Acts 19

Acts 123456, 7, 89101112131415161718, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28


Acts 19:1

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ τὸν Ἀπολλῶ εἶναι ἐν Κορίνθῳ Παῦλον διελθόντα τὰ ἀνωτερικὰ μέρη ἐλθεῖν εἰς Ἔφεσον καὶ εὑρεῖν τινας μαθητάς,

Now it was, while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul, passing through the upper parts came to Ephesus and found some disciples.

Paraphrase:  Let’s leave Apollos in Corinth and return to Paul.  Recall that he had been visiting the churches in Phrygia and Galatia.  When he had wrapped this up, he made his way down to Ephesus in keeping with the promise he had made to them on a previous occasion. (Acts 18:21)  When he arrived, he enjoyed getting to know the Christians in Ephesus.  Some of these Christians, however, gave Paul a surprise.


The article τῷ belongs with εἶναι making it an articular infinitive.  For τὸν Ἀπολλῶ, see principle 23.


Acts 19:2

εἶπέν τε πρὸς αὐτούς· Εἰ πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἐλάβετε πιστεύσαντες; οἱ δὲ πρὸς αὐτόν· Ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ εἰ πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἔστιν ἠκούσαμεν.

He said to them, “If the Holy Spirit, you received believing?”  But to him they [said], “On the contrary, not even if the Holy Spirit is, we have heard.” 

Paraphrase:  Here’s what happened.  As Paul was getting to know the Christians in Ephesus, he met a number of them who had only recently joined their number.  Paul was surprised just how little they knew about the person and work of Jesus and next to nothing about the Holy Spirit.  In conversation with these disciples, Paul had asked them about their life and walk with God, their faith in Christ, and whether they were living and walking in the power of the Spirit. (Romans 8:4-16; Galatians 5:25)  Especially when Paul mentioned the Holy Spirit, these men looked puzzled.  “Has the Holy Spirit been poured out on God’s people as our teacher promised He would?” (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8)  “John had told us to look for this, but we hadn’t heard anything about it actually happening.”  Paul was shocked that these men had joined with the Christians in Ephesus and yet were still ignorant of what God had done for His people on the day of Pentecost.


The interpretive question here is whether these people were Christians as the word μαθητάς (v1) would imply.  Furthermore, they are here said to have “believed,” but how is it possible that such people had never even heard of the Holy Spirit?  Even the Old Testament saints knew about the Holy Spirit.  Furthermore, John the Baptizer, whose disciples these were, knew of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16)  Alexander writes: “That they [these disciples] had literally never heard of His [Holy Spirit] existence is incredible even if they were mere Jews whose Scriptures contain references to Him.”  and Bengel as well: “They could not have followed either Moses or John the Baptist, without hearing of the Holy Ghost.”

  1. Are they perhaps not Christians, and Paul calls them disciples in the judgment of charity since they were gathering with the other believers but without really knowing if they had been baptized as Christians?  Michael Green: “It is crystal clear that these disciples were in no sense Christians.” Stott, The Message of Acts, 304.
  2. Does disciples here mean disciples of John, not disciples of Jesus?  Note that Paul does assume here that they have believed which may be an incorrect assumption on his part especially seeing as he later baptizes them.  Marshall says that “the New Testament does not recognize the possibility of being a Christian apart from possession of the Spirit.”  Marshall, Acts, 323.
  3. Are they Christians like Apollos previously who had a true knowledge of Christ but was still deficient knowledge in his knowledge?  Why then are these rebaptized but Apollos was not (that we read of)?
  4. Perhaps the last clause of this verse is to be understood as, “We have not yet heard that the Holy Spirit has come” and it’s the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost of which they had not yet heard.  Thus, they knew about the person of the Holy Spirit but were not yet aware that He had come as John the Baptizer had promised.

Lightfoot makes an interesting comment:  “Others at Ephesus there were, that were no farther gone in Christianity neither, than the knowledge of the baptism of John: Paul asks them, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost?” they answer, “We have not yet so much as heard, whether the Holy Ghost be.” In which words, they refer to a common and a true tenet of the nation, which was, that after the death of Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, the Holy Ghost departed from Israel and went up:’ and they profess, they had never yet heard of his restoring. And it is very probable, that they had never heard of Jesus; whom when Paul had preached to them, they embrace; and the text saith, “They were then baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.””


