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Monday: Ephesus – Part 2 — 12 Comments

  1. I thought that the Apostle Paul had already decided to stop his evangelizing to the Jews and was now focusing on the Gentiles. Why then does he go back to preaching in the Synagogue of the Jews?

    • Remember that the only place with ready access to the scriptures was usually the local synagogue. Paul did not have a Bible in his luggage. He probably had a good memory, but access to the written word was always useful.

      • Very interesting, Maurice, but what do you base your information on, that the Apostle Paul "did not have a bible in his luggage?" My understanding is that Paul had scribes that would write his expositions of scripture for him, so then why would he not carry THE SCRIPTURES with him at all times?

        • The Bible in New Testament times comprised a set of scrolls that occupied quite a bit of space. Furthermore, they were expensive to produce. There is a lot of evidence about the copying process and how it was done. You could not go down to the book store and buy one. A synagogue usually had the Torah if that was all they could afford. Scriptures were regarded as sacred objects, owned by the community of the synagogue. The purchase and installation of a scriptural scroll was a very special event, as was the disposal of a worn or damaged one. It was not something that you carried around casually. The Ethiopian reading the scriptures in the chariot is a special case but one only has to visit the Ethiopian Coptic Church to understand the sacredness they apply to the scriptures.

          • There is a fair bit of speculation about what is meant here. The fact that Paul does not specifically say scripture is significant. The one thing we can be sure of is that it was not a full OT. That would have involved many scrolls. The general consensus about the parchments is that they were writing materials. That is consistent with Paul’s ministry at the time. He was clearly into letter writing.

            I need to reiterate that for the general populace, the Synagogue was the only source of Scripture. Much of the learning of the time consisted of learning the scriptures off by heart, and Paul as an educated Jew would have been through that learning process. We can conclude that he probably knew a fair bit of it off by heart.

    • Had he decided to stop preaching to them? I agree that he shifted his focus but I don't believe it meant no longer preaching to the Jews

    • I believe the statement in Acts 13:46 was directed to the Jews in Antioch Pisidia who rejected them and shook off the dust of their feet against them Acts 13:51 as Jesus instructed. Luke 10:10-11.

  2. Thank you, Maurice, and thank you for mentioning the Ethopian Eunoch too. So therefore to me, if the Ethopian could carry THE SCRIPTURES and he was just a servant to some Royalty figure that was celebrating an Israelite Feast how much more so the Apostle Paul who was now an Apostle of Jesus and a very important one to the Gentile Christian Community.

    • I think that the Ethiopian was in charge of a scroll purchased by his rich masters, rather than a personal copy. There is an interesting connection between Ethiopia and Israel that gives background here. But you need a history lesson to appreciate that.


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