In our new series, Home Improvement we are gleaning truth’s from the New Testament book of Ephesians. Ephesians is a letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus. Here are ten facts you may not know about this important city.
- Ephesus was “the most important commercial center in the Roman province of Asia[i].” It was a large and very influential port city. Today think New York or Hong Kong.
- Because of its size, location and influence Paul planted the church in Ephesus on his third missionary journey and Luke records that from this base “the whole province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” (Acts 19:8-10)
- Paul stayed and pastored the church in Ephesus longer than any other single church. 3 years!
- Timothy was the next pastor placed there by Paul, “As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus.” I Timothy 1:3
- If you could write one letter to your children or grandchildren passing on your cherished beliefs what would you say? The letter to the church in Ephesus is often called “quintessential Paul” as it concisely summarizes the essence of Paul’s faith and theology.
- According the church history, the apostle John was the pastor of the church in Ephesus. He lived there with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Why was Mary with John? Remember that John was entrusted by Jesus to care for his mother after his death on the cross. (John 19:26-27). According to tradition, John built a house for her and she lived there for nine years.[ii]
- From Ephesus, the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John and 3 John.
- John wrote the book Revelation from the Island of Patmos, an Island just off the coast of Ephesus.
- In Revelation, John records a message from Jesus to seven churches. Which church is listed first? Ephesus. Why? It was either the largest church of the seven or the first church on the Roman mail route. Either way the church in Ephesus was very influential.
- According to church history the apostle John was buried in Ephesus around 100 AD. After 313, when Emperor Constantine ended anti-Christian persecution in the Roman Empire, Ephesian Christians built a chapel over the apostle’s tomb.[iii]
Ephesus was an influential city with an influential church led by influential leaders but guess what? That influence continues today as we live out the message penned by Paul. Ephesians all about Christ and his church and how we can be part of that foundation and part of God’s family which has great influence in any generation!