Paul Arrives at Ephesus and the Twelve Disciples
Acts 19:1-7 (Early Summer AD 52)
(1) While Apollos was ministering in Corinth, Paul walked the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus (after leaving Syrian Antioch, Paul had traveled around nine weeks covering about 800 miles/1300 km to Ephesus).
In Ephesus Paul found some disciples (2) and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said, “No, we have never heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (3) So Paul asked them, “Then what baptism did you receive?” They said, “The baptism of John.” (4) Paul said, “John’s baptism was a water baptism of repentance, because he told the people to believe in the one coming after him, who was Jesus.”
(5) On hearing this from Paul, they were water-baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) After being baptized in water, Paul placed his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came on them. They began speaking in spiritual languages (tongues) and prophesied. (7) There were about 12 men in all.
Paul in the Synagogue and the School of Tyrannus
Acts 19:8-10 (Summer 52-Fall AD 54)
(8) Paul went into the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months (summer AD 52), debating persuasively about the kingdom of God. (9) But some of the Jews’ hearts became hardened and stubborn. They refused to believe and publicly said evil things about the Way of Jesus.
So Paul left the synagogue and took the disciples with him and led daily discussions (probably teaching daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. (10) Because Paul taught daily for two years (Fall AD 52 to Fall AD 54), all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the Roman province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
Paul’s Miracles and the Turning Away From Magic
(11) God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, (12) so that even his work handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were healed and demons left them.
(13) Some Jews who went around Ephesus casting out demons tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed (demonized). They would say to the demons, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”
(14) The seven sons of Sceva—a Jewish chief priest—were doing this. (15) One day a demon said to them, “I know Jesus and I know Paul, but who are you?” (16) Then the man who was demon-possessed (demonized) jumped on them and overpowered them. The demonized man brutally beat them, and they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. (17) When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all overcome with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.
(18) After this, many believers came and openly confessed what they had done. (19) A number of these believers who had practiced sorcery and magic brought their occult scrolls together and burned them in public. When they added up the value of all the scrolls, the total came to around 50,000 coins (one drachma coin was worth about a day’s wage).
(20) In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Paul Decides to Leave Ephesus
(21) After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem by first traveling through the Roman provinces of Macedonia and Achaia in Greece. He said, “After I go to Jerusalem I must also visit Rome.”
(22) Paul sent two of his mission partners—Timothy and Erastus—to the Roman province of Macedonia, while he remained in the Roman province of Asia a little longer.
The Artemis Protest in the Ephesus Theater
Acts 19:23-41 (March-April AD 55)
(23) About that time a major disturbance broke out in Ephesus about the Way of Jesus. (24) A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen in Ephesus. (25) He called them together (probably in Ephesus’ large lower commercial agora near the large theater), along with the workers in related trades, and said, “My friends, you know that we make a good income from our business. (26) And you can see and hear how this man Paul has persuaded and led astray large numbers of people in Ephesus and in almost the whole province of Asia. He says that handmade gods are no gods at all. (27) We are in danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and Artemis herself—who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world—will be robbed of her divine majesty.”
(28) When the crowd heard this, they were furious and started shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (29) Soon all of Ephesus was in a major uproar. Some people grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus—Paul’s traveling partners from the Roman province of Macedonia—and all of them ran together into the great theater of Ephesus. (30) Paul wanted to speak to the crowd in the theater, but the disciples would not let him. (31) Even some of the high-ranking officials (known as the Asiarchs) of the Roman province of Asia, who were friends with Paul, sent him a message begging him not to go into the theater.
(32) The crowd in the theater was in total confusion: They were all shouting different things. Most of the people did not even know why they had gathered in the theater. (33) The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for everyone to be quiet, so that he could make a defense before them. (34) But when the people realized that he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
(35) The city clerk of Ephesus quieted the crowd and said, “Listen to me, citizens of Ephesus! Everyone in the world knows that Ephesus is the temple keeper (neokoros) of the temple of the great Artemis and of her sacred stone image that fell from heaven. (36) Therefore, since these are undeniable facts, you must quiet down and do nothing that is illegal according to Roman law. (37) You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess Artemis. (38) If Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a legal charge against anyone, the courts are open, and they can bring charges before the Roman governors. (39) And if there are additional charges you want to bring forth, then they must be resolved in a legal meeting of the citizens (this legal meeting took place three times a year). (40) Because of the events today, Ephesus is in danger of being charged with illegal rioting by the Roman authorities (which could cause Roman intervention against the city of Ephesus). If this was to happen, we would not be able to give a reason for this chaotic uprising.” (41) After the city clerk said this, he dismissed the unruly crowd.