I am not exaggerating when I say that we know what Paul was doing every day of his mission in Ephesus. It’s all in the text of Acts.
We know he was ministering 5 hours a day at the school of Tyrannus for 2 – 3 years (Acts 19: 9-10).
We know he was functioning like this from day one in Ephesus (“You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,” Acts 20:18).
We know from that first day he was visiting publicly as well as house to house among both Jews and gentiles (“from the first day ….How I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks.” Acts 20:17 and 20-21).
We know he worked tirelessly day and night ministering to the people (“For three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Acts 20:31).
And, believe it or not, we know that he was the CEO of a very successful tent making initiative that kept and fed the huge party for whom Paul was caring for (“You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.” Acts 20:34). If that was not an everyday activity it at least paid for everyday’s bills.
So the screenplay is written. We have all the notes that assist us to understand Paul’s “normal day at the Ephesian Office. We, quite literally, have Paul’s routine to meditate on. We know for certain, from Acts’ chapters 19 and 20 what Paul did all the time he ministered in Ephesus.
The picture I glean from these two chapters is one that contradicts what Bible schools generally teach in the twenty first century. “We cannot stay within the four walls of church and win the lost!” Paul did. “We must not try to get people out too often!” Paul did. “We must not make our services too long.” Paul didn’t mind. “We must not visit homes at late hours!” Paul did, day and night. “We must not get emotional with the people whilst ministering to them, it’s not professional!” Paul did – and with tears. If you have a passion to see God move in this generation, I gladly excuse you to reach for the oxygen mouthpieces before I continue. What on earth was Paul ministering? Three years? The whole of Asia? From a single school room?
Every day for two years! That means 730 days minimum, Paul preached and ministered the miraculous. Can you imagine! The Bible tells us that there were “unusual” miracles done by the apostle to the gentiles. Sadly we live in a day where Christians hardly know the difference between the “usual” miracle and the “unusual.” Here in the west, apart from a few small pockets we do not have many “usual” miracles. That is because most Christian people in the west have never seen a miracle. Period.
If we compare that to a “Ninety Minute Service Once a Week Church (And the UK has many churches of that ilk),” we have the startling statement that in 2 years Paul had as much ministry time preaching, healing, prophesying and delivering in Ephesus as some modern churches have in 42 years plus. (?) Nuff said.
In a first century environment that was filled with superstition, black magic, witchcraft and murder, overlaid with rich and deep tones of fanatical idolatry and false religion, as well as a dash of legalistic Judaism and a sprinkling of rank atheism, I cannot possibly imagine how singing “Blessed Assurance” and “Abide with Me,” and then listening to a nice tidy 3 point sermon on the tenets of evangelical Christianity could change the face of a continent in the space of 2 years. (Come to think of it, that first century environment sounds the same as the twenty first century environment! Oops! I walked into that one didn’t I?).