Paul in Ephesus

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Acts 19:1
Acts 19:8-20

Paul . . . argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. (v. 8)

When you want to get to know someone, it can help to read their letters. We have at least 13 of Paul’s letters in our New Testament, letters to churches and to his individual friends. Luke devotes nearly two whole chapters of Acts to Paul’s contacts with Ephesus (Acts 19; 20:17-38), so the church there must have been important to him. Notice that Paul spoke in the synagogue for three months, and then taught for another two years in a hired hall.

The impact of the gospel upon Ephesus was significant, leading to serious challenges to the devil’s power. Some Ephesians burned their magic books. Later a riot broke out among the silversmiths, whose livelihood—crafting images of the fertility goddess Artemis—was threatened by the conversion of so many to Christ.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is one of the most helpful, though spiritually humbling and mind-stretching, of all New Testament books. Based on nearly three years of apostolic teaching, its subject matter takes us further into the mind of God than even Paul’s letter to the Romans. To grasp some of these ideas we shall need to pray much and think hard. Let’s “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest this book,” as the old prayer says. Hard work, but well worth it!

PRAYER

“Lord, by patience and comfort of your holy word may we have hope.”