Acts 19:3

εἶπέν τε· Εἰς τί οὖν ἐβαπτίσθητε; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· Εἰς τὸ Ἰωάννου βάπτισμα.

Then he said, “Into who, then, were you baptized?”  and they said, “Into John’s Baptism.” 

Paraphrase:  “Wait,” said Paul, “How can you not have heard about the outpouring of the Spirit on the people of God?  Weren’t you baptized?  Were you not taught that your baptism in water is a sign and picture of your being baptized with the Spirit of God? (Mark 1:8)  How could you have received Christian baptism and not have heard of the Holy Spirit baptism of which it is a sign?”  “We were baptized with John’s baptism.” they replied, “Isn’t that good enough?”




Acts 19:4

εἶπεν δὲ Παῦλος· Ἰωάννης ἐβάπτισεν βάπτισμα μετανοίας, τῷ λαῷ λέγων εἰς τὸν ἐρχόμενον μετ’ αὐτὸν ἵνα πιστεύσωσιν, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.

Then Paul said, “John baptized a baptism of repentance saying to the people in order that they might believe in the One coming after him; this is into Jesus.

Paraphrase:  “Oh no!” said Paul.  “John’s baptism is not sufficient.  You cannot receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit from John’s baptism.  This is because John’s baptism was meant to lead people to repentance in order to prepare them to receive the coming Messiah.  You can only receive the Holy Spirit by believing in the One to whom John pointed.  Don’t you remember what John always used to say, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”? (John 1:29, 36)  Well this Lamb of God has come, and His Name is Jesus.  He is the Savior of the world and no one can receive the power of the Holy Spirit until they put their trust in Him.



Acts 19:5

ἀκούσαντες δὲ ἐβαπτίσθησαν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ·

Now when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paraphrase:  When these men heard Paul tell them that the baptism of John was itself meant to lead them to the true Messiah, they immediately inquired from Paul what they should do?  Paul told them to turn from John the Baptizer and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to become disciples of Jesus.  Then, they would be saved with their families.  This they did, and Paul took them that very hour and baptized them and their families into the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Then these disciples were delighted to learn all the truth which they had missed being disciples of John the Baptizer.  Day after day, they sat at Paul’s feet, as well as that of Priscilla and Aquilla, and learned all they could about the person and work of the Holy Spirit and all that He does in the life of those who believe in Jesus.



Acts 19:6

καὶ ἐπιθέντος αὐτοῖς τοῦ Παύλου χεῖρας ἦλθε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτούς, ἐλάλουν τε γλώσσαις καὶ ἐπροφήτευον.

and when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them.  They were speaking in tongues and prophesying. 

Paraphrase:  After each man had been baptized, Paul took them as a group, laid his hands on them, and blessed them in the Name of God.  Immediately, the Spirit of God came down on these men with great power, and the same thing which the believers had witnessed on the day of Pentecost was now repeated. (Acts 2:4)  These twelve men began to speak in other languages and were receiving and relating words of knowledge they had received from God Himself.  When the church in Ephesus heard of this, they rejoiced with these brothers, and gladly welcomed them into their assembly as full members of the church of Christ.


I understand this to be a repetition of what had taken place in Acts 2.  In the books of Acts, there are three occasions when Spirit-baptism was accompanied by speaking in tongues:  the Jewish-Pentecost in Acts 2; the Gentile-Pentecost in Acts 10, and this occasion in Ephesus.  If we are correct that this was another baptism with the Spirit such as had first taken place in Acts 2, then these tongues were real, recognizable languages spoken by these men, not the tongues which were in the Corinthian church which were no recognizable language. (1 Corinthians 14:2)  In the case of Cornelius, Luke explicitly says that it was the same as the Acts 2 event. (Acts 10:47).


Acts 19:7

ἦσαν δὲ οἱ πάντες ἄνδρες ὡσεὶ δώδεκα.

Now all men were about twelve.

Paraphrase:  There were about twelve of these men who had been baptized into the Name of Jesus.



Acts 19:8

Εἰσελθὼν δὲ εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν ἐπαρρησιάζετο ἐπὶ μῆνας τρεῖς διαλεγόμενος καὶ πείθων περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ.

Then entering into the synagogue, he boldly proclaimed for three months reasoning and persuading about the kingdom of God.

Paraphrase:  Now Paul’s ministry in Ephesus followed his usual pattern of speaking to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. (Romans 1:16)  Thus, Paul started in the synagogue where he engaged the rabbis in vigorous discourse about the Messiah and the kingdom He was establishing.


