16. THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY

The length of Paul’s stay at Antioch after his 2d Missionary Journey is not known. It is likely that some months, at least, elapsed before he started from there on his 3d Missionary Journey (Paul’s First Missionary Tour).

He “went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia,” strengthening the churches he had earlier established (Acts 18:23).

Acts 18:23  After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

Having passed through the “upper coasts,” he at length arrived at Ephesus (ch 19:1), which was to be his chief center during this itinerary.

19:1  And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

AT EPHESUS

In Ephesus (Paul’s First Missionary Tour) Paul found about 12 men who had evidently been taught by *Apollos, but who had not received a full knowledge of the gospel. These he instructed more fully, and upon being rebaptized they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1–7).

19:1  And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

19:2  he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

19:3  And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

19:4  Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

19:5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

19:6  And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

19:7  Now the men were about twelve in all.

For about 3 months Paul preached and reasoned in the synagogue. Then because of opposition he and his converts moved to “the school of one Tyrannus,” where Paul held daily meetings (vs 8, 9).

19:8  And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

19:9  But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

This school became his headquarters for “two years,” during which “all they which dwelt in Asia” heard the gospel (v 10).

19:10  And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Many miracles were wrought (vs 11, 12),

19:11  Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,

19:12  so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

and a great number were converted, for “mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (vs 18–20).

19:18  And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.

19:19  Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.

19:20  So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

Toward the end of his stay in Ephesus, Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, probably in the spring of a.d. 57 (see Corinthians, Epistles to).

In that epistle he revealed his plans to visit Corinth via Macedonia after remaining at Ephesus until Pentecost (1 Cor 16:5–8; see Acts 19:21).

1 Corinthians 16:5  Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia).

16:6  And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go.

16:7  For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.

16:8  But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.

19:21  When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

However, circumstances soon arose that hastened his departure from that city. Opposition that had been building up for some time (see 1 Cor 15:32) came to a head shortly after his letter was dispatched.

1 Corinthians 15:32  If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE!”

This happened when a silversmith named Demetrius, probably a prominent member of a guild of manufacturers of shrines in honor of the goddess *Artemis (KJV “Diana”), became greatly concerned over the loss of business occasioned by so many turning to Christianity.

He therefore called the craftsmen together and pointed out that Paul’s preaching against the worship of idols had affected their business, not only locally but throughout much of the province of Asia.

He further pointed out that Paul’s preaching was undermining respect for the goddess and her temple, which “all Asia and the world” worshiped (Acts 19:23–27).

19:23  And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.

19:24  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen.

19:25  He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade.

19:26  Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands.

19:27  So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”

At this Demetrius’ hearers became highly incensed and began shouting, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”

They succeeded in stirring the whole city to indignation. Seeking for someone upon whom to vent their wrath, they dragged 2 of Paul’s traveling companions into the theater .

Paul decided to go in also, but was prevented by his disciples and some prominent Ephesian friends (vs 28–31).

19:28  Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

19:29  So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul’s travel companions.

19:30  And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him.

19:31  Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading

that he would not venture into the theater.

The mob was finally calmed by the town clerk and dispersed without doing any damage (vs 32–41).

19:32  Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.

19:33  And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people.

19:34  But when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

19:35  And when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus?

19:36  Therefore, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly.

19:37  For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess.

19:38  Therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another.

19:39  But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly.

19:40  For we are in danger of being called in question for today’s uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering.”

19:41  And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

After this tumult Paul deemed it advisable to leave Ephesus, where he had spent “three years” (ch 20:1, 31), probably from about a.d. 54 to 57.

Taking leave of the believers, he set out for Macedonia. For the possibility of a visit to Corinth during Paul’s stay at Ephesus, see SDACom 6:835, 836, 922.

Next time: TO MACEDONIA, AND TO CORINTH AGAIN