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Summary: To this city of Ephesus, wealthy, profoundly religious, with a religion that was in itself worse than an absolute absence of it, the apostle came. There were many adversaries; adversaries among his own brethren in the synagogue, as he revealed in his....

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June 26, 2015

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson: IV.D.3.b: In the Synagogue & School of Tyrannus (Acts 13:8-10)

Acts 19:8-10 (KJV)

8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Introduction

Paul, during his long and varied ministry, remained longer at Ephesus than at any other city. This short passage gives the account of his time spent there, and refers to two periods; first, a period of three months, during which he reasoned in the synagogue; and secondly, two years during which he reasoned in the school of Tyrannus. Writing to the Corinthian Christians from this city, Paul said that he planned to tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost; and he gave his reason for this tarrying: “for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9).

To this city of Ephesus, wealthy, profoundly religious, with a religion that was in itself worse than an absolute absence of it, the apostle came. There were many adversaries; adversaries among his own brethren in the synagogue, as he revealed in his subsequent appeal to the elders at Miletus; adversaries not so much among the ruling classes, as among those whose trades were interfered with; adversaries principally in that worship which had so remarkable a manifestation in the evil courses and habits of the eunuch-priests and virgin-priestesses. It was to the Church at Ephesus Paul wrote: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12, NIV).

At Ephesus, the apostle was occupied with making tents. That fact does not appear in this passage, but when the elders of Ephesus came to meet him at Miletus, he said, “I coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Ye yourselves know that these hands ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me” (Acts 20:33-34). He was not only the tent-maker, not only the logical and brilliant evangelist, but the pastor of the flock teaching with tears, admonishing; watching, with jealous and zealous love, the growth of those who bore the name of Christ.

Commentary

8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Paul began in Ephesus where he always began, in the synagogue. Jesus began there. It was the natural place to begin. One would naturally assume that a religious message would have the best chance among religious people. The synagogues were filled with the most religious people of their day and it was natural that both Jesus and Paul should begin there. However, both Jesus and Paul were disappointed. Jesus was driven out of the synagogue and preached out of doors. In town after town Paul left the synagogue in desperation and went to more responsive groups. What is it about religious people, church people that makes them so blind to new truth, and so unresponsive to new truth, and so unresponsive to new life?


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