The Apostle Paul in Ephesus
1While Apollos was ministering in Corinth, Paul traveled on through the regions of Turkey # 19:1 The Greek is “the upper inland country.” This was a trek through certain regions of Turkey for him to arrive in Ephesus. until he arrived in Ephesus, where he found a group of twelve followers of Jesus. # 19:1 Or “some disciples.” Verse 7 states there were twelve. This information is included here in v. 1 for the sake of the English narrative. 2The first thing he asked them was “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
“No,” they replied. “We’ve not even heard of a holy spirit.”
3Paul asked, “Then what was the meaning of your baptism?” # 19:3 Or “into what [name or authority] were you baptized?”
They responded, “It meant that we would follow John’s teaching.”
4Paul said, “John’s baptism was for those who were turning from their sins, # 19:4 The Aramaic can be translated “John’s baptism was a baptism of grace to the people.” and he taught you to believe in and follow the one who was coming after him: Jesus the Anointed One.” # 19:4 “The Anointed One” (or “Messiah”) is found only in the Aramaic. The Greek is simply “Jesus.”
5When they understood this, they were baptized into the authority of Jesus, the Anointed One. # 19:5 Or “on the name of Jesus Christ,” which means they were baptized into the authority of the name of Jesus, who was greater than John. 6-7And when Paul laid his hands on each of the twelve, the Holy Spirit manifested and they immediately spoke in tongues # 19:6–7 Or “supernaturally given languages.” and prophesied. # 19:6–7 The Aramaic is “They spoke tongue by tongue and gushed out prophecies.” The impartation of the Holy Spirit and his gifts are here being transferred from Paul to these believers. See also 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6–7. Jesus taught that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, it is to impart power for our lives and ministries. See Acts 1:8.
8For three months Paul taught openly and fearlessly in the synagogue, arguing persuasively for them to enter into God’s kingdom realm. # 19:8 Or “about God’s kingdom realm.” It is a big step for both Jews and Christians to come out of their religious identity and focus on the reality of God’s kingdom realm. 9But some of them hardened their hearts and stubbornly refused to believe. When they spoke evil # 19:9 Or “cursed the Christian way of living.” of the Way in front of the congregation, Paul withdrew from them and took the believers with him.
10Every day # 19:10 The Greek manuscript D adds, “from the fifth hour [11:00 a.m.] to the tenth hour [4:00 p.m.].” for over two years, # 19:10 Counting the three months of focusing on ministry to the Jews, Paul’s entire stay in Ephesus came to three years, which would have included a short visit to Corinth. See Acts 20:31. he taught them in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, # 19:10 This was like a college or lecture hall. Tyrannus (whose name means “sovereign”) was most likely a philosopher and lecturer who had disciples whom he taught. Apparently Tyrannus welcomed Paul after he left the Jewish congregation and brought him into his school to teach the students. which resulted in everyone living in the province of Asia, # 19:10 This “school of ministry” exploded as many came to hear Paul and then went out to preach, expanding the reach of the gospel into all the “province of Asia” (Asia Minor). The province of Asia would have covered no less than one-third of Turkey. Many multitudes heard the gospel in the two-year period when Paul taught in Ephesus. The teaching of the apostles resulted in the expansion of God’s kingdom realm. Jews and non-Jews, hearing the prophetic word of the Lord. # 19:10 Or simply, “the word of the Lord.” However, the phrase “the word of the Lord” is a Hebrew expression consistently used for the prophetic utterances given by the prophets.
Extraordinary Miracles in Ephesus
11God kept releasing a flow of extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul. 12Because of this, people took Paul’s handkerchiefs and articles of clothing, even pieces of cloth that had touched his skin, laying them on the bodies of the sick, and diseases and demons left them and they were healed.
13-14Now, there were seven itinerant Jewish exorcists, sons of Sceva the high priest, who took it upon themselves to use the name and authority of Jesus over those who were demonized. They would say, “We cast you out in the name of the Jesus that Paul preaches!”
15One day, when they said those words, the demon in the man replied, “I know about Jesus, and I recognize Paul, but who do you think you are?”
16Then the demonized man jumped on them and threw them to the ground, beating them mercilessly. # 19:16 True authority comes from relationship with Jesus Christ, not just using formulas and techniques. Evil spirits know about the depth of our relationship with God. He overpowered the seven exorcists until they all ran out of the house naked and badly bruised.
Revival Breaks Out
17All of the people in Ephesus were awestruck, both Jews and non-Jews, when they heard about what had happened. Great fear fell over the entire city, and the authority of the name of Jesus was exalted. 18Many believers publicly confessed their sins and disclosed their secrets. 19Large numbers of those who had been practicing magic took all of their books and scrolls of spells and incantations and publicly burned them. When the value of all the books and scrolls was calculated, it all came to several million dollars. # 19:19 Or “fifty thousand silver drachmas.” Some historians have said that one lamb would be sold for one silver drachma. The price of a ewe lamb today is about 150 USD. A drachma was one day’s wage, and fifty thousand drachmas would be one hundred years’ wages. The value of the books could have been millions of dollars. 20The power of God caused the word to spread, and the people were greatly impacted. # 19:20 Chronologically, this would have been the time when Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians.
