Following the Footsteps of Paul in Corinth
We are sitting in a Greek restaurant overlooking the ruins of the ancient city of Corinth. Perhaps you’ve seen a program on television called “Property Brothers”? These two brothers help buyers purchase rundown tired and inadequate houses that they will transform into dream homes. There is a moment in the program where they run a computer software that magically takes an empty space and fills it in with decor of beauty and grace. This is the process one needs to engage with your imagination when you look at a city in ruins like Corinth. Let the buildings rise in your mind, the temples soar and the street open up before you.
Corinth was splendorous. It was the capital of the Roman province of Achaea, a prosperous and wealthy city. It’s buildings reflect that. Below us a broad colonnaded avenue flows upward to an impressive triumphal arch. On the right side is a semi-circular Agora bustling with business and trade. Further up a large and gracious basilica. On the left side a complex of baths which Pausinius described as the most sumptuous in Corinth. Beyond that a smaller building dedicated to Apollo followed by a large multi-leveled fountain fed by the spring water from the foothills of Acrocorinth.
Towering above us in the center of attention is the Temple of Apollo. Forty-two soaring Doric columns create a commanding presence for the worship of this Greco-Roman god of war.
Beyond that and high above us at the top of a mountain stands the Temple of Aphrodite. Her worship involved Temple prostitution and Strabo tells us that a thousand prostitutes served this place.
In this city Paul spent one and a half years. He made tents. He preached the gospel. He wrote the Epistle to the Romans. He planted a church. He encountered persecution here.
Through the Triumphal arch at the top of the street I can see the Bema, or podium where Paul stood on trial before the Roman Pro-council Gallio in Acts 18. Biblical history is alive and flowing around us.
Click the photos below to view them full-size…