The capital of Ionia, a celebrated city of Asia Minor, situated near the mouth of the Cayster, about forty miles southeast of Smyrna. It was chiefly celebrated for the worship and temple of Diana, which last was, accounted one of the seven wonders of the world. See DIANA. Paul first visited Ephesus about A. D. 54, Ac 18:19,21. This first brief visit was followed by a longer one towards the close of the same year, and continuing through the two following years, Ac 19:10; 20:31. The church thus early established, enjoyed the laborers of Aquila and Priscilla, of Tychicus and Timothy. It was favored with one of the best of Paul's epistles; its elders held an interview with him at Miletus, before he saw Rome, and he is supposed to have visited them after his first imprisonment. Here the apostle John is said to have spent the latter part of his life, and written his gospel and epistles; and having penned Christ's message to them in the isle of Patmos, to have returned and died among them. Christ gives the church at Ephesus a high degree of praise, coupled with a solemn warning, Re 2:1-5, which seems not to have prevented its final extinction, though it remained in existence six hundred years. But now its candlestick is indeed removed out of its place. The site of that great and opulent city is desolate. Its harbor has become a pestilential marsh; the lovely and fertile level ground south of the Cayster now languishes under Turkish misrule; and the heights upon its border bear only shapeless ruins. The outlines of the immense theatre, Ac 19:29, yet remain in the solid rock; but no vestige of the temple of Diana can be traced.
the capital of proconsular Asia, which was the western part of Asia Minor. It was colonized principally from Athens. In the time of the Romans it bore the title of "the first and greatest metropolis of Asia." It was distinguished for the Temple of Diana (q.v.), who there had her chief shrine; and for its theatre (Illustration: Ruins of the Theatre at Ephesus), which was the largest in the world, capable of containing 50,000 spectators. It was, like all ancient theatres, open to the sky. Here were exhibited the fights of wild beasts and of men with beasts. (Comp. 1Co 4:9; 9:24-25; 15:32.)
Many Jews took up their residence in this city, and here the seeds of the gospel were sown immediately after Pentecost (Ac 2:9; 6:9). At the close of his second missionary journey (about A.D. 51), when Paul was returning from Greece to Syria (Ac 18:18-21), he first visited this city. He remained, however, for only a short time, as he was hastening to keep the feast, probably of Pentecost, at Jerusalem; but he left Aquila and Priscilla behind him to carry on the work of spreading the gospel.
During his third missionary journey Paul reached Ephesus from the "upper coasts" (Ac 19:1), i.e., from the inland parts of Asia Minor, and tarried here for about three years; and so successful and abundant were his labours that "all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks" (Ac 19:10). Probably during this period the seven churches of the Apocalypse were founded, not by Paul's personal labours, but by missionaries whom he may have sent out from Ephesus, and by the influence of converts returning to their homes.
On his return from his journey, Paul touched at Miletus, some 30 miles south of Ephesus (Ac 20:15), and sending for the presbyters of Ephesus to meet him there, he delivered to them that touching farewell charge which is recorded in Acts 20:18-35. Ephesus is not again mentioned till near the close of Paul's life, when he writes to Timothy exhorting him to "abide still at Ephesus" (1Ti 1:3).
Two of Paul's companions, Trophimus and Tychicus, were probably natives of Ephesus (Ac 20:4; 21:29; 2Ti 4:12). In his second epistle to Timothy, Paul speaks of Onesiphorus as having served him in many things at Ephesus (2Ti 1:18). He also "sent Tychicus to Ephesus" (2Ti 4:12), probably to attend to the interests of the church there. Ephesus is twice mentioned in the Apocalypse (Re 1:11; 2:1).
The apostle John, according to tradition, spent many years in Ephesus, where he died and was buried.
A part of the site of this once famous city is now occupied by a small Turkish village, Ayasaluk, which is regarded as a corruption of the two Greek words, hagios theologos; i.e., "the holy divine."
