What does Revelation 2:2 mean?
ESV: “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
NIV: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
NASB: ‘I know your deeds and your labor and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people, and you have put those who call themselves apostles to the test, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
CSB: I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars.
NLT: 'I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars.
KJV: I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
NKJV: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
Verse Commentary:
Jesus commends the church at Ephesus for its diligent work and patience in suffering. The Ephesian church existed in the midst of a mixture of Greek and Oriental cultures. This included a variety of false religions. The worship of the fertility goddess Diana was rampant in Ephesus, and the temple in which her worshipers adored her was one of the seven wonders of the world. Superstition and magical arts flourished throughout the region. It is not surprising, therefore, that the church at Ephesus experienced persecution.

Nevertheless, the Ephesian Christians held their ground. They did not compromise the truth in order to be acceptable to the general population. Nor did they tolerate evildoers: their love of truth caused them to test those who professed to be apostles, and to conclude that the self-proclaimed apostles were false. Interestingly, false teachers were threatening not only the church at Ephesus but also the church in Smyrna, the church in Pergamum, and the church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:2, 6, 9, 14–15, 20).

While this commitment to truth is certainly commendable, the Ephesians were not applying it in an entirely positive way, as later verses will point out.
Verse Context:
Revelation 2:1–7 is the first letter Jesus dictated to John, intended for the church at Ephesus. This congregation is praised for patient endurance and for rightly rejecting false apostles. Despite such an excellent beginning, however, Ephesus had abandoned its first love. They were drifting into coldness and rote religiosity. Jesus instructs the church to remember its early days, repent, and conduct itself as it had done initially. He promises a reward to the victor.
Chapter Summary:
The contents of Revelation 2 are miniature letters to four churches, dictated by Jesus to John. Ephesus and Smyrna were coastal cities, whereas Pergamum and Thyatira were inland cities. Three more such letters are in Revelation 3. Each of these messages contains a unique description of Jesus, a command, a promise. All but one—the church in Laodicea—receive some commendation. All but two of the seven letters—those to the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia—also contain a critical rebuke. Like churches today, most of the congregations addressed by Jesus had both good characteristics and at least one point which needed correction.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 1, John introduced his order from Jesus Christ: to write out a message to seven churches in Asia (Revelation 1:9–11). Here in this chapter, John writes to the church in Ephesus, the church in Smyrna, the church in Pergamum, and the church in Thyatira. Chapter 3 will continue with messages to the other three churches. The rest of Revelation will explain future events connected to the ''end times.''
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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