Acts 19

Paul at Ephesus

1 It happened that while 1Apollos was at 2Corinth, Paul passed through the 3upper country and came to 4Ephesus, and found some disciples.
2 He said to them, "5Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, 6we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."
3 And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "7Into John's baptism."
4 Paul said, "8John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people 9to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
5 When they heard this, they were 10baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had 11laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began 12speaking with tongues and 13prophesying.
7 There were in all about twelve men.
8 And he entered 14the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them 15about the kingdom of God.
9 But when 16some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of 17the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away 18the disciples, reasoning daily * in the school of Tyrannus.
10 This took place for 19two years, so that all who lived in 20Asia heard 21the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

Miracles at Ephesus

11 God was performing 22extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,
12 23so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and 24the evil spirits went out.
13 But also some of the Jewish 25exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches."
14 Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"
16 And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in 26Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.
18 Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices.
19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty * thousand 27pieces of silver.
20 So 28the word of the Lord 29was growing mightily and prevailing.
21 Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to 30go to Jerusalem 31after he had passed through 32Macedonia and 33Achaia, saying, "After I have been there, 34I must also see Rome."
22 And having sent into 35Macedonia two of 36those who ministered to him, 37Timothy and 38Erastus, he himself stayed in 39Asia for a while.
23 About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning 40the Way.
24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, 41was bringing no little business to the craftsmen;
25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that our prosperity depends * upon this business.
26 "You see and hear that not only in 42Ephesus, but in almost all of 43Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that 44gods made with hands are no gods at all.
27 "Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of 45Asia and 46the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence."
28 When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the 47Ephesians!"
29 The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along 48Gaius and 49Aristarchus, Paul's traveling 50companions from 51Macedonia.
30 And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, 52the disciples would not let him.
31 Also some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture * into the theater.
32 53So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together.
33 Some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander, since the Jews had put him forward; and having 54motioned with his hand, Alexander was intending to make a defense to the assembly.
34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
35 After quieting the crowd, the town clerk said, "Men of 55Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image which fell down from heaven?
36 "So, since these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash.
37 "For you have brought these men here who are neither 56robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess.
38 "So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against any man, the courts are in session and 57proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another.
39 "But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly.
40 "For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today's events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable * to account * for this disorderly gathering."
41 After saying this he dismissed the assembly.

Acts 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

Paul instructs the disciples of John at Ephesus. (1-7) He teaches there. (8-12) The Jewish exorcists disgraced. Some Ephesians burn their evil books. (13-20) The tumult at Ephesus. (21-31) The tumult appeased. (32-41)

Verses 1-7 Paul, at Ephesus, found some religious persons, who looked to Jesus as the Messiah. They had not been led to expect the miraculous powers of the Holy Ghost, nor were they informed that the gospel was especially the ministration of the Spirit. But they spake as ready to welcome the notice of it. Paul shows them that John never design that those he baptized should rest there, but told them that they should believe on Him who should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. They thankfully accepted the discovery, and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Ghost came upon them in a surprising, overpowering manner; they spake with tongues, and prophesied, as the apostles and the first Gentile coverts did. Though we do not now expect miraculous powers, yet all who profess to be disciples of Christ, should be called on to examine whether they have received the seal of the Holy Ghost, in his sanctifying influences, to the sincerity of their faith. Many seem not to have heard that there is a Holy Ghost, and many deem all that is spoken concerning his graces and comforts, to be delusion. Of such it may properly be inquired, "Unto what, then, were ye baptized?" for they evidently know not the meaning of that outward sign on which they place great dependence.

Verses 8-12 When arguments and persuasions only harden men in unbelief and blasphemy, we must separate ourselves and others from such unholy company. God was pleased to confirm the teaching of these holy men of old, that if their hearers believed them not, they might believe the works.

Verses 13-20 It was common, especially among the Jews, for persons to profess or to try to cast out evil spirits. If we resist the devil by faith in Christ, he will flee from us; but if we think to resist him by the using of Christ's name, or his works, as a spell or charm, Satan will prevail against us. Where there is true sorrow for sin, there will be free confession of sin to God in every prayer and to man whom we have offended, when the case requires it. Surely if the word of God prevailed among us, many lewd, infidel, and wicked books would be burned by their possessors. Will not these Ephesian converts rise up in judgement against professors, who traffic in such works for the sake of gain, or allow themselves to possess them? If we desire to be in earnest in the great work of salvation, every pursuit and enjoyment must be given up which hinders the effect of the gospel upon the mind, or loosens its hold upon the heart.

