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Hall of Tyrannus

 Apostle Paul's most successful strategy
This is the most amazing missionary endeavor reported anywhere in the Bible. The principles still apply today.
Bible creation questions


discussed on this page

Questions about the Hall of Tyrannus:

What is the single most effective strategy used by the Apostle Paul?

What made this strategy so different from all Paul's other missionary endeavors and from the strategy of all other apostles?

What were the results?

If the strategy was so hugely successful, why did Paul use it only once?

What can Christians today learn from the Hall of Tyrannus?



Powerful cross-cultural communication

This study is about method, not doctrine

Most Bible studies on this site are about doctrine (what we believe) but this study is about method (how we say it). Good doctrine needs good method to reach the people who need it.

This is a study of the Bible's most amazing story of a strategic method that literally changed the world.

Paul: Known by different names, but same person

Jesus called him Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:11, Hebrew name), but he is also known as Apostle Paul, Paul the Apostle, St. Paul, and simply Paul (Greek name) and Paulus (Latin name). The names are interchangeable. Paul was not one of Jesus' 'twelve disciples.'

Hall of Tyrannus: Paul's final grand strategy

The Hall of Tyrannus was the final grand strategy used by the Apostle Paul (Saint Paul), the world's greatest missionary, to tell two million people in two years about the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ.

His audience was pagan unbelievers who had never heard about Jesus. His method of presentation was so powerful that observers said he was turning the world upside down.

After more than 30 years of experiences in presenting the gospel to people in other cultures, Paul put it all together together for a brand new strategy – the Hall of Tyurannus – in the city of Ephesus, with amazing results!

Paul never had an opportunity to do it again – it was his grand finale – because soon after, at about age 54, he visited Jerusalem with an offering for poor people, was unjustly arrested, held for two years as a prisoner, and then sent to Rome for trial and death.

The Hall of Tyrannus was Paul's last, biggest, boldest, and most successful strategic venture. It's the epitome of what Jesus told his followers to do (Great Commission, Matthew 28:18).

Even though Paul learned this powerful strategy late in life and was able to implement it only once before his death, he left the outline for us to continue.

Acts 19:8-10
'Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, REASONING PERSUASIVELY about the kingdom of God.
'But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.
'So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had DISCUSSIONS DAILY in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
'This went on for TWO YEARS, so all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord [over 2,000,000 people].'
Inside of church vs. Outside of church
This story is NOT about what Christians should say inside of church to each other ... but what Christians should say outside of church to the secular world.
This story is about bringing the gospel out of the church and expressing it in ways that people around us can understand and desire.
Most Christians talk to each other within a kind of unseen bubble, using church language outsiders don't understand, but afraid to talk in depth to outsiders about spiritual matters for fear of tough questions and rejection.
We could just read the summary verses in the panel above to get the general idea, but that would not be enough. To really understand, we need to walk and grow with Paul as he gains new insights over time on how to reach secular culture, finally putting it all together in the Hall of Tyrannus.

This is the biggest under-told story in the entire Bible

If you ask most Christians – even most Christian leaders – about the Hall of Tyrannus, all you get is a blank stare.

Most Christians have no recollection of ever hearing about the Hall of Tyrannus, yet it's the most successful evangelistic strategy reported anywhere in the entire Bible!

This is a comprehensive study of the Apostle Paul's amazing ministry in Ephesus – what he did and how did did it: situation analysis ... creative thinking ... developing targeted content ... using Socratic teaching method ... finding suitable venue and carriers ... and creating excitement.

The Hall of Tyrannus was not a church or substitute for a church. It was a parachurch training center. It spawned new churches and supplied existing churches with new believers. It was designed for a specific purpose at a particular time and place.

Paul didn't have a Bible

The Hall of Tyrannus was NOT a Bible school. So how could it be an effective training center for aggressive evangelism if not built on Bible study? Because it was built on THE WAY JESUS TRANSFORMS LIVES!

The early Christian movement was called THE WAY. Before the term 'Christian' was used (Acts 11:26), the early Jesus followers were known as people of THE WAY (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22). THE WAY was more about testimony and explanation than about academics. It was personal, powerful and exciting!

