The Seven Churches of Revelation: Why They Matter and What We Can Learn
The book of Revelation opens with seven letters to seven churches. Each of the seven letters is a prophetic word from Jesus, through the Spirit, who is inspiring John to write.
Who were the recipients of these letters? How were they read and understood in the first century? And what are we to make of them today?
Where were the seven churches located?
Before we look at these letters as a whole, let’s briefly look at the seven cities where the recipients lived.
1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)
A messenger coming from Patmos—where John wrote—would reach Ephesus first, so Ephesus makes sense as the first letter. Ephesus was also a prominent city in the province: more powerful than Pergamum politically, and more favored than Smyrna for the imperial cult.
The letter to Ephesus warns against false teachers and evil in the…