Verses 21-31 Persons who came from afar to pay their devotions at the temple of Ephesus, bought little silver shrines, or models of the temple, to carry home with them. See how craftsmen make advantage to themselves of people's superstition, and serve their worldly ends by it. Men are jealous for that by which they get their wealth; and many set themselves against the gospel of Christ, because it calls men from all unlawful crafts, however much wealth is to be gotten by them. There are persons who will stickle for what is most grossly absurd, unreasonable, and false; as this, that those are gods which are made with hands, if it has but worldly interest on its side. The whole city was full of confusion, the common and natural effect of zeal for false religion. Zeal for the honour of Christ, and love to the brethren, encourage zealous believers to venture into danger. Friends will often be raised up among those who are strangers to true religion, but have observed the honest and consistent behaviour of Christians.

Verses 32-41 The Jews came forward in this tumult. Those who are thus careful to distinguish themselves from the servants of Christ now, and are afraid of being taken for them, shall have their doom accordingly in the great day. One, having authority, at length stilled the noise. It is a very good rule at all times, both in private and public affairs, not to be hasty and rash in our motions, but to take time to consider; and always to keep our passions under check. We ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly; to do nothing in haste, of which we may repent at leisure. The regular methods of the law ought always to stop popular tumults, and in well-governed nations will do so. Most people stand in awe of men's judgments more than of the judgement of God. How well it were if we would thus quiet our disorderly appetites and passions, by considering the account we must shortly give to the Judge of heaven and earth! And see how the overruling providence of God keeps the public peace, by an unaccountable power over the spirits of men. Thus the world is kept in some order, and men are held back from devouring each other. We can scarcely look around but we see men act like Demetrius and the workmen. It is as safe to contend with wild beasts as with men enraged by party zeal and disappointed covetousness, who think that all arguments are answered, when they have shown that they grow rich by the practices which are opposed. Whatever side in religious disputes, or whatever name this spirit assumes, it is worldly, and should be discountenanced by all who regard truth and piety. And let us not be dismayed; the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; he can still the rage of the people.

Cross References 57

  • 1. Acts 18:24; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:5, 6, 22; 1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 16:12; Titus 3:13
  • 2. Acts 18:1
  • 3. Acts 18:23
  • 4. Acts 18:21, 24; Acts 19:17, 26, 28, 34; Acts 20:16; Acts 21:29; 1 Corinthians 15:32; 1 Corinthians 16:8; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:12; Revelation 1:11; Revelation 2:1
  • 5. Acts 8:15; Acts 11:16
  • 6. John 7:39
  • 7. Luke 7:29; Acts 18:25
  • 8. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:4, 7, 8; Luke 3:16; John 1:26, 27; Acts 13:24
  • 9. John 1:7
  • 10. Acts 8:12, 16; Acts 10:48
  • 11. Acts 6:6; Acts 8:17
  • 12. Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46
  • 13. Acts 13:1
  • 14. Acts 9:20; Acts 18:26
  • 15. Acts 1:3
  • 16. Acts 14:4
  • 17. Acts 9:2; Acts 19:23
  • 18. Acts 11:26; Acts 19:30
  • 19. Acts 19:8; Acts 20:31
  • 20. Acts 16:6; Acts 19:22, 26, 27
  • 21. Acts 13:12; Acts 19:20
  • 22. Acts 8:13
  • 23. Acts 5:15
  • 24. Mark 16:17
  • 25. Matthew 12:27; Luke 11:19
  • 26. Acts 18:19
  • 27. Luke 15:8
  • 28. Acts 19:10
  • 29. Acts 6:7; Acts 12:24
  • 30. Acts 20:16, 22; Acts 21:15; Romans 15:25; 2 Corinthians 1:16
  • 31. Acts 20:1; 1 Corinthians 16:5
  • 32. Acts 16:9; Acts 19:22, 29; Romans 15:26; 1 Thessalonians 1:7
  • 33. Acts 18:12
  • 34. Acts 23:11; Romans 15:24, 28
  • 35. Acts 16:9; Acts 19:21, 29
  • 36. Acts 13:5; Acts 19:29; Acts 20:34; 2 Corinthians 8:19
  • 37. Acts 16:1
  • 38. Romans 16:23; 2 Timothy 4:20
  • 39. Acts 19:10
  • 40. Acts 19:9
  • 41. Acts 16:16, 19
  • 42. Acts 18:19
  • 43. Acts 19:10
  • 44. Deuteronomy 4:28; Psalms 115:4; Isaiah 44:10-20; Jeremiah 10:3f; Acts 17:29; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 1 Corinthians 10:19; Revelation 9:20
  • 45. Acts 19:10
  • 46. Matthew 24:14
  • 47. Acts 18:19
  • 48. Acts 20:4
  • 49. Acts 20:4; Acts 27:2; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24
  • 50. Acts 13:5; Acts 19:22; Acts 20:34; 2 Corinthians 8:19
  • 51. Acts 16:9; Acts 19:22
  • 52. Acts 19:9
  • 53. Acts 21:34
  • 54. Acts 12:17
  • 55. Acts 18:19
  • 56. Romans 2:22
  • 57. Acts 13:7

Footnotes 33

Acts 19 Commentaries