Chief city of the Ionian confederacy and capital of the Roman province "Asia" (Mysia, Lydia, Caria), on the S. side of the plain of Cayster, and partly on the heights of Prion and Coressus, opposite the island of Samos. A leading scene of Paul's ministry (Acts 18; 19; 20); also one of the seven churches addressed in the Apocalypse (Re 1:11; 2:1), and the center from from whence John superintended the adjoining churches (Eusebius, 3:23). Ephesus, though she was commended for patient labors for Christ's name's sake, is reproved for having "left her first love." The port was called Panormus. Commodious roads connected this great emporium of Asia with the interior ("the upper coasts," i.e. the Phrygian table lands, Ac 19:1); also one on the N. to Smyrna, another on the S. to Miletus, whereby the Ephesian elders traveled when summoned by Paul to the latter city.
On a N.E. hill stands the church Ayasaluk, corrupted from hagios theologos, "the holy divine," John, Timothy, and the Virgin Mary who was committed by the Lord to John (Joh 19:26), were said to have been buried there. It was the port where Paul sailed from Corinth, on his way to Syria (Ac 18:19-22). Thence too he probably sailed on a short visit to Corinth; also thence to Macedonia (Ac 19:21-27; 20:1; compare 1Ti 1:3; 2Ti 4:12,20). (See 1 CORINTHIANS.) Originally colonized by the hardy Atticans under Androclus, son of Codrus, it subsequently fell through the enervation of its people under Lydian and Persian domination successively; then under Alexander the Great, and finally under the Romans when these formed their province of Asia (129 B.C.).
A proconsul or "deputy" ruled Asia. In Ac 19:38 the plural is for the singular. He was on circuit, holding the assizes then in Ephesus; as is implied, "the law is open," margin "the court days are (now being) kept." Besides a senate there was a popular assembly such as met in the theater, the largest perhaps in the world, traceable still on mount Prion (Ac 19:29). The "town clerk" had charge of the public records, opened state letters, and took notes of the proceedings in the assembly. His appeal, quieting the people, notices that Paul was "not a blasphemer of the Ephesian goddess," a testimony to Paul's tact and wisdom in preaching Christ. The friendly warning of the Asiarchs to Paul, not to venture into the theater, implies how great an influence the apostle had gained at Ephesus. (See ASIARCHS.)
Besides being famed as the birthplace of the two painters Apelles and Parrhasius, and the philosopher Heraclitus, Ephesus was notorious for its magical arts and amulets of parchment with inscribed incantations (Ephesia grammata), valued at enormous prices (50,000 pieces of silver), yet freely given up to the flame when their possessors received a living faith (Ac 19:19). In undesigned coincidence with Acts, Paul writing to Timothy (2Ti 3:13) says "seducers (goeetees, "conjurors") shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." The "special miracles" which God wrought by the hands of Paul were exactly suited to conquer the magicians on their own ground: handkerchiefs and aprons from his body brought as a cure to the sick; evil spirits cast out by him; and when exorcists imitated him, the evil spirits turning on them and rending them.
The Diana of Ephesus, instead of the graceful Grecian goddess of the chase, was a mummy-shaped body with many breasts, ending in a point, and with the head of a female with mural crown, and hands with a bar of metal in each; underneath was a rude block. An aerolite probably gave the idea "the image that fell from heaven." After frequent burnings, the last building of her temple took 220 years. (See DIANA.) Some read Pliny's statement, "the columns were 120, seven of them the gifts of kings"; the diameter of each is six feet, the height 60 feet, according to Ward's measurement. The external pillars according to Wood's arrangement are 88; the whole number, internal and external, 120. The glory of Ephesus was to be "a worshipper of the great goddess" (see margin), literally, a caretaker, warden, or apparitor of the temple (neokoros), and the silversmiths had a flourishing trade in selling portable models of the shrine.
Perhaps Alexander the "coppersmith" had a similar business. The "craftsmen" were the designers, the "workmen" ordinary laborers (Ac 19:24-25). The imagery of a temple naturally occurs in 1Co 3:9-17 written here, also in 1Ti 3:15; 6:19; 2Ti 2:19-20, written to Ephesus; compare also Ac 20:32. Demetrius would be especially sensitive at that time when Diana's sacred month of May was just about to attract the greatest crowds to her, for 1Co 16:8 shows Paul was there about that time, and it is probable the uproar took place then; hence we find the Asiarchs present at this time (Ac 19:31).
