Acts 18:1

ESV After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
NIV After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
NASB After these events Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
CSB After this, he left Athens and went to Corinth,
NLT Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
KJV After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

What does Acts 18:1 mean?

Paul is in the last half of his second missionary voyage. He and Silas started by traveling through the province of Galatia in modern-day Asia Minor where he visited the churches he and Barnabas had planted. He also met his "child in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:2), Timothy, who joined the journey. In Troas, they met Luke, the author of the account of their adventures, and sailed west to Philippi in Macedonia. After Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned for a night, they and Timothy went south to Thessalonica where the new church managed to protect them from stronger persecution. The Bereans responded to Paul's message faithfully by investigating the Scriptures on their own, but the Thessalonian Jews arrived to drive the missionaries out. The Bereans sent Paul to Athens, alone (Acts 16:1–17:15).

"After this" refers to Paul's encounter with Greek philosophers in Athens. Epicureans and Stoics found him preaching in the Agora, the Athenian marketplace. They forcibly invited him to the Areopagus so they could hear more clearly what he was teaching. A few of the audience believed. Most of them thought he was a "babbler": a philosopher who picks up bits and pieces of different beliefs in the Agora like a little bird that picks up seeds from the ground. They dismissed him, and he goes to Corinth.

Corinth is a major city west of Athens on the eastern shore of Achaia, the island-like land mass that attaches to southern Greece via an isthmus. It had a population of around 200,000, twenty times more than Athens. It was known for Aphrodite's temple with a thousand prostitutes and, understandably, pervasive sexual license. The city's reputation was so connected to sexual sin that the name "Corinth" was turned into the verb korinthiazomai, which means "to fornicate."

Paul doesn't plan on staying long—he wants to get back to the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:17–18), but though Satan keeps him from Thessalonica, God keeps him in Corinth for a year and a half (Acts 18:9–11). First, he meets Aquila and Priscilla and joins in their tentmaking business while spending Sabbaths in the synagogue showing how Jesus fulfills the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures. When Silas and Timothy finally join him, he dedicates more time to teaching (Acts 18:2–5).

In preserved Scripture, we have two letters Paul will later send to the Corinthians. Evidence suggests these are the second and fourth of four he wrote (1 Corinthians 5:9–11; 2 Corinthians 2:1–4). Paul will visit Corinth at least three times, including once after his house-arrest in Rome (2 Timothy 4:20). Paul's extended involvement is due, in large part, to the Corinthians' difficulty in living a life that honors Christ in such a sinful pagan environment. This turns out for our benefit as Paul's letters to the church there teach us about sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:19–20), divisions in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10–13), spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4–7), and false teachers (2 Corinthians 11:13), among other things.
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