The Apostle Paul never had a Bible. He had access to Old Testament scriptures which were kept and read in Jewish synagogues, but it's unlikely that he ever referred to them in the Hall of Tyrannus.

The reason Paul didn't teach from the New Testament is because it had not yet been written. Little did he know that he was writing a large part of it! Today he is believed to be the author of 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament.

This story is a reminder that Christianity does not come FROM THE BIBLE. Christianity came BEFORE the Bible. Christianity is about the birth, life, teaching, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible is not the source but is the written record that keeps Jesus' message from becoming distorted over time.

To be clear, today God speaks to us in three ways:

  • God's WORD (we now have a complete Bible)
  • God's WORLD (science and history give greater understanding)
  • God's HOLY SPIRIT (inner voice, guidance, and strength)

But for Paul, the Bible was not essential for his ministry because he had received first-hand knowledge direct from Jesus (Galatians 1:11-18).

Many years later, when Paul met for the first time with the disciples who had traveled with Jesus for three years, he found that, when comparing notes, there was no difference between what they had been teaching in Jerusalem and what he had been teaching in Antioch, unknown to each other, but both conveying the words of Jesus (Galatians 2:1-9).

At that time, there was no science or history as we know it, so Paul could not put Jesus' message into the rich context we have today; but to compensate, God gave Paul healing powers to authenticate his message.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Paul stayed true to what he learned personally from Jesus and experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. The essential spiritual factors are not covered in this study because the topic here is about method. The spiritual factors are covered in depth in other topics on this site about doctrine.


Asia Minor / AD 53-55

Audience was Asia Minor

This story of the Apostle Paul's big two-year project, the Hall of Tyrannus, and the resulting explosive growth of Christianity, takes place roughly 53-54 AD in the lands along the northeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, all part of the Roman Empire, comprising most of modern-day Turkey.

The colored lines on the above map trace Paul's three missionary journeys and his voyage to Rome as a prisoner.

Paul's documented travels total more than 10,000 miles, mostly on foot. That's like walking from New York to Los Angeles four times! But it's more than that because not all of his excursions are documented, and because we need to add circuitous routes and intra-city travel.

The sheer expenditure of time and physical energy for this much travel, often over mountainous terrain, is almost impossible for us to comprehend today.

The area inside the circle was known as the Roman province of Anatolia. Early translators called it 'Asia' in English. Over time, the term 'Asia' was expanded gradually in everyday usage to include everything east of the original Asia. Eventually, 'Asia Minor' became the English terminology for distinguishing the circled area from the much larger Asian continent.

This area had been settled by Greek colonists centuries before Paul and had remained thoroughly Greek in culture. The Bible phrase, 'so all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord,' included nearly everyone within the circle – more than 2,000,000 people at that time!

Asia Minor – not Europe or the Mideast – is where the church took root and grew rapidly, eventually expanding throughout the world.


PAUL'S EARLY YEARS (to age 33)

Prestigious family and education

Paul's grew up in Tarsus (modern-day Turkey)

Paul was born in approximately 5 AD into a Jewish family of high standing – wealthy Roman citizens – in the city of Tarsus, province of Cilicia, in modern-day Turkey (map blue-dot 24J). 

NOTE: In ancient history, most dates are approximations. Dates and ages stated in this study are approximate within plus-or-minus five years and are consensus dates used by distinguished biblical scholars.

Tarsus was a prosperous and robust port city of approximately 100,000 - 150,000 people, capital of the Roman province of Cilicia, known for its fertile soil, excellent harbor, and gateway to the only major pass through the snow-covered Tarsus mountains (many peaks 9,000 - 12,000 feet). The pass connected Europe to the Silk Road and the Orient.

Tarsus still exists, a city of more than three million people today. It's one of the oldest continually inhabited urban centers in the world, with history dating back more than 6,000 years (the approximate time when the Bible says God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden).

Tarsus flourished under the Hittites (BC1700- 1200), was conquered by Alexander the Great (BC333), and was the meeting place of Mark Antony and Cleopatra (BC30).

