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Bible Commentaries
Acts 19

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A Book Burning And An Uproar Acts Nineteen

Paul went to Ephesus after Apollos had left for Corinth. At Ephesus he found about twelve men that believed, but they knew only the John's baptism. John's baptism was a baptism of repentance looking for the coming of Christ.

Paul asked these men if they had received the Holy Ghost. They had not even heard of the Holy Ghost. In the early days of the church baptized believers were given miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the apostles’ hands. ( Act_8:14-15 ) These men were gladly baptized when they learned that baptism into Christ puts a person into a saved relationship with God. After their baptism, (1) Paul laid his hands on them, (2) the Holy Ghost came on them, and (3) they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.

Paul went into the synagogue at Ephesus for about three months. He spoke with power about Christ and His kingdom. Many Jews were stubborn and refused to believe. They said horrible things about God's Way. Paul took the believers to the school of Tyrannus where he taught them daily. This teaching continued for two years. The result was that "all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus."

During this time God gave Paul the power to work great miracles. Certain evil people started going about claming to do the same kind of things that Paul did. Seven son of Sceva were among that number. They called the name of Jesus over a man that was possessed with evil spirits. The evil spirits said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" The man with the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them down and they ran out of the house, naked and bruised.

The things that happened to these men caused many to fear. They confessed their deeds and burned their books dealing with the subject of witchcraft. The result was that the word of God grew mightily and prevailed.

While Paul remained at Ephesus some people caused serious trouble for the Lord's Way. Demetrius stirred up the people against Christians. He made his living making silver images of the goddess Diana. As people became Christians he was losing income. Demetrius stirred all that were of the same craft as he. When the mob came together they shouted, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians" for the space of about two hours. Soon the whole city was in a riot.

They caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel; they rushed to the place where the town meetings were held. Paul wanted to speak to the people but the disciples would not allow him to take such a risk. In typical mob fashion everyone was completely confused, and most of them did not even know why they were there.

A smart man with some common sense told the people that Demetrius and his workers should take their complaint to the judges and the courts. He said that the people could easily be accused of starting a riot for which there was no excuse.

Verses 1-10

Twelve men were baptized at Ephesus Act_19:1-10 : Paul went to Ephesus after Apollos had gone to Corinth. At Ephesus he met some disciples that had been baptized with John's baptism. The way that Paul knew that something was wrong with their baptism was when he asked if they had received the Holy Ghost (miraculous gift by the laying on of the apostles hands). They said they had not even heard of the Holy Ghost. They were then baptized with Christ's baptism. After their baptism "Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

Both John's baptism and Christ's baptism were preceded by repentance. Remission of sins was the result of both. However, the baptism of the great commission puts the believer into Christ. This baptism is done in the name of Christ or by His authority.

For three months Paul went into the Jewish synagogue "disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God." But some spoke so terribly of God's way that Paul took the believers and started teaching daily in the school of Tyrannus. He taught there for two years and the result was that all Jew and Gentile in Asia had heard the Lord's message.

Verses 11-20

Books about witchcraft were burned Act_19:11-20 : God blessed Paul with the power to work great miracles. Many sick people were healed and evil sprits were cast out. Some vagabond Jews took it upon them to call the name of the Jesus whom Paul preached over them that had evil spirits. Seven sons of Sceva were doing this.

The evil spirit answered the sons of Sceva by saying, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?" The man with the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them down. They ran out of the house, naked and wounded. This caused the Jews and Greeks to fear and the name of the Lord to be magnified. As people began to talk about what had happened those that had been practicing witchcraft brought their books and burned them in public. This caused the word of God to grow and prevail.

Verses 21-34

Demetrius caused a riot in Ephesus Act_19:21-34 : Paul planned to go to Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem, and then to also see Rome. Christianity (That Way) is always in conflict with the evils of the world. At Ephesus Demetrius, a silversmith, that made images to the goddess Diana cause a public riot. He earned a lot of money that he would lose if people turned from idol worship.

The people shouted "Great is Diana of the Ephesians" for about two hours. The entire city was filled with confusion. Paul wanted to try to speak to the people, but the disciples would not allow him to do so. Demetrius had stirred up an out of control mob. "Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together."

Verses 35-41

A town clerk used common sense Act_19:35-41 : Finally, a town official that had some common sense begged the mob to "be quiet, and to do nothing rashly." He suggested that if Demetrius and his workers have a legal case against these Christian that they should take them to court. He said, "We have courts and judges. Let them take their complaints there."

He also explained that if they were not satisfied there that the matter should be considered by a lawful assembly. He said that there was no excuse for being accused of starting a riot. He knew they could not give a reason for this uproar. With this thought he dismissed the people.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 19". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/acts-19.html. 2014.
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