Acts 18; Acts 19; Acts 20

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Acts 18

1 Later Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
2 Here he met a Jew named Aquila who had been born in the country of Pontus. But Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, had recently moved to Corinth from Italy, because Claudiusn commanded that all Jews must leave Rome. Paul went to visit Aquila and Priscilla.
3 Because they were tentmakers, just as he was, he stayed with them and worked with them.
4 Every Sabbath day he talked with the Jews and Greeks in the synagogue, trying to persuade them to believe in Jesus.
5 Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia and joined Paul in Corinth. After this, Paul spent all his time telling people the Good News, showing the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.
6 But they would not accept Paul's teaching and said some evil things. So he shook off the dust from his clothesn and said to them, "If you are not saved, it will be your own fault! I have done all I can do! After this, I will go only to those who are not Jewish."
7 Paul left the synagogue and moved into the home of Titius Justus, next to the synagogue. This man worshiped God.
8 Crispus was the leader of that synagogue, and he and all the people living in his house believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also listened to Paul and believed and were baptized.
9 During the night, the Lord told Paul in a vision: "Don't be afraid. Continue talking to people and don't be quiet.
10 I am with you, and no one will hurt you because many of my people are in this city."
11 Paul stayed there for a year and a half, teaching God's word to the people.
12 When Gallio was the governor of the country of Southern Greece, some of the Jews came together against Paul and took him to the court.
13 They said, "This man is teaching people to worship God in a way that is against our law."
14 Paul was about to say something, but Gallio spoke to the Jews, saying, "I would listen to you Jews if you were complaining about a crime or some wrong.
15 But the things you are saying are only questions about words and names -- arguments about your own law. So you must solve this problem yourselves. I don't want to be a judge of these things."
16 And Gallio made them leave the court.
17 Then they all grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him there before the court. But this did not bother Gallio.
18 Paul stayed with the believers for many more days. Then he left and sailed for Syria, with Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchrea Paul cut off his hair, because he had made a promise to God.
19 Then they went to Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. While Paul was there, he went into the synagogue and talked with the Jews.
20 When they asked him to stay with them longer, he refused.
21 But as he left, he said, "I will come back to you again if God wants me to." And so he sailed away from Ephesus.
22 When Paul landed at Caesarea, he went and gave greetings to the church in Jerusalem. After that, Paul went to Antioch.
23 He stayed there for a while and then left and went through the regions of Galatia and Phrygia. He traveled from town to town in these regions, giving strength to all the followers.
24 A Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was born in the city of Alexandria and was a good speaker who knew the Scriptures well.
25 He had been taught about the way of the Lord and was always very excited when he spoke and taught the truth about Jesus. But the only baptism Apollos knew about was the baptism that Johnn taught.
26 Apollos began to speak very boldly in the synagogue, and when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him to their home and helped him better understand the way of God.
27 Now Apollos wanted to go to the country of Southern Greece. So the believers helped him and wrote a letter to the followers there, asking them to accept him. These followers had believed in Jesus because of God's grace, and when Apollos arrived, he helped them very much.
28 He argued very strongly with the Jews before all the people, clearly proving with the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Acts 19

1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul was visiting some places on the way to Ephesus. There he found some followers
2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They said, "We have never even heard of a Holy Spirit."
3 So he asked, "What kind of baptism did you have?" They said, "It was the baptism that John taught."
4 Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of changed hearts and lives. He told people to believe in the one who would come after him, and that one is Jesus."
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 Then Paul laid his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. They began speaking different languagesn and prophesying.
7 There were about twelve people in this group.
8 Paul went into the synagogue and spoke out boldly for three months. He talked with the Jews and persuaded them to accept the things he said about the kingdom of God.
9 But some of the Jews became stubborn. They refused to believe and said evil things about the Way of Jesus before all the people. So Paul left them, and taking the followers with him, he went to the school of a man named Tyrannus. There Paul talked with people every day
10 for two years. Because of his work, every Jew and Greek in the country of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
11 God used Paul to do some very special miracles.
12 Some people took handkerchiefs and clothes that Paul had used and put them on the sick. When they did this, the sick were healed and evil spirits left them.
13 But some Jews also were traveling around and making evil spirits go out of people. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force the evil spirits out. They would say, "By the same Jesus that Paul talks about, I order you to come out!"
14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading Jewish priest, were doing this.
15 But one time an evil spirit said to them, "I know Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"
16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them. Because he was so much stronger than all of them, they ran away from the house naked and hurt.
17 All the people in Ephesus -- Jews and Greeks -- learned about this and were filled with fear and gave great honor to the Lord Jesus.
18 Many of the believers began to confess openly and tell all the evil things they had done.
19 Some of them who had used magic brought their magic books and burned them before everyone. Those books were worth about fifty thousand silver coins.
20 So in a powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing.
21 After these things, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, planning to go through the countries of Macedonia and Southern Greece and then on to Jerusalem. He said, "After I have been to Jerusalem, I must also visit Rome."
22 Paul sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, ahead to Macedonia, but he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
23 And during that time, there was some serious trouble in Ephesus about the Way of Jesus.
24 A man named Demetrius, who worked with silver, made little silver models that looked like the temple of the goddess Artemis. Those who did this work made much money.
25 Demetrius had a meeting with them and some others who did the same kind of work. He told them, "Men, you know that we make a lot of money from our business.
26 But look at what this man Paul is doing. He has convinced and turned away many people in Ephesus and in almost all of Asia! He says the gods made by human hands are not real.
27 There is a danger that our business will lose its good name, but there is also another danger: People will begin to think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is not important. Her greatness will be destroyed, and Artemis is the goddess that everyone in Asia and the whole world worships."
28 When the others heard this, they became very angry and shouted, "Artemis, the goddess of Ephesus, is great!"
29 The whole city became confused. The people grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who were from Macedonia and were traveling with Paul, and ran to the theater.
30 Paul wanted to go in and talk to the crowd, but the followers did not let him.
31 Also, some leaders of Asia who were friends of Paul sent him a message, begging him not to go into the theater.
32 Some people were shouting one thing, and some were shouting another. The meeting was completely confused; most of them did not know why they had come together.
33 The Jews put a man named Alexander in front of the people, and some of them told him what to do. Alexander waved his hand so he could explain things to the people.
34 But when they saw that Alexander was a Jew, they all shouted the same thing for two hours: "Great is Artemis of Ephesus!"
35 Then the city clerk made the crowd be quiet. He said, "People of Ephesus, everyone knows that Ephesus is the city that keeps the temple of the great goddess Artemis and her holy stonen that fell from heaven.
36 Since no one can say this is not true, you should be quiet. Stop and think before you do anything.
37 You brought these men here, but they have not said anything evil against our goddess or stolen anything from her temple.
38 If Demetrius and those who work with him have a charge against anyone they should go to the courts and judges where they can argue with each other.
39 If there is something else you want to talk about, it can be decided at the regular town meeting of the people.
40 I say this because some people might see this trouble today and say that we are rioting. We could not explain this, because there is no real reason for this meeting."
41 After the city clerk said these things, he told the people to go home.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Acts 20

