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Church Meetings in Acts – Acts 19:9

Posted by on Mar 9, 2010 in gathering, scripture | Comments Off

The next instance of “gathering language” in Acts is found in Acts 19:9. Here is the verse in context:

And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (Acts 19:8-10 ESV)

The “gathering” language in this passage is actually found in the language of separation. Paul and “the disciples” withdrew from the synagogue and those who “became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way”. The next passage indicates that those who “withdrew” continued meeting together daily in the hall of Tyrannus.

I find a few things interesting in this passage. First, Luke says that Paul was speaking boldly (or openly) in the synagogue about the kingdom of God, and presumably Jesus’ place in the kingdom. There are two participles used to describe our Paul spoke openly. The ESV translates them as “reasoning and persuading”. This two verbs are contrasted by the response of the “some” who “became stubborn and continued in unbelief.”

As Paul and the disciples left the synagogue and continued meeting together in the hall of Tyrannus, the “reasoning” continued – the same type of communication with one another that took place when they were meeting in the synagogue. However, the “persuading” type of conversation did not continue. Apparently, even though the disciples no longer needed “persuading” about the kingdom of God (because they already “trusted” – same root word). But, the “reasoning” (discussion, dialog) continued. Paul viewed this as an appropriate form of communication among believers.

Next, as in Corinth, we see that Paul stayed in Ephesus for an extended period (Acts 19:10), unlike his stays in other cities. It seems that Paul used Ephesus as a central location from which to spread the good news of the kingdom of God.

Luke makes the extraordinary statement that “all the residents of Asia” heard the gospel due to Paul efforts in Ephesus. At this time, Asia referred to the eastern part of modern-day Turkey. Apparently, whatever discussion took place in the hall of Tyrannus did not remain there. Paul, his traveling companions, and probably other disciples from Ephesus took the good news of Jesus Christ from Ephesus to cities in the surrounding region.

While Luke does not tell us exactly how the gospel spread from Ephesus, he does tell us that it spread. So, once again, we have a combination of believers gathering together and going out for the purpose of proclaiming the good news to those who were not believers.