Pioneering With Paul Part II - Corinth To Miletus -- By: Donald W. Burdick
BSP 2:4 (Autumn 1973) p. 97
Pioneering With Paul
Part II - Corinth To Miletus
Continuing his second missionary journey, Paul traveled from Athens on to Corinth (Acts 18:1). The distance from Athens to Corinth is about 55 miles, a journey of three days in Paul’s time. Two features of Corinth’s location were significant. It was situated just beyond the isthmus that connects the Peloponnesus (the land mass on which Corinth was located) with the remainder of Greece. And, secondly, it lay at the foot of a rocky acropolis called the Acrocorinth, which looked down on the city some 1500 feet below.
Today the isthmus is cut at its narrowest point by a ship canal. In Paul’s day a paved roadway, called the Diolkos, was constructed for hauling ships and cargoes across the isthmus. In this way the dangerous voyage around the southern tip of Greece was avoided. In recent times sections of the Diolkos have been excavated paralleling the present-day canal. On his journey from Athens to Corinth Paul would have crossed this ancient “ship road” about six miles before he arrived at Corinth.
The “Bema” and Inscriptions at Corinth
The Corinthian structure which has the most direct relationship to Paul is the bema (judgment seat) where Paul was brought before Gallio by the Jews (Acts 18:12ff). Although it is in a poor state of preservation, its condition is considerably better than the Philippian bema. In the day when Gallio heard the Jewish complaints against Paul, the judgment seat was a marble covered structure. On either side was located a waiting room with seats for those waiting for their cases to be heard. This bema or rostrum was used for public addresses by important personages as well as for legal cases. The listeners would stand in the large open space in front of the bema. It was from this area that Gallio attempted to drive the complaining Jews, and it was here that the Greeks beat Sosthenes, the leader of the Corinthian synagogue (Acts 18:16, 17).
In 1898 a large stone block, perhaps the synagogue lintel, was found near the spot where the Lechaion Road enters the Agora (market place). The stone bears the inscription, “Synagogue of the
BSP 2:4 (Autumn 1973) p. 98
Hebrews.” Whether this inscription dates back to Paul’s day is uncerta...
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