On the Kingdom of God, see Vos.


Acts 19:9

ὡς δέ τινες ἐσκληρύνοντο καὶ ἠπείθουν κακολογοῦντες τὴν ὁδὸν ἐνώπιον τοῦ πλήθους, ἀποστὰς ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ἀφώρισεν τοὺς μαθητάς, καθ’ ἡμέραν διαλεγόμενος ἐν τῇ σχολῇ Τυράννου.

But when certain were being hardened and were disobedient cursing the Way before the multitude, withdrawing from them, he separated the disciples each day reasoning in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

Paraphrase:  Over time, a good number of the Jewish people in the synagogue became increasingly frustrated with Paul and finally refused to have anything to do with him anymore.  They even went so far as publicly to call down curses on the Christians.  Just as had happened previously (Acts 18:6), Paul saw that his ministry with the Jews was at an end, and he turned to the Gentiles. (Matthew 10:14)  Paul told those Jews who were sympathetic to his message that they were welcome to come with him and to continue the discussion in another place.  This they did and eventually they all found their way into the lecture hall of a teacher who was nicknamed “The Tyrant.”  Here Paul engaged the scholars in discourse always being careful to move the discussion to the all encompassing claim of Christ’s Lordship.  



Acts 19:10

τοῦτο δὲ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ ἔτη δύο, ὥστε πάντας τοὺς κατοικοῦντας τὴν Ἀσίαν ἀκοῦσαι τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου, Ἰουδαίους τε καὶ Ἕλληνας.

Now this was for two years so that all the dwellers in Asia heard the word of the Lord, Jews and Greeks.

Paraphrase:  This ministry Paul carried on for roughly two years with such results that nearly all of Asia heard the gospel of Jesus Christ including both Jewish people and Gentile. 


κατοικοῦντας is the accusative agent of the infinitive ἀκοῦσαι.


Acts 19:11

Δυνάμεις τε οὐ τὰς τυχούσας ὁ θεὸς ἐποίει διὰ τῶν χειρῶν Παύλου,

God was doing powerful things, not of common experience, through the hands of Paul.

Paraphrase:  Now at this time, God had given Paul the power to perform powerful miracles which were far beyond what anyone had ever seen or heard.



Acts 19:12

ὥστε καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀσθενοῦντας ἀποφέρεσθαι ἀπὸ τοῦ χρωτὸς αὐτοῦ σουδάρια ἢ σιμικίνθια καὶ ἀπαλλάσσεσθαι ἀπ’ αὐτῶν τὰς νόσους, τά τε πνεύματα τὰ πονηρὰ ἐκπορεύεσθαι.

so that even to the sick, cloths and aprons were carried from his body and to release from them the sicknesses and the evil spirits to depart.

Paraphrase:  For example, even the cloths Paul used to wipe his brow or an apron which he may have worn were taken to the sick and they would be healed.  The terrifying, evil spirits which tormented certain people were forced to leave their victims and to torment them no longer.



Acts 19:13

ἐπεχείρησαν δέ τινες καὶ τῶν περιερχομένων Ἰουδαίων ἐξορκιστῶν ὀνομάζειν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἔχοντας τὰ πνεύματα τὰ πονηρὰ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ λέγοντες· Ὁρκίζω ὑμᾶς τὸν Ἰησοῦν ὃν Παῦλος κηρύσσει.

Now certain of the Jewish, itinerant exorcists attempted to name on those having evil spirits the Name of the Lord Jesus saying, “I solemnly demand you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

Paraphrase:  At this time, there were many Jewish exorcists who either worked for a certain person (Acts 13:6) or who travelled about doing their business.  A group of these itinerant exorcists were very impressed with Paul’s ability to perform powerful miracles.  They thought that since Paul did all his miracles in the Name of Jesus, they would make use of this Name for themselves.  So they too called on evil spirits to leave their victims by invoking the Name of Jesus.  “I solemnly command you in the strong Name of the Jesus who Paul preaches to come out of this man!” they would say.



Acts 19:14

ἦσαν δέ τινος Σκευᾶ Ἰουδαίου ἀρχιερέως ἑπτὰ υἱοὶ τοῦτο ποιοῦντες.

Now seven sons of a certain Sceva, a Jewish high-priest were doing this.

