

1. He naturally sought out Jews. He was a Jew himself, and had the intense race feeling which has always distinguished "the peculiar people" (2 Corinthians 11:22). They were in a sense halfway to the gospel already, inasmuch as they believed in the true God and His ancient revelation; therefore they offered ground already prepared for the sowing of the Word of life. Thus it was that on coming to Corinth Paul made the acquaintance of Aquila. He knew that in him he would have much in common.

2. The development of this friendship was assisted by the similarity of occupation of the two men. Both were tent makers, a trade common in Cilicia, the apostle's native land. Sameness of occupation is a very active element in the making and establishing of friendships.

3. Still another element was at work in the shaping of Paul's relations with others — Providence. By chance, some might say, Paul and Aquila, after many vicissitudes for both, met in Corinth.


1. He pursued his trade.

2. While Paul plied his trade among his fellow Jews, he was discussing religious questions with them and laying a foundation for the gospel.

IV. PAUL'S INCREASE OF ACTIVITY. The time came when the ground was prepared for the proclamation of the full gospel to the Corinthian Jews. When that time came, delay would have been not discretion but cowardice.

1. The change in Paul's procedure seems to have been due to the coming of Silas and Timothy from Macedonia (ver. 5).

2. The result was that which was common with Paul in similar circumstances — opposition. The opposition rose to the point of intense ridicule, literally blasphemy, of the apostle's words. And what was it all about? The simple declaration that Jesus was the Christ (ver. 5). The natural man receiveth not the things of God. We must expect, then, that men will always antagonise their own coming to Christ.

V. PAUL CHANGED HIS PLAN AT THIS POINT. He had worked hitherto along the line of friendship. He had conciliated. Now he rises with the moral dignity of a messenger of God, and shaking out his garment, that not a grain of dust from the place may cleave to him, he cries, "Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles" (ver. 6).

1. This invoking of the testimony of the dust was a common Oriental method of cursing one's enemies, and was full of terror to those who witnessed it. It was not an invocation of wrath upon them, but rather a warning to flee from wrath.

2. Paul next tried what, generally speaking, would have been called the more unfavourable ground, since he had had no success where he had been entitled to expect it. In the same way in which he had been driven from Athens to less favourable Corinth, he was driven from Jewish Corinth to the less favourable Gentile Corinth.

VI. THE RESULTS AT LAST APPEAR. If there had been no results, Paul, in a sense, would have accomplished his mission. What, then, if conversions do not follow preaching? What did Paul do? He went to another place.

1. The results were great. He preached in a Gentile house (i.e., that of Titus Justus; Paul still lived with Aquila), and the ruler of the synagogue was converted. So does the gospel find a welcome in the unlikeliest hearts, and the grace of God find a home in the darkest spots. You never can tell where the gospel will win its way. It is ours to press onward in every direction.

2. After Paul's discouragement there came this astounding success. Unless we are better than Paul, we may expect times of discouragement; and, bless God, we may also expect times of deep rejoicing.


1. By the presence of God. Paul had his companions now with him. But he was lonesome for a stronger than they, and God came Himself. Even the strongest souls have such hours of longing after God. We long to have God with us; but, beyond that, to know that He is with us. And in many ways God lets us know, and in the knowledge gives us deep comfort.

2. The Lord encouraged Paul with a double promise —

(1) That no one should harm him, although danger would menace him as he boldly preached the truth.

(2) That he should have many converts for Christ; for this seems to be in]plied in the expression, "for I have much people in this city" (ver. 10). So Paul was reminded anew and doubly that his work was more God's than his own. Here again we meet the problem of the Divine and human at work together — of fore-ordination and human freedom, both true, and yet irreconcilable perfectly to our present comprehension.


1. The gospel has an irregular movement; all is not success, all is not failure.

2. Our duty is to press on without ceasing.

3. God is with us. The powers that resist the gospel are nothing to the power that befriends it.

4. Success is sure; in multitudes of places it has proved immediate.

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

WEB: After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth.

Paul At Corinth
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