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Biblical Tentmaking: Perceived Need

Biblical Tentmaking:
Perceived Need

       "Those two pioneers of civilization-Christianity and commerce-should ever be inseparable" (David Livingston).

      

       In Acts 18, Paul enters Corinth from Athens and heads into the marketplace. As he entered the city, he must have felt a twinge of entrepreneurial excitement because he would have noticed a need—not just a spiritual need but a physical need.   The city was full of travelers.   Whether Roman soldiers, merchants, mobs following the games, or simple travelers, Paul must have been faced with a city of tents.  Corinth was populated with settlers in permanent houses but there was also a large transient population that would swell the city to large numbers.  Paul was in Corinth for 18 months which means that he would have been present during at least one of the Isthmian Games.  The Isthmian Games were held at nearby Isthmia, which was a city that existed only for the games.  Second only to the Olympic Games among the four great PanHellenic games, the Isthmian Games were held twice as often as the others—every two years.  Another festival, the Caesarean Games, was held concurrently with every other occurrence of the Isthmian Games at a harbor town near Corinth—every four years—so some years Corinth would have witnessed especially large crowds from both events.

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Biblical Tentmaking: Use What you Have

Biblical Tentmaking:
Use What You Have

"And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers" (Acts 18:3).

       For decades and even centuries, studies have been done on the life of the Apostle Paul. However, in most of these studies, his trade has been handled as a peripheral need because of his circumstances and lack of resources. Therefore, for many theologians and Bible teachers, his trade is not central to understanding Paul. However, as you will see in this study, we view his trade as integral to his identity. The fact that he was a tentmaker and a missionary actually penetrated to the depth of who he was and the efficacy of his ministry. Tentmaking was central to his ministry. Paul was a missionary, but his trade was not mutually exclusive or compartmentalized from his ministry. The two roles were intertwined, and he was a tentmaker with the intention of the "Great Commission." Just as Paul did not wander into the marketplace, he did not simply "fall" into tentmaking desperate to pay for his needs.

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