Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus was written while Paul was a prisoner at Rome around 62 AD. He had spent two years in Ephesus teaching at first in the synagogue and later in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9). In the first century, the skyline at Ephesus was dominated by the huge temple, erected for the worship of the pagan goddess Diana. The Temple of Diana (according to the Roman historian Pliny) was 130 m long and 68 m wide. To support the roof it had 120 columns each 18 m high and was considered one of the wonders of the ancient world.
During Paul’s ministry, many people heard the gospel and became Christians. Paul left Ephesus around 57AD after uproar organised by the local silversmiths almost resulted in violence against him. The silversmiths were angry because their lucrative trade of making silver idols of the goddess Diana, was suffering as many people turned to the Lord and abandoned the worship of the idol. In the letter to the Ephesians Paul reminds the Christians at Ephesus that they had been:
‘… built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord’. Ephesians 2:21
Today the site of the temple of Diana is only a marshy field. The religion of Diana is dead. A single column has been erected to remind visitors that there once stood in this place one the wonders of the ancient world. In contrast the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is larger than it has ever been and is estimated to number around 1 billion people. The letter that Paul wrote to the Ephesians is read and studied by Christians and Churches all over the world