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Chapter Six

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

 

  

 

50 A.D.

Paul and Barnabas attend the "Council of Jerusalem"
Caraetaeus captured by the Romans in Britain.
Cogidunus (Father of Claudia  2 Timothy 4:21) assists the Romans in Britain.

51 A.D.

Paul and Barnabas travel to Antioch.
At Antioch  a disagreement  between Paul and Barnabas about whether to allow
Mark to rejoin them.  
 Paul  decides to take Silas with him to Tarsus, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and
Antioch in Pisidia.
Barnabas takes John Mark and  goes to the island of Cyprus.

At Lystra Paul meets Timothy, who accompanies him on the rest of his journey.

52 A.D.

Paul/Silas/Timothy travel to Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica and Beroea .

Paul travels to Corinth and writes 1 Thessalonians.   

Paul meets Aquila and Priscilla.

Claudius expels the Jews from Rome

53 A.D.

Paul stays in Corinth and writes 2 Thessalonians.|
The tetrarchy of Trachonitis given to Agrippa II.|
Felix made procurator of Judaea

54 A.D.

Paul, Aquila and Priscilla leave Corinth for  Ephesus.

 Aquila and Priscilla stay in Ephesus as Paul travels on to Jerusalem.
Paul goes on to  Summer and  to Antioch.

Death of Claudius and accession of Nero.

 

Second missionary journey begins with Paul and Barnabas traveling back to Antioch.(AD 51)

Silas first appears in Acts (15:22-29) with Barnabas, after the Council of Jerusalem, as carrying a letter with the council's decision, to Antioch

 

Silas Silvanus (Greek = Silouanos)

 There is some disagreement over the proper form of his name. He is consistently called "Silas" in Acts, but the Latin Silvanus, which means "of the forest", is always used by Paul and in the First Epistle of Peter.  It may be that "Silvanus" is the Romanized version of the original "Silas", or that "Silas" is the Greek nickname for "Silvanus".  Silas is the Greek version of the Aramaic "Seila", a version of the Hebrew "Saul", which is attested in Palmyrene inscriptions. Silas first appears in Acts (15:22-29) with Barnabas, after the Council of Jerusalem, as carrying a letter with the council's decision, to Antioch. He may have returned to Jerusalem after this .  However it appears that Silas came back to Antioch and joined Paul in his second journey.

After his disagreement with Barnabas over John Mark (Acts 15:37-40), Paul then selects Silas to accompany him west to Derbe, Lystra (where they recruited Timothy), Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica and Beroea, where he remained with Timothy while Paul continued to Athens (Acts 16, 17). Both of them rejoined Paul in Corinth (18:5). Silas nor Timothy is not seen to join Paul when he sailed to Ephesus, and Silas disappears from Acts. Acts (16:37) altogether. He might have been a Roman citizen and remain in his home town..

According to the entry in the Roman Martyrology for 13 July, “In Macedonia, blessed Silas, who was one of the first brethren, was sent by the Apostles to the Churches of the Gentiles together with Paul and Barnabas. Full of the grace of God, he zealously carried out the office of preaching and, glorifying Christ with his sufferings, afterwards rested in peace”.

 Silas, is mentioned as one of the Elders of the Church at Jerusalem, “chief among the brethren” (Acts 15:22). His name may indicate him to have been a Hellenistic Jew; he appears to have had the rights of a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37).   

Silas was also a close associate of the apostle Peter, with Silas doing the actual writing of at least one of Peter's epistles. “By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand" (1 Peter 5:12). Silas has been identified with Terentius, of Romans 16:22.

According to tradition Silas have been the Bishop of Corinth.  Later traditions indicates a Silvaus who became the Bishop of Thessalonika.  Silas certainly rejoined Paul at Corinth (Acts18:5) and writing to Thessalonians,  Paul associates Silas and Timothy also with him as those who wrote to the Thessolonians  (1 & 2 Thessalonians 1:1),   Silas is seen in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 1:19.  These indicate that Silas was indeed the Bishop of Corinth and the Silvanus of Thessalonika must have been another person.