Paraphrase:  Let me tell you about one particularly impressive example.  There was a Jewish man named Sceva who was one of the leading priests in the area.  This man had seven sons who claimed to be exorcists.  They too had decided to use the Name of Jesus to better improve their chances of having a successful exorcism.  One day, they were called to the house of a person who was terribly tormented with an evil spirit.  These seven sons went to the house (Acts 19:16) and triumphantly demanded in the Name of Jesus that the demon leave his victim and never return again.



Acts 19:15

ἀποκριθὲν δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ πονηρὸν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Τὸν Ἰησοῦν γινώσκω καὶ τὸν Παῦλον ἐπίσταμαι, ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνες ἐστέ;

But the evil spirit answered said to them, “Jesus I know and Paul I understand but you…who are you?

Paraphrase:  When the evil spirit heard this summons, he roared with rage.  “I know who Jesus is, and I know Paul, His servant, but who are you?!  Aren’t you one of my subjects, and are my subjects going to give me orders?!”



Acts 19:16

καὶ ἐφαλόμενος ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς ἐν ᾧ ἦν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ πονηρὸν κατακυριεύσας ἀμφοτέρων ἴσχυσεν κατ’ αὐτῶν, ὥστε γυμνοὺς καὶ τετραυματισμένους ἐκφυγεῖν ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου ἐκείνου.

and the man in whom was the evil spirit, pouncing on them subduing both, being strong against them so that naked and being wounded to flee out of that house.

Paraphrase:  With a dreadful howl of rage, the man who was possessed by the evil spirit pounced like a lion on both Sceva and his sons, threw them to the ground, and beat them mercilessly.  Screaming for their lives, Sceva and his sons finally managed to extricate themselves from the grasp of this demon several of them so desperate that they even left their clothes behind.  Naked and bleeding, they ran out of the house desperate to save their lives.  



Acts 19:17

τοῦτο δὲ ἐγένετο γνωστὸν πᾶσιν Ἰουδαίοις τε καὶ Ἕλλησιν τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν τὴν Ἔφεσον, καὶ ἐπέπεσεν φόβος ἐπὶ πάντας αὐτούς, καὶ ἐμεγαλύνετο τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ.

Now this became known, to all Jews and Greeks and to the residents of Ephesus and fear fell on all them and the Name of the Lord Jesus was honored.

Paraphrase:  When news of this spread throughout the city, everyone was astonished.  Jews, Greeks, and everyone in between were filled with a new found respect for the Person of Jesus Christ.



Acts 19:18

πολλοί τε τῶν πεπιστευκότων ἤρχοντο ἐξομολογούμενοι καὶ ἀναγγέλλοντες τὰς πράξεις αὐτῶν.

Then many of those who had believed, were coming confessing and reporting their practices.

Paraphrase:  Even among the believers, the effect was profound.  Men, women, and even whole families came to the elders of the church inquiring about certain practices whether they were God-honoring or not.  Many were deeply convicted by the fact that they too had given far too much credence to certain magical practices.


Farrar notes that “the stir produced by the discomfiture of the Benî [sons of] Sceva revealed the startling fact that some of the brethren in embracing Christianity had not abandoned magic.” source


Acts 19:19

ἱκανοὶ δὲ τῶν τὰ περίεργα πραξάντων συνενέγκαντες τὰς βίβλους κατέκαιον ἐνώπιον πάντων· καὶ συνεψήφισαν τὰς τιμὰς αὐτῶν καὶ εὗρον ἀργυρίου μυριάδας πέντε.

and many of those practicing magic, gathering up their books, were burning before all of them, and together they calculated the prices of them and found 50,000 silvers. 

Paraphrase:  The effect spread even to the exorcists themselves.  What a sight it was to see all these magicians gathering up the paraphernalia which they used in their magic arts, including all the scrolls containing the different spells which they cast, and heaping them up in a large pile.  Then, they put fire to it and burned it all to ashes.  Some calculated the value of all this material to be in the millions of dollars.


Each of these silvers would have been roughly a days wage.


Acts 19:20

οὕτως κατὰ κράτος τοῦ κυρίου ὁ λόγος ηὔξανεν καὶ ἴσχυεν.

In this manner, according to the power of the Lord, the word grew and prevailed.

Paraphrase:  This is how so many people came to reject paganism in the great city of Ephesus and to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.  There are so many other stories of Jesus’ power which I could have told, but these are sufficient for you to see how Jesus prevailed over all that stood in His way.



