Paul at Ephesus
1 It happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the upper [inland] districts and came down to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed [in Jesus as the Christ]?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he asked, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John performed a baptism of repentance, continually telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, [to confidently accept and joyfully believe] in Jesus [the Messiah and Savior].” 5 After hearing this, they were baptized [again, this time] in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
8 And he went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient [to the word of God], discrediting and speaking evil of (a)the Way (Jesus, Christianity) before the congregation, Paul left them, taking the disciples with him, and went on holding (b)daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus [instead of in the synagogue]. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the inhabitants of [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor], Jews as well as Greeks, heard the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ].
Miracles at Ephesus
11 God was doing extraordinary and unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or face-towels or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out [of them]. 13 Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists also attempted to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I implore you and solemnly command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!” 14 Seven sons of one [named] Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit retorted, “I know and recognize and acknowledge Jesus, and I know about Paul, but as for you, who are you?” 16 Then the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued (c)all of them and overpowered them, so that they ran out of that house [in terror, stripped] naked and wounded. 17 This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified and exalted. 18 Many of those who had become believers were coming, confessing and disclosing their [former sinful] practices. 19 And many of those who had practiced magical arts collected their books and [throwing book after book on the pile] began burning them in front of everyone. They calculated their value and found it to be (d)50,000 pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] was growing greatly and prevailing.
21 Now after these events, Paul determined in the Spirit that he would travel through (e)Macedonia and Achaia (most of the Greek mainland), and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome [and preach the good news of salvation].” 22 And after sending two of his assistants, Timothy and (f)Erastus, to Macedonia [ahead of him], he stayed on in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor] for a while.
23 About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way (Jesus, Christianity). 24 Now a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of [the goddess] Artemis (Diana), was bringing no small profit to the craftsmen. 25 These [craftsmen] he called together, along with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you are well aware that we make a good living from this business. 26 You see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but almost all over [the province of] Asia, this Paul has persuaded [people to believe his teaching] and has misled a large number of people, claiming that gods made by [human] hands are not really gods at all. 27 Not only is there danger that this trade of ours will be discredited, but also that the [magnificent] (g)temple of the great goddess (h)Artemis will be discredited, and that she whom all Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned and lose her glorious magnificence.”
28 When they heard this, they were filled with rage, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Then the city was filled with confusion; and people rushed together [as a group] into the amphitheater, dragging along with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s traveling companions. 30 Paul wanted to go into the [pagan] assembly, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the Asiarchs (officials) who were his friends sent word to him and repeatedly warned him not to venture into the amphitheater. 32 Now some shouted one thing and some another, for the gathering was in confusion and most of the people did not know (i)why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd advised Alexander [to speak], since the Jews had pushed him forward; and Alexander motioned with his hand [for attention] and intended to make a defense to the people. 34 But when they realized that he was a Jew, a single outcry went up from the crowd as they shouted for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 35 After the town (j)clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what person is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of that [(k)sacred stone image of her] which fell from the sky? 36 So, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and stay calm and not do anything rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are in session and proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another there. 39 But if you want anything beyond this, it will be settled in the lawful assembly. 40 For we are running the risk of being accused of rioting in regard to today’s events, and since there is no reason for it, we will be unable to give an account and justify this disorderly gathering.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.
a. Acts 19:9: See John 14:6.
b. Acts 19:9: One Greek manuscript says Paul used the lecture hall from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
c. Acts 19:16: Or both.
d. Acts 19:19: Each piece, possibly a drachma, may have been about a day’s wage.
e. Acts 19:21: This was a lengthy, circular route for one headed to Jerusalem.
f. Acts 19:22: This name is also mentioned in Rom 16:23 and 2 Tim 4:20, but it is uncertain if the references are to the same man. In 1929, a mid-first century inscription was found in Corinth identifying Erastus as the one who paid for an area of pavement in the city square, in return for his appointment as an Aedile (a Roman official responsible for public works and festivals, and empowered to maintain public order).
g. Acts 19:27: The temple of Artemis at Ephesus served as the primary center of worship for her followers.
h. Acts 19:27: Lat Diana in Roman mythology.
i. Acts 19:32: Or on whose account.
j. Acts 19:35: A high ranking official in the town, perhaps more like a mayor than a town clerk. He would have served as a representative between Ephesus and the governing Roman authorities.
k. Acts 19:35: Perhaps a meteorite.