Ephesus was the major city of Asia Minor during the New Testament era. It was a major port – now silted up – located at the end of the Spice and Silk Road that ran west from Arabia and Asia to Ephesus on the Aegean Sea.
Paul visited the city on his second and third missionary journeys – staying there for about 3 years on his third journey. Ephesus is also one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation (1:11; 2:1–7). It is mentioned 18 times in the New Testament.
During his three year stay Paul was evidently so successful in preaching the Gospel that the sale of silver statues of the goddess Artemis fell off significantly. This led Demetrius and other silversmiths to instigate a riot protesting the ministry of Paul and his companions. This lead to a gathering of the ecclesia in the great theater where a riot was in the making (Acts 19:23–28).
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