1 Then, while Apollos was [still] at Corinth, Paul traveled through the [western] districts and came to Ephesus where he found some disciples. 2 He asked them, "Did [any of] you receive the [indwelling] Holy Spirit when you became believers [in Jesus]?" They answered him, "No, we have never [even] heard that there was a Holy Spirit."
3 Paul [again] asked, "Into what were you immersed then?" They answered him, "Into John's immersion."
4 Paul [then] said, "John immersed people who [demonstrated their] repentance, telling them they must believe in Jesus, the One who would come after him."
5 When they heard this they were immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Then Paul placed his hands on them and [the supernatural power of] the Holy Spirit came on them and they [began to] speak in [other] languages and prophesy [i.e., speak God's message]. 7 The total number [of those immersed] was twelve men.
8 Paul went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, discussing and convincing people about matters regarding the kingdom of God. 9 But some became stubborn and refused to obey [the message], saying false things about "the Way" [Note: This was a term used to designate the early church] in front of the large crowds. So, Paul left [the synagogue] and took the disciples and began holding discussions every day at Tyrannus' school [house]. 10 This continued for two years so that all the Jews and Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] who lived in [the province of] Asia heard the message of the Lord.
11 And God performed special miracles through the hands of Paul, 12 such as sick people, who were given hand towels or [leather] aprons that had touched Paul's body, being healed from diseases and delivered from evil spirits.
13 But certain traveling Jews, who practiced exorcism, decided that they too would attempt to speak the name of the Lord over people dominated of evil spirits while saying, "I command you [evil spirits to come out] by [the authority of] Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14 [Now] the seven sons of a Jewish leading priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 [On one occasion] the evil spirit replied, "I know Jesus and I know Paul, but who are you?" 16 The man with the evil spirit then jumped on all of them, took control, then overpowered them so that they ran out of the house with their clothes torn off and badly beaten. 17 When this incident became known to all of the Jews and Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] who lived in Ephesus, they became fearful and the name of the Lord Jesus was regarded with honor. 18 Many of the believers also came confessing their sins and describing what they had [previously] done. 19 And a large number of them, who had been involved in occultic practices, brought their books [on the occult] and began burning them publicly. When they calculated the cost [of the books] it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. [Note: The actual amount was approximately years of a farm laborer's pay, or more than 20 So, the message of the Lord spread widely and had a great influence [over people].
21 After these things happened Paul decided to travel through Macedonia and Achaia on his way to Jerusalem. He said, "Then, after I have been there I want to visit Rome also." 22 After sending his two associates Timothy and Erastus on to Macedonia [Note: These were men who cared for various needs of his ministry], Paul remained in [the province of] Asia for a while.
23 About that time a large disturbance arose [in Ephesus] concerning "the Way." 24 [Here is what happened]: A certain manufacturer of silver objects named Demetrius, who made silver replicas of the temple of Artemis [i.e., a Greek goddess], brought much business to his workmen. 25 He called a meeting of his men and others involved in the same work and said to them, "Fellows, you know that we have made a good living from this work [of making temple replicas]. 26 And now you have seen and heard, not only here in Ephesus, but throughout almost all of [the province of] Asia, that this Paul has been convincing people, [even] to the point of turning many away [from idol worship]. [He is] saying that hand-made gods [like we make] are not real [gods at all]. 27 And not only is there a [real] danger that our trade will be discredited but also that the temple of our great goddess Artemis will be considered worthless and that even she [herself] will be dethroned from her magnificent place of being adored by all [in the province of] Asia and the world."
28 When they heard this they became extremely angry and shouted out, "Great is [the goddess] Artemis, of the Ephesians." 29 The city became full of confusion; they grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's Macedonian traveling companions, and everyone together rushed into the amphitheater. 30 And when Paul decided to go before the crowd [to talk with them], the disciples would not allow him. 31 Some of his friends, who were officers in the province of Asia, sent word urging him not to take a chance by entering the amphitheater. 32 Some [in the crowd] were shouting one thing and some another; there was mass confusion, with most of the people not [even] knowing why they had assembled. 33 [It appears that] Alexander was appointed out of the crowd by the Jews [i.e., to be their spokesman in defending them from the charges being made against Paul]. He motioned with his hand [to get attention] and attempted to speak to the assembly in defense [of the Jewish viewpoint]. 34 But when the crowd realized that he was a Jew, they all joined together for about two hours shouting, "Great is [the goddess] Artemis, of the Ephesians."
35 When the town clerk had quieted down the crowd, he said, "You people of Ephesus, who among you does not know that the city of Ephesus is caretaker of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell down from the sky? 36 Since no one can [really] say anything against these things, just calm down and do not do anything foolish. 37 For you have brought these men here --- [men] who have neither desecrated our temple nor defamed our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius, and the workmen associated with him, have a charge against anyone, the courts are open and there are magistrates [to judge such cases]; let them file their charges against each other. 39 But if you want to address other matters, they can be settled in the regular, scheduled assembly. 40 For we are truly in danger of being accused of inciting a riot here today when there is [really] no reason for it to happen. Then concerning this problem, we will not be able to explain how it all came about." 41 And after the town clerk had said all this, he dismissed the assembly.