According to tradition, Silas died in Macedonia. In relation to a traditional story of his martyrdom, Silas is sometimes depicted being devoured by a lion.  The relics of S. Silas were given by Pope Sergius in 691 to Bainus, Bishop of the Morini. They were held in honour at Therouanne, in the Church of S. Mary, until the town and church were destroyed by the emperor Charles V in 1554. A relic of S. Silas is preserved in this Church of S. Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town. (http://www.saintsilas.org.uk/section/111)

 

At Antioch John Mark (who left them at Perga on their first missionary journey) wanted to rejoin Paul and Barnabas.   There arose a contention between Paul and Barnabas regarding taking Mark with them.  Since Mark left half way in the first journey, Paul insisted that he was not reliable.  But Barnabas decided to take Mark, his nephew and go separate from Paul. 

Ac 13:13 PAUL AND BARNABAS SEPARATE...

Ac 15:39  Barnabas took John Mark and went to Cyprus

Ac 15:40 Paul selected Silas to accompany him  

 

Ac 4:36; 13:4-12   PAUL AND SILAS BEGIN THEIR JOURNEY

They pass through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches - Ac 15:41

 

IN DERBE AND LYSTRA

Paul healed a lame man, and was stoned, on his first  journey Ac 14:6-20 

Paul desires Timothy to go with him - Ac 16:1-3  

At Lystra Paul met Timothy, who joined the mission of Paul  on the rest of his journey.

 

___________________________________________________________________________

TIMOTHY

Timothy (Greek: Τιμόθεος; Timótheos, meaning "honouring God") was a first-century Christian bishop who died about AD 80. Evidence from the New Testament also has him functioning as coadjutor of Saint Paul.

 He was evidently one of Paul's converts as as is seen from the expressions - “beloved and faithful son in the Lord (1 Cor 4:17);   "Timothy my true child in faith"; (1 Tim 1:2) and  "Timothy my beloved child." 2 Tim 1:2  He was not  circumcised most probably because his father was a Hellenized jew. Paul personally circumcised him because his mother was of the Jewish faith, so that he might be accepted by the Jews. He was ordained and went with Paul in his journey through Phrygia, Galatia and Mysia; also to Troas, Philippi, Veria, and Corinth. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are noted as eminent for their piety and faith, which indicates that they may have also been Christians.

 . According to later tradition, Paul ordained Timothy as bishop of Ephesus in the year 65, where he served for 15 years. In the year 80 (though some sources place the event during the year 97, with Timothy dying at age 80), Timothy tried to halt a pagan procession of idols, ceremonies, and songs. In response to his preaching of the gospel, the angry pagans beat him, dragged him through the streets, and stoned him to death. In the 4th century, his relics were transferred to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.

 

             

Why did Paul circumcise Timothy considering his theology?

Genesis 17:10   This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Romans 2:25  Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.

1 Corinthians 7:18-19  Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts.

Galatians 5:2  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

Acts 16:3  Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

 

They were forbidden by the Spirit to preach the word in Asia, i.e., to head southwest toward Ephesus - Ac 16:7

 

IN MYSIA AND TROAS...

Near Mysia they were not permitted by the Spirit to head north toward Bithynia - Ac 16:8

They arrive in Alexandria Troas - Ac 16:9-10        
 Paul has a vision, a man of Macedonia asking him to help them. Understood as the Lord’s leading they go in that direction

 

 

Luke:      
 Luke, author of Acts, now joins Paul and his company           

 


Luke the physician (Co
4:14),

Luke was a Roman citizen from Antioch, Syria. He was not a Jew. (Col. 4:11,14).  His name,  Lucanus,  and his  profession of physician (Col. 4:14), suggests that he was son of a Greek freedman possibly connected with Lucania in south Italy.  During the time of  Julius Caesar, he gave Roman citizenship to all physicians in Rome.  Luke’s family might have got their citizenship at this time.  His father might have been a physician too.     We do not know how and when he became a Christian but it must have been earlier than the ordination of Paul and Barnabas.  

