Paul spent two years in Ephesus “reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus” (Acts 19:9). A few manuscripts add “from the fifth hour to the tenth,” which would have been from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Even if this addition was not part of the original text, it likely served as a commentary for when Paul’s time in the hall took place. Regardless, Paul’s ministry was so effective “that all of the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10).
What was “the hall of Tyrannus”?
The Greek word for “hall” is schole, which sounds similar to our English word scholar. A hall in Paul’s day would have been a public auditorium of sorts that was used for lectures. Tyrannus was the person who either owned the hall or was one of its notable teachers, thus labeling it as “the hall of Tyrannus.”
What was Paul doing?
Paul was “reasoning” (Greek, dialegomai), and the result was “that all of the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” Dialegomai is used to describe Paul’s preaching in the synagogues (e.g., Acts 17:2, 17; 18:4, 19; 19:8) and to the church (Acts 20:7, 9). This word is used to describe how the disciples “argued” with one another (Mark 9:34) and Paul’s claim that he was not “disputing” with people (Acts 24:12). Paul “reasoned” with Felix about “righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (Acts 24:25). From these references, we see that the way the word “reasoning” is used in Acts 19:9 indicates Paul was in the hall of Tyrannus teaching the truth of the gospel, interacting with his listeners, and showing God’s Word to be true when faced with objections.
What can we learn from Paul’s example?
We can learn at least four lessons from Paul’s example of evangelism. First, it can be helpful to evangelize people somewhere in the public square. Paul used a public building to teach the truth. Second, it is helpful to teach truth to people for an extended period of time. Paul taught for two years. Third, it is necessary to interact with unbelievers and answer their objections with truth. The word for “reasoning” likely implied Paul met their objections with truth (cf. Mark 9:34; Acts 24:12). Fourth, evangelism is not done by one person alone. Paul “took the disciples with him” and taught in the hall of Tyrannus (Acts19:9). Though Paul led the discussion, these disciples likely shared their faith with others as well.
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.