By the first century, education already had been transferred largely from families to society, with free teaching and compulsory education. Tarsus was home to one of the world's most renown universities, having more than 200,000 volumes in its library.

About 3% of the population of Cilicia were Jews.

Paul said: 'I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city' (Acts 21:39).

Paul's family was devout and prosperous

According to tradition, Paul's parents moved from Gischala (map P25), a town in Galilee, to Tarsus (map blue-dot J24), where his father, a devout Jew from the tribe of Benjamin, established a prosperous leather factory and weaving mill that manufactured famous Cilicium textiles made of goats hair.

Paul was a Roman Citizen since birth. Citizenship was inherited from his father, who probably had to buy this social and legal status at a high price.

At that time, approximately 3% of all residents of Asia Minor – urban and rural – were Roman citizens, 70% were noncitizen residents, and 27% were slaves.

Most slaves in the Roman Empire were prisoners of war, debtors, sailors captured by pirates, or slaves bought outside of the Empire. Sometimes desperate people in lower economic classes sold their children into slavery.

Slaves and their families were the property of their owners, who could punish and reward them at will, rent them out, or sell them. Slaves worked in every segment of society, including private households, mines, factories, city governments, and construction projects such as buildings, roads, and aqueducts.

Unlike modern times, slavery in the Roman Empire was not based on race, and slaves were not visibly distinguishable from plebeians (common people in the general population).

Even though Paul grew up in a family of wealth and privilege, at a place and time when servitude from slaves was a normal part of society, Paul included everyone equally in his ministry and churches, even slaves. Paul said: 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:28). This commitment to equality became a unique social distinction for the Hall of Tyrannus.

Paul had friendly relations with Roman officials, and often they gave him protection from his enemies, like the silversmiths in Ephesus who started a riot because the Hall of Tyrannus had been so successful (Acts 19:31). It was always a great help for Paul to announce that he was a Roman Citizen from Tarsus.

Paul studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel

As a teen, Paul's family sent him to Jerusalem to study under Gamaliel, a prestigious religious teacher (rabbi) with hundreds of students, having status similar to a Harvard education today.

Repetition was an important part of the rabbinic method of teaching. The teacher was obliged to repeat important subject matter again and again in various situations with his pupils. This repetition was not just a teacher delivering material, but the proceeding was disputational. The teacher brought before his students questions for their decision and let them answer them, intervening at times to stimulate deeper thought or to answer the questions himself if correction was needed, and the students were encouraged to propose questions to the teacher.

Paul no doubt incorporated much of this rabbinic method, along with the similar Greek Socratic method, into his teaching in the Hall of Tyrannus.

Saul was fluently bi-lingual. He wrote and spoke Koine (common everyday) Greek, his native tongue. Raised as a Jew whose parents came from Galilee, he also wrote and spoke Aramaic, the Semitic language which was the everyday tongue in Israel (the language Jesus spoke). Under the teaching of Gamaliel, he was proficient in Hebrew, the ancient language of the Old Testament, known primarily by clerics and scholars for study of scripture. Also, it's probable that he knew some Latin, which was becoming common in the western part of the Roman Empire.

Paul’s educational and professional credentials allowed him to teach in synagogues wherever he traveled (see Acts 17:2), and his grasp of Old Testament history and law aided his presentation of Jesus Christ as the One who had fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17).

Paul said to a crowd in Jerusalem: 'I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today' (Acts 22:3).

Paul didn't have an impressive appearance or manner

We know very little about Paul's physical appearance. Based on comments about him from second century writers, we get this impression: middling size, balding, bow-legged, long nose, and large eyes with bushy eyebrows that nearly meet.

Paul himself expressed what his critics were saying about him: 'His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing' (2 Corinthians 10:10).

Paul suffered from a serious physical condition which he called 'a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.' (2 Corinthians 12:7). We don't know any details about this affliction, but we find enough clues to speculate that it may have been a chronic eye problem, migraines, bouts of epilepsy, or a speech impediment. Apparently, it was noticeable by others but did not impair his physical stamina or his ability to communicate, motivate and lead.

