Friday, August 6, 2010


Our final stop on this trip was to Delphi, Greece, home to one of the most significant artifacts in New Testament studies.  But we'll get to that in a moment.  First, in the above picuture we are standing in front of the famous Temple of Apollo for which the city was known in antiquity.  Delphi was also home to the Pythian Games, one of the four panhellenic games held in ancient Greece.  Below is a picture of the stadium, which sat high above the rest of the city on the mountain.  It is estimated that this stadium could hold over 6,000 spectators to view the games.

What made Delphi truly a special stop to me, and what makes it a significant location in New Testament studies is its claim as home to the Gallio Inscription.  This particular artifact establishes the date when Paul was in Corinth on his second missionary journey, and gives us a likely framework for dating all of Paul's ministry! I'll explain this in detail below, but first let's have a moment to stare in awe at the famed Gallio Inscription.

Ok, this inscription was  written by Emperor Claudius and placed at the wall near the Temple of Apollo.  It is dated according to the year of the Emperor's reign, which we can figure to be between AD 52 and January 53.  Further events indicated help us narrow the time period down even more to no later than August AD 52.  This inscription also mentions Gallio, Proconsul of Achaia.  This provides us another clue, for proconsuls served a one year term, from July 1- June 30 before being replaced, often being recalled back to Rome.  Based on this information, we can deduce with a high degree of certainty that Gallio was Proconsul of Corinth from July 51- June 52.  So why does this matter?

In Acts 18:12, Paul is taken before Gallio, Proconsul of Achaia by the Jews for preaching the Gospel.  We know, therefore, that Paul, having spent 18 months in Corinth, appeared before Gallio between AD 51-52.  This is the linchpin in dating all of Paul's ministry.  And I could have touched it!

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