Acts 19:21

Ὡς δὲ ἐπληρώθη ταῦτα, ἔθετο ὁ Παῦλος ἐν τῷ πνεύματι διελθὼν τὴν Μακεδονίαν καὶ Ἀχαΐαν πορεύεσθαι εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, εἰπὼν ὅτι Μετὰ τὸ γενέσθαι με ἐκεῖ δεῖ με καὶ Ῥώμην ἰδεῖν.


Acts 19:22

ἀποστείλας δὲ εἰς τὴν Μακεδονίαν δύο τῶν διακονούντων αὐτῷ, Τιμόθεον καὶ Ἔραστον, αὐτὸς ἐπέσχεν χρόνον εἰς τὴν Ἀσίαν.


Acts 19:23

Ἐγένετο δὲ κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν ἐκεῖνον τάραχος οὐκ ὀλίγος περὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ.

Now it came to pass, at that time, a commotion, not small, concerning the Way.

Paraphrase:  As the number of believers increased in the city of Ephesus, a violent backlash arose.  Resentment and even hatred of the Ephesian Christians increased on all sides.  It all came to a head one day at a meeting of the silversmith guild.



Acts 19:24

Δημήτριος γάρ τις ὀνόματι, ἀργυροκόπος, ποιῶν ναοὺς ἀργυροῦς Ἀρτέμιδος παρείχετο τοῖς τεχνίταις οὐκ ὀλίγην ἐργασίαν,

For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, making temples of silver of Artemis, was bringing to the artisans profit not small.

Paraphrase:  Now these silversmiths made a great deal of profit making miniature copies of the magnificent temple of Artemis, which was the boast of all Ephesus.  They sold these trinkets and other souvenirs both to the citizens of Ephesus and to tourists.  One of the leading men of this trade was a man named Demetrius.  This man had heard of the huge pile of magic paraphernalia that had been burned and was alarmed.  Clearly, when people became Christians, they no longer had any use for the old pagan religions.  Unfortunately for Demetrius and the other silversmiths, they relied on these pagan religions to keep up demand for the silver shrines which they produced and from which they made considerable profit.  Now that men and women throughout the city were going over to Paul’s way of thinking, the silversmith’s profits were in serious danger.  Quickly, this man summoned a meeting of the silversmith guild, and


See Ramsay on Demetrius and also on these shrines.


Acts 19:25

οὓς συναθροίσας καὶ τοὺς περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐργάτας εἶπεν· Ἄνδρες, ἐπίστασθε ὅτι ἐκ ταύτης τῆς ἐργασίας ἡ εὐπορία ἡμῖν ἐστιν,

who convening and those concerning the similar trades, said, “Men, you know that from this business is our prosperity.

Paraphrase:  the other guilds who had similar concerns.  “Men, sorry to have gathered you on such short notice, but the matter which I have to bring to your attention cannot wait.  You all know that our business depends on there being a strong demand for all the souvenirs, ornaments, and knickknacks which we all produce and sell.  You also know that the demand for these products is largely driven by the devotion of the people to Artemis and her temple.



Acts 19:26

καὶ θεωρεῖτε καὶ ἀκούετε ὅτι οὐ μόνον Ἐφέσου ἀλλὰ σχεδὸν πάσης τῆς Ἀσίας ὁ Παῦλος οὗτος πείσας μετέστησεν ἱκανὸν ὄχλον, λέγων ὅτι οὐκ εἰσὶν θεοὶ οἱ διὰ χειρῶν γινόμενοι.

and you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but nearly all Asia, this Paul, persuading, has turned away a large crowd saying that they are not gods becoming through hands.

Paraphrase:  Now, you all have probably heard of the itinerant teacher who has made such a stir in our city.  I found out today that his name is Paul and that he is teaching the people that anything made with human hands (Acts 7:48) is not a real deity but just the figment of someone’s imagination.  Now, hear me out men.  If this man were just another one of those travelling teachers or sophists, I would have kept my mouth shut, but this is not the case.  I am telling you, this man’s message is enjoying great popularity and growing numbers of people in our city have gone over to his way of thinking.  Furthermore, it’s not limited to our city; practically, the entire province of Asia has come under the spell of this man!



