It astonishes us that Paul wrote so little about his work in Ephesus. Most church leaders who are abroad can only think about their current activities. But Paul managed to write this long and complex letter about the problems in Corinth while he was working hard elsewhere. He cared so much about the church in Corinth that he hardly even mentioned his current work at Ephesus.
Wonderful things were happening at Ephesus, but many people were opposing Paul’s work. That is all that Paul says about his two years in Ephesus. The mention of the ‘open door’ is a word-picture for a ‘wonderful opportunity’. At Ephesus, Paul had a wonderful opportunity to tell very many people about Christ.
It is only because of the report in Acts chapter 19 that we know anything else about Paul’s work in Ephesus. That passage informs us that God cured people there in an extraordinary manner because of Paul’s prayers. Paul’s work became well-known; and many people became Christians. Many people who had formerly used magic now trusted in Christ. In the end, a group of men who made silver images of the false god called Artemis tried to cause trouble. Soon after that, Paul left Ephesus.
Paul’s original plan was to remain in Ephesus until the sacred holiday called Pentecost. That is, late Spring. He then wanted to spend the next 6 months in Macedonia. After that he hoped to go to Corinth, where he could remain for the winter (16:6). So the plans in 1 Corinthians 16:5-9 would probably take a whole year to complete. However, those plans were not definite. Paul often changed his plans as the Holy Spirit guided him.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.