I plan to write about Paul’s second missionary journey. In this paper you will find the history dealing with the second missionary journey that Paul went on. I will list each city that Paul preached in this paper. There will be one major city that I will go into detail with and I will be explaining the social, cultural, historic background and the establishment of the church in that city. Also, I am going to find a later epistle to that church and tell you about the issues in those epistles. The original mission of this journey was to strengthen the churches and his mission was accomplished.
At the end of Paul’s first missionary trip he proposed a second journey to strengthen the churches that he and Barnabas established on their first trip. This time he had a new partner named, Silas. Paul and Silas left Antioch in Syria right after the council in Jerusalem and set out to Asia Minor, which today is called Turkey and to the region of Cilicia. From here they continued to move west, into Derbe and Lystra where God had a divine appointment for him. It was a relationship with a young man who would become his son and the future pastor of the church in Ephesus and in faith. The mission to strengthen churches was accomplished with the result being that those churches did grow. Each church grew stronger and stronger in the faith and the number of people attending increased daily. Once this was accomplished, however Paul started to make new churches as they continued west.
When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch in Syria after their first missionary journey, they reported how God had “opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” throughout Galatia. Although, some of the Jewish Christians began to insist that the Gentile believers must be circumcised to be in accordance with the Jewish law and in order to become a member of the church.
This controversy was settled by a church council in Jerusalem where they all came to an agreement that the new Gentile converts were to be excused from circumcision. However, they suggested that they must abstain from eating the meat of animals killed in pagan sacrifices, from sexual immorality and from eating the meat and blood of strangled animals. There was a letter outlining this decision and was to Antioch with Paul, Barnabas, and two Christians from Jerusalem, Silas and Judas Barnabas.
When Paul was in Lystra he found a disciple by the name of Timothy. Timothy’s mother was Jewish Christian and his father was Greek. Paul wanted to take Timothy with his as a companion. Since everyone knew that his father was a Greek, Paul had him circumcised because the attitude of the Jews in these cities. As they traveled on their way through the cities they passed on to the people their observances and decisions which were reached by the apostles and elder in Jerusalem.
During the second missionary journey Paul traveled with Silas, Timothy, Priscilla, Aquila and Luke. Their main route was Syria, Turkey, Greece and Jerusalem. They traveled about 2800 miles. Throughout their journey they visited many cities and places. Just like Paul’s first journey this was not a weekend trip. His journey began about 49 A.D. He did not return for three years in 52 A.D. The places and cities they traveled to included Syria and Cilicia, Derbe and Lystra, (past Mysia) Troas, Samothracia and Neapolis, Philippi in Macedonia, Amphipolis and Apollonia, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens (Mars Hill-Areopagus), Corinth, Cenchrea, Ephesus, Caesarea, then went up Jerusalem and Antioch (Syria).
Corinth was a major city of the Roman Empire which was at an important crossroads of trade and travel. This was also a city that is notorious for its hedonism and immorality. Corinth was already an ancient city even in Paul’s day. This was a city that had a huge reputation for loose living and especially for sexual immorality. It has a commercial center with two harbors and was a rival to Athens, its northern neighbor and had been for a long time. In classical Greek, to act like a Corinthian meant to practice fornication, and a Corinthian companion meant a prostitute. Aphrodite, who is also known as Venus, the goddess of fertility and sexuality was who the people were worshipping at this time.
Paul knew that because people from all over the Empire passed through Corinth, a strong church there could touch the lives of people all over the Empire. He knew that it would not be easy but, he was determined. In 146 B.C. Corinth rebelled against Rome and was brutally destroyed by Roman armies. The city stayed in ruins for a century until Julius Caesar rebuilt the city. Although, it quickly transitioned back to the evil ways of the former city. There was immorality and trade in every sort. The city was often referred to by writers as “none but the tough could survive.” This is where Paul wrote his Roman letter; when someone reads this letter they see what he found in Corinth.
The social background in Corinth was anything but Christian like. By the middle of the first century A.D., Corinth’s population was religiously and ethnically diverse. There were cults to ancient demons, mystery religions and beliefs and practices brought by entrepreneurs into the colony made for a dynamic religious life. There were also Greek cults, and shrines to Apollo, Athena Aphrodite, Sisyphus that preached the importance of these cults. Egyptian deities were also worshiped and the cult of the Roman emperor was very powerful.
