Paul in Ephesus
1While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled through the interior of the province and arrived in Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
“We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit,” they answered.
3“Well, then, what kind of baptism did you receive?” Paul asked.
“The baptism of John,” they answered.
4 # Mt 3.11Mk 1.47–8Lk 3.416Jn 1.26–27 Paul said, “The baptism of John was for those who turned from their sins; and he told the people of Israel to believe in the one who was coming after him — that is, in Jesus.”
5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6Paul placed his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them; they spoke in strange tongues and also proclaimed God's message. 7They were about twelve men in all.
8Paul went into the synagogue and during three months spoke boldly with the people, holding discussions with them and trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God. 9But some of them were stubborn and would not believe, and before the whole group they said evil things about the Way of the Lord. So Paul left them and took the believers with him, and every day#19.9 Some manuscripts add from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. he held discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This went on for two years, so that all the people who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord.
The Sons of Sceva
11God was performing unusual miracles through Paul. 12Even handkerchiefs and aprons he had used were taken to those who were ill, and their diseases were driven away, and the evil spirits would go out of them. 13Some Jews who travelled round and drove out evil spirits also tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to do this. They said to the evil spirits, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.” 14Seven brothers, who were the sons of a Jewish High Priest named Sceva, were doing this.
15But the evil spirit said to them, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul; but you — who are you?”
16The man who had the evil spirit in him attacked them with such violence that he overpowered them all. They ran away from his house, wounded and with their clothes torn off. 17All the Jews and Gentiles who lived in Ephesus heard about this; they were all filled with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was given greater honour. 18Many of the believers came, publicly admitting and revealing what they had done. 19Many of those who had practised magic brought their books together and burnt them in public. They added up the price of the books, and the total came to 50,000 silver coins.#19.19 silver coins: A silver coin was the daily wage of a rural worker (see Mt 20.2). 20In this powerful way the word of the Lord#19.20 In this… Lord; or And so, by the power of the Lord, the message. kept spreading and growing stronger.
The Riot in Ephesus
21After these things had happened, Paul made up his mind#19.21 Paul made up his mind; or Paul, led by the Spirit, decided. to travel through Macedonia and Achaia and go on to Jerusalem. “After I go there,” he said, “I must also see Rome.” 22So he sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, to Macedonia, while he spent more time in the province of Asia.
23It was at this time that there was serious trouble in Ephesus because of the Way of the Lord. 24A certain silversmith named Demetrius made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis, and his business brought a great deal of profit to the workers. 25So he called them all together with others whose work was like theirs and said to them, “Men, you know that our prosperity comes from this work. 26Now, you can see and hear for yourselves what this fellow Paul is doing. He says that gods made by human hands are not gods at all, and he has succeeded in convincing many people, both here in Ephesus and in nearly the whole province of Asia. 27There is the danger, then, that this business of ours will get a bad name. Not only that, but there is also the danger that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will come to mean nothing and that her greatness will be destroyed — the goddess worshipped by everyone in Asia and in all the world!”
28As the crowd heard these words, they became furious and started shouting, “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!” 29The uproar spread throughout the whole city. The mob seized Gaius and Aristarchus, two Macedonians who were travelling with Paul, and rushed with them to the theatre. 30Paul himself wanted to go before the crowd, but the believers would not let him. 31Some of the provincial authorities, who were his friends, also sent him a message begging him not to show himself in the theatre. 32Meanwhile the whole meeting was in an uproar: some people were shouting one thing, others were shouting something else, because most of them did not even know why they had come together. 33Some of the people concluded that Alexander was responsible, since the Jews made him go up to the front. Then Alexander motioned with his hand for the people to be silent, and he tried to make a speech of defence. 34But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all shouted together the same thing for two hours: “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!”
35At last the town clerk was able to calm the crowd. “Fellow-Ephesians!” he said. “Everyone knows that the city of Ephesus is the keeper of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone that fell down from heaven. 36Nobody can deny these things. So then, you must calm down and not do anything reckless. 37You have brought these men here even though they have not robbed temples or said evil things about our goddess. 38If Demetrius and his workers have an accusation against anyone, we have the authorities and the regular days for court; charges can be made there. 39But if there is something more that you want, it will have to be settled in a legal meeting of citizens. 40For after what has happened today, there is the danger that we will be accused of a riot. There is no excuse for all this uproar, and we would not be able to give a good reason for it.” 41After saying this, he dismissed the meeting.