The Spiritual War For Ephesus -- By: Gary R. Gromacki

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 015:2 (Fall 2011)
Article: The Spiritual War For Ephesus
Author: Gary R. Gromacki

The Spiritual War For Ephesus

Dr. Gary Gromacki

Associate Professor of Bible and Homiletics
Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania


The church at Ephesus was established by Paul and his mission team on his second and third missionary journeys from AD 52-57. Acts 18:18-20:38 records the intense spiritual warfare that took place in order for Paul and his team to plant the church successfully. This article examines the spiritual war for Ephesus. Gentile religious cults flourished in Ephesus. The city of Ephesus, like many cities in the Roman Empire during Paul’s time, was known for its idolatry. The Gentiles honored the Roman emperor and worshipped many Greek gods and goddesses. They practiced Egyptian cults and magic in the city and worshipped Artemis at the Artemision in Ephesus. The Jews met for worship in synagogues in Ephesus. Evidence will be presented to show that there was possible racial tension in the city of Ephesus between Jews and Gentiles. This racial tension possibly influenced the church in Ephesus and caused concern for Paul when he wrote the epistle to the Ephesians. The rest of the article gives an exposition of Acts 18:18-20:38 showing how Paul and his team established the church at Ephesus. The theological themes in Paul’s final message to the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Acts 20:17-38) are related to the biblical theology of Ephesians.

The City Of Ephesus

The Importance of Ephesus

The city of Ephesus was probably the fourth greatest city in the Roman empire after Rome, Alexandria, and Syrian Antioch, Ephesus having a population of about 250,000 during the first

century.1 In AD 20 Strabo wrote that Ephesus “grows daily, and is the largest city in Asia this side of the Taurus.”2 The city of Ephesus received the prized title “the first and greatest metropolis of Asia”, a title it used in inscriptions of this period.3

Location Of Ephesus

The city of Ephesus was located on the west coast of the Roman province of Asia (western Turkey). It was just south of the Cayster River near the Aegean Sea just opposite the island of Samos. Ephesus was positioned between two mountains: Mount Pion and Mount Koressos. Ephesus was a major commercial city as it lay on the intersection of two ancient roads, a coastal road that ran north through Smyrna and Pergam...

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