Free eBook: Getting Through the Storms in Life

Acts 18; Acts 19; Acts 20

1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, who was a native of Pontus. Aquila had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla. The emperor Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see Aquila and Priscilla. 3 They were tentmakers, just as he was. So he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath day he went to the synagogue. He was trying to get both Jews and Greeks to believe in the Lord. 5 Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia. Then Paul spent all his time preaching. He gave witness to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6 But the Jews opposed Paul. They treated him badly. He didn't like this. So he shook out his clothes. Then he said to them, "Anything that happens to you will be your own fault! Don't blame me for it! From now on I will go to people who are not Jews." 7 Then Paul left the synagogue. He went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a man who worshiped God. 8 Crispus was the synagogue ruler. He and his whole family came to believe in the Lord. Many others who lived in Corinth heard Paul. They too believed and were baptized. 9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Keep on speaking. Don't be silent. 10 I am with you. No one will attack you and harm you. I have many people in this city." 11 So Paul stayed there for a year and a half. He taught them God's word. 12 At that time Gallio was governor of Achaia. The Jews got together and attacked Paul. They brought him into court. 13 "This man," they charged, "is trying to talk people into worshiping God in ways that are against the law." 14 Paul was about to speak up for himself. But just then Gallio spoke to the Jews. "You Jews are not claiming that Paul has committed a crime, whether large or small," he said. "If you were, it would make sense for me to listen to you. 15 But this is about your own law. It is a question of words and names. Settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things." 16 So he had them thrown out of the court. 17 Then all the Jews turned against Sosthenes. He was the synagogue ruler. They beat him up in front of the court. But Gallio didn't care at all. 18 Paul stayed in Corinth for some time. Then he left the believers and sailed for Syria. Priscilla and Aquila went with him. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea. He did this because he had made a promise to God. 19 They arrived at Ephesus. There Paul said good-by to Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and talked with the Jews. 20 The Jews asked him to spend more time with them. But he said no. 21 As he left, he made them a promise. "If God wants me to," he said, "I will come back." Then he sailed from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem. There he greeted the church. He then went down to Antioch. 23 Paul spent some time in Antioch. Then he left and traveled all over Galatia and Phrygia. He gave strength to all the believers there. 24 At that time a Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was an educated man from Alexandria. He knew the Scriptures very well. 25 Apollos had been taught the way of the Lord. He spoke with great power. He taught the truth about Jesus. But he only knew about John's baptism. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. Priscilla and Aquila heard him. So they invited him to their home. There they gave him a better understanding of the way of God. 27 Apollos wanted to go to Achaia. The brothers agreed with him. They wrote to the believers there. They asked them to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who had become believers by God's grace. 28 He argued strongly against the Jews in public meetings. He proved from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road to Ephesus. When he arrived, he found some believers there. 2 He asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" "No," they answered. "We haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. 4 Paul said, "John baptized people, calling them to turn away from their sins. He told them to believe in the one who was coming after him. Jesus is that one." 5 After hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Paul placed his hands on them. Then the Holy Spirit came on them. They spoke in languages they had not known before. They also prophesied. 7 There were about 12 of them in all. 8 Paul entered the synagogue. There he spoke boldly for three months. He tried to talk the people into accepting his teaching about God's kingdom. 9 But some of them wouldn't listen. They refused to believe. In public they said evil things about the Way of Jesus. So Paul left them. He took the believers with him. Each day he talked with people in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years. So all the Jews and Greeks who lived in Asia Minor heard the word of the Lord. 11 God did amazing miracles through Paul. 12 Even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to those who were sick. When this happened, their sicknesses were healed and evil spirits left them. 13 Some Jews went around driving out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to set free those who were controlled by demons. They said, "In Jesus' name I command you to come out. He is the Jesus that Paul is preaching about." 14 Seven sons of Sceva were doing this. Sceva was a Jewish chief priest. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, "I know Jesus. And I know about Paul. But who are you?" 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on Sceva's sons. He overpowered them all. He gave them a terrible beating. They ran out of the house naked and bleeding. 17 The Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus heard about this. They were all overcome with fear. They held the name of the Lord Jesus in high honor. 18 Many who believed now came and openly admitted the evil they had done. 19 A number of those who had practiced evil magic brought their scrolls together. They set them on fire out in the open. They added up the value of the scrolls. They found that it would take more than two lifetimes to earn what the scrolls were worth. 20 The word of the Lord spread everywhere. It became more and more powerful. 21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem. He went through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been to Jerusalem," he said, "I must visit Rome also." 22 He sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, to Macedonia. But he stayed a little longer in Asia Minor. 23 At that time many people became very upset about the Way of Jesus. 24 There was a man named Demetrius who made things out of silver. He made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis. He brought in a lot of business for the other skilled workers. 