Summary of Acts 19:
Paul is now in Ephesus and he runs into some disciples who had not been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (this shows us still just how much misunderstanding and confusion abounded during these early days of the Church) so Paul re-baptized them.
Paul spoke in the synagogue there fore 3 months but left when some Jews were barring the Way. He moved to the lecture hall (or gymnasium) of Tyrannus and spoke for 2 years to all the Jews and Greeks in Asia (what we call Asia Minor). God did extraordinary miracles through Paul during this time and when the Seven Sons of Sceva tried to mimic him for their own personal gain, they were set upon by the evil spirit and beaten badly.
Yet God used this for when word spread of what happened to the Sons many more were converted and repented of their sorcery. Others saw this and converted as well.
Then Paul decided it was time to move on. He sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia while he planned to go to Jerusalem. Before he left, a riot broke out instigated by the craftsmen who were losing business since Artemis was slowly being replaced by Jesus. Finally, a city clerk had to quiet the crowd by saying they either bring up charges or be charged with rioting. The group quickly disassembled.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 3: Acts 19
6) Paul said that John’s baptism is a baptism of repentance and to believe in Jesus who was coming after him. It was not necessarily for salvation. After that, they are baptized into the name of Jesus. They then believed and received the Holy Spirit.
7) Part Personal Question. My answer: Paul began in the synagogues (as usual) and preached there for about 3 months until some of the Jews became obstinate. So he moved his teaching to the lecture hall (or gymnasium) of Tyrannus where he preached for 2 years. He performed miracles and spread the Word to most of Asia (Asia Minor).
Paul then decides it is time to move on to Jerusalem via Macedonia and Achaia but before that happens a riot breaks out in Ephesus, led by the craftsmen who are losing customers as more people convert to Christianity.
It’s encouraging because when people became difficult, Paul moved on. We need to at some point leave belief up to God. Badgering people won’t do us any good.
8 ) Part Personal Question. My answer: We see here the seven sons of Sceva trying to drive out evil spirits, but if it’s not from God, the whole process could backfire. They failed because they had no personal relationship with Jesus. The people became frightened when they found out that the seven sons of Sceva were beaten. However, they did confess their sins and evil deeds and burn their sorcery scrolls, so good did come out of it. It made them fear the Lord and the demons, and God’s name was magnified.
9) The riot was caused by a group of silversmiths who were upset that their idol trade was being disrupted because of the number of converts to Christianity. They rose up against Paul, and in the process, others rioted as well, many not knowing why. The crowd was quieted and dispersed. God wants things done the right way, not cutting corners for demons or for work.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 3: Acts 19
I see again the message of doing what is right over what is evil (2 Thessalonians 3:13) from the riot. The Seven Sons of Sceva felt first hand what it is like to mess around with evil spirits. People today take this lightly (like palm-reading and contacting the dead and the occult and such) but God does not.
We learned the importance of being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and how powerful that is. You must accept Jesus or you won’t receive the Holy Spirit and eternal life. Anything else falls short of this.
We see mob mentality and how powerful it is. I actually blogged about this in relation to Jesus’ death (see post HERE). The power of people to “follow the crowd” is real and something we must always be wary of. It is outside the confines of the government authority and therefore something we should not obey since it is not in God’s authority.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 3: Acts 19
Paul is now in Ephesus. Paul was last in Ephesus on his way back from Corinth on his second missionary journey. Now he came from the east, arriving in Ephesus from the region of Phrygia. He came back to Ephesus as he had promised in Acts 18:21.
It may be that this was not the core group of disciples that Paul originally spoke to in Ephesus (Acts 18:19-21) and whom Aquila and Priscilla were left behind to serve. Aquila and Priscilla were with Paul for a year and a half in Corinth, and it seems from his letters to the Corinthians that Paul taught them about the Person and the work of the Holy Spirit. They knew enough to be saved and to be students of Jesus (they were called disciples), but they didn’t know much about all Jesus did for us, especially in His promise to send the Holy Spirit when He ascended to heaven.
They were in the same place as Apollos before Aquila and Priscilla explained the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:24-26).
They could have received John’s baptism from the hands of John himself; or perhaps from some of John’s disciples who continued on in his ministry after John’s death.
Paul wrote the letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians during his stay in the city of Ephesus at this time, and 1 Corinthians has much to say about person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Bible scholars debate if these disciples were actually Christians when this scene takes place. It is difficult to say with certainty if they were already Christians or not, but one can say with certainty that Paul perceived they lacked something of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
God always wants us to go deeper. We tend to sip where we could drink deeply; we drink deeply where we could wade in, and we wade in where we could plunge in and swim. Most of us need to be encouraged to go deeper and further into the things of the Holy Spirit.