 

By profession he was a physician and a great research worker.  We may assume with some confidence that he came to accept the way after through examination of the claims of Jesus and his resurrection.  This is reflected in the style and details of the Gospel of Luke.  He wrote the gospel from the point of view of a gentile scientist. 

            

St. Luke is the author of two books in the Bible: the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Although he did not meet Jesus while the Lord was on this earth, he took all the pain to do extensive interview with those who had known, seen and heard the Lord.  He  is the only one who could report the Annunciation of Mary by the angel Gabriel and the subsequent story of the birth of Jesus and the flight to Egypt.   

 
According to the traditions  St. Luke painted three portrait of the Virgin Mary. The monasteries of Hodegon and Soumela claim that the icons of the Virgin Mary in their possession are Luke's paintings. Hodegon Monastery is located in Constantinople close to Hagia Sophia. It was founded the 5th Century by the Empress Pulcheria to house precious relics, which later included the Virgin Hodegetria..  Soumela monastery is located on the face of a cliff on the western slopes of Mt. Melas in Asia Minor.  Its origins date back to the 4th Century and its beginnings are attributed to two Athenian monks, Barnabas and Sophronios, who supposedly discovered in a cave at Soumela an icon of the Virgin painted by Luke.   

.

Luke painted this Icon of Mary (about the year 60 AD) while she was staying with John the Apostle. According to tradition, when Luke “wrote” the Icon, he accurately rendered the Blessed Virgin’s authentic facial features. The Icon was written directly onto a three foot by five foot cedar plank, believed to be part of a table that Jesus had originally hand crafted during his time in Nazareth. When Mary went to stay with  John, in the table was also taken with them. Lost for over 200 years, the Icon was discovered by St. Helena (mother of Emperor Constantine) in Jerusalem,  around 326 AD.

He is credited as the first Christian iconographer. . He wrote three icons of Mary, the Mother of God, as well as of Peter & Paul.

After the Apostle Paul's martyrdom, Luke preached in Italy, Dalmatia, Macedonia and elsewhereHe was hung from an olive tree in Thebes at the age of 84. His relics were later taken to Constantinople by Emperor Constantius.

From Troas they cross over to Samothrace, and then to Neapolis (Ac16:11). 
They have now entered the continent of Europe, and come into Europe.

Neapolis is the Aegean seaport of Philippi where Paul landed on European soil on his second journey (Acts 16:11). He arrived here after sailing for two days from Alexandria Troas in Asia (Acts 16:11). Today Neapolis is called Kavala (from Latin for "horse" due to its horse trading history), a Greek city of about 60,000 people.

 

III. THE REGIONS OF MACEDONIA AND ACHAIA (52-53 A.D.)   
 
PHILIPPI      Ac 16:12     

Paul from the port Neapolis (Kavalla) on the coast (Acts 16:11) reached Philippi by an ancient paved road over the steep range Symbolum in his second missionary journey, A.D. 51. Paul crossed the mountains before entering Greece.

“On the Sabbath we went in a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we supposed that some people met for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had come together. One of them was Lydia from Thyratira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth. She was a worshipper of God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart and she accepted what Paul was saying. She was baptised along with other members of her household and she asked us to be her guests. "If you agree that I am faithful to the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my home." And she urged us until we did...Paul and Silas then returned to the home of Lydia, where they met with the believers and encouraged them once more before leaving town." - Ac 16:13-15      

 

Paul and Lydia stained glass in Philippi Church of Lydia

 

Saint Lydia the purple cloth seller

 

Acts 16:12-15, 40.

Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. Dyed goods were imported from Thyatira to the parent city Philippi, and were dispersed by pack animals among the mountaineers of Haemus and Pangaeus.

From all that we know  Lydia must have been: a wealthy lady of Equestrian or Patrician class, a Roman citizen of Tyre, and most probably a relation to the emperor  and closely associated with the court of the Roman Empire.

Tyrian purple

Tyrian purple (Greek, πορφύρα, porphyra, Latin: purpura), also known as royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a purple-red dye first produced by the ancient Phoenicians. Tyrian purple was the rarest and most expensive of clothing in those days.   The purple dye is made by extracting the essential oils from a species of shellfish which inhabited a small stretch of coast near to the city-state of Tyre.  David Jacoby remarks  that "twelve thousand snails of Murex brandaris yield no more than 1.4 g of pure dye, enough to color only the trim of a single garment."  Because of its rareness it  became the monopoly of the Roman emperors who even made laws as to who and how the purple clothes can be used.   (sumptuary laws).

Royalty could use it without restriction.  It was a royal color. Patricians could have it only as bands, and the  width of the band is decided by the  status of  the person in the court.  Equestrians (merchant and military classes) were allowed only small bits, Plebians were not allowed  to use the color at all.   But those citizens of Rome who were from Tyre could be licensed to sell the cloth throughout the Empire.  The 4th-century-BC historian Theopompus says, "Purple for dyes fetched its weight in silver at Colophon"   Pliny the Elder described the dyeing process of two purples in his Natural History

PHILIPPI

 

Part of the large rectangular agora at Philippi


Shops and storage jars at the agora in Philippi


. Ruins of the unfinished "Basilica B" at the south side of the agora at Philippi.

 

Cross-shaped baptistery in the octagonal church at the east end of the agora dedicated to St. Paul


Another view of the agora (the rectangular doorframe in the upper part of the photo, right of center, marks the site of the library).


The Gangetis River, west of the city walls of Philippi. The traditional "place of prayer" where Paul baptized Lydia from Thyatira

Theater at Philippi, built against the east slope of the acropolis.

Acropolis of Philippi with remains of the bath house in the foreground

Paving stones of the Via Egnatia in the agora at Philippi (in the upper right corner is the concrete embankment of the modern highway). Paul traveled about 9 miles on foot with a couple of companions along the Via Egnatia to Philippi

 


Traditional prison of Paul.

 

 

Roman theater

 

Philipi today


Aquaduct built at the time of sultan Suleyman the Magnificent (1521-1566)


Excavated ruin, dug up by French archaeologists from 1914 to 1938.

 

When Paul arrived, Phillipi was one of the leading cities of Macedonia, founded in the 350 b.c.e. by Alexander the Great's father, Philip of Macedonia, and surrounded by walls.

 

Acts 16:16-40  Paul and Silas in Prison
The healing of the demon-possessed girl - Ac 16:16-18  

The Satriae tribe had the oracle of Dionysus, the Thracian prophet god. The "damsel with the spirit of divination" may have belonged to this shrine, or else to the shrine of Apollos  (as the spirit is called "Pythoness,").  The Psychic may have been a slave girl with this special power.  These Psychics    were used by the owners to divine for hire to the people  coming to the temple market. She met Paul several days on his way to the place of prayer, and used to cry out on each occasion "these are the servants of the most high God who announce to us the way of salvation."  Paul eventually casted the spirit out of her.  As a result the trade came to a halt for the owner and was naturally angry. 


"Paul's Prison"  -  Philippian jail cell

 

Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned - Ac 16:19-24.   Paul refers to this in his letter to the Thessalonians 1 Th 2:2; also in his letter to the Philippians - Ph 1:30

Paul and Silas’   Prison Cell

This resulted in an earthquake, and the conversion of the jailer and his family - Ac 16:25-34

        "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

 

The church at Philippi included
a. Lydia and the jailer, along with their families         
b. Luke, who stayed behind, Ac 16:40;17:1)         
c. Euodia, Syntyche, Syzygus, and Clement - Ph 4:2-3

  

Baptistery in Phillipi

Euodia, Syntyche and quarrels among the sisters Ph 4:2-3

Euodia  means  "fragrant" and  Syntyche means “fortunate”

"I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other" (Philippians 4:2).

