Paul Goes to Ephesus
1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road to Ephesus. When he arrived, he found some believers there. 2He 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."
3So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?"
"John's baptism," they replied.
4Paul 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." 5After hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6Paul placed his hands on them. Then the Holy Spirit came on them. They spoke in languages they had not known before. They also prophesied. 7There were about 12 of them in all.
8Paul entered the synagogue. There he spoke boldly for three months. He tried to talk the people into accepting his teaching about God's kingdom. 9But 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. 10This went on for two years. So all the Jews and Greeks who lived in Asia Minor heard the word of the Lord.
11God did amazing miracles through Paul. 12Even 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.
13Some 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." 14Seven sons of Sceva were doing this. Sceva was a Jewish chief priest. 15One day the evil spirit answered them, "I know Jesus. And I know about Paul. But who are you?" 16Then 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.
17The 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. 18Many who believed now came and openly admitted the evil they had done. 19A 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.
20The word of the Lord spread everywhere. It became more and more powerful.
21After 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." 22He sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, to Macedonia. But he stayed a little longer in Asia Minor.
Trouble in Ephesus
23At that time many people became very upset about the Way of Jesus. 24There 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. 25One 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. 26You 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. 27Our 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."
28When they heard this, they became very angry. They began shouting, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 29Soon 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. 30Paul wanted to appear in front of the crowd. But the believers wouldn't let him. 31Some of the officials in Asia Minor were friends of Paul. They sent him a message, begging him not to go into the theater.
32The 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. 33The 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. 34But 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.
35The 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. 36These 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. 38Demetrius 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. 39Is there anything else you want to bring up? Settle it in a court of law. 40As 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." 41After he said this, he sent the people away.
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