Paul was known for strong and aggressive character, tenacity, and keen intellect. He was a visionary able to spot new opportunities and adapt to new and changing circumstances. He was always prepared to debate anyone.

Apparently Paul never married

In his writings, Paul never mentioned a wife or children. He made a few comments about marriage which have led some people to believe that he never married, although that was rare for a devout Jewish man at that time. Others believe his comments suggest that he was widowed or divorced (perhaps his wife left because of extreme family and social pressure caused by his conversion to Christianity).

No one knows for sure if Paul ever married, but we do know that he was not married at the time of his missionary journeys. 'Now to the unmarried and widowed I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am' (1 Corinthians 7:8).

Paul was a Pharisee

There were three factions within Judaism at the time Paul was studying in Jerusalem:

  • Pharisees. They believed that God reveals instructions for living through both Written Law (Torah, primarily the first books of the Old Testament) and Oral Law (oral instructions given by God to Moses). They believed these laws were open to interpretation, and thus they were the subject of considerable discussion. (The oral tradition was codified three centuries later into what is know as the Talmud.) Pharisees believed in a coming messiah who would establish an era of peace. Pharisees believed that God will punish the wicked and will reward the righteous in an after-life.
  • Sadducees. They rejected the concept of Oral Law and insisted on a literal interpretation of the Written Law. They didn't believe in an afterlife because it's not mentioned in the Torah. Sadducees where elitists who wanted to maintain the priestly caste. Their focus was on rituals associated with the Temple, but they also incorporated some Greek intellectual and economic values.
  • Essenes. They believed that Pharisees and Sadducees had corrupted Jerusalem and the Temple, and in disgust, they had moved out of the city and lived a monastic life in the desert.

The Pharisees and Sadducees served in the Sanhedrin, similar to our Supreme Court, comprised of 71 members whose responsibility was to interpret civil and religious law. There was considerable conflict between Pharisees and Sadducees.

Pharisees were the largest and most influential sect. Paul was a Pharisee: 'I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee' (Acts 23:6).

Paul persecuted Christians

It is unlikely that Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin (members must be married), but he was well-connected with it.

In the year or two after Jesus' ascension, a growing group of Jesus followers known as THE WAY (term used before 'Christian') became very troublesome to devout Jews in Jerusalem.

Paul (then using his Hebrew name 'Saul') was passionate to put an end to this group and their teachings about a resurrected Savior.

Paul was given official authority from the Sanhedrin to persecute, imprison and even condone death for these believers.

'And Saul approved of their killing him [stoning Stephen, a leader of the church]. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison' (Acts 8:1-3).

In his own words, Paul was one of the fiercest adversaries of this new Jesus movement: 'I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished' (Acts 22:4-5).


Called by God to bring the gospel to other cultures

Paul experienced a dramatic conversion

On his way to Damacus (135 miles north of Jerusalem, map O26) to round up Jesus followers known as 'The Way') who had fled his persecution in Jerusalem and to bring them back for punishment and imprisonment, Paul had an instant life-changing encounter with Jesus.

'As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’' (Acts 9:3-4).

After Saul asked who was speaking to him, the voice replied: 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and into the city, and you will be told what you must do.' (Acts 9:5-6).

His traveling companions didn't see the light or hear the voice. This experience was personal to Paul, but he was blinded so they had to lead him into and around Damacus until his sight was restored by a believer named Ananias, who God had told in a vision: 'This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel' (Acts 9:15).

The full story of Saul's conversion is told in Acts 9:1-18 and retold by Paul in Acts 22:6-21 and Acts 26:12-18.

We don't know what Paul did in Arabia for three years (age ___)


We don't know what Paul did in Tarsus for seven years (age ___)

Paul had a slow start as God's premier evangelist

But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

Any failures. Cross-cultural.

Different than what was happening in Jerusalem.

Paul was a leatherworker

Paul was known as a tanner and tentmaker, a skill he no doubt learned in the family business.

Not like we think of camping today. Probably more like a home decorator/remodeler. Most houses at that time were made of stone and brick and, as an attachment, usually had an outdoor leather awning (stitched pieces of goat hide) for shade from the sun, creating something equivalent to our modern family room. When made by a skilled artisan, leather awnings were a thing of beauty and pride, very expensive, sought by wealthy people.

