A Plea for Holy Fellowship 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1 -- By: Victoria A. Wheeler
ATJ 31 (1999) p. 25
A Plea for Holy Fellowship
2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1
Victoria Wheeler is an MA (Biblical and Theological Studies) student at ATS.
Corinth, in Paul’s day, was the heart of Greece, surpassing Athens both as the economic center of trade and as the political capital. Situated on a narrow isthmus between two major trade harbors, one leading west to Italy and the other south east to Asia, this Greco-Roman city became a wealthy hub in the merchandise trade along the northern Mediterranean. The Isthmian Games also drew in considerable revenue, as did the prostitution cult surrounding the Temple of Aphrodite, which at one time included a thousand male and female temple slaves.1
Paul arrived in Corinth during his second missionary journey (c. AD 50–51). His itinerary took him first to the local synagogue, which in Corinth was located along the Lechaion Road, below the Acrocorinth. He met up with two Jewish converts to Christianity from Rome, Aquila and Priscilla, with whom he lived and worked as a tent maker during his extended eighteen month stint there. Beginning with Jews, and then turning to Gentiles, Paul saw several prominent people come to Christ: Crispus, the synagogue leader; Gaius, host to the Corinthian house church and to Paul on his second visit there; and Erastus, the city treasurer, who later accompanied Timothy to Ephesus.
While living with the people in Corinth, Paul established roots which grew into a deep concern for their steadfastness in the Lord. This regard prompted his letters to them which he wrote during his third missionary journey, the first written probably in Ephesus (c. AD 54–55), and the second from Macedonia (c. AD 55–56), just weeks before his second visit there. The Corinthian correspondence portrays both a cosmopolitan, urban church caught in the tension between holy living in a world of immorality and political and economic snares, and also Paul, who opens himself up to expose the nature of a true apostle (i.e. father, teacher, model), establishing his right to be involved in, and offer practical and theological guidance to, this community of believers.
Just how many letters are encompassed within this literary corpus to the church at Corinth is debatable. 1 Cor 5:9 suggests a previous letter was written, which now is lost. 2 Cor 2:4 speaks of a letter written with “many tears,” the existence of which cannot be determined. The uneven nature of 2 Corinthians might intimate that it is actually a compilation of several letters, perhaps made up of a) 6:14–7:1, now only a fragme...
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