Paul evangelizes in Ephesus. He trains his disciples in a lecture hall. Non-Christians try to exorcize a demon in the name of Jesus. All of Ephesus riots.
VERSE 1. While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus and found certain disciples.
came to Ephesus. Ephesus became Paul’s base of operation during his third missionary journey.
VERSE 2. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said to him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit. This is a delightful admission. They had no idea that there even was a Holy Spirit.
In our day, the faith-life of many Christian believers almost mirrors the experience of the believers in Corinth. They scarcely know the presence of the Holy Spirit in their life.
VERSE 3. He said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.”
VERSE 4. Paul said, “John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”
baptism of repentance. Like Apollos, these Ephesian disciples knew only of John’s baptism, a sign of repentance toward God
baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. This is the only place in the New Testament where somebody is re-baptized.
VERSE 6. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke with other languages and prophesied.
laid his hands on them. In the early days, the Holy Spirit arrived by wind and fire at Pentecost. But later, the Holy Spirit usually arrived by the laying on of hands. Read more »
the Holy Spirit came on them. There must have been some mechanism by which they could tell that the Holy Spirit had arrived. Was it a mighty wind? Tongues of fire?
they spoke with other languages. After they received the Holy Spirit, this started. The languages might have been the languages of angels. Or they might have been human languages.
prophesied. After they received the Holy Spirit, they were able to prophecy.
Paul describes the laying on of hands as transmitting the Holy Spirit for ministry:
Acts 8:17. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 19:6. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke with other languages and prophesied.
1 Timothy 4:14. Don’t neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the elders.
1 Timothy 5:22. Lay hands hastily on no one. Don’t be a participant in other people’s sins. Keep yourself pure.
2 Timothy 1:6. For this cause, I remind you that you should stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
VERSE 7. They were about twelve men in all.
VERSE 8. He entered into the synagogue and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning God’s Kingdom.
a period of three months. Three months in a synagogue without a riot was something of a record for Paul. He was very, very bold for Jesus Christ. As were all the apostles.
When we walk with the LORD God, we can overcome our fears and be bold. As bold as a lion! Read more »
VERSE 9. But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
VERSE 10. This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
VERSE 11. God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul,
VERSE 12. so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out.
Exodus 30:29. You shall sanctify them, that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them shall be holy.
VERSE 13. But some of the itinerant Jews, exorcists, took on themselves to invoke over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
VERSE 14. There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this.
The evil spirit answered. In Corinth, God worked special miracles through Paul. He healed the sick and cast out demons. This was making Paul famous.
The local exorcists became jealous. They tried to cast out a demon. The demon replied to them:
Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you? Those local exorcists were such minor players that even the demons didn’t know their names.
VERSE 16. The man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
evil spirit was leaped on them. In our day, some people trivialize the ide of demonic possession. They describe it as ancient myths and legends. Don’t make that mistake!
they fled out of that house. If demonic possesion was a myth, exorcists would not have to flee for their lives.
naked and wounded. Again, if demonic possession was a myth, exorcists would not be naked and wounded.
VERSE 17. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
VERSE 18. Many also of those who had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds.
VERSE 19. Many of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. They counted their price, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.
the word of the Lord was growing. When we speak the words of God, they will spread. God’s words build people up. They encourage and inspire.
Some people think that God would speak words of condemnation. They think God would discourage people. They are convinced that God goes about ruining people’s days.
But it is clear from the Bible that God loves people. God meets people where they’re at and encourages them. He wants them to experience life, life to the full.
The LORD God is the God of Good News, not bad news. What Good News can you bring to the people in your life?
VERSE 21. Now after these things had ended, Paul determined 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.”
VERSE 22. Having sent into Macedonia two of those who served him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
VERSE 23. About that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way.
VERSE 24. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen,
VERSE 25. whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Sirs, you know that by this business we have our wealth.
VERSE 26. You see and hear that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods that are made with hands.
VERSE 27. Not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.”
VERSE 28. When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
VERSE 29. The whole city was filled with confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel.
VERSE 30. When Paul wanted to enter in to the people, the disciples didn’t allow him.
VERSE 31. Certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theater.
VERSE 32. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them didn’t know why they had come together.
VERSE 33. They brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made a defense to the people.
VERSE 34. But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice for a time of about two hours cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
with one voice for … two hours cried out. By preaching Jesus Christ, Paul really stirred things up in Ephesus. For two hours, about 5,000 angry men were screaming.
Do you speak of Jesus Christ? Has you ever stirred things up?
VERSE 35. When the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, “You men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus?
the town clerk. In our day, we would say “the mayor.”
VERSE 36. Seeing then that these things can’t be denied, you ought to be quiet and to do nothing rash.
VERSE 37. For you have brought these men here, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess.
VERSE 38. If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a matter against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another.
VERSE 39. But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the regular assembly.
VERSE 40. For indeed we are in danger of being accused concerning today’s riot, there being no cause. Concerning it, we wouldn’t be able to give an account of this commotion.”
VERSE 41. When he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.