28 At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. 30 Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. 31 Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater.
Ephesus is known as a place of power. It is the capital of Roman Asia. Ephesus is also an important religious center. It is the sight of the Temple of Artemis- one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Artemis is the mother goddess of the ancient world. She is goddess of fertility, healing, and miracles. As a result, Ephesus is a city of sorcery and magic.
Paul spends three years in Ephesus. He works as a tentmaker for the Roman army during the day, with a break at midday to teach. The missionaries who reach all of the area of Turkey and the middle East are taught by Paul in this time. Paul is also known by the Ephesians. His teaching becomes so influential that he is hurting the tourist trade. Acts 19 tells the whole story.
It seems Paul is teaching about Jesus without denigrating the Ephesian pagan religion. Some of the city officials warn him he is in danger. Paul is friends with people who are choosing not to be Christians. In fact another official, the mayor of the city, probably saves Paul’s life, and some of his companions, by defending them to the riotous crowd.
What does Paul’s model say about harshly criticizing other religions as an evangelism tool?