Paul had an extended time of preaching in the synagogue, but eventually, the influence of the Jews who rejected the message drove him out. He then resumed his teaching in the hall of a Gentile teacher named Tyrannus.
One ancient writing says that Paul held his meetings at the school of Tyrannus from eleven in the morning to four in the afternoon. This was the time most people rested from work, including Paul, who worked to support himself while in Ephesus (Acts 20:34-35). These also may have been the “off hours” for the school of Tyrannus.
Paul taught daily. Considering he stayed in Ephessus for two years, this meant many hundreds of hours of teaching. It is no wonder that the work in Ephesus was so broad and effective.
By himself, there was no way that Paul could reach this region. But he could equip Christians to do the work of the ministry, just as he described in Ephesians 4:11-12.
Miracles in Ephesus
It was unusual for God to use handkerchiefs or aprons in such a way. We don’t really know how this worked, other than the same way that the shadow of Peter (Acts 5:15) or the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 14:36) might heal. God will stoop down to meet us even in our crude superstitions. This never means that God is pleased with our superstition, but that in His mercy He may overlook them to meet a need.
The Seven Sons of Sceva
At that time, there were Jewish exorcists who practiced their trade with a lot of superstition and ceremony. Here, a group of them tried to imitate what they though was Paul’s formula for success. However, these Jewish exorcists failed because they had no personal relationship with Jesus.
“Ephesus was a stronghold of Satan. Here many evil things both superstitious and satanic were practiced. Books containing formula for sorcery and other ungodly and forbidden arts were plentiful in that city.” (Gaebelein)
The value of fifty thousand pieces of silver today has been estimated at anywhere between $1 million and $5 million. Christians must purge thier world today, removing books, images, computer files, statues, charms, games, or whatever else might have connection with demonic spirits. They should also destroy them so they are of no use to others.
Paul Moves On Towards Rome
Paul decides to travel through Macedonia and Achaia, then to Jerusalem and Rome. He had to collect and deliver a fund he had been collecting from other churches to help out the church in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-31; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4).
Paul’s passion to visit and serve the Christian community in Rome is mentioned in Romans 1:8-15.
Paul sent Timothy and Erastus on ahead to Macedonia, while he stayed in Ephesus (Asia) for a time.
A significant part of the work of Timothy and Erastus was simply to help Paul. They were truly assistants to the apostle, helping Paul to maximize his ministry.
Demetrius the Idol Maker
For the third time in Acts (and the second time in this chapter), the Christian movement is called the Way.
Temple of Diana in Ephesus
This huge temple to Diana (also known as Artemis) in Ephesus was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was supported by 127 pillars, each 60 feet high, and was decorated with great sculptures. It was lost to history until it was discovered in 1869, and its main altar was unearthed in 1965.
“The epicenter of Artemis worship was a black meteorite that either resembled or had been fashioned into a grotesque image of a woman. The lower part was wrapped like a mummy…the idol was covered with breasts, symbolizing fertility.” (Hughes)
“The Temple of Artemis was also a major treasury and bank of the ancient world, where merchants, kings, and even cities made deposits, and where their money could be kept safe under the protection of deity.” (Longenecker)
The temple of Diana in Ephesus was indeed famous around the world. The trinkets and idols from it must have been a substantial trade, no matter how immoral the worship of the sex-goddess was.
As people came to Jesus, they naturally stopped worshipping Diana and buying shrines associated with the temple.
Christianity should affect the economy – not just personally, but in a community as well. This effect will not always be welcomed. In Ephesus, business was down at the pagan shrines because of the transforming work of the Jesus Christ. This happens again and again as Jesus does His work. For example, a Roman official named Pliny later wrote a letter to another official named Trajan, describing how people were not going to shrines anymore because of Christian influence. Pliny wanted to know what he should do about it. This is how we should endeavor to change society.
When God moves among His people and they become very serious about their Christianity, that it affects the livelihood of those who trade in vice or immorality.
For two hours the mob shouted, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”
God used the city clerk (equivalent to town mayor today) to calm the mob and end the immediate threat to Paul and the other Christians. God had preserved His work, and His people, again.
Assembly in Acts19:41 is the Greek word ekklesia, the same word used for “church.” It was a non-religious term used to describe a gathering or association of people.