Lesson

Ministry In Corinth (18:1-17)

Bible Passage: Acts 18:1-17

Having spent time in Athens, Paul moved on to Corinth as the next stop on his second missionary journey. Whilst there, he planted a church and it became on of the most prominent (and troublesome) churches in the New Testament. In this passage we have the story of the Corinthian church becoming established, and we see five things that Paul had that were instrumental in the church plant succeeding.

God-Given Partnerships (v2-5): As Paul arrived in the city he connected with Aquila and Priscilla, who worked the same trade as him and were willing to host him. They became key people, but in this early stage Paul kept the pace slow as the team was small and there wasn’t much capacity. A while later Silas and Timothy arrived in Corinth (v2-5) and the team became much more established and was able to pick up the church planting pace.

God-Given Provision (v6-7): Initially Paul had used the synagogue as a base from which to reason with some of the Jews, but this became impossible as opposition mounted and so he needed a venue. God provided amazingly, and the man who lived next door to the synagogue was a believer who offered his house as a place to meet! There are many practical needs in church planting, and this passages encourages us to trust in the provider God to supply the things that are required for the work.

God-Given Progress (v8): We are told of the salvation of Crispus, the official of the synagogue along with his whole family. It is still the very early stages of this church plant but it is clear that God is at work and people are meeting Jesus. This is the entire reason we plant into new places, and it shows that God is working powerfully through the planting of Paul and his team.

God-Given Promises (v9-11): When opposition mounts up in Corinth just like it has in other places, Paul becomes discouraged. What keeps him going is a vision of Jesus in a dream, asserting that he has many people in the city, Knowing that Jesus is sovereign and there are people who will respond to the gospel if we keep going serves as a great encouragement for any involved in church planting or other pioneering ministry.

God-Given Protection (v12-17): As the opposition in Corinth increased, Paul found a degree of favour with Gallio, a local official. He would not hear the charges against Paul and would not get involved, and this was another sign that God was in this. The presence of opposition (Sosthenes still got beat up) and protection both show what can be expected as new ground is taken for the gospel.

Potential Applications:

  • Spend some time together praying for different church plants that you know of, picking up some of the themes from this passage.
  • You could also cast vision for places God has put on your heart to plant your next church or site.
  • Jesus encouraged Paul to keep going because he had many people in Corinth. The same is true of the place you are and you could use this to encourage those who are growing weary in this mission.