Miletus is a seaport town and ancient capital of Ionia. It is located about 36 miles south of Ephesus. Before 500 B.C. Miletus was the greatest Greek city in the east. It was important in the founding of the Greek colony of Naukratis in Egypt and founded more than 60 colonies on the shores of the Black Sea. The city was also known for its literary and scientific-philosophical figures, among them Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Hecataeus.
The apostle Paul visited Miletus toward the end of his third missionary journey in 58 A.D. It was from the city that Paul summoned the elders in the Ephesian church to come and meet him for what he thought would be the last time (Acts 20:17). Paul gave these elders a heartfelt exhortation and warned them about the coming apostasy in the church:
"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also FROM AMONG YOURSELVES men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears." (Acts 20:26-31)