Acts 18; Acts 19; Acts 20

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Acts 18

1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
2 There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus. He had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul visited with them.
3 Because they practiced the same trade, he stayed and worked with them. They all worked with leather.
4 Every Sabbath he interacted with people in the synagogue, trying to convince both Jews and Greeks.
5 Once Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself fully to the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.
6 When they opposed and slandered him, he shook the dust from his clothes in protest and said to them, "You are responsible for your own fates! I'm innocent! From now on I'll go to the Gentiles!"
7 He left the synagogue and went next door to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile God-worshipper.
8 Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household came to believe in the Lord. Many Corinthians believed and were baptized after listening to Paul.
9 One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, "Don't be afraid. Continue speaking. Don't be silent.
10 I'm with you and no one who attacks you will harm you, for I have many people in this city."
11 So he stayed there for eighteen months, teaching God's word among them.
12 Now when Gallio was the governor of the province of Achaia, the Jews united in their opposition against Paul and brought him before the court.
13 "This man is persuading others to worship God unlawfully," they declared.
14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If there had been some sort of injury or criminal behavior, I would have reason to accept your complaint.
15 However, since these are squabbles about a message, names, and your own Law, deal with them yourselves. I have no desire to sit in judgment over such things."
16 He expelled them from the court,
17 but everyone seized Sosthenes, the synagogue leader, and gave him a beating in the presence of the governor. None of this mattered to Gallio.
18 After Paul stayed in Corinth for some time, he said good-bye to the brothers and sisters. At the Corinthian seaport of Cenchreae he had his head shaved, since he had made a solemn promise. Then, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila, he sailed away to Syria.
19 After they arrived in Ephesus, he left Priscilla and Aquila and entered the synagogue and interacted with the Jews.
20 They asked him to stay longer, but he declined.
21 As he said farewell to them, though, he added, "God willing, I will return." Then he sailed off from Ephesus.
22 He arrived in Caesarea, went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch.
23 After some time there he left and traveled from place to place in the region of Galatia and the district of Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
24 Meanwhile, a certain Jew named Apollos arrived in Ephesus. He was a native of Alexandria and was well-educated and effective in his use of the scriptures.
25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord and spoke as one stirred up by the Spirit. He taught accurately the things about Jesus, even though he was aware only of the baptism John proclaimed and practiced.
26 He began speaking with confidence in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they received him into their circle of friends and explained to him God's way more accurately.
27 When he wanted to travel to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples so they would open their homes to him. Once he arrived, he was of great help to those who had come to believe through grace.
28 He would vigorously defeat Jewish arguments in public debate, using the scriptures to prove that Jesus was the Christ.

Acts 19

1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul took a route through the interior and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples.
2 He asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you came to believe?" They replied, "We've not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
3 Then he said, "What baptism did you receive, then?" They answered, "John's baptism."
4 Paul explained, "John baptized with a baptism by which people showed they were changing their hearts and lives. It was a baptism that told people about the one who was coming after him. This is the one in whom they were to believe. This one is Jesus."
5 After they listened to Paul, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in other languages and prophesying.
7 Altogether, there were about twelve people.
8 Paul went to the synagogue and spoke confidently for the next three months. He interacted with those present and offered convincing arguments concerning the nature of God's kingdom.
9 Some people had closed their minds, though. They refused to believe and publicly slandered the Way. As a result, Paul left them, took the disciples with him, and continued his daily interactions in Tyrannus' lecture hall.
10 This went on for two years, so that everyone living in the province of Asia—both Jews and Greeks—heard the Lord's word.
11 God was doing unusual miracles through Paul.
12 Even the small towels and aprons that had touched his skin were taken to the sick, and their diseases were cured and the evil spirits left them.
13 There were some Jews who traveled around throwing out evil spirits. They tried to use the power of the name of the Lord Jesus against some people with evil spirits. They said, "In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you!"
14 The seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15 The evil spirit replied, "I know Jesus and I'm familiar with Paul, but who are you?"
16 The person who had an evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all with such force that they ran out of that house naked and wounded.
17 This became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus. Everyone was seized with fear and they held the name of the Lord Jesus in the highest regard.
18 Many of those who had come to believe came, confessing their past practices.
19 This included a number of people who practiced sorcery. They collected their sorcery texts and burned them publicly. The value of those materials was calculated at more than someone might make if they worked for one hundred sixty-five years.
20 In this way the Lord's word grew abundantly and strengthened powerfully.
21 Once these things had come to an end, Paul, guided by the Spirit, decided to return to Jerusalem, taking a route that would carry him through the provinces of Macedonia and Achaia. He said, "After I have been there, I must visit Rome as well."
22 He sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he remained awhile in the province of Asia.
23 At that time a great disturbance erupted about the Way.
24 There was a silversmith named Demetrius. He made silver models of Artemis' temple, and his business generated a lot of profit for the craftspeople.
25 He called a meeting with these craftspeople and others working in related trades and said, "Friends, you know that we make an easy living from this business.
26 And you can see and hear that this Paul has convinced and misled a lot of people, not only in Ephesus but also throughout most of the province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands aren't really gods.
27 This poses a danger not only by discrediting our trade but also by completely dishonoring the great goddess Artemis. The whole province of Asia—indeed, the entire civilized world—worships her, but her splendor will soon be extinguished."
28 Once they heard this, they were beside themselves with anger and began to shout, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
29 The city was thrown into turmoil. They rushed as one into the theater. They seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from the province of Macedonia.
30 Paul wanted to appear before the assembly, but the disciples wouldn't allow him.
31 Even some officials of the province of Asia, who were Paul's friends, sent word to him, urging him not to risk going into the theater.
32 Meanwhile, the assembly was in a state of confusion. Some shouted one thing, others shouted something else, and most of the crowd didn't know why they had gathered.
33 The Jews sent Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd directed their words toward him. He gestured that he wanted to offer a defense before the assembly,
34 but when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" This continued for about two hours.
35 The city manager brought order to the crowd and said, "People of Ephesus, doesn't everyone know that the city of Ephesus is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven?
36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you must calm down. Don't be reckless.
37 The men you brought here have neither robbed the temple nor slandered our goddess.
38 Therefore, if Demetrius and the craftspeople with him have a charge against anyone, the courts are in session and governors are available. They can press charges against each other there.
39 Additional disputes can be resolved in a legal assembly.
40 As for us, we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since we can't justify this unruly gathering."
41 After he said this, he dismissed the assembly.