Paul used the skill learned in the family business to support himself in ministry:

When Paul was in Corinth, he met Aquilla and Priscilla. 'He went to see them, and because he [Aquilla] was a tentmaker as he was, he stayed and worked with them. Every sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks' (Acts 18:2-4).

In his farewell address to the Ephesian elders, Paul said: 'You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions' (Acts 20:34).

Paul's call

Big task ...


Begins aggressive evangelism

Started by Barnabas


Paul was known as 'Saul' until about age 43

For most of his life he was known as Saul of Tarsus, or simply Saul, his Hebrew (Jewish) name. Then, after his first missionary journey, for better identification with his ministry to Gentiles (non-Jews), he became known as the Apostle Paul, or simply Paul, his Greek name.

To avoid confusion, he is called 'Paul' throughout this study, even with reference to time before his name change when Jesus and Luke (writer for Acts) call him 'Saul.' Actually, it wasn't a name change, just an image change, because he had both his Jewish name and Greek name the whole time.

This image change is an example of Paul's philosophy of ministry to identify with his audience and remove barriers: 'To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.' (I Corinthians 9:20-22).

The definition of an apostle (from the Greek apostolos) is "one who is sent" or "one commissioned."

Three Journeys

For most of his life he was known as Saul of Tarsus, or simply Saul, his Hebrew (Jewish) name. Then, after his first missionary journey, for better identification with his ministry to Gentiles (non-Jews), he became known as the Apostle Paul, or simply Paul, his Greek name.

Disappointments and failures



Roads and ships were big technology in Paul's day


In many ways, the story of Hall of Tyrannus is a story about thow he Apostle Paul used the latest technology to accelerate ministry. Before printing press and electronic communication, the message had to be carried by people. Most could not read or write.

Mass movement of people was essential for Paul's ministry

In Paul's day, the two big technologies that were re-shaping the world were Roman roads and merchant sailing ships. Both required extensive knowledge of science and engineering. They were marvels to people in the first century.

These two technologies were aided by Pax Romana ('Roman peace'), with soldiers patrolling the roads for protection from robbers and war ships patrolling the sea for protection from pirates. There was fear of punishment for crimes. There were no wars or battles. One could travel the Empire from Iraq to England without crossing any international borders. Special protection and legal rights were given to Roman citizens (approximately __ of the population).

Paul was able to travel at the best and safest period and place in all of history to that time.

To fully understand this amazing story from Acts 19, it helps to know about the modes of travel in Asia Minor in the first century to see how Paul moved from city to city and how the people he trained in the Hall of Tyrannus (red dot) carried the gospel message to all parts of Asia Minor (dashed circle).

Roman roads opened a world of travel

Roman roads were engineering marvels of the day: Extensive surveying to make the road straight as an arrow, curving around massive geological obstacles only if absolutely necessary ... drain marshes ... cut through forests ... divert creeks ... cut back mountain sides ... quarry and haul stones ... build sturdy stone foundations to withstand weathering and heavy loads ... level road bed with slight camber for drainage ... fill gaps with gravel ... cross rivers with bridges ... traverse valleys with viaducts ... build support walls and terracing ... create banks of ram-packed sand with foot paths on the sides to allow pedestrians to step aside for soldiers and horse drawn carriages, ox carts and other wheeled traffic ... signposts showing directions and distances to towns ahead.

Roman road

There were more than 53,000 miles of roads in the Empire. Standard width of a typical Roman road was about 10-13 feet, but wider in contested areas around and near big cities.

Travel on the Roman roads was on foot except for government officials, commercial haulers, and the very rich who had their own chariots and carriages, or chartered seats on horse-drawn or ox-drawn transport coaches (like covered wagons with benches).

Major Roman roads had toll stations, like our freeways.

With a good road, good weather, and good health, a typical traveler could walk 15-20 miles per day.

But there were many dangers and hardships when traveling the roads. Paul said: 'I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country ... gone without sleep ... hunger and thirst ... cold ...' (2 Corinthians 11: 26-27).