Existing ancient coins illustrate the terms found in Acts, "deputy," "town clerk," "worshipper of Diana." The address at Miletus shows that the Ephesian church had then its bishop presbyters. Paul's companions, Trophimus certainly and Tychicus possibly, were natives of Ephesus (Ac 20:4; 21:29; 2Ti 4:12.) Also Onesiphorus (2Ti 1:16-18; 4:19), Hymeneus and Alexander, Hermogenes and Phygellus, of Ephesus, were among Paul's opponents (1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 1:15; 4:14).
The capital of the Roman province Asia; a large and ancient city at the mouth of the river Cayster, and about 3 miles from the open sea. The origin of the name, which is native and not Greek, is unknown. It stood at the entrance to one of the four clefts in the surrounding hills. It is along these valleys that the roads through the central plateau of Asia Minor pass. The chief of these was the route up the M
A renowned city of Ionia, and in the time of the Romans the capital of the part called 'the province of Asia,' being the west portion of Asia Minor. Being near the sea it was a place of great commerce, and as the capital of the province it had constant intercourse with the surrounding towns. The celebrated temple of Diana also brought multitudes of heathen. Its inhabitants are supposed to have been of Greek origin, with also a large number of Jews engaged in commerce. Ac 18:19-24; 19:1,17,26,35; 20:16-17; 1Co 15:32; 16:8; Eph 1:1; 1Ti 1:3; 2Ti 1:18; 4:12; Re 1:11; 2:1. It is now named Ayasolook. The ruins are extensive: the sea has retired, leaving a pestilential morass of mud and rushes.
(permitted), the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and an illustrious city in the district of Ionia, nearly opposite the island of Samos. Buildings. --Conspicuous at the head of the harbor of Ephesus was the great temple of Diana or Artemis, the tutelary divinity of the city. This building was raised on immense substructions, in consequence of the swampy nature of the ground. The earlier temple, which had been begun before the Persian war, was burnt down in the night when Alexander the Great was born; and another structure, raise by the enthusiastic co-operation of all the inhabitants of "Asia," had taken its place. The magnificence of this sanctuary was a proverb throughout the civilized world. In consequence of this devotion the city of Ephesus was called neo'koros,
or "warden" of Diana. Another consequence of the celebrity of Diana's worship at Ephesus was that a large manufactory grew up there of portable shrines, which strangers purchased, and devotees carried with them on journeys or set up in the houses. The theatre, into which the mob who had seized on Paul,
rushed, was capable of holding 25,000 or 30,000 persons, and was the largest ever built by the Greeks. The stadium or circus, 685 feet long by 200 wide, where the Ephesians held their shows, is probably referred to by Paul as the place where he "fought with beasts at Ephesus."
Connection with Christianity --The Jews were established at Ephesus in considerable numbers.
It is here and here only that we find disciples of John the Baptist explicitly mentioned after the ascension of Christ.
The first seeds of Christian truth were possibly sown here immediately after the great Pentecost.
... St. Paul remained in the place more than two years,
during which he wrote the First Epistle to the Corinthians. At a later period Timothy was set over the disciples, as we learn from the two epistles addressed to him. Among St. Paul's other companions, two, Trophimus and Tychicus, were natives of Asia,
and the latter was probably,
the former certainly,
a native of Ephesus. Present condition --The whole place is now utterly desolate, with the exception of the small Turkish village at Ayasaluk. The ruins are of vast extent.
EPHESUS, a much celebrated city of Ionia, in Asia Minor, situated upon the river Cayster, and on the side of a hill. It was the metropolis of the Proconsular Asia, and formerly in great renown among Heathen authors on account of its famous temple of Diana. This temple was seven times set on fire: one of the principal conflagrations happened on the very day that Socrates was poisoned, four hundred years before Christ; the other, on the same night in which Alexander the Great was born, when a person of the name of Erostratus set it on fire, according to his own confession, to get himself a name! It was, however, rebuilt and beautified by the Ephesians, toward which the female inhabitants of the city contributed liberally. In the times of the Apostles it retained much of its former grandeur; but, so addicted were the inhabitants of the city to idolatry and the arts of magic, that the prince of darkness would seem to have, at that time, fixed his throne in it. Ephesus is supposed to have first invented those obscure mystical spells and charms by means of which the people pretended to heal diseases and drive away evil spirits; whence originated the '?????? ????????, or Ephesian letters, so often mentioned by the ancients.