A Riot Breaks Out
21Paul had it in his heart to go to Jerusalem and, on his way there, to revisit the places in Greece where he had ministered. # 19:21 Or “to go through Macedonia and Achaia.” The implication is that Paul wanted to revisit the area of Greece he had ministered in; therefore, that is made explicit in this translation. “After that,” he said, “I have to go to Rome also.” 22So he sent ahead into Macedonia two of his ministry assistants, Timothy # 19:22 Timothy’s name means “one who honors God.” He was Paul’s spiritual son and later became an apostolic church planter. See 1 and 2 Timothy. and Erastus, # 19:22 Erastus means “beloved.” He was possibly the treasurer of the city of Corinth. See Rom. 16:23; 2 Tim. 4:20. while he remained in western Turkey. # 19:22 Or “the province of Asia” (Minor).
23At that time a major disturbance erupted in Ephesus over the people following God’s way. # 19:23 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is simply “the way.” 24It began with a wealthy man named Demetrius, who had built a large business and enriched many craftsmen by manufacturing silver shrines for the Greek goddess Artemis. # 19:24 Also known as Diana. She was venerated as the daughter of Zeus and the sister of Apollo.
25-26Demetrius called a meeting of his employees, along with all the various tradespeople of Ephesus, and said, “You know that our prosperous livelihood is being threatened by this Paul, who is persuading crowds of people to turn away from our gods. # 19:25–26 The true worship of God threatens not only the political realm, but the spiritual and economic realm as well. Jesus compels men to adopt new values. We make a good living by doing what we do, but everywhere Paul goes, not only here in Ephesus but throughout western Turkey, # 19:25–26 Or “the [Roman] province of Asia [Minor].” he convinces people that there’s no such thing as a god made with hands. 27Our businesses are in danger of being discredited. And not only that, but the temple of our great goddess Artemis is being dishonored and seen as worthless. # 19:27 The temple of Artemis (Diana) is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. We must never put buildings or temples above the true worship of God. The Ephesians valued their goddess and economic standards more than truth. She is the goddess of all of western Turkey and is worshiped in all the world. But if this outrage continues, everyone everywhere will suffer the loss of her magnificent greatness.”
28When the people heard this, they were filled with boiling rage. They shouted over and over, “Artemis, the great goddess of the Ephesians!” 29The entire city was thrown into chaos as everyone rushed into the stadium together, # 19:29 The stadium of Ephesus has recently been discovered and is estimated to have held twenty-four thousand spectators. dragging with them Gaius # 19:29 Gaius’ name is a variant form of “lord.” There is speculation that he could be the man to whom the apostle John wrote his third letter (3 John). and Aristarchus, # 19:29 Aristarchus’ name means “best ruler.” He was a native of Thessalonica (Acts 20:4; 27:2). He traveled often with Paul and is also mentioned in Col. 4:10 and Philem. 24, called there Paul’s “fellow prisoner.” Church tradition states that he was martyred by Emperor Nero for loving and serving Jesus Christ. Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia.
30When Paul attempted to go in and speak to the massive crowd, the disciples wouldn’t let him. 31Some of the high-ranking governmental officials of the region, because they loved him, # 19:31 As translated from the Aramaic. sent Paul an urgent message, saying, “Whatever you do, don’t step foot into that stadium!”
32The frenzied crowd shouted out one thing, and others shouted something else, until they were all in mass confusion, with many not even knowing why they were there!
33Some of the Jews pushed forward a Jewish man named Alexander to be their spokesman, and different factions of the crowd shouted instructions at him. He stood before the people and motioned for everyone to be quiet so he could be heard. 34But when he began to speak, they realized that he was a Jew, so they shouted him down. For nearly two hours they shouted over and over, “Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!” # 19:34 Artemis, the great goddess of the Ephesians, has faded from history, while we fill stadiums today for conferences and revivals and say, “Great is the God Most High!”
35Eventually the mayor of the city # 19:35 The Aramaic is “the city governor.” The Greek is “city clerk” or “scribe” (or “keeper of the records”). For all practical purposes he would be or represent the mayor of the city. was able to quiet them down. He said, “Fellow citizens! Who in the world doesn’t know that we are devoted to the great temple # 19:35 As translated from the Aramaic, the Greek is “custodians of the temple.” of Artemis and to her image that fell from Zeus out of heaven? # 19:35 The Aramaic is “her face that fell from heaven.” Much conjecture has been made over this statement. Some of the oldest translations have “fell from Zeus [Jupiter],” while most modern translations have “fell from the sky [heaven].” Some believe it was an aerolite that was fashioned into a stature of Artemis; however, Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and philosopher who died trying to save relatives from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, says it was made from wood, possibly ebony (Naturalis Historia 16.79.213–14). 36Since no one can deny it, you should all just be quiet. Calm down and don’t do anything hasty. 37For you have brought these men before us who aren’t guilty of any crime. They are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38So if Demetrius and the men of his trade have a case against someone, the courts are open. They can appear before the judge and press charges. 39But if you’re looking for anything further to bring up, it must be argued before the court and settled there, not here. 40Don’t you realize we’re putting our city in danger of being accused of a riot by the Roman authorities? There’s no good explanation we can give them for all this commotion!”
41After he had said this, he dispersed the crowds and sent them away.