Early History of Ephesus
The Library of Celsus in Ephesus.
Ephesus was at the center of hull’s missionary work. He visited there while on his second and third missionary journeys and maintained exceptionally close ties to the Christians at this location.
Toward the end of Paul’s ministry his left Timothy in Ephesus to care for the Ephesian Christians and at the very end of his life he continued to show concern for the church there.
Ephesus was situated on the Aegean coast by the Cayster River (in the southwestern corner of modern Turkey), but its specific location shifted slightly through the centuries .
The city was originally founded by Greeks in approximately 1000 B.C. from its original site and constructed a 6-mile-long wall around its new boundaries (c.286-281 B.C.).
Ephesus then came under Seleucid rule, which lasted until Rome defeated Antiochus III in 189 B.C.
Rome placed Ephesus under the control of the Attalids, the rulers of nearby Pergamum, but took direct control of the city in 133 B.C. Emperor Augustus honored Ephesus as the first city of Roman Asia.
Street scene at the archaeological excavations at Ephesus.
Ephesus was captured by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 546 B.C. After Persia’s disastrously failed invasion of Greece, however, Ephesus came in 454 B.C. under the control of Athens, against which it rebelled during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.), joining instead the Spartan alliance.
After the fall of Athens, Ephesus again came under Persian control, but this ended with the conquest of the region in 333 B.C. by Alexander the Great.
After Alexander’s death his general Lysimachus emerged victorious in a struggle for power in Asia Minor. Lysimachus moved the city a short distance.
We can see that Ephesus was a very old city and appears not to be that powerful. Yet, for Paul to go there to preach it must have value of some sort. So tomorrow we’ll look at…
2 Timothy 3
The Coming Apostasy
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
The ‘terrace houses’ at Ephesus, showing how the wealthy lived during the Roman period.
“Last days” – the Messianic era, the time beginning with Christ’s first coming. That the last days in this passage does not refer only to the time just prior to Christ’s return is apparent from Paul’s command to Timothy to have nothing to do with the unbelieving and unfaithful people who characterize this time.
I believe God is becoming fed up with how disgusting people have become and I believe that the end is near, that Jesus will return in my lifetime.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Paul’s got that right. All that Paul says in vv. 2-6 I can see happening in the United States alone.
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Hate Oprah? But why?
“Silly women” – unstable women who are guilty-ridden because of their sins, torn by lust, and victims of various false teachers, but never coming to a saving knowledge of Christ.
That’s amazing, Paul lived from around 5-67 A.D. and he knew about Oprah.
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
“Jannes and Jambres” – neither of these men is mentioned in the Old Testament, but according to Jewish tradition they were the Egyptian court magicians who opposed Moses (Ex 7:11).
The İsa Bey Mosque constructed in 1374–75, is one of the oldest and most impressive works of architectural art remaining from the Anatolian beyliks.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
“They shall proceed no further” – they are now in hell, as everyone like them will is or will be.
10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
“Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra” – three cities in the Roman province of Galatia, which Paul visited on his first and second missionary journeys.
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
We can see this happening all around the world, but especially here in the United States, but it didn’t just start, it began when old man Bush was elected.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
“From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures” – a Jewish boy formally began to study the Old Testament when he was five years old. Timothy was taught at home by his mother and grandmother even before he reached this age.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
“Inspiration of God” – Paul affirms God’s active involvement in the writing of the Bible, an involvement so powerful and pervasive that what is written is the infallible and authoritative word of God (see 2 Pet 1:20-21).
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
…Ephesus during the time of Paul.