Apostle Paul decided to visit Ephesus in his second journey around Asia Minor. Ephesus was an important place in Paul’s missionary service. Apostle Paul in Ephesus met Apollos and other believers who personally knew Saint John the Evangelist. Saint John visited Ephesus after Jesus Christ ascended, and he left Jerusalem with Mother Mary. Paul stayed in Ephesus for two years after his arrival. Spreading the word of the Holy Bible in squares and synagogues every day. Paul started a church in Ephesus. When Paul was in Ephesus, he was visiting other churches in the Aegean region from time to time.
Ephesus, which is within the borders of Selçuk district of Izmir today, was an ancient city in the Ionia region. Ephesus, a large and important city of the Roman Empire, was the connection point between the eastern and western parts of the Roman empire. Ephesus was also the largest port city in Asia. The road from Euphrates and Mesopotamia would reach Ephesus through Kolose and Laodicea and then to the sea. Ephesus was a gateway to Asia.
The Temple of Artemis, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was also in Ephesus. Artemis was worshiped for thousands of years by Greek people. Today Temple of Artemis is nothing more than several columns lying on the ground. Ruins of the temple of Artemis are two and a half kilometers from Ephesus city center. Buildings such as the Domitianus Temple, the Fountain of Trajan, the Temple of Hadrian, the Celsius Library and an open-air theater that took twenty-five thousand people were also in Ephesus.
In addition to being a religious center, Ephesus was also the center of sorcerers and magicians. Paul wrote one of his most important letters to Ephesus before he arrived here. Saint John the Evangelist lived here on the year 66. After the Roman Empire split into two, Ephesus passed under the Byzantine dominion. One of the universal councils that are important for the history of Christianity was held in Ephesus in the year 431.
Paul was teaching between 11:00 and 16:00 at the Tyrannus school in Ephesus. Due to the temperature of the air, the hall was empty at this time and Paul was easily teaching his students. Paul continued his lessons here every day for two years. Teachings of Paul were a great blow to polytheism and idolatry in Ephesus. Paul was crushing beliefs of Greeks who worshiped ‘’human-like gods’’ for thousands of years. “The gods made by human beings cannot be gods,” said Paul. Words and philosophy of Apostle Paul seriously worried those who fed on this system.
Therefore, a jeweler named Dimitrios, who made silver sculptures at the Temple of Artemis, gathered an angry mob against the Christians and especially Paul. Reacting to the teachings of Paul, the crowd gathered at the Ephesus Theater. Bringing together those who are doing similar jobs like him, Dimitrios said, “Friends,” “You know, we have great earnings from this business. You see and hear that Paul says that handmade objects are not gods, not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia. So he convinced a large community. This is not only a danger against our art, but there is also a danger that can destroy the Temple of Artemis. Our supreme goddess will be ignored and forgotten. Eventually, the glory of Artemis, which the Asian region and the world respect, will be eliminated.’’. Despite all his success, Paul encountered great difficulties in Ephesus. Whenever believers multiplied, troubles also followed. Upon the riot of silversmiths led by Dimitrius, Paul left Ephesus and sailed towards Macedonia. Paul appointed the young Timoteos as the leader to the Ephesus church.
Book Ephesus Biblical Tour Guide to Learn More about Apostle Paul in Ephesus
When a tour group arrives at Ephesus today, they can still see a great number of buildings where Apostle Paul gave his speeches. The Grand Theater of Ephesus is a good example. I especially like to have a moment in this theater to think about the hard times these people of the early church had here. Also it is a really good place to have some reading of the Letter of Saint John in the Revelation to Ephesus and also Apostle Paul’s letter to Ephesian. I hope one day you will have an Ephesus tour which will touch your spirit. You can always contact me to learn more about Apostle Paul’s works in Ephesus. Also you can contact me to hire a professional licensed biblical Turkish tour guide to Ephesus. See you soon, Hasan Gülday