Acts 19:27

οὐ μόνον δὲ τοῦτο κινδυνεύει ἡμῖν τὸ μέρος εἰς ἀπελεγμὸν ἐλθεῖν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ τῆς μεγάλης θεᾶς Ἀρτέμιδος ἱερὸν εἰς οὐθὲν λογισθῆναι, μέλλειν τε καὶ καθαιρεῖσθαι τῆς μεγαλειότητος αὐτῆς, ἣν ὅλη ἡ Ἀσία καὶ ἡ οἰκουμένη σέβεται.

and not only this occupation to us is endangered to come to contempt, but even the temple of the great goddess, Artemis to be reckoned to nothing and her magnificence is about to be demolished which all Asia even the world worships.

Paraphrase:  Now I don’t have to tell you, men, that if this movement continues on its current trajectory, we have no business.  We’re finished, and not just our businesses, but even the very temple of our great Artemis.  These people believe and teach that there is only one God and that all other gods are just silly dreams in people’s minds.  Just imagine what will happen to our city and to our trade if these ideas become widespread!  All the magnificence of our great temple and all that it means to us will come crashing down, and the city of Ephesus will just be a forgotten backwater.  All of Asia looks to Artemis and worships her; and if we don’t wake up and do something soon, Artemis will be forgotten, and we’ll be penniless beggars.”



Acts 19:28

Ἀκούσαντες δὲ καὶ γενόμενοι πλήρεις θυμοῦ ἔκραζον λέγοντες· Μεγάλη ἡ Ἄρτεμις Ἐφεσίων.

Now hearing and being full of anger, they began crying out saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

Paraphrase:  This speech of Demetrius had an immediate effect.  The entire guild was thrown into a wild frenzy and began yelling and chanting, “Great is Artemis; great is her temple; and great is the goddess of the Ephesians!”


Ramsay notes that the Jews opposed Paul because of religious differences.  Gentile opposition was quite different.

The rise of a new god and a new worship was a matter of perfect indifference to almost everybody in the cities of the Roman provinces. In the Græco-Roman world every one was quite accustomed to the introduction of new deities from other countries. The process had been going on with extraordinary frequency, and had produced a sort of eclectic religion in all Græco-Roman cities. The priests of Artemis looked on it with indifference.

Gradually, however, the Gentiles came to realize something about Christianity.

Gradually people began to realise that Christianity meant a social revolution, that it did not mean to take its place alongside of the other religions, but to destroy them. The discovery was made in a homely way, familiar to us all—viz., through the pocket. Certain trades began, with all the sensitiveness of the money-market, to find themselves affected. The gradual progress of opposition to Christianity is well marked in the Acts, and is precisely in accordance with the above exposition. When Paul began to preach in Asia Minor, he at first experienced no opposition except from the Jews. In Antioch of Pisidia, in Iconium, in Lystra, in Thessalonica, his experience was always the same. The Gentiles were indifferent or even friendly, the Jews bitterly hostile. But in Philippi occurred the incident of the “maid having a spirit of divination”; and “when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone,” they accused Paul as a Jew of inciting to illegal conduct and violation of the Roman law, and turned to their own account the general dislike felt by both Romans and Greeks towards the Jews.


Acts 19:29

καὶ ἐπλήσθη ἡ πόλις τῆς συγχύσεως, ὥρμησάν τε ὁμοθυμαδὸν εἰς τὸ θέατρον συναρπάσαντες Γάϊον καὶ Ἀρίσταρχον Μακεδόνας, συνεκδήμους Παύλου.

and the city was full of riot, and they rushed altogether to the theater seizing Gaius and Aristarchus of Macedonia travel companions of Paul.

Paraphrase:  The enraged silversmiths then left the meeting; and before too long, it seemed as though the entire city was in a riot.  Throngs of people chanting and yelling in their blind rage rushed to the theater.  Along the way, some of the crowd managed to seize Gaius and Aristarchus, who were travelling with Paul, and dragged them into the theater with them.



Acts 19:30

Παύλου δὲ βουλομένου εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὸν δῆμον οὐκ εἴων αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταί·

Now when Paul desired to enter into the public, the disciples were not permitting him.

Paraphrase:  Now it wasn’t long before Paul became aware of what was happening.  Immediately, he got up so that he could hurry to the theater thinking that he would address the gathered crowd and try to bring an end to the tumult.  The disciples, however, saw the danger of the situation, and they would not let Paul leave the house.


Genitive absolute

Acts 19:31

τινὲς δὲ καὶ τῶν Ἀσιαρχῶν, ὄντες αὐτῷ φίλοι, πέμψαντες πρὸς αὐτὸν παρεκάλουν μὴ δοῦναι ἑαυτὸν εἰς τὸ θέατρον.

