A Commentary by John Stott
Acts 19:8-10. b). Synagogue and lecture hall.
The pattern of Paul’s evangelistic ministry in Ephesus was similar to that in Corinth. First, *Paul entered the synagogue*, where he was already known (18:19), *and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively (RSV, ‘arguing and pleading’) about the kingdom of God* (8). To argue from the Old Testament Scriptures about the kingdom is the same as to argue that Jesus is the Christ, since it is Jesus the Christ who inaugurated the kingdom (cf. 28:31). *But*, as in Corinth so in Ephesus, the Jewish people rejected the good news: *Some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way*, as Christian discipleship is again called (cf. Acts 9:2; 19:23; 22:4; 24:14, 22), since ‘Christianity was for the disciples the way of all ways…in which to walk’. As a direct result of this stubborn opposition in the synagogue, *Paul left them*. He also *took the disciples with him and had discussions (dialegomenos; RSV, ‘argued’) daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus* (9). In fact this new outreach to the Gentiles in the form of dialogue evangelism *went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord* (10). It is a bit tantalising that Luke tells us nothing about Tyrannus. One assumes that he was a philosopher or educator of some kind, who lectured during the cool hours of the morning, but was prepared to rent his school room or lecture hall (schole) to the Christian evangelist during the heat of the day. Since *tyrannos* means a despot or tyrant, ‘one wonders idly if this was the name his parents gave him or the name his pupils gave him!’ What is clear is that Paul’s daily Christian lecturing for two years led to the evangelization of the whole province.
Tomorrow: Acts 19:11-20. c), Some power encounters.
The John Stott Bible Study is taken from The Message of Acts. The Bible Speaks Today John Stott. Used by permission of Inter-Varsity Press UK, Nottingham. All rights reserved.