Corinth’s historical background is actually pretty amazing and its geographical aspects also make it very important. This was a large city that thrived for hundreds of years before Christ. However, about 150 years before Christ it was totally destroyed by the Romans when the Greeks rebelled against the Roman rule. A hundred years later Julius Caesar ordered it to be resettled as a Roman colony around 44 B.C. In the following years, people from Rome and other parts of the empire began to flock there, including a large number of freed slaves. This city continued to grow mostly because it was positioned on an isthmus.
This was a four and half mile wide strip of land with sea on both sides that connected the southern part of Greece (the Poloponnesian peninsula) to the northern part. This made Corinth a perfect place for trade; land travelers between different parts of Greece had to pass through it and it had harbors on both sides, so the commerce from the sea was attracted to it.
There are very few cities that will have or ever had a reputation like the city of Corinth. This city was commonly referred to as “Sin City.” This city was filled with hundreds of thousands people, and was one the most beautiful, industrious and modern cities ever known to man. This was a place that was full ethnic diversity where several cultures collide. The streets of Corinth were filled with military men, businessmen, sailors and thrill seekers from all over the earth. This was a place where every imaginable sin was not only indulged but was openly celebrated. Gambling, prostitution and drinking failed to raise an eyebrow in a place like this.
This was a city without limits and was full of sin. Corinth’s people were extremely diverse and there were various traditions people brought in and there were traditions of the historic city itself. Paul stayed with Aquila and Priscilla while in Corinth and they were all tent makers by trade. Paul offered insights in his Corinthian letters on gifts, especially the greatest gift- the gift of God’s love that still speaks to us today. Although ancient Corinth may be in ruins; the concerns of the city and the people have taught us such great lessons.
The establishment of the church was done during the missionary journey with Paul. The Corinthian church struggled with worldliness and sin. The church was poorly affected by immoral environment found in the city. The church eventually had a bad reputation because of all the immorality and immodesty. There were several issues in the church including: meats sacrificed to idols, questions about marriage, women praying with heads uncovered, the use of spiritual gifts and the resurrection from the dead. There were many problems and questions that needed to be answered.
The first epistle to the Corinthians was written by Paul as is also referred to as First Corinthians. He wrote this epistle to “the church of God which is at Corinth” in Greece. This epistle contains some of the best know phrases in the New Testament including “all things to men” (9:22), “through a glass darkly” (13:12), “without love I am nothing” (13:2), and “when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child” (13:11).
Paul wrote this letter because he heard through several different sources that there were many conflicts within the church of Corinth. Paul urged there to be uniformity of belief and more of Christian teaching. A man named Titus and a brother whose name was not mentioned were the bearers of the letter to the church at Corinth. There seemed to be divisions within the church at Corinth that were a problem. Paul made sure that he made a point to mention these conflicts in the beginning. Specifically, the roots of church were still swaying back towards the community.
Paul wants to bring them back to what he see as correct teaching, stating that God has given him the opportunity to be a “skilled master builder” to lay the foundation and let others build upon it. Later in the epistle Paul wrote about immorality in Corinth by discussing a immoral brother, how to resolve sexual purity and personal disputes. In regards to marriage, Paul stated that it is better for Christians to remain unmarried, but if they lacked self control, it is better to marry than to “burn.” Paul argued that unmarried people must please God, in the same way that married couples must please their spouses. This epistle is also known for the role of women in churches, for example they must remain silent. The role of prophecy and speaking tongues in church was also mentioned.
Throughout Paul’s letter, he presents issues that are troubling the community in Corinth and offers several ways to fix them. Paul tells them that his letter was not written to make them feel ashamed but to warn and advise them in the right direction. The people of Corinth were expected to become imitators of Jesus and follow the ways of Christ as Paul teaches in all his churches. Paul ends with his epistle with his views on the topic of resurrection. He states that Christ died for our sins. Jesus Christ was buried and arose on the third day. Paul asked the people “Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” This is also the same question that asked by many today. Jesus Christ died for our sins; He is the Son of God and our Savior and Redeemer!