In remote areas with long distances between towns, the government constructed mansions ('staying places,' like our highway rest stops) at intervals about 15 miles apart, where people on official business with a passport could use toilets, rest, sleep, and get drinking water and food. Typically, soldiers were garrisoned at these mansions.

A private system of inns grew up around the mansions, offering the same kind of services, but they were usually expensive, filthy, and frequented by prostitutes and thieves.

Travelers would not want to leave the road to sleep camping-style because of the burden of carrying extra luggage and becoming easy targets for bandits. To arrive at one's destination with no money was a dire situation. Soldiers patrolled the roads as best they could, but there was no protection at all in off-road rural areas.

Most travelers made arrangements in advance to stay with people they knew in towns along their route, or they rented bed-and-breakfast style in private homes based upon trust in a third party, as with a letter of introduction from a mutual friend.

Many travelers had no choice but to stay overnight in inns in the towns, but the inns were usually rowdy and dirty, and the innkeepers themselves would often cheat and steal from guests.

This is the flawed but effective network by which people moved the gospel on land from the Hall of Tyrannus to towns and cities throughout Asia Minor. And the way Paul got to Ephesus in the first place.

Sailing ships made fast long hauls

In the first century, the Roman Empire completely encircled the Mediterranean Sea. It's waters facilitated communication and trade between the provinces and beyond.

There were hundreds of merchant ships on the Mediterranean, mostly on regular routes, but time of departure and arrival were only tentative, depending upon weather. Grain, olive oil, and wine were common cargo, even spices and silk from the Orient.

There were no passenger ships in Paul's day, but large numbers of merchant ships moving on regular routes throughout the Mediterranean. Ship captains sold (negotiated) a ride on deck (no cabins) to travelers as available, depending upon port, space, demand and weather. Passengers brought their own food, mattresses, blankets, and sometimes little tents. Some merchant ships had a few cabins at the stern, but they were affordable only to the very wealthy.

We know about these sailing ships (like model pictured here) through ancient drawings and underwater examination of shipwrecks.

A small merchant ship would be about 60 feet in length and carry up to 70 tons of cargo. A large ship would be about 150 feet and carry up to 600 tons.

Ships relied upon a huge mainsail, square in shape, which made it difficult to tack in a zig-zag pattern against the wind, often leaving ships largely at the mercy of the wind. As ship size increased, a second and even a third sail was sometimes added. Ships were steered by two large oars at the back.

Merchant ships were protected by huge Roman warships which could be propelled by one or two decks of rowers. Warships did not depend entirely on wind conditions and had excellent manueverability.

Average speed of a merchant ship was 4-5 miles per hour. Sailing was completely suspended during the four winter months because of rough seas.Storms and shipwreck were always big threats in first century sea travel. There were no lifeboats and no way to call for help.

This is the dangerous but efficient water network by which people moved the gospel by sea from the Hall of Tyrannus to coastal towns and cities throughout Asia Minor.

Most people in Galilee couldn't even imagine it

The people in Galilee could not have understood all that was happening in Asia Minor. Jesus gave his message on hillsides in Galilee to fishermen, shepherds, and peasants who lived in a rural Jewish culture. Those people would not know how to bring that message to the well-educated, affluent people in the large coastal cities of Asia Minor, who lived in a Greek culture, worshiping many pagan gods.

It was like two different worlds.

Paul was the man God chose to spearhead this new initiative to bring the gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews) in the Roman Empire ... and consequently to the whole world.

This study, and the companion Bible study here on Apostle Paul, shows Paul's constant struggles over three decades as he learns how to carry out this mission, eventually becoming the world's greatest missionary. His work is still the model for all missionary work.

Paul had to move out of his narrow ecclesiastical world into the big, tough, modern world.

To succeed, he would have to take advantage of the technology of his day: Roman roads and sailing ships to carry the gospel to new places and cultures.

People in Galilee could find nothing good about the Romans, but Paul accepted the reality and made the best of it. He saw opportunity in the problem.

Jesus never traveled more than a hundred miles from where he was born, and his ministry was mostly in rural areas.

