(Part 4 of the series, Following Apostle Paul's Missionary steps, a journey taken by Shirley Jones with a group from Christ Community Church)
GREECE - Visiting the Acropolis Museum, Mars Hill, and the Agora antiquities and viewing the artifacts in the Acropolis Museum, was indeed a fascinating time our group had in Athens. The length of time Paul remained in Athens is unknown; we learned he had received a “generally cautious, though not hostile, welcome” in Athens and then left for Corinth about 50 miles west of Athens. We were to take a day trip to this very same city.
Corinth was the largest city Paul had seen. The earliest record of inhabitants in the area goes back to the eighth century B.C. When Paul arrived in Corinth, probably in the spring of 50 A.D., the commercial metropolis had been re-built by Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. It had laid in ruins after the Battle of Corinth (146 B.C.) when the Romans conquered the Greeks. Earlier devastation to the city had occurred as warring nations battled in the area.
Corinth’s re-built city was less than 100 years old when Paul arrived; he found it to be filled with wickedness and immorality. There was a Temple to Aphrodite (the goddess of love and war) that had been built on a large hill (Acrocorinth) behind the city in the fifth century and rebuilt in 44 B.C. by Julius Caesar. The Temple of Apollo (god of sun, light, oracles, knowledge, healing, diseases, music, poetry, songs, dance, archery, herds and flocks and protecting young) was built in the seventh century B.C. by the Greeks and renovated by Julius Caesar.
Our group also viewed the temple of Octavia that was built between 27 B.C. and 14 A.D. and dedicated to the Roman Emperor Augustus‘ sister, Octavia. There were many Roman villas, other temples, a theater, shops, a public bath, pottery factories, a gymnasium, a triumphal arch and several other established buildings that Julius Caesar had had constructed.
It was there in Corinth that “he (Paul) became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had been expelled from Italy as a result of Claudius Caesar’s order to deport all Jews from Rome.
"Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tent makers just as he was. Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike.
"And after Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul spent his full time preaching and testifying to the Jews, telling them, ‘The Messiah you were looking for is Jesus.’ But when the Jews opposed him and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his robe and said, ‘your blood be upon your own hands — I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’ So, Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God." (Acts18:2-6; 11)