Useful Bible Studies > 2 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 1

Paulís troubles at, and near, Ephesus

2 Corinthians 1:8

By ĎAsiaí, Paul meant the region of Western Turkey near Ephesus. He worked in Ephesus for more than two years. The church that he established there became important in the history of the early Christians.

While Paul was at Ephesus, he wrote 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 16:9, he briefly describes the state of his work there. Paul considered there to be a wonderful opportunity at Ephesus, but many enemies were opposing him.

In the end, those enemies caused serious trouble in Ephesus. Acts 19:23-41 records what happened. A crowd of many thousands of people gathered to protest against Paulís activities. They complained that he was destroying the religion of their (false) god, called Artemis or Diana.

It was a very dangerous situation, especially as the crowd had seized two of Paulís travelling companions. Paul wanted to speak to the crowd, but the other Christians would not let him. In the end, a government official managed to control the crowd and Paul left the city.

That was, perhaps, just the last incident in a series of serious incidents at Ephesus. We do not know whether anyone physically attacked Paul there. However, Paul had already suffered severe injuries because of his relationship with Christ on 9 separate occasions*.

Such incidents caused Paul great strain. At Ephesus, Paul expected to die. Perhaps Paul is referring to the time when he wanted to speak to that angry crowd. He did not think that he would be able to persuade them; he expected them to kill him. Paul insists that he was completely unable to deal with such incidents in his own strength. He did not have the courage, skill or strength of character that is necessary in such situations. All that Paul could do was to depend completely on God. God alone could rescue him.

Next part: How Paul depended on God (1:9-10)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.