Paul, by contrast, traveled thousands of miles from where he was born, and his ministry was mostly in big cities.

It was in the urban centers where Christianity became clearly distinguished from Judaism, took root, and grew and spread as something entirely new.

Paul found opportunities to match the calling



Roman roads and ships were transformative in his day


The big modern city of his day

Ephesus / big city knows nothing about Jesus

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Remains of library in Ephesus

Show pic and explain library.

But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

It was pre-Christian, similar to our situation, trying to find a method suited to post-Christian America. This is not to say that Christianity is not still a powerful force in American life, but it is declining and is no longer the standard.

No Christian background, like many people in US today.

Port city known for its vice.

Temple of Artemis / one of seven wonders of the world

One of the wonders of the world.

But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

This is more about it.

Invented their own religion. Today designer religion, without temple. Own version of God.

Ephesus theater




Jewish Synagog / stuck in ritual and tradition


But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

Very closed society.

Ritual and traditon.

Not relevant in Greek culture. Not place to start.

Divine authority / no Bible, but physical healing

Authentication: Physical healings (before Bible)

Whenever a new person would come into a city and say that he is God (as with Jesus), or that he has a message from God (as with Paul), people believed that person is deranged and would not give serious attention to the message.

Paul's authentication: Physical healings (before Bible

To overcome that belief, God gave the power of physical healings to Jesus and some of his apostles to get attention and prove divine source of the message. The healings were public, widely confirmed, and reported by even by unbelievers. They were the talk of the city, and this happened with Paul in Ephesus.


He had this advantage over us in first gaining a reputation as a man of God as he started the Hall of Tyrannus. Of course, many – perhaps most – though he was a sorcerer.

Healing abused. Simon the Sorcerer.

Was writing the gospel.

Influence spreads from urban to rural

Takes root small, grows from city. Big cities of Paul's day.


Defining characteristics


Acts 19:8-9 is a concise statement of Paul's method: 'REASONING PERSUASIVELY about the kingdom of God' with 'DISCUSSIONS DAILY' so people got answers for questions and motivation for action.

His presentation of the gospel to the huge secular audience in Asia Minor was well-conceived, intelligent, compelling, and very successful ... and a pattern for us today.

Organizing principles

No doubt Paul was familiar with some of the military concepts of his day: mission, strategies, and tactics.

The Roman Empire was built upon the power and efficiency of its military, and the organizing principles used by its Army to achieve amazing results were applied also to its government administration and road building, and soon large merchants and traders adopted the principles to expand their businesses.

These same general organizing principles are still used around the world today in government, education and business, and in many churches and Christian organizations.

What the terms mean:

  • MISSION: The overriding goal, purpose or objective.
  • STRATEGY: The defined path for accomplishing the mission. This is the thinking done before the battle, and it is the framework for all planning.
  • TACTICS: The specific actions needed to carry out the strategy, with particular attention on efficient use of limited time and resources.  This is what is done during the battle.

A mission can have multiple strategies, and a strategy can have multiple tactics.

Much of the success of any endeavor depends upon the detail and clarity with which these components are defined and understood by the group responsibe for carrying out the mission.

After receiving the mission directly from Jesus, it appears from the Book of Acts that Paul tried many different strategies and tactics, and each one was a valuable learning experience. Now he puts all the best pieces together for a new grand strategy, which we now know as the Hall of Tyrannus strategy.

Paul's new strategy

Paul's mission had not changed. Given to him by Jesus. But Paul knew he had to change his strategy.

In summary:

MISSION: Bring the gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews)

STRATEGY: Hall of Tyrannus


1 KNOW the audience

2 CREATE a desirable setting

3 SIMPLIFY the message

4 TEACH by Socratic method


The tactics are summarized below but are covered in detail in the Bible study here about the modern Hall of Tyrannus and related to opportunities today.

Part 1. Target an audience


For the first __ years of his life, Apostle Paul was thorough ingrained with Jewish culture ... born and raised in a Jewish home ... studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel ... temple life with leaders and devote enough to kill Christians. No relations with non-Jews (called Gentiles). Then, for the next __ years, part of the church and part of synagog, not too different. Then at age ___, called to be evangelist to Gentiles. Thrust out into the world of pagan polytheist belief.

