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later, and that it was not founded by any of the other Apostles seems to be implied by St. Paul's refusing to build upon another man's foundation." That it was a Church of considerable importance is shown by its being, as the Apostle says, “known throughout the whole world.” The Epistle was written previous to St. Paul's visit to Rome, and most likely by request. In the periodical persecutions and banishments to which the Roman Jews were subject, numbers of them found refuge in other cities, and at Corinth, as did Priscilla and Aquila, and probably many others; from some of whom the Apostle would be made aware of the condition of the Church, which, as we gather from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul had for some years desired to visit. And how much his coming was looked forward to by the Church we are made aware in Acts xxviii. 15, by the brethren coming as far as Appii Forum, nearly fifty miles distant, to meet him.
ORINTH, to which St. Paul's two Epistles were addressed about A.D. 57, was a flourishing city
of great wealth and importance in the Roman province of Achaia, about forty-five miles westward from Athens, and situated on the narrow strip or isthmus which separates the Morea from the mainland of Greece. It had suffered greatly during the wars between the rival Empires, and eventually was destroyed by the Romans, but subsequently rebuilt by Julius Cæsar, after which it gradually attained to its former greatness. In addition to its military and commercial importance, Corinth was also noted as the place where the Isthmian games were held, of which the Apostle makes striking use as an imagery of the Christian race, in this and other Epistles. The most degrading forms of idol-worship were practised, and the inhabitants were long prominent for their vice and immorality, which infected even the Church which St. Paul had established, and of which evidence is given in the first Epistle. There was a large Jewish element in the city, but the main population were Greeks, and the Church is supposed to have been formed of members of both nationalities, the Greeks predominating; which probably led to the divisions which were prevalent. From the Acts of the Apostles it appears that St. Paul made at least two visits to Corinth, and possibly a third, which St. Luke has omitted. The Church was founded by St. Paul on his first visit, when he remained for a year and a half, and then departed for Ephesus. Apollos, an eloquent Jew of Alexandria, who had been instructed in the faith by Priscilla and Aquila, came to Corinth shortly afterwards, and as a result of his preaching the Church was broken up into factions—some being for Paul, and some for Apollos, and others, possibly the Jewish element, for Peter. These divisions and the existence of other scandals of which the Apostle had been made aware, were the occasion of his writing the first Epistle. The second Epistle was written in the same year, a few months later, in consequence of the mingled reception which his first Epistle had met with-one portion of the Church receiving the Apostle's communication in a spirit of contrition, and another portion, probably the Jewish element, in a spirit of hostility, being stirred up by it to a deeper animosity against him.
In this Epistle he defends his Apostolic character and dignity against the detractors, making proud boast of his sufferings for the cause of Christ, and approves those converts who had received his communications worthily; passing on to enlarge upon the duty of liberality, and endeavouring to animate all the members of the Church to a higher understanding of their Christian obligations.
It has been supposed by many commentators that St. Paul addressed a third Epistle to the Corinthian Church, which seems to be alluded to in 1 Cor. v. 9; but it has not come down to us, nor is it referred to by any of the early writers. It may possibly have been a simple letter bearing only on the subject there mentioned.