Paul first arrived in Corinth in the fall of 50 AD alone, without money and unemployed (1 Corinthians 18:1-4). He arrived in Corinth after having spent a short time in Athens after he had escaped from Macedonia where he endured imprisonment and a beating in Philippi, escaped a riot in Thessalonica and fled from Berea to Athens.
When Paul arrived in Corinth he had a clear goal in mind:
“I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Paul was very purposeful in avoiding the insertion of “human wisdom” into his proclamation to the Corinthians. Paul was careful not to confuse his responsibility of teaching the revelation of God
with the temptation to compete with the Greek philosophers and their presentation of other
information that people might find more interesting or more applicable to their busy lives.
Paul says that both his message and his style of preaching avoided dependence on “eloquence”
and “persuasive words.” Paul states clearly that he was not impersonating the Greek speakers
that moved in and through Corinth.
Paul does draw a word from the language of the professional orators and popular philosophers of
his day when he says that his message did come “with a demonstration (Gr. apodeixis) of the Spirit’s power.” Cicero, the great Roman philosopher, statesman and orator, used “demonstration” (apodeixis) to identify the process of reasoning that used visible and understood things to present
the less visible and hard to understand concepts. Paul takes this word used by the wise, eloquent speakers and tells the Corinthians that they saw a “demonstration” of the Spirit’s power when they heard the simple message in the Scripture save them from sin and transform their lives. The communication of the Truth unleashed the power of the Spirit. It was not worldly points of
application or a masterful presentation that transformed the Corinthians, but the Word of God
that had been revealed to the prophets and apostles and is now recorded in the text of the Bible.