25 One day he called them together. He also called others who were in the same kind of business. "Men," he said, "you know that we make good money from our work. 26 You have seen and heard what this fellow Paul is doing. He has talked to large numbers of people here in Ephesus. Almost everywhere in Asia Minor he has led people away from our gods. He says that the gods we make are not gods at all. 27 Our work is in danger of losing its good name. People's faith in the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be weakened. Now she is worshiped through all of Asia Minor and the whole world. But soon she will be robbed of her greatness." 28 When they heard this, they became very angry. They began shouting, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 29 Soon people were making trouble in the whole city. They all rushed into the theater. They dragged Gaius and Aristarchus along with them. These two men had come with Paul from Macedonia. 30 Paul wanted to appear in front of the crowd. But the believers wouldn't let him. 31 Some of the officials in Asia Minor were friends of Paul. They sent him a message, begging him not to go into the theater. 32 The crowd didn't know what was going on. Some were shouting one thing and some another. Most of the people didn't even know why they were there. 33 The Jews pushed Alexander to the front. Some of the crowd tried to tell him what to say. But he motioned for them to be quiet. He wanted to speak up for himself in front of the people. 34 But then they realized that he was a Jew. So they all shouted the same thing for about two hours. "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" they yelled. 35 The city clerk quieted the crowd down. "Men of Ephesus!" he said. "The whole world knows that the city of Ephesus guards the temple of the great Artemis. They know that Ephesus guards her statue, which fell from heaven. 36 These facts can't be questioned. So calm down. Don't do anything foolish. 37 "These men haven't robbed any temples. They haven't said evil things against our goddess. But you have brought them here anyhow. 38 Demetrius and the other skilled workers may feel they have been wronged by someone. Let them bring charges. The courts are open. We have our governors. 39 Is there anything else you want to bring up? Settle it in a court of law. 40 As it is, today we are in danger of being charged with causing all this trouble. But there is no reason for it. We wouldn't be able to explain what has happened." 41 After he said this, he sent the people away.
1 All the trouble came to an end. Then Paul sent for the believers. After cheering them up, he said good-by. He then left for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of hope to the people. Finally he arrived in Greece. 3 There he stayed for three months. He was just about to sail for Syria. But the Jews were making plans against him. So he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4 Sopater, son of Pyrrhus, from Berea went with him. Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, and Timothy went too. Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia Minor also went with him. 5 These men went on ahead. They waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Five days later we joined the others at Troas. We stayed there for seven days. 7 On the first day of the week we met to break bread and eat together. Paul spoke to the people. He kept on talking until midnight because he planned to leave the next day. 8 There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. 9 A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window. He sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. Sound asleep, Eutychus fell from the third floor. When they picked him up from the ground, he was dead. 10 Paul went down and threw himself on the young man. He put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he told them. "He's alive!" 11 Then Paul went upstairs again. He broke bread and ate with them. He kept on talking until daylight. Then he left. 12 The people took the young man home. They were greatly comforted because he was alive. 13 We went on ahead to the ship. We sailed for Assos. There we were going to take Paul on board. He had planned it this way because he wanted to go there by land. 14 So he met us at Assos. We took him on board and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we sailed from there. We arrived near Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos. We arrived at Miletus the next day. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus. He didn't want to spend time in Asia Minor. He was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem. If he could, he wanted to be there by the day of Pentecost. 17 From Miletus, Paul sent for the elders of the church at Ephesus. 18 When they arrived, he spoke to them. "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you," he said. "From the first day I came into Asia Minor, 19 I was free of pride. I served the Lord with tears. I served him even though I was greatly tested by the evil plans of the Jews. 20 You know I haven't let anyone keep me from preaching anything that would be helpful to you. I have taught you in public and from house to house. 21 I have told both Jews and Greeks that they must turn away from their sins to God. They must have faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 "Now I am going to Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit compels me. I don't know what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Spirit warns me. He tells me that I will face prison and suffering. 24 But my life means nothing to me. I only want to finish the race. I want to complete the work the Lord Jesus has given me. He wants me to give witness to others about the good news of God's grace. 25 "I have spent time with you preaching about the kingdom. I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26 So I tell you today that I am not guilty if anyone has not believed. 27 I haven't let anyone keep me from telling you everything God wants you to do. 28 "Keep watch over yourselves. Keep watch over all the believers. The Holy Spirit has made you leaders over them. Be shepherds of God's church. He bought it with his own blood. 29 "I know that after I leave, wild wolves will come in among you. They won't spare any of the sheep. 30 Even men from your own people will rise up and twist the truth. They want to get the believers to follow them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning you. Night and day I warned each of you with tears. 32 "Now I commit you to God's care. I commit you to the word of his grace. It can build you up. Then you will share in what God plans to give all his people. 33 I haven't longed for anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that I have used my own hands to meet my needs. I have also met the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that we must work hard and help the weak. We must remember the words of the Lord Jesus. He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " 36 When Paul had said this, he got down on his knees with all of them and prayed. 37 They all cried as they hugged and kissed him. 38 What hurt them the most was that he had said they would never see his face again. Then they went with him to the ship.
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