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Crispus, from the Greek word meaning crisp, or curled (the English word crisp is derived from the Greek word crispus), was the leader of the Synagogue at Corinth (shown in photograph). Crispus was among the many converted by, but few personally baptized by, the apostle Paul during his missionary travels (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey).

Corinth Crispus well-illustrates how Christianity did not originate as a "new" religion. The apostle Paul, one of the greatest Christians the world will ever know, a man who wrote a very large part of the New Testament, was a zealous Pharisee who never stopped calling himself, or thinking of himself, as a Jew. Nearly all of the first Christians, and Jesus Christ Himself, were Jews (see Fact Finder question below). Christianity split the people of Judah practically in two, and then opened the door to Gentiles.

"After this he left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, lately come from Italy with his wife Priscilla [see Priscilla and Aquila], because Claudius [see Emperor Claudius] had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them; and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them, and they worked, for by trade they were tentmakers. And he argued in the Synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks."

"When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with preaching, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be upon your heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."

"And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God; his house was next door to the Synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the Synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized." (Acts 18:1-8 RSV)

Crispus was among the very few who were baptized by Paul himself, while all of those converted, including Paul (see On The Road To Damascus) were baptized by someone. Even Jesus Christ (a Jew) insisted to John The Baptist (a Levite) that He be baptized as an example for those who claim to be repentant and obedient followers of Him (see Baptism).

"I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," [i.e. Peter] or "I belong to Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius; lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else. For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." (1 Corinthians 1:10-17 RSV)

Fact Finder: Should Christians express hatred toward Jews?
See Hate Jews?

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