Paul addresses, Euodia and Syntyche as "women who contended at my side in the cause of the gospel" (4:3). From this we infer that they were leading members, perhaps deaconesses of the Church.  So he pleads with them. "Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:2-4).

 

Amphipolis

 

Remains of the Via Egnatia paralleling the modern highway between Philippi and Thessaloniki.

Amphipolis was a large city that served as the capital of the first district of Macedonia. Paul passed through it on his second (Acts 17:1) and (by implication) on his third missionary journeys.  Amphipolis was located about 32 miles west of Philippi and 3 miles from the Aegean Sea on the Via Egnatia. Its name, meaning "around the city" (from amphi, "around," and polis, "city") , is derived from the fact that Strymon (Strimón) River flowed around it

The river Strymon winding around the acropolis (right) of the ancient Athenian colony of Amphipolis

      

Excavations of gymnasium at Amphipolis;  and the "Lion of Amphipolis;" a  4th century BC burial monument near the Strymon River. Paul would have passed it as he traveled the Via Egnatia through Amphipolis.  Later Amphipolis became a diocese under the suffragan of Thessaloniki.  The Bishop of Amphipolis is first mentioned in 533 AD.

Passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came toThessalonica  - Ac 17:1

Thessalonica

Thessalonica was a port city about 100 miles west of Philippi and 190 miles northwest of Athens. The city was founded about 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon, who named it after his wife Thessalonikeia, a half-sister of Alexander the Great.

 

 

    

An ancient  Baptistry in Thessalonica   and the  Church of St Demetrius,

 

Here Paul visitsed the synagogue and reasons with the Jews for three consecutive Sabbaths - Ac 17:2-4 proclaiming Jesus as the Christ.  As a result some jews were persuaded, along with a great multitude of Greeks in that city.  Those Jews who opposed him   gathered a mob, and attacked the house of Jason where Paul was staying - Ac 17:5-9      

 


St. Demetrios Church, the largest church in Greece, commemorating Tessaloniki's patron saint, located near the ancient agora.

 In Thessalonica Paul supported himself, aided by the Philippians - 1 Th 2:9; 2 Th 3:6-10; Ph 4:16        

 Then Paul and Silas were sent away by the brethren - Ac 17:10       

 

From Thessalonica Paul went to

BEREA    

Ancient Road in Berea (Veria)

Paul and Silas sent away by the brethren - Ac 17:10

    

Berea Roman Road

"As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.  Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.  Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men."  (Acts 17:10-12)

Paul preaching in Berea

This part of the scripture gives us clear instruction as to the validity of any new teachings.    Here was a typical case when two new comers Paul and Silas comes into the synagogue and preaches a way.  The way they assert was Jesus.  The method for discerning truth from heresy is to check out and see whether the new teaching conflicts with the already revealed word of God.  The written word is infallible and any further revelation should only a fulfillment of what is given .  This is what the Bereans did for which they were praised.  This is the only way to distinguish between heresy and truth.

 

 

Memorial to Paul in Berea

Memorial for Paul in Berea

Synagogue in Berea

View of a building thought to have been built over the remains of an ancient synagogue at Berea   (Acts 17:10–12).

Jews from Thessalonica came and stirred up the crowds - Ac  17:13     

Paul sent away by the brethren, but Silas and Timothy stay - Ac 17:14

 

Mosaic commemorating the visit of Paul to Berea at modern Veria.

Athens Acropolis (left to right, on the summit): Porpylaea, Erechtheum, Parthenon; on the slope below is the Odeum of Herodes Atticus

Medieval Monasteries of Greece.

