Ephesus Theater

Ephesus Theater Riot

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Ephesus Theater
ACTS 19 COMMENTARY
Acts 19:14-22 Seven Sons of Sceva
Acts 19:23-28 Demetrius

Acts 19:29-41 Ephesus Theater

Acts 20 Commentary
ACTS 19:29  29 So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul’s travel companions.

Why did the people of Ephesus rush into the "theater" (Acts 19:29)?
There was more than one theater in Ephesus at this time. "The theater" (Acts 19:29) refers to the Great Theater of Ephesus, which was the largest public arena in the city. Cut into a hillside facing the harbor of Ephesus, this theater could accommodate 25,000 seated and even more standing (photo).

Why did the mob seize "Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul’s travel companions" (Acts 19:29) but not Paul?
Paul probably wasn't around when they came for him.

ACTS 19:30-34  30 And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him. 31 Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater. 32 Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people. 34 But when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

Were most of the people in the mob truly mad at Paul?
No, "the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together" (Acts 19:32).

How long did the mob frenzy last?
"About two hours" (Acts 19:34)

ACTS 19:35-41  35 And when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 36 Therefore, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly. 40 For we are in danger of being called in question for today’s uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

Why would the crowd listen to a "clerk" (Acts 19:35)?
γραμματευς (grammateus), the original Greek word translated "city clerk," was the elected head of the city's administrators. He was not a Roman and didn't have military power, but was the city's chief administrator.

What is "the image which fell down from Zeus" (Acts 19:35)?
Some thought the image of Diana inside the temple had been carved from a meteor.

Why did the crowd disperse?
Rome had granted Ephesus the status of being a self-governing city, albeit under Rome's watchful eye. The crowd was reminded that they were "in danger of being called in question for ... this disorderly gathering" (Acts 19:40), which risked the direct rule of Rome, which was hypersensitive to signs of uprisings in its provinces.

To be protected by God, what did Paul have to say to the persecutors?
As was the case in Corinth, not a word (see Acts 18).

In both Corinth and Ephesus, where did Paul conduct the bulk of his ministry?
In the secular world outside the established places of worship. In Corinth, Ephesus and elsewhere, Paul began with those inside the synagogue who had access to the Scripture, who considered themselves religious and who should have grasped the Gospel most readily, but invariably spent most of his time preaching in the secular world, outside the comfort zone of established places of worship.

Does your church tend to take the Gospel out into the world or wait for the unbelievers to come into the church building?
 

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