Paul is on the road again, but he stays in a few places quite a long time. We find him first in Corinth. Now, keep in mind that many of the books in the New Testament are books written by Paul to these individual congregations addressing specific issues that may have come up. We have I and II Corinthians which is Paul’s letters to this church in Acts 18. Paul spends a year and a half in Corinth working together with a member of that Christian community making tents. Have you ever heard the term tent-maker? That is a term describing pastors who are bi-vocational. It comes from these verses. For example, many Mennonite pastors in this region are bi-vocational. John Meck is a pig farmer and he is the pastor at the Mennonite Church here in town. By the way, as an aside, if you have never seen a pig farm before I would highly recommend it. I was incredibly impressed with John’s operation, the time, the care, and the love that he has for what he does and for those creatures. But here in these beginning verses of 18 we find Paul seeks out a believer in Jesus Christ who was also a tentmaker and teams up with him. This believer was Aquila who came to Corinth with his wife Priscilla to flee the persecution in Rome, Italy. It was amazing to see the synagogue in Rome and know that on or near that location there has been a community of Jews since well before the 1st century. It always gives me goose bumps seeing that synagogue and knowing that Priscilla and Aquilla came from that community.
This Scripture tells us that every single Saturday Paul was in the synagogue at Corinth, for a year and a half, arguing that Jesus was the Messiah. This is a common theme. The arguments that people make that Jesus is the Messiah. It becomes, it seems, a bit of a war of attrition.
In so many of these accounts we find conversions of some of the leaders in the society and in the synagogues. We see Crispus, the official of the synagogue in Corinth who converts, and then at the end of the chapter we see Apollos who was African, probably a person of color, who was a God fearing man. He did not know Jesus and was only baptized as John baptized for cleansing in order to be prepared to enter the temple. Priscilla and Aquilla take him under their wing and the conversation probably went something like this: “Psst, hey, I love what you’re doing. But, there’s one thing, Jesus, he wasn’t just a good teacher, he was actually God. So next time you go out and speak, make sure you include something about Jesus being the Messiah.” If you look at vs. 28 you will see that he was a powerful speaker who showed that Jesus was the Messiah.
We can’t forget Apollos. Later on in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth he is mentioned as a key elder in that congregation. Some, including Martin Luther, believe that he was responsible for the writing of the Hebrews in Scripture. That’s appealing.