Acts 18:7-11 (KJV) (emphasis added)

7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

What might we be able to conclude regarding the Corinthian Assembly forming out of a Jewish synagogue? Does this unique beginning speak at all to the way in which Paul dealt with them as a church, or of their particular problems or successes as described in 1 and 2 Corinthians?


Luke informs us in Acts 18:4 [KJV] that :

[Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks

He later testified to the Jews again, verse 5, but when they opposed he shook his raiment and departed to Justus' house and Crispus, the chief synagogue ruler believed, with all his house, and -

many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptised.

'Many of the Corinthians' would appear to me to refer to the general populace who were not of the synagogue. Either they were Greeks or they were Jews who were ethnically so but not synagogue attendees.

From the first statement 'and the Greeks' and from the second 'many of the Corinthians' it would seem to me that the majority of the gathered assembly were Greeks, not Jews.

This becomes apparent in the two epistles of Paul to Corinth in which the major issues - meat offered to idols, social aspects and disciplinary matters are relevant to Gentile behaviour not Jewish custom.

  • Hi, Nigel J. Thanks for responding. I see you point, but wonder if 1 Corinthians 5:1 points toward a plurality that perhaps leans toward the Jewish side? In any event, after the ruler of the synagogue was converted, ought we to think he departed from the synagogue and left it in the hands of others who didn't believe in the Lord Jesus, or does the fact that it was the leader of the synagogue suggest an eventually much larger quantity of converts from the synagogue? Dec 17 '17 at 6:41
  • And, what's actually being indicated when it says, "Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace" ...Was Pual being blamed for disrupting the synagogue, and viewed negatively because the ruler of the synagogue had became a believer?
    – robin
    Dec 19 '17 at 4:09
  • Hi, Robin. Thanks for the reply. Certainly Paul faced persecutions and difficulties wherever he travelled. What the Lord Jesus says to him may give us some insight into Paul's frame of mind: worry, doubt, frustration, etc. The Lord telling him to push forward, for He had "many people" in the city of Corinth, must have certainly brought Paul a sense of comfort and courage. Jan 19 '18 at 10:26
  • 1
    @NigelJ's answer holds water. Jews seem to be pretty consistently referred to as "Jews" in Acts, regardless of nationality. Paul was also pretty clear in the preceding verse that his intent was to minister to Gentiles and not Jews. I think the OP title might be changed to something like, "Did the Corinthian assembly form from a synagogue?" As it is, the question is a little loaded
    – user33515
    Jan 19 '18 at 21:31

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