31. Ephesus

photograph 31(click to view larger)

The ruins of the Greek theater at Ephesus, where the Apostle Paul preached. During New Testament times, Ephesus was famous throughout the known world for its magnificent temple built in honor of the pagan Roman goddess Diana. Now in ruins, Ephesus was once the capital of the Roman province of Asia and a great center of commerce. The silversmiths of the city developed a flourishing trade selling images of Diana.

Significant Events: The Apostle Paul visited Ephesus near the end of his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18–19). On his third journey he stayed in the city for two years. He was forced to leave because of the uproar caused by the silversmiths who were losing business as Paul preached against the worship of the false goddess Diana (Acts 19:1, 10, 23–41; 20:1). The theater of Ephesus was the largest ever built by the Greeks and the site where Paul’s companions faced a mob (Acts 19:29–31). Paul wrote an epistle to the members of the Church at Ephesus during his captivity in Rome. One of the seven branches of the Church in Asia to which the book of Revelation is addressed was located in Ephesus (Rev. 1:10–11; 2:1). (See BD Ephesus.)