What had worked before not working now. In fact, opposition.

In Corinth, 'Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles'' (Acts 18:5-6).

But he tried synagog one more time when he left Corinth and came to Ephesus, probably in an earlier visit to the City earlier that year, 'They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, 'I will come back if it is God’s will.' Then he set sail from Ephesus.' (Acts 18:19-21).

Now he was back in Ephesus and to work through the synagog again, but with results in above inn key verses in yellow box.

Now Paul knew that he had to do something different, relative to his audience (secular people). And that's how we got the Hall of Tyrannus.

Not going anywhere. Clearly define and target. Not same for everyone.

Part 2. Find an appealing venue

Paul had learned a lot about culture. People need to be comfortable in places of spiritual learning.

Not religious.

Neutral place of learning. Image. Smart. Impressive. Quality. Time important.

Some manuscripts add 'from the fifth hour to the tenth,' which would have been 11:00 Am to 4:00 PM.

Greek for 'hall' is schole.

Reasoning (Greek dialegomai) – Acts 17:2,17; 18:4, 19; 19:8, Mark 9:34; Acts 24:12 not disputing. Interacting with listeners, answering objections.

Helpful to evangelize in the public square.

Part 3. Simplify the message

Unlikely taught the Torah. One God. Life change. No rituals and tradition to defend. Compare with other belief systems.

Paul had been used to a very complex system of ritual and traditions. Internal language. Almost impossible for outsiders to understand.

In working through the synagog, he had to carry all that baggage with him and try to explain.


Part 4. Use the best teaching method

Discussio3n. Socratic. Well educated. Respect.

Extended period of time necessary to interact with unbelievers.

Not doing it alone, 'took the disciples with him.' Paul led, but others shared too.

Part 5. Offer it free

Paul attitude. Avoid suspicions. Modern churches have reputation for motivation of trying to get money.

Paul did not solicit payment or reimbursement for his ministry. The book of Acts tells us in many places that he was a tentmaker (leather worker) who covered his own costs. Adverse to solicitations.

Can surmise from farewell words of Paul to the Elders of the church in Ephesus:

'I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'' (Acts 20:34-35).

Travel very time consuming, so probably not enough time to earn enough money for expensive ship travel. Other no doubt helped. As Priscila and Aquila, and room and board. If help, all quietly without solicitation.

Avoid suspicions. Modern churches have reputation for motivation of trying to get money.

Part 6. Created excitement

Multiplication. Excitement. Motivation. Changed lives.

Promoted. Went door to door.

Trading routes. People of influence.

Nothing boring with Paul.


These principles work in personal ministry, too
Apostle Paul put all of these principles together as a package for his Hall of Tyrannus group initiative, but each principle has its own merit and can be used alone or in a cluster by any Christian desiring to be effective in explaining the gospel to doubters and unbelievers in secular culture.



The linch pin

The Kingdom of God

Quiet because subversive

Nothing like it before

Jews synagogs diaspora. Roman soldiers. All inclusive.


Exciting. Talk about possibilities.

Appeal to gentiles

Political. But risky as grows.


Two million people heard the gospel

Amazing results

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Now here is something ...

But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

EPILOGUE (age 53 - 59?)

His life cut short after his biggest success

Trouble with silversmiths

Trouble when successful. Interfer with others. Pushback. Burned books.

Ephesus became largest church in world


Paul back to Jerusalem


Paul as prisoner

Hardly any Christians in Asia Minor today

Coastal communities flourished and Ephesus especially, enjoy the great prosperity until the rise of Christianity when "earthly" advances in the region where the collected in anticipation of the second coming of Christ. Also ruined port.

One time only

Because Paul back to Jerusalem, then Rome as prisoner.

We can only imagine what would have happened if Paul could continue and refine.

Paul became the world's greatest missionary

Of all time.

 The purpose of this site is to help Christians engage in intelligent and persuasive conversations with doubters and unbelievers
Helping Christians engage in intelligent and persuasive conversations with doubters and unbelievers