Bible Meaning: Permitted
Strong's Concordance #G2181
Ephesus was the prosperous capital of the Roman province of Asia. Initially colonized by the Athenians, it grew to 250,000+ inhabitants in the first century B.C., making it the second largest populated area in the known world.
Located on the Aegean Sea, Ephesus was ideally situated to become a center of wealth. It had great natural advantages that made it ideal for prosperity and growth. Its access to the sea brought it ships from many places within the Empire. Its location on the great east-west road that ran from it to the Euphrates River also contributed to it being a chief hub of trade and a place where people wanted to live.
The city was also home to the temple of Diana (Artemis), considered to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
The city and the gospel
The Apostle Paul evangelized the city during his second and third missionary journeys and started the first Christian church in it (Acts 19). His desire to preach and teach in Ephesus resulted in him residing in it for roughly three and one half years.
It was Jews from Asia, most of which were from the city and knew what the Apostle Paul looked like, that identified him in Jerusalem's temple (Acts 21:27). Their identification and stirring up of the crowd began a long series of events that would lead to Paul being arrested by the Romans and sent to Rome for trial.
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Revelation that received a spiritual evaluation directly from Jesus Christ (Revelation 2:1 - 7). The church excelled at testing those who claimed divine inspiration and hated the teachings of those, like the Nicolaitans, who supported a hierarchical church structure. Unfortunately, since they had left their first love of the gospel, they were in danger of dying out.
Place of righteous death
Though not stated in Scripture, tradition has the Apostle John living in the city before and after his banishment to the island of Patmos. It is believed John died in the city at the end of the first century A.D. It is also possible Jesus' mother Mary, whom John was asked by Christ to take care of (John 19:26 - 27), followed him to Ephesus and died there.
Acts 18:19 - 21
And he (Paul) came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;
But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands . . .
And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?
And from Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink: for to morrow we die.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.
1Timothy 1:3 - 4
As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
2Timothy 1:16, 18
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain . . . The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
Revelation 2:1 - 2
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil . . .