The details of Luke’s account may not be accurate; they have been viewed suspiciously by a number of recent scholars. But most accept the general picture that emerges from Acts.
An inscription at Delphi dates to the summer or fall of 51 A.D., the arrival at Corinth of Lucius Junius Gallio as proconsul. Since Paul was brought before Gallio (Acts 18:12–17) near the end of his 18-month stay in Corinth (Acts 18:11 & 18:18), he must have arrived in Corinth since sometime late in A.D. 49 or early 50 and stayed through the summer of 51.
While Paul was at Corinth, a few of these wineshops aligned behind the South Stoa had been converted to administrative offices. Perhaps the city fathers were making a conscious effort to move Corinth’s “red-light” district away from the city center in order to improve its image.
Detailed descriptions in English of the Ephesus excavations are available in Ekrem Akurgal’s Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey (Istanbul: Haset Kitabevi, 3rd ed. 1973), pp. 142–171 or in Baedeker’s Turkish Coast (Norwich, England: Jarrold & Sons, Ltd., revised 1987), pp.113–128.
The other wonders were the Mausoleum of Halicarnassos, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Colossus of Rhodes, the hanging gardens of Babylon, the lighthouse of Pharos at Alexandria and Phidias’s statue of Zesus in the Temple of Olympia.
see, for instance, Stewart Perowne, The Journeys of St. Paul (New York: World, 1973), p. 72.
Scholars used to assume Philemon was written from Rome because Paul is writing from prison, but there is no necessity for a Roman locale, and Edgar Goodspeed persuasively argued years ago that Ephesus is much more plausible. Paul writes the letter to entreat his friend Philemon in Laodicea to accept and forgive the runaway slave Onesimus who had come under Paul’s influence while Paul was in prison. Ephesus is the nearest big city to Laodicia, a far more likely place for Paul to have encountered Onesimus than Rome. See Goodspeed, An Introduction to the New Testament (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1937), pp. 109–124.
In addition to 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians contains elements of at least three letters: (1) a fragment in 6:14–7:1, which may fit the description of a letter earlier than 1 Corinthians, which Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 5:9–13, which may be the “painful letter” referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:3–4, 7:8; (3) the beautifully reconciliatory text in the early chapters of 2 Corinthians, which was written shortly after Paul left Ephesus on the trip that would take him back to Corinth.
See, for instance, T.W. Manson, Studies in the Gospels and Epistles (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962), p. 168f.
Paul became convinced that it was important for him to collect contributions from the churches he had established in Macedonia and Greece for the mother church in Jerusalem and to deliver those contributions in person (1 Corinthians 16:1–4; 2 Corinthians 8:1–15; Romans 15:25–27).
In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul indicates that after delivering this collection to Jerusalem he was anxious to fulfill his earlier intention to travel westward to Rome and on to Spain (Romans 1:13; 15:23–24, 28). Arrested in Jerusalem, he did eventually reach Rome, but in chains.
It may have been the publication of Acts, with the prominent place it gave to Paul’s missionary activity that inspired the collection of Paul’s letters. So Edgar Goodspeed first argued in The Formation of the New Testament, pp. 20–32.
For the reasoning behind this suggestion, see Goodspeed, Formation of the New Testament, pp. 33–41.