How the Corinthians Became Christians

Before Jesus returned to Heaven, He gave the apostles the Great Commission. He commanded: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). In the book of Acts, we can read how the apostles carried out the Great Commission.

When Paul came to Corinth, he was working to fulfill the Great Commission. We learn from the book of Acts that Paul carefully chose the places he went to preach. First, he chose places where there was a Jewish synagogue (Acts 13:5, 14-15; 14:1; 16:13; 17:1). It was God’s will that the Jews should have the Gospel first (Romans 1:16). Those attending the Jewish synagogue already believed in the one true God. They were familiar with the Old Testament. They knew that the Christ was prophesied. As a visiting Jewish teacher, Paul was invited to preach, so he used the opportunity to show that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ spoken of by the prophets (Acts 13:26-41; 17:1-4; 18:4-6).

Second, Paul usually chose the large cities where people came from all over the world. Therefore, we read of him preaching in Tarsus, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Phillippi, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus (Acts 11:25-26; 14:1, 6; 16:12; 17:1, 15; 18:1; 19:1). Paul knew that if he could establish a strong church in a large city, the Gospel would soon spread from there into other regions.

Paul chose he wicked city of Corinth because: (1) There was a synagogue there where he could begin preaching; (2) Corinth was well located to be a center for spreading the Gospel.

Paul preached in the synagogue the Jesus is the Christ (Acts 18:5). When his message was rejected, he continued preaching in a nearby house. Since “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17), it is not surprising that “many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).

In the Great Commission, Jesus had commanded His apostles to (1) Go (2) Preach the Gospel (3) Those who believed and were baptized would be saved (Mark 16:15-16). Paul went to Corinth. He preached the Gospel. Many heard, believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8). Therefore, we know they were saved.

What about Crispus? In Acts 18:8, we read “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house…” Was Crispus saved? Did he and his family become Christians? Sometimes those who say baptism is not required in order to be saved, point to Crispus as a man who only believed, but was saved by faith only.

Crispus was saved, but he had to obey the Gospel just as Jesus gave it in the Great Commission! This means that he was baptized, even though it is not mentioned in Acts 18:8. We can be sure Crispus was baptized because Paul himself said he was. In I Corinthians 1, Paul mentions several people he had baptized by his own hands. Among them were “Crispus and Gaius” (1:14).

Sometimes only one part of a series will be used to stand for the whole series. For example, in Acts 20:7, we learn that “upon the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread.” “To break bread” refers to the Lord’s Supper, which is made up of both unleavened bread and of the fruit of the vine (Matthew 26:26-29; I Corinthians 1:23-30). The term “breaking of bread” includes taking the fruit of the vine also. The word “believe” is also used in this way. It often includes baptism even when baptism is not stated.

We can be saved the same way today that the Corinthians were saved when Paul preached to them. When we hear the Gospel, we must believe and be baptized, and we also will be saved (Mark 16:15-16: Acts 18:8).