Sin City

Some much needed background information on Corinth:

If you look at a map of the Mediterranean World in the 1st Century, you will find Corinth located on a four mile wide Isthmus that divides the northern and southern parts of Greece. Mariners would actually pull their boats out of the water and drag them on rollers across this isthmus instead of sailing around the dangerous waters of southern Greece. The voyage around Greece’s southern waters was so dangerous that the sailors had a saying, “Let him who sails around (southern Greece) first make his will.” And so people from all over the world would pass through either for trade or on a journey.

This strategic location allowed Corinth to be one of the greatest trading and commercial centers of the ancient world. Its wealth and diversity resulted in an epicenter of culture and fashion.

But there was another side to Corinth. Not only was it known for its wealth and culture, but it also had a reputation for being an evil and immoral city. It was probably a Spring Break destination for ancient young 20 somethings. There was another saying popular in this time period, “korinthianzesthai” or “To live like a Corinthian”, which meant to live with drunken and immoral debauchery. No one is even sure what debauchery means... it is so bad, we can't talk about it :)

One reason for the evil was that above the isthmus there towered the hill of Acropolis, and on it stood the great temple of Aphordite, “goddess of love.” One thousand priestesses worked in this temple as sacred prostitutes, and in the evening they descended upon Corinth and plied their trade in the streets. Another saying became popular; “It is not every man who can afford a journey to Corinth.” Which might have been similar to “What happens in Vegas…”

And so this new, diverse group of Christians starts meeting in this city. Can you imagine some of the “issues” they might have been dealing with? Can you imagine the frustration of Paul as he tries to instruct and bring wisdom, grace and truth to this young church?

More thoughts on this tomorrow…


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  2. A note in my Bible about 10:14 says, "...Idolatry is still a serious problem today, but it takes a different form. We don't put our trust in statues of wood and stone but in paper money and plastic cards. Putting our trust in anything but God is idolatry. Our modern idols are those symbols of power, pleasure, or prestige that we so highly regard. When we understand contemporary parallels to idolatry, Paul's words to, 'flee from the worship of idols' become much more meaningful."
    That's what we've been learning about at church!
    9:25 says, "At times we must give up something good in order to do what God wants. Each person's special duties determine the discipline or denial that he or she must accept. Without a goal, discipline is nothing but self-punishment...."