Monday, August 4, 2008

Acts: Corinth, Filling Out the Strategy (18:1-11)

Paul begins his time in Corinth having been run out of almost every town in which he had been. (We are never told why he left Athens, but one might wonder why so much attention has been given to the Athens strategy if it was only used in one town where so little lasting legacy was seen.) Regardless, Paul may have begun to feel a certain degree of discouragement. He even tells the Corinthians later that he had approached them with “fear and trembling.”
 
He stuck to his guns, however, and also to his strategy, beginning to share in the Synagogue. A couple of new aspects of Paul’s missionary strategy emerge in Corinth:
 
Time. While it is true that Paul did a lot of “short term” missions, this was usually due to circumstances beyond his control. Here, he is told by God that opposition will not harm him. (He is not promised that it will not exist.) As a result, he spends as much time as is needed to establish the work.
 
Partnerships. He joins other apparently Christian Jews already in Corinth who promise to be important partners for a long time to come.
 
Support. We are always reminded that Paul went bi-vocational when necessary. Here, however, he immediately does full-time ministry when the opportunity arises. Timothy and Silas bring support from churches Paul has started, freeing up Paul to minister all week long.
Missions today still require the same things: long term investment of time, teamwork and partnership in the effort, and workers who can devote the attention to the work instead of to where the next month’s rent will come from.

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