November 28, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Acts 19-20
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Context: Paul continues his missionary journey to Ephesus, an extremely wealthy and pagan city. Paul spends a considerable amount of time ministering in the city and spreading the word of God. Paul had great success in Ephesus, although not all were pleased with his teachings. Paul’s teachings were having a direct effect on the economy, and not in a good way! Because of the Paul’s success in leading people to the Lord, those who made false gods, sold food for offering to false gods, and other businesses that relied on the false gods were beginning to struggle. Chapter 19 shows that spreading the word of God, especially in pagan areas, is not easy. We must be spiritually prepared because Satan does not like to surrender that which he holds. Chapter 20 serves as a farewell to the leaders of the church of Ephesus and to all churches that Paul visited. Paul provides instructions on leadership and encouragement to remains strong in the Lord. Leaders are to help those in the church continue to grow in their faith. Jesus Christ must remain at the center of our lives.
World History: Ephesus, a leading trade center for the Roman Empire, was a large and wealthy city. It was also home to the temple of pagan goddess Diana (or Artemis), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.