Acts 20

1 When the riot was over, Paul sent for the disciples, encouraged them, said good-bye, and left for the province of Macedonia.
2 He traveled through that region with a message of encouragement. When he came to Greece,
3 he stayed for three months. Because the Jews hatched a plot against Paul as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided instead to return through Macedonia.
4 He was accompanied by Sopater, Pyrrhus' son from Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.
5 They went on ahead and waited for us in Troas.
6 We sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread and met them five days later in Troas, where we stayed for a week.
7 On the first day of the week, as we gathered together for a meal, Paul was holding a discussion with them. Since he was leaving the next day, he continued talking until midnight.
8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we had gathered.
9 A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window. He was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell from the third floor and died.
10 Paul went down, fell on him and embraced him, then said, "Don't be alarmed. He's alive!"
11 Then Paul went back upstairs and ate. He talked for a long time—right up until daybreak—then he left.
12 They took the young man away alive, and they were greatly comforted.
13 We went on to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we intended to take Paul on board. Paul had arranged this, since he intended to make his way there by land.
14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene.
15 The next day we sailed from there and arrived opposite Chios. On the day after, we sailed to Samos, and on the following day we came to Miletus.
16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he wouldn't need to spend too much time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by Pentecost Day.
17 From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus calling for the church's elders to meet him.
18 When they arrived, he said to them, “You know how I lived among you the whole time I was with you, beginning with the first day I arrived in the province of Asia.
19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears in the midst of trials that came upon me because of the Jews' schemes.
20 You know I held back nothing that would be helpful so that I could proclaim to you and teach you both publicly and privately in your homes.
21 You know I have testified to both Jews and Greeks that they must change their hearts and lives as they turn to God and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 Now, compelled by the Spirit, I'm going to Jerusalem. I don't know what will happen to me there.
23 What I do know is that the Holy Spirit testifies to me from city to city that prisons and troubles await me.
24 But nothing, not even my life, is more important than my completing my mission. This is nothing other than the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify about the good news of God's grace.
25 "I know that none of you will see me again—you among whom I traveled and proclaimed the kingdom.
26 Therefore, today I testify to you that I'm not responsible for anyone's fate.
27 I haven't avoided proclaiming the entire plan of God to you.
28 Watch yourselves and the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as supervisors, to shepherd God's church, which he obtained with the death of his own Son.
29 I know that, after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and won't spare the flock.
30 Some of your own people will distort the word in order to lure followers after them.
31 Stay alert! Remember that for three years I constantly and tearfully warned each one of you. I never stopped warning you!
32 Now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all whom God has made holy.
33 I haven't craved anyone's silver, gold, or clothing.
34 You yourselves know that I have provided for my own needs and for those of my companions with my own hands.
35 In everything I have shown you that, by working hard, we must help the weak. In this way we remember the Lord Jesus' words: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
36 After he said these things, he knelt down with all of them to pray.
37 They cried uncontrollably as everyone embraced and kissed Paul.
38 They were especially grieved by his statement that they would never see him again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.