1 When the trouble stopped, Paul sent for the followers to come to him. After he encouraged them and then told them good-bye, he left and went to the country of Macedonia.
2 He said many things to strengthen the followers in the different places on his way through Macedonia. Then he went to Greece,
3 where he stayed for three months. He was ready to sail for Syria, but some Jews were planning something against him. So Paul decided to go back through Macedonia to Syria.
4 The men who went with him were Sopater son of Pyrrhus, from the city of Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus, from the city of Thessalonica; Gaius, from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus, two men from the country of Asia.
5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas.
6 We sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Five days later we met them in Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
7 On the first day of the week, we all met together to break bread, and Paul spoke to the group. Because he was planning to leave the next day, he kept on talking until midnight.
8 We were all together in a room upstairs, and there were many lamps in the room.
9 A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window. As Paul continued talking, Eutychus was falling into a deep sleep. Finally, he went sound asleep and fell to the ground from the third floor. When they picked him up, he was dead.
10 Paul went down to Eutychus, knelt down, and put his arms around him. He said, "Don't worry. He is alive now."
11 Then Paul went upstairs again, broke bread, and ate. He spoke to them a long time, until it was early morning, and then he left.
12 They took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
13 We went on ahead of Paul and sailed for the city of Assos, where he wanted to join us on the ship. Paul planned it this way because he wanted to go to Assos by land.
14 When he met us there, we took him aboard and went to Mitylene.
15 We sailed from Mitylene and the next day came to a place near Kios. The following day we sailed to Samos, and the next day we reached Miletus.
16 Paul had already decided not to stop at Ephesus, because he did not want to stay too long in the country of Asia. He was hurrying to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, if that were possible.
17 Now from Miletus Paul sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.
18 When they came to him, he said, "You know about my life from the first day I came to Asia. You know the way I lived all the time I was with you.
19 The Jews made plans against me, which troubled me very much. But you know I always served the Lord unselfishly, and I often cried.
20 You know I preached to you and did not hold back anything that would help you. You know that I taught you in public and in your homes.
21 I warned both Jews and Greeks to change their lives and turn to God and believe in our Lord Jesus.
22 But now I must obey the Holy Spirit and go to Jerusalem. I don't know what will happen to me there.
23 I know only that in every city the Holy Spirit tells me that troubles and even jail wait for me.
24 I don't care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me -- to tell people the Good News about God's grace.
25 "And now, I know that none of you among whom I was preaching the kingdom of God will ever see me again.
26 So today I tell you that if any of you should be lost, I am not responsible,
27 because I have told you everything God wants you to know.
28 Be careful for yourselves and for all the people the Holy Spirit has given to you to care for. You must be like shepherds to the church of God, which he bought with the death of his own son.
29 I know that after I leave, some people will come like wild wolves and try to destroy the flock.
30 Also, some from your own group will rise up and twist the truth and will lead away followers after them.
31 So be careful! Always remember that for three years, day and night, I never stopped warning each of you, and I often cried over you.
32 "Now I am putting you in the care of God and the message about his grace. It is able to give you strength, and it will give you the blessings God has for all his holy people.
33 When I was with you, I never wanted anyone's money or fine clothes.
34 You know I always worked to take care of my own needs and the needs of those who were with me.
35 I showed you in all things that you should work as I did and help the weak. I taught you to remember the words Jesus said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
36 When Paul had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.
38 And they all cried because Paul had said they would never see him again. They put their arms around him and kissed him. Then they went with him to the ship.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.