Corinthian House Churches
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Corinthian House Churches 98

Saint Paul's Writings

Corinth RuinsWhen the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1.2 to the Corinthian house churches, the contemporary reader has no way of knowing whether he is addressing the sum total of believers in a number of house churches in the city, or not. He writes, "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — their Lord and ours. Upon closer examination, however, we discover the possibility of at least seven assemblies of Corinthian Christians or even more that we don't know about.✞

Aquila and Priscilla

Aquila and PriscillaFirst, there was the home of Aquila and Priscilla. Paul calls her Prisca, a common Latin name, but Luke prefers to the more formal Priscilla. They were wealthy Jewish converts who settled in Corinth according to Acts 18.2 "There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them." Emperor Claudius had expelled around 49-50 AD a large number of Jews from Rome. Paul began his stay in Corinth by moving into Aquila and Priscilla's home, where all of them carried on their trade as tent makers. Most likely this was a type of storefront home common in those times that doubled as a work/retail outlet and domestic residence.✞

Significant Places of Worship

Saint PaulDuring Paul's eighteen-month stay in Corinth according to Acts 18.11, "Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God." The house churches there must have been significant places for proclaiming the gospel, teaching and gathering believers for worship. At the end of that time, Aquila and Priscilla moved on to Ephesus with Paul according to Acts 18.18-19 where we read, "Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila and started a house church there. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.". Arthur G. Patzia in "The Emergence of the Church - Context, Growth, Leadership and Worship" asserts that Paul's greeting in Romans 16.3-5, "Greet Priscilla [a variant of "Prisca"] and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia." To "Prisca and Aquila" and "the church in their house" implies that they returned to Rome, probably after Claudius lifted his edict against the Jews.✞

"Corinthian House Churches"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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