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Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul was visiting some places on the way to Ephesus. There he found some followers. Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

They said, “We have never even heard of a Holy Spirit!”

So he asked, “What kind of baptism did you have?”

They said, “It was the baptism that John[a] taught.”

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of changed hearts and lives. He told people to believe in the One who would come after him. That One is Jesus.”

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul laid his hands on them,[b] and the Holy Spirit came upon them. They began speaking different languages and prophesying. There were about 12 men in this group.

Paul went into the synagogue and spoke out boldly for three months. He talked with the Jews and persuaded them to accept the things he said about the kingdom of God. But some of the Jews became stubborn and refused to believe. These Jews said evil things about the Way of Jesus. All the people heard these things. So Paul left them and took the followers with him. He went to a place where a man named Tyrannus had a school. There Paul talked with people every day 10 for two years. Because of his work, every Jew and Greek in Asia heard the word of the Lord.

The Sons of Sceva

11 God used Paul to do some very special miracles. 12 Some people took handkerchiefs and clothes that Paul had used and put them on the sick. When they did this, the sick were healed and evil spirits left them.

13-14 But some Jews also were traveling around and making evil spirits go out of people. The seven sons of Sceva were doing this. (Sceva was a leading Jewish priest.) These Jews tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force the evil spirits out. They would say, “By the same Jesus that Paul talks about, I order you to come out!”

15 But one time an evil spirit said to these Jews, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

16 Then the man, who had the evil spirit in him, jumped on these Jews. He was much stronger than all of them. He beat them and tore their clothes off, so they ran away from the house. 17 All the people in Ephesus, Jews and Greeks, learned about this. They were filled with fear. And the people gave great honor to the Lord Jesus. 18 Many of the believers began to confess openly and tell all the evil things they had done. 19 Some of them had used magic. These believers brought their magic books and burned them before everyone. Those books were worth about 50,000 silver coins.[c]

20 So in a powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing.

Paul Plans a Trip

21 After these things, Paul made plans to go to Jerusalem. He planned to go through the countries of Macedonia and Southern Greece, and then on to Jerusalem. He said, “After I have been to Jerusalem, I must also visit Rome.” 22 Paul sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, ahead to Macedonia. He himself stayed in Asia for a while.

Trouble in Ephesus

23 But during that time, there was some serious trouble in Ephesus about the Way of Jesus. 24 There was a man named Demetrius, who worked with silver. He made little silver models that looked like the temple of the goddess Artemis.[d] The men who did this work made much money. 25 Demetrius had a meeting with these men and some others who did the same kind of work. He told them, “Men, you know that we make a lot of money from our business. 26 But look at what this man Paul is doing! He has convinced and turned away many people in Ephesus and in almost all of Asia! He says the gods that men make are not real. 27 There is a danger that our business will lose its good name. But there is also another danger: People will begin to think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is not important! Her greatness will be destroyed. And Artemis is the goddess that everyone in Asia and the whole world worships.”

28 When the men heard this, they became very angry. They shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The whole city became confused. The people grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus. (These two men were from Macedonia and were traveling with Paul.) Then all the people ran to the theater. 30 Paul wanted to go in and talk to the crowd, but the followers did not let him. 31 Also, some leaders of Asia were friends of Paul. They sent him a message, begging him not to go into the theater. 32 Some people were shouting one thing, and some were shouting another. The meeting was completely confused. Most of the people did not know why they had come together. 33 The Jews put a man named Alexander in front of the people. Some of them had told him what to do. Alexander waved his hand because he wanted to explain things to the people. 34 But when they saw that Alexander was a Jew, they all began shouting the same thing. They continued shouting for two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 Then the city clerk made the crowd be quiet. He said, “Men of Ephesus, everyone knows that Ephesus is the city that keeps the temple of the great goddess Artemis. All people know that we also keep her holy stone[e] that fell from heaven. 36 No one can say that this is not true. So you should be quiet. You must stop and think before you do anything. 37 You brought these men here, but they have not said anything evil against our goddess. They have not stolen anything from her temple. 38 We have courts of law, and there are judges. Do Demetrius and the men who work with him have a charge against anyone? They should go to the courts! That is where they can argue with each other! 39 Is there something else you want to talk about? It can be decided at the regular town meeting of the people. 40 I say this because some people might see this trouble today and say that we are rioting. We could not explain this because there is no real reason for this meeting.” 41 After the city clerk said these things, he told the people to go home.


  1. 18:25; 19:3 John John the Baptist, who preached to people about Christ’s coming (Matthew 3; Luke 3).
  2. 19:6 laid his hands on them Here, doing this was a sign to show that Paul had God’s authority or power to give these people special powers of the Holy Spirit.
  3. 19:19 50,000 silver coins Probably drachmas. One coin was enough to pay a man for working one day.
  4. 19:24 Artemis A Greek goddess that the people of Asia Minor worshiped.
  5. 19:35 holy stone Probably a meteorite or stone that the people thought looked like Artemis.

Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos(A) was at Corinth,(B) Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus.(C) There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit(D) when[a] you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism(E) was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”(F) On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.(G) When Paul placed his hands on them,(H) the Holy Spirit came on them,(I) and they spoke in tongues[b](J) and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

Paul entered the synagogue(K) and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.(L) But some of them(M) became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.(N) So Paul left them. He took the disciples(O) with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years,(P) so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia(Q) heard the word of the Lord.(R)

11 God did extraordinary miracles(S) through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured(T) and the evil spirits left them.

13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits(U) tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus(V) whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus,(W) they were all seized with fear,(X) and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.[c] 20 In this way the word of the Lord(Y) spread widely and grew in power.(Z)

21 After all this had happened, Paul decided[d] to go to Jerusalem,(AA) passing through Macedonia(AB) and Achaia.(AC) “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.”(AD) 22 He sent two of his helpers,(AE) Timothy(AF) and Erastus,(AG) to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia(AH) a little longer.

The Riot in Ephesus

23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.(AI) 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business.(AJ) 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus(AK) and in practically the whole province of Asia.(AL) He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all.(AM) 27 There is 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 the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”

28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”(AN) 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius(AO) and Aristarchus,(AP) Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia,(AQ) and all of them rushed into the theater together. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples(AR) would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.

32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another.(AS) Most of the people did not even know why they were there. 33 The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned(AT) for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”(AU)

35 The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians,(AV) doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples(AW) nor blasphemed our goddess. 38 If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen(AX) have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls.(AY) They can press charges. 39 If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40 As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.” 41 After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.


  1. Acts 19:2 Or after
  2. Acts 19:6 Or other languages
  3. Acts 19:19 A drachma was a silver coin worth about a day’s wages.
  4. Acts 19:21 Or decided in the Spirit

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