The chief of the synagogue at Corinth, who was beaten by the Gentiles when the Jews carried Paul before Gallio the proconsul, Ac 18:17. He appears to have been the leader of the Jews in this attempt to destroy Paul. Whether he was converted, and is identical with the "Sosthenes our brother" in 1Co 1:1, is unknown.
safe in strength, the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, who was seized and beaten by the mob in the presence of Gallio, the Roman governor, when he refused to proceed against Paul at the instigation of the Jews (Ac 18:12-17). The motives of this assault against Sosthenes are not recorded, nor is it mentioned whether it was made by Greeks or Romans. Some identify him, but without sufficient grounds, with one whom Paul calls "Sosthenes our brother," a convert to the faith (1Co 1:1).
A Jew, "ruler of the synagogue," after Crispus on conversion had ceased to be so. Probably ringleader of the spiteful Jews who with one accord made insurrection against Paul, and brought him to Gallio's judgment seat. When Gallio would not be made the tool of their spite, but drove them from his judgment seat, the Greeks or Gentiles, seeing the deputy's feeling which they sympathized with, against the Jewish bigots, seized Sosthenes and beat him before Gallio's judgment seat; and Gallio cared for none of these things, i.e. refused to interfere, being secretly pleased that the mob should second his own contempt for the fanatical Jews.
But in 1Co 1:1 we find Sosthenes under very different circumstances, no longer against Paul, but associated with him in saluting the Corinthian Christians. Whence arose the change? Paul probably showed Christian sympathy for an adversary in distress; the issue was the conversion of Sosthenes. Saul the persecutor turned into Paul the apostle, and Sosthenes the ringleader of persecution against the apostle, were two trophies of grace that, side by side, would appeal with double power to the church at Corinth. Paul designates "our brother" in a way implying that Sosthenes was well known to the Corinthians, though at the time of writing he must have been with Paul at Ephesus.
1. Ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, whom 'they all' (RV) laid hold on and beat when Gallio dismissed the case against St. Paul (Ac 18:17). He probably succeeded Crispus as ruler when the latter became a Christian (v. 3), and the hostility of the rabble to the Jews showed itself when they were worsted in the courts. 2. 'The brother' associated with St. Paul in addressing the Corinthians (1Co 1:1), and therefore probably a native of Corinth who had special relations with the Church there. If both references are to the same man, he must have been converted after the Gallio incident.
A. J. Maclean.
1. Chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, who was beaten by the rabble. Ac 18:17.
2. One whom Paul (when at Ephesus) unites with himself in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. 1Co 1:1.