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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

08 August 2005

Ephesian Evangelism

Q: Can you tell me the founder of the church of Ephesus, and if it was Paul on his second missionary journey?

ArtemisA: If not the founder, Paul was one of the first Christians active in Ephesus. He spent much time among them and dealt with both pagan and Jewish resistance. Much of Acts 18-20 includes Paul among the Ephesians. Note that while Paul worked, he was not alone. Prisca and Aquilla were there and Apollos came to spiritual maturity and was a powerful contender for the Gospel.

Paul spent a short time in Ephesus before returning to Antioch after his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-22). His third journey included three years in Ephesus (Acts 20:31). A number of notable events occurred there. Paul baptized a dozen of John the Baptist’s followers (Acts 19:1-7). After being barred from the synagogue, he had daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus (19:8-10). Unusual miracles (19:11-12) and strange events (19:13-16) took place; sorcerers and others were converted (19:17-20), and the city rioted over silversmith Demetrius’ loss of business because of people turning away from Artemis worship to Christ (19:23-41).

When Paul returned to Jerusalem from his third missionary journey, he gave a moving farewell address to the Ephesian elders at the coastal town of Miletus (20:13-35). That was the last time we know that he saw them (20:36-38), although because of his great love for them, Paul could have visited Ephesus after he was in Rome (cf. 1 Tim. 1:3 and 3:14).

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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