Now certain even of the Asiarchs which were friends to him, sending to him, exhorted not to give himself into the theater.

Paraphrase:  Just then, a messenger arrived to the house from the provincial government assembly which was meeting in Ephesus at this time.  Some of these officials had become friends and patrons of Paul and his work, and now, they strongly warned him against putting himself at the mercy of the angry crowds.



Acts 19:32

ἄλλοι μὲν οὖν ἄλλο τι ἔκραζον, ἦν γὰρ ἡ ἐκκλησία συγκεχυμένη, καὶ οἱ πλείους οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τίνος ἕνεκα συνεληλύθεισαν.

Therefore, some were crying out one thing; others something else, for the assembly was chaotic and many did not know for what they were gathered.

Paraphrase:  Meanwhile, the situation in the theater was complete chaos.  People were yelling and chanting all over each other; most of the people who had rushed together had no idea why they were even there or what the issue was.


See #5 here.


Acts 19:33

ἐκ δὲ τοῦ ὄχλου συνεβίβασαν Ἀλέξανδρον προβαλόντων αὐτὸν τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ὁ δὲ Ἀλέξανδρος κατασείσας τὴν χεῖρα ἤθελεν ἀπολογεῖσθαι τῷ δήμῳ.

Now some from the crowd concluded Alexander, the Jews putting him forward.  Then, Alexander waving the hand, desired to make a defense to the public.

Paraphrase:  While all this was going on, several of the leading Jews of the city grew increasingly concerned that the crowd was going to blame them for the trouble and to think that somehow they were working with Paul to bring Artemis into contempt.  They urged a certain Alexander to enter the theater and to persuade the mob that the Jews were not working with Paul and had nothing at all to do with the complaint of the silversmith guild.  So Alexander went in, pushed his way onto the stage, and motioned to the crowd to quiet down so he could speak.


For ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου, see 2042 here.

Genitive absolute


Acts 19:34

ἐπιγνόντες δὲ ὅτι Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν φωνὴ ἐγένετο μία ἐκ πάντων ὡς ἐπὶ ὥρας δύο κραζόντων· Μεγάλη ἡ Ἄρτεμις Ἐφεσίων.

But knowing that he is a Jew, a voice was one of all 

Paraphrase:  When the crowd discovered, however, that Alexander was a Jew and representing the Jews, they flew into a perfect frenzy.  For two hours, they stood chanting at the top of their lungs, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.”  At this time, the citizens of Ephesus saw little distinction between Jews and Christians; they lumped them all together.


For ἐστιν, see GGBB 457.


Acts 19:35

καταστείλας δὲ ὁ γραμματεὺς τὸν ὄχλον φησίν· Ἄνδρες Ἐφέσιοι, τίς γάρ ἐστιν ἀνθρώπων ὃς οὐ γινώσκει τὴν Ἐφεσίων πόλιν νεωκόρον οὖσαν τῆς μεγάλης Ἀρτέμιδος καὶ τοῦ διοπετοῦς;


Acts 19:36

ἀναντιρρήτων οὖν ὄντων τούτων δέον ἐστὶν ὑμᾶς κατεσταλμένους ὑπάρχειν καὶ μηδὲν προπετὲς πράσσειν.


Acts 19:37

ἠγάγετε γὰρ τοὺς ἄνδρας τούτους οὔτε ἱεροσύλους οὔτε βλασφημοῦντας τὴν θεὸν ἡμῶν.

Acts 19:38

εἰ μὲν οὖν Δημήτριος καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ τεχνῖται ἔχουσιν πρός τινα λόγον, ἀγοραῖοι ἄγονται καὶ ἀνθύπατοί εἰσιν, ἐγκαλείτωσαν ἀλλήλοις.

Acts 19:39

εἰ δέ τι περαιτέρω ἐπιζητεῖτε, ἐν τῇ ἐννόμῳ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐπιλυθήσεται.

Acts 19:40

καὶ γὰρ κινδυνεύομεν ἐγκαλεῖσθαι στάσεως περὶ τῆς σήμερον μηδενὸς αἰτίου ὑπάρχοντος περὶ οὗ οὐ δυνησόμεθα ἀποδοῦναι λόγον περὶ τῆς συστροφῆς ταύτης. καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν ἀπέλυσεν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν.

Acts 19:41 —

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