The apostle Paul was a strategic thinker. He understood the concept of a “decisive point,” which is a point in the enemy’s line which is simultaneously stratetgic and feasible. No sense attacking places that cannot be taken. No sense taking places which make absolutely no difference to the battle whether or not you take them.
One of the targets Paul selected was the city of Ephesus, about which a great deal has been written. But I want to say just a few things about his rental choices once he got there.
“But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” (Acts 19:9, ESV).
Paul taught first within the existing network — the synagogue. This was an established place for preaching and teaching the Word of God. He taught there until the opposition hardened, at which point he went down the road and rented a lecture hall. The hall was named after, or was owned by, a man named Tyrannus, who judging from the name was apparently a pretty rough customer.
The word rendered by the KJV as school, and by the ESV as hall, is schole. We get the word school from it, and it refers to a lecture hall — a place designed for the advancement of learning. Paul took a schoolroom, taught there daily, and in the course of two years it says that everyone in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:10). It was a very effective strategy.
We must not despise brick and mortar schools. They are amazingly influential, and will continue to be. But we also have to take note of the rise of the cyber-schole, the hall of Tyrannus online. To the extent this is done well, we will see a strengthening of local churches, local schools, local ministries.