Meteora Monasteries

The Monastery of Varlaam, built in 1517, is reached by climbing 195 steps. It still has a rope and pulley system in place that was once used for hoisting visitors by hand in a free swinging rope net.


 

ATHENS   

In Athens Paul sends for Silas and Timothy - Ac 17:15     

 Moved by the idolatry, Paul disputes with both Jews and Greeks  - Ac 17:16-17    In the synagogue with Jews and other devout persons  and in the market place to the Greeks daily.  Athens being a city of learning Paul was invited by the Epicurean and Stoic Philosophic groups to speak to them at the Areopagus - Ac 17:18-21       These were academic lectures and discourses. 

 

And some said, "What would this babbler say?" [Those were the Epicureans.] Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities" -- because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. [These were the Stoics.] And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears; we wish to know therefore what these things mean." Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. {Acts 17:18-21}.

Athens was named for the goddess Athena. 

Inside this 100 by 230 ft. architectural marvel was a 40 ft. gold and ivory statue of Athena Parthenos (the virgin).

 

 

Staircase ascending to the propylaea (monumental entrance) to the Acropolis.

 

 

 

Temple of Athena Parthenos, more familiarly known as the Parthenon, on the Athens Acropolis

 

Erechtheum, with "Caryatids" porch, the main worship center of the Acropolis.

 

Roman agora with the "Tower of the Winds" (right).

East entrance to the Roman agora at Athens

Aeropagus, ("Hill of Ares" or "Mars Hill"), the original meeting place of the Athens city council.

 

The philosophers brought Paul to the Areopagus to tell them about his "new teaching" (Acts 17:19).

Areopagus means "Hill of Ares," god of war, "Mar's Hill."

The Areopagus in Athens

Hill of Ares

 

 

Paul's appearance before the Council of the Areopagus, although not an official judicial procedure, "deliberately echoes the trial of Socrates for proclaiming new deities and leading the populace to question its beliefs in the traditional gods." (Oxford Companion to the Bible, p. 65).

 

                     

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We will hear you again about this." So Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. {Acts 17:32-34}

 

Dionysius the Areopagite. He was one of the judges, an intellectual, a ruler of the city, but he became a Christian. With him was a woman named Damaris.

"he saw that the city was full of idols."

 

Greek gods

 

"To the Unknown God"

The above altar is located on Palatine Hill, Rome, where once stood the palaces of the Caesars. It dates from about 100 B.C. and has the inscription, ´To the unknown God.´   Act 17:23

 Paul's sermon on "The Unknown God"  can be found in Ac 17:22-34

·         Proclaiming the One True God        

·         Proclaiming the need to repent, the coming Judgment, and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead        

The reaction was varied:  some mocked, others agreed to hear  more, some believed      At some point, Timothy is sent back to Thessalonica -  1 Th 3:1-2   to encourage the brethren there. Some believe Timothy may have been sent from Berea

 

Aquila & Priscilla

Priscilla was a woman of Jewish heritage and one of the earliest known Christian converts who lived in Rome. Her name is a Roman diminutive, or nickname, for Prisca. 

Aquila (Greek Ἀκύλας Akúlas), husband of Priscilla, was originally from Pontus. He, too, was a Jew who believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah promised by God to the Jews. Aquila had the family name of the commander of a legion and means "eagle."  According to Acts 18:2-3, Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers, as Paul is said to have been. This must have been the contact point.  Priscilla and Aquila had been among the Jews expelled from Rome by the Roman Emperor Claudius in the year 49 as written by Suetonius. Priscilla and Aquila ended up in Corinth (Greece). Paul lived with Priscilla and Aquila for approximately 18 months working as a tent maker along side the couple before they joined Paul to Syria, but stopped at Ephesus.

