What does Revelation 2:1-6 really mean?

Revelation 2:1-6 is about the church in Ephesus receiving praise for their perseverance and doctrinal purity but being warned to return to their first love and repent of their lack of love and passion for Christ.

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.’”
2 “‘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.”
3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.


Setting the Scene for Revelation 2:1-6

The scene in Revelation 2:1-6 takes place in the ancient city of Ephesus, a bustling port city in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). The apostle John, exiled on the island of Patmos, receives a vision from Jesus Christ instructing him to write letters to the seven churches in Asia. In this particular passage, John addresses the church in Ephesus, a prominent and influential congregation in the region.

The church in Ephesus is gathered together in their meeting place, a grand and ornate building adorned with intricate mosaics and marble columns. The congregation is made up of a diverse group of believers, including both Jews and Gentiles, who have come together to worship and study the teachings of Jesus. The air is filled with the scent of burning incense, and the flickering light of oil lamps casts a warm glow over the assembly.

As John dictates the message from Jesus to the church in Ephesus, the congregation listens intently, their faces reflecting a mix of reverence and concern. Jesus commends them for their hard work, perseverance, and discernment in rooting out false teachings. However, he also admonishes them for losing their first love and calls them to repentance and a return to their initial devotion to Him. The atmosphere in the room is charged with a sense of urgency and conviction as the believers grapple with the words of rebuke and exhortation from their Lord.

What is Revelation 2:1-6 about?

This verse reminds us of the importance of maintaining our deep connection with our faith and love for God. The church in Ephesus had done great work and served passionately, but they were reminded to not lose sight of their initial love and devotion to God. It serves as a gentle warning to all of us about the importance of not getting too caught up in routine or works, but to always remember the core of our faith – our love for God. It poses a question to us: Are we still as passionate and devoted to our faith as we were in the beginning? Busyness, obligations, and even our good works in the name of faith can easily distract us in our own lives. The verse from Jesus to the church in Ephesus is a personal reminder for us to check our hearts and ensure that our love for God remains fervent and central in all that we do. It challenges us to reflect on our current state of spiritual affairs and to ponder whether we have strayed from our first love. Just like the church in Ephesus, we are encouraged to return to that initial spark of love and passion for God, and let it fuel all of our actions and works in service of Him.

Understanding what Revelation 2:1-6 really means

The Book of Revelation, penned by the Apostle John, contains messages directed to seven churches in Asia Minor, with this passage specifically addressing the church in Ephesus. The purpose behind these messages is to offer encouragement, correction, and guidance to the believers in Ephesus. As we delve into the breakdown of Revelation 2:1-6, we encounter a profound message that resonates with believers both in the ancient church and in contemporary times.

Addressing the “angel of the church in Ephesus,” the term “angel” likely symbolizes the spiritual leader or the collective spirit of the church. Ephesus, a prominent city known for its commerce, culture, and the Temple of Artemis, sets the backdrop for the commendations and rebukes that follow. Jesus acknowledges the hard work, perseverance, and discernment of the Ephesian believers, highlighting their dedication to testing false apostles and upholding doctrinal purity.

However, amidst their commendable deeds, a poignant rebuke surfaces – the Ephesians had forsaken their initial love for Christ. This serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us that even in our zealous pursuit of good works, we must guard against losing our fervor and passion for the Lord. The call to “repent and do the things you did at first” echoes through the passage, urging believers to introspect, repent, and reignite the flame of their first love for Christ.

The consequences of failing to heed this call to repentance are starkly outlined – the removal of their lampstand, symbolizing the loss of their witness and influence. This warning underscores the importance of continual renewal and fidelity in our walk with Christ. Additionally, the commendation for hating the practices of the Nicolaitans emphasizes the need to stand against heretical teachings and immoral practices that threaten the purity of the faith.

In applying these verses to our lives today, we are prompted to reflect on the significance of maintaining our passion and love for Christ amidst the busyness of life. Just as the Ephesians were called to discern false teachings and uphold doctrinal purity, we are reminded of the importance of vigilance in an age of information overload. The timeless call to repentance and restoration resonates with believers of all ages, urging us to regularly examine our hearts and return to our first love for Christ.

As we meditate on the profound truths encapsulated in Revelation 2:1-6, we are challenged to strike a balance between good works and a fervent love for Christ, to uphold doctrinal purity, and to embrace the continual need for repentance and renewal in our spiritual journey. Let us heed the call to rekindle our love for the Lord, to stand firm against falsehood, and to walk in the light of His truth and grace.

Are we still passionately devoted to God?

The passage in Revelation 2:1-6 speaks about the church in Ephesus and how they were commended for their hard work and perseverance, as well as their stance against evil. However, they were also chastised for leaving their first love – their initial passion and devotion to God. This serves as a reminder to us to evaluate our own faith journey and ensure that we are still fervently devoted to God.

It is crucial for us to constantly assess our relationship with God and evaluate whether our love and devotion towards Him have remained as strong and passionate as when we first encountered His grace. We should frequently reflect on our spiritual journey and take steps to rekindle our fervor for God, engaging in practices that help to nurture and strengthen our connection with Him, just as the church in Ephesus was reminded to remember their first love. It is easy to become complacent or lose sight of our initial passion for God as we navigate through the challenges and distractions of life. However, this passage urges us to prioritize our relationship with Him above all else, continuously seeking to deepen our love and devotion to God so that we may remain steadfast in our faith journey.


Let’s go back to the root of our faith and reignite our love for God as we once did. Let’s cast away the things that divert our attention and focus on our connection with Him. We’re not simply going through the motions; we’re striving to love God with every fiber of our beings. Will you rise to the challenge and reaffirm your devotion to God above everything else today?