Paul’s Ministry at Ephesus—A Devotional Study -- By: Donald K. Campbell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 118:472 (Oct 1961)
Article: Paul’s Ministry at Ephesus—A Devotional Study
Author: Donald K. Campbell

Paul’s Ministry at Ephesus—A Devotional Study

Donald K. Campbell

[Donald K. Campbell, Th.D., Dean of Education and Professor of Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

The record of the third missionary journey of the Apostle Paul is all but dominated by “the Ephesus story.” Paul’s ministry in that city is of special interest in view of the strategic importance of the city itself and the spread of the gospel from that focal point throughout a wide area.

Ephesus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. Busy trade thronged the city because of her geographic location. Tourists also came to worship at the fabulous Temple of Artemis, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The goddess of this temple was Artemis, or Diana as the Romans called her. Attached to her worship were grotesquely vile practices making Ephesus one of the most immoral cities of its time. Sorcerers, magicians, exorcists, and all kinds of religious and supersitious fakery polluted the atmosphere of this metropolis. Tradesmen were quick to seize upon the desires of the tourists for souvenirs and made silver shrines in the form of models of the temple to sell.

Into such a city came the apostle and here he remained longer than at any other place on his missionary travels. The sacred historian has given us a gripping account of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus in Acts 19 and the record is replete with spiritual lessons.

The Beginning of the Ministry

Paul’s initial activity in Ephesus in connection with the twelve disciples mentioned in the opening verses of Acts 19 has raised many questions. Most are resolved, however, when it is seen that this account in Acts 19:1–7 is to be considered in the light of the ministry of Apollos described in the immediately preceding context. States Blaiklock: “First, it seems clear that the little group at Ephesus…were a relic of Apollos’ immature ministry in the city.”1

Luke paints a vivid portrait of Apollos. He was a man well-gifted and well-trained who in the providence of God came

to Ephesus that his education might be completed, for until now, though “mighty in the Scripture” and “instructed in the way of the Lord,” he knew only the baptism of John. We gather therefore that Apollos did not know the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, nor the coming of the Holy Spirit with His attendant ministries. There were, however, some in Ephesus who did and it...

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