They accompanied St. Paul to Ephesus (Acts 18:18-19), instructed the Alexandrian Apollo, entertained the Apostle Paul at Ephesus for three years.  They kept a Christian church in their house (1 Corinthians 16:19). They left Ephesus for Rome, probably after the riot stirred up by the silversmith Demetrius (Acts 19:24-40).  In Rome also they started a house church. (Romans 16:3-5), but soon left that city, probably on account of the persecution of Nero, and settled again at Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:19). According to church tradition, Aquila did not long dwell in Rome as Apostle Paul made him a bishop in Asia. The Apostolic Constitutions identify Aquila, along with Nicetas, as the first bishops of Asia . Tradition also reports that Aquila ended his life a martyr, along with Priscilla.

In Acts 18:24-28, states that in Ephesus they took a well known evangelist Apollos  aside and corrected him.    Appolos,  "taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately."

Priscilla and Aquila were among the earliest known teachers of Christian theology.

In the majority of the references to the couple in the bible, Priscilla precedes Aquila.  Some suggests that this indicates that Priscilla was the more spiritually prominent of the two.   Priscilla and Aquila accompanied Paul to Ephesus (Acts 18: 18) in 53 A. D. The couple is next mentioned in connection with Apollos (Acts 18: 26). It appears the couple came back to Rome in about 56 A. D. (Rom. 16: 3). Paul referred to them as "his helpers," who were willing to give their lives for the cause of Christ (Rom. 16: 3, 4, cp. I Cor. 16: 19, 2 Tim. 4: 19).

Corinth derived much wealth from its many pagan temples and shrines where homage was paid to foreign as well as civic deities like Isis, Serapis, Astarte, Artemis, Apollo, Hermes, Heracles, Athena and Poseidon.

 

It had a famous temple dedicated to Aesklepius, the god of healing where patients left terra cotta replicas of body parts with the hope that their ailments would be healed.

Aesklepius

 

Aphrodite

The most significant pagan cult in Corinth, however, was to Aphrodite whose temple was located atop the Acrocorinth. APHRODITE was the great Olympian goddess of beauty, love, pleasure and and procreation. She was depicted as a beautiful woman usually accompanied by the winged godling Eros (Love). Her attributes included a dove, apple, scallop shell and mirror. In classical sculpture and fresco she was often depicted nude. Aphrodite is also known as Kypris (Lady of Cyprus) and Cytherea after the two places, Cyprus and Kythira, which claim her birth. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Venus.

 

 It had more than 1000 temple prostitutes dedicated to the goddess. In the evening they would descend the acropolis to ply there trade on the city streets. According to historian Strabo, it was because of them that the city was "crowded with people and grew rich." It is little wonder that Paul had so much to say in his first letter to the Corinthians about the sacredness of the body:

 

Acro-corinth, the acropolis of ancient Corinth, with the cardo maximus, the city's main north-south road leading from the port of Lechaion to the agora (marketplace).

"She had a reputation for commercial prosperity, but she was also a byword for evil living. The very word korinthiazesthai, to live like a Corinthian, had become a part of the Greek language, and meant to live with drunken and immoral debauchery ... Aelian, the late Greek writer, tells us that if ever a Corinthian was shown upon the stage in a Greek play he was shown drunk. The very name Corinth was synonymous with debauchery and there was one source of evil in the city which was known all over the civilized world. Above the isthmus towered the hill of the Acropolis, and on it stood the great temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. To that temple there were attached one thousand priestesses who were sacred prostitutes, and in the evenings they descended from the Acropolis and plied their trade upon the streets of Corinth, until it became a Greek proverb, 'It is not every man who can afford a journey to Corinth.' In addition to these cruder sins, there flourished far more recondite vices, which had come in with the traders and the sailors from the ends of the earth, until Corinth became not only a synonym for wealth and luxury, drunkenness and debauchery, but also for filth." (William Barclay, The Letters To The Corinthians, p. 2-3).

 

 

Ruins at the site of Corinth's eastern port of Cenchrea, with its bay on the Saronic Gulf seen in the background.