2. The Apostle Paul first visited this city, A.D. 54; but being then on his way to Jerusalem, he abode there only a few weeks, Ac 18:19-21. During his short stay, he found a synagogue of the Jews, into which he went, and reasoned with them upon the interesting topics of his ministry, with which they were so pleased that they wished him to prolong his visit. He however declined that, for he had determined, God willing, to be at Jerusalem at an approaching festival; but he promised to return, which he did a few months afterward, and continued there three years, Ac 19:10; 20:31. While the Apostle abode in Ephesus and its neighbourhood, he gathered a numerous Christian church, to which, at a subsequent period, he wrote that epistle, which forms so important a part of the Apostolic writings. He was then a prisoner at Rome, and the year in which he wrote it must have been 60 or 61 of the Christian aera. It appears to have been transmitted to them by the hands of Tychicus, one of his companions in travel, Eph 6:21. The critics have remarked that the style of the Epistle to the Ephesians is exceedingly elevated; and that it corresponds to the state of the Apostle's mind at the time of writing. Overjoyed with the account which their messenger brought him of the steadfastness of their faith, and the ardency of their love to all the saints, Eph 1:15; and, transported with the consideration of the unsearchable wisdom of God displayed in the work of man's redemption, and of his amazing love toward the Gentiles, in introducing them, as fellow-heirs with the Jews, into the kingdom of Christ, he soars into the most exalted contemplation of those sublime topics, and gives utterance to his thoughts in language at once rich and varied. The epistle, says Macknight, is written as it were in a rapture. Grotius remarks that it expresses the sublime matters contained in it in terms more sublime than are to be found in any human language; to which Macknight subjoins this singular but striking observation, that no real Christian can read the doctrinal part of the Epistle to the Ephesians, without being impressed and roused by it, as by the sound of a trumpet.
3. Ephesus was one of the seven churches to which special messages were addressed in the book of Revelation. After a commendation of their first works, to which they were commanded to return, they were accused of having left their first love, and threatened with the removal of their candlestick out of its place, except they should repent, Re 2:5. The contrast which its present state presents to its former glory, is a striking fulfilment of this prophecy. Ephesus was the metropolis of Lydia, a great and opulent city, and, according to Strabo, the greatest emporium of Asia Minor. Its temple of Diana, "whom all Asia worshipped," was adorned with one hundred and twenty-seven columns of Parian marble, each of a single shaft, and sixty feet high, and which formed one of the seven wonders of the world. The remains of its magnificent theatre, in which it is said that twenty thousand people could easily have been seated, are yet to be seen. But a few heaps of stones, and some miserable mud cottages, occasionally tenanted by Turks, without one Christian residing there, are all the remains of ancient Ephesus. It is, as described by different travellers, a solemn and most forlorn spot. The Epistle to the Ephesians is read throughout the world; but there is none in Ephesus to read it now. They left their first love, they returned not to their first works. Their "candlestick has been removed out of its place;" and the great city of Ephesus is no more. Dr. Chandler says, "The inhabitants are a few Greek peasants, living in extreme wretchedness, dependence, and insensibility; the representatives of an illustrious people, and inhabiting the wreck of their greatness: some, in the substructions of the glorious edifices which they raised; some, beneath the vaults of the stadium, once the crowded scene of their diversions; and some, by the abrupt precipice, in the sepulchres which received their ashes. Its streets are obscured and overgrown. A herd of goats was driven to it for shelter from the sun at noon; and a noisy flight of crows from the quarries seemed to insult its silence. We heard the partridge call in the area of the theatre and the stadium. The glorious pomp of its Heathen worship is no longer remembered; and Christianity, which was here nursed by Apostles, and fostered by general councils, until it increased to fulness of stature, barely lingers on in an existence hardly visible." "I was at Ephesus, says Mr. Arundell, "in January, 1824; the desolation was then complete: a Turk, whose shed we occupied, his Arab servant, and a single Greek, composed the entire population; some Turcomans excepted, whose black tents were pitched among the ruins. The Greek revolution, and the predatory excursions of the Samiotcs, in great measure accounted for this total desertion. There is still, however, a village near, probably the same which Chisull and Van Egmont mention, having four hundred Greek houses." St. John passed the latter part of his life in Asia Minor, and principally at Ephesus, where he died.