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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Romans 16:1 - The Church in Cenchreae

Paul mentions the location of the church in Corinth – Cenchreae, which was one of the harbour areas of the city, located about eight miles to the east (the other harbour was to the west). It may have been the case that the church in Corinth met in different locations round the city.
Corinth was a trading centre and Cenchreae would have been a very busy port. It is interesting that this is where the church was located because the port area, if it was similar to other ports, would not have been the most desirable part of the city. When we recall some of the descriptions that Paul gives of the past lifestyles of the members of the church in Corinth, we can link this to the location in the city where they gathered. Many of them had sordid pasts, but that was not a barrier to their conversions. There in Cenchreae, there was a community of light shining in the darkness.
There would have been another benefit from having a church in the port area and that is the contact that would be made with travellers moving from one place to another by sea. Perhaps the church had specific ministries for such people as they passed through. 
And Christians also would have been among the travellers and they would have informed the Christians in Corinth regarding what was happening in other places as far as the progress of the gospel was concerned. Maybe Paul had met in Cenchreae some of the people he lists in this chapter as they passed through.

We can read about some of the members of the Corinthian church in verses 21-24 and we can see that among the believers were Jews and Gentiles, civic officials and slaves, a reminder that the gospel bridges barriers. Of course, the church in Corinth would have its own problems later on, but here its members show their affection for the believers who were resident in Rome.
And one of them, Phoebe, was willing to carry this letter of Paul's from Corinth to Rome. We will think about her tomorrow.

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