The Riotous Effect of the Gospel


Paul’s message of the Christian “Way” not only pierced hearts and began to change the religious culture in Asia, but the society of silversmiths in Ephesus felt it had penetrated their pocketbooks as well. More of God and Jesus Christ meant less of the little gods they created, worshipped, and sold for wealth. In particular was the temple of Artemis of the Ephesians, the Greek goddess of fertility. Protection of her honor also meant a protection of their profits, so the presence of Paul incited a protest to oppose the viral effect of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • How is Christianity opposed in today’s society when it is seen as a threat to other religions or ideologies?


28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.

32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. 33 The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Why were the disciples and his friends begging Paul not to preach to the assembly in the theater?
  2. Who was in the crowd? Why was Alexander chosen to be the spokesperson? How did this backfire?
  3. What is the definition of a “mob mentality”? How could you attribute this to the crowd in Ephesus?
  4. What has been, or should be, the response of Christians in defense of the mob mentality against the gospel?


Until Christ returns, there will always be opposition to Christianity. People’s hearts are hardened to the truth of God’s Word. It goes against everything they’ve grown to believe, and it takes away the quality or quantity of their worldly value. But even when the voice of opposition is louder, more violent or has more influence, we must speak truth in boldness and confidence knowing that God always moves the gospel forward.

  • Praise God that the message of the gospel is more powerful than the mentality of the mob.
  • Ask God to protect you as you stand firm on his Word against worldly values and influence.