Acts 19
Ephesus and the goddess Diana

Ephesus (from the Turkey information site)
Text Comments
.1 ¶ And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,   Corinth Headquarters  for Apollos' work in Achaia (southern part of what is now Greece). See map.
  Upper coasts The northern part of a large area.
  Ephesus John wrote to a church here re0201. See map of Asia Minor (near left edge).
 2  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
 2 - And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." (RSV)
 3  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
  2 - Have ye received Paul may have noticed that these people in the assembly lacked some understanding.
 4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
 5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
  4 - Baptism of repentance Paul summarized the main principle taught by John the Baptist adding that they needed belief on Christ. They may have heard of Christ.
 5 - Baptized Here is an important principle. When life-changing new truth is learned it is well to be baptized again.
.6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
 7  And all the men were about twelve.
  6 - Holy Ghost ... tongues ... prophesied The "tongues" would have been for sharing truth with people of other languages as was the case at Pentecost ac0208.
.8 ¶ And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
.9  But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
 10  And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks
  8 - Synagogue The apostles preached in the synagogues to reach the jewish people and probably on the Sabbath ac1314, ac1613. Also Paul worked during the week ac1803, 1th0209, 2th0308.
  8 - Disputing Should read "reasoning." Compare ac1702, ac1804.
  9 - Persuading Or "trying to persuade."
  9 - Divers That is, "some."
  10 - Severed the disciples He got them to stop going to the Synagogue.
  10 - School of Tyrannus We know nothing of this person. The place may have been used by Paul to teach Christianity.
 11  And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
 12  So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
 13 ¶ Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
 14  And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
 15  And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
 16  And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
  12 - Body ... handkerchiefs "so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick ..." (RSV). In v17 we see that "... in working them [the miracles] the apostle took care to hold up Him whom he preached as the source of all the miracles which he wrought." (JFB Commentary)
.17  And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
 18  And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
.19  Many of them also which used curious [occult] arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
 20  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
   17 - Known to all ... fear Jesus was continually praised.
   19 - Occult ... books The type of arts generally practiced involve power over other people or information observed by evil angels. This is the third temptation Satan brought to Jesus in the desert mt0408. Read the account to see how this power is a temptation today.
   19 - Many The clause reads "Many of those who were practicing superfluous things." They were involved in the occult which, of course, is Satan worship.
   19 - Burned them God wants to protect us from satanic power but He also respects our freedom of choice. When we play with the occult, Satan claims control and God does not overrule our decision. This is why devil worship objects and games that provide special information of evil power need to be destroyed. Also we should avoid seances where evil angels pretend to be loved ones who have died.
.21 ¶ After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
.22  So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.
.23  And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.
= = = = = = = = = = =
21 - Paul purposed "Mark here the vastness of the apostle's missionary plans. They were all fulfilled, though he "saw Rome" only as a prisoner." (JFB Commentary).
  21 - Through Macedonia and Acaia See map. As you can see, Acaia is what is now "Greece" and Macedonia is north as it is today. It is about 3 miles from the north end of the Aegean Sea, founded in AD 437. A few buildings appear at the front of the saddle across the valley in the larger image.
  22 - Sent ... Timotheus and Erastus Sent "as his pioneers, in part to bring 'them into remembrance of his ways which were in Christ' (1Co 4:17; 16:10), partly to convey his mind on various matters. After a brief stay he was to return (1Co 16:11). It is very unlikely that this Erastus was "the chamberlain of the city" of Corinth, of that name (Ro 16:23)." (JFB Commentary). Picture 1871
.24  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;
 25  Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
 26  Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
.27  So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.
  27 - Diana See da1139note. Also see the notes page for Luke 1.
 28  And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
.29  And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
 30  And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.
 31  And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.
  28 - Full of wrath Even today, evil spirits work through their human counterparts to stir mobs to excitement and wicked acts.
.32  Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
 33  And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
 34  But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
  33 - They drew A variant reading (from a different manuscript) provides a different translation renders the clause, as in the RSV, "some of the crowd prompted Alexander"
  33 - Alexander He may have been the coppersmith of 2 Tim. 4:14.
  34 - Knew Or "realized."
 35  And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?   Townclerk From grammateus, generally translated "scribe." This was an influential office. He was the official public communicator. He used cautious language in comparison to the inflammatory language of Demetrius.
 36  Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.     Spoken against "Like a true legal man, he urges that such was notoriously the constitution and fixed character of the city, with which its very existence was all but bound up. Did they suppose that all this was going to be overturned by a set of itinerant orators? Ridiculous! What did they mean, then, by raising such a stir?" (JFB commentary)
 37  For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.   Robbers of churches Rather, "spoilers of temples. The temple at Ephesus had a large treasure room. It would be against the goddess to steal from it.
 38  Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.   Matter against any man ... open Rather "court days are being held."
  Deputies Literally "proconsuls" (compare ac1307); "That is, probably, the proconsul and his council, as a court of appeal." (JFB)
 39  But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.   Lawful assembly Greek cities had assemblies of citizens who handled problems. Thus a mob would not legally be able to handle such a matter.
 40  For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
 41  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
  40 - Called in question They could have been accused of riot by the Roman government.

Acts home
Commentary home