Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 19:21-27

Chapter 19:21 Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

Chapter 19:22 And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

Chapter 19:23 About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way.

Chapter 19:24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen;

Chapter 19:25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said; “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business.

Chapter 19:26 “You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all.

Chapter 19:27 Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will be dethroned from her magnificence.”

Paul was led by the Holy Spirit and decided to travel through Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem and then on to Rome. Paul feels led to visit and minister to the Christian community that was in Rome. This was mentioned in Romans 1:8-15. Timothy and Erastus’s jobs were simply to assist Paul in spreading the Gospel in whatever way the Spirit led them. As Paul was thinking of leaving Ephesus, and the spreading of the Word was going well, we see another disturbance. For the third time in this book and the second time in this chapter the Christians are referred and called the Way.

The temple of Artemis (also known as Diana) was one of the seven wonders of the world at the time. It had 127 columns 60 feet high standing in an area 425 feet long and 220 feet wide. For you history buffs, the structure was lost and was discovered in 1869, but its main altar was not unearthed until 1965. Some quotes of interest about the worship of Artemis:

“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)

Thanks to David Guzik at www.enduringword.com for these quotes.

Demetrius is losing considerable business due to Paul’s effective work in spreading the Gospel in all of Asia Minor, but is appealing to the workmen through their finances and through hurting the reputation of Ephesus by degrading the temple of Artemis. We will see next time what this commotion led to and how God intervened.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 19:13-20

Chapter 19:13 But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

Chapter 19:14 Seven sons on one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

Chapter 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

Chapter 19:16 And the man, in whom the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Chapter 19:17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.

Chapter 19:18 Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices.

Chapter 19:19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

Chapter 19:20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.

There were traveling Jewish exorcists who at the time practiced exorcism using superstition and pageantry. And when they saw Paul’s success they tried to imitate him but of course they had no success because they had no personal relationship with Christ. It is the same today, there are many people, even going to church faithfully, that have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ and will go to hell. They know about Christ, but they don’t know Him in a personal way. We see in verse 15, that the evil spirit knew exactly who Jesus was and knew exactly who Paul was but they did not know the seven sons of Sceva. It is interesting to me that evil spirits know who their enemies are, but don’t take the time nor energy in knowing those who are no threat to them. The seven sons of Sceva had no spiritual power over the evil spirits because the had no real relationship with Christ. We should realize and understand as Christians that we should not take spiritual warfare lightly.

The people in verse 17, saw the reality of Satan and the demonic realm and it made them fear them as well as fear the Lord. Because of this we the name of the Lord Jesus being magnified. Due to this incident and because Ephesus had been a demonic stronghold of Satan, this caused Christians to give up any remaining connection to the demonic realm. They did this by confessing and by burning their magic books which in today’s money would be worth easily over $1 million.

A quote from Charles Spugeon that I discovered covers this in today’s time

“You will have enough tempatation in your own mind without going after these things. Is there any habit, any practice, that you have got that defiles your soul? If Christ loves you, and you come to trust in him, you will make short work of it. Have done with it, and have don with it forever.”

In verse 20, the work in Ephesus and Asia Minor continued in a marvelous way and glorified God.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 19:8-12

Chapter 19:8 And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.

Chapter 19:9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

Chapter 19:10 This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

Chapter 19:11 God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,

Chapter 19:12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.

Paul was continuing his ministry at Ephesus and as was his way, was using the synagogue so that he could spread the good news of Christ to both the Jews and the Greeks. We see that some were turning away from Paul’s teaching so he moved to the school of Tyrannus, which was most likely a lecture hall, where rhetoric was taught. Apparently, it was also made available to traveling philosophers or teachers. In verse 10, I believe something that is overlooked, is that, the gospel was heard by all who lived in Asia Minor. There is a lesson for each one of us as believers here, the gospel was most likely spread by ordinary believers as they were going about their daily lives and were traveling throughout the region. When was the last time that you shared the gospel with someone? How many opportunities have you had that you did not act on? During this period, the churches at Colossae, Laodicea, Hierapolis and most likely some of the churches named in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 were established. In verse 11, Paul is performing miracles whereas on other occasions such as 2 Corinthians 12:8, Philippians 2:27, I Timothy 5:23 and 2 Timothy 4:20, he did not have such power. God certainly had a reason for this and in the next verse we see the absolute power of God to overcome sickness and disease, however he sees fit. More tomorrow on exorcists and casting out of demons next time.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 19:1-7

Chapter 19:1 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.

Chapter 19:2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

Chapter 19:3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

Chapter 19:4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.

Chapter 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Chapter 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

Chapter 19:7 There were in all twelve men.

Paul has come to Ephesus, which under Caesar Augustus, was the capital of the Roman Province called Asia, and was the home of the apostle John before and after his exile on Patmos, and it was the site of the temple of Artemis, or in Latin, Diana. On this the third missionary journey, Pual stayed in the city approximately three years and the gospel spread throughout Asia Minor (Acts 19:10). We see in these verses that the twelve men had not received the entire gospel and had only received their baptism by John the Baptist. Therefore, Paul baptized them in the name of Jesus Christ and they received the Holy Spirit.

Some Thoughts On Prayer From Anonymous

“Prayer must mean something to us if it is to mean anything to God.”

“It is strange that in our prayers we seldom ask for a change in character, but always a change in circumstances.”

“Don’t pray for an easy life; pray to be a stronger person.”

“The tragedy of our day is not unanswered prayer—but unoffered prayer.”

“Prayers can’t be answered unless they are prayed.”

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 18:23-28

Chapter 18:23 And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Chapter 18:24 Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures.

Chapter 18:25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John.

Chapter 18:26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Chapter 18:27 And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace.

Chapter 18:28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

This is the beginning of the third missionary journey and we see in verse 24 that there is a Jew named Apollos who has come to Ephesus and was a polished speaker (I Cor:12). His message was lacking because he only knew of the baptism of John as compared to what the Christian baptism meant. He apparently was a tremendous speaker but Priscilla and Aquila pulled him aside and explained to him about Jesus Christ and His dying on the cross for each and all of our sins.

Apollos proceeded to go across to Achaia and he was encouraged by the brethren and given a letter so that he was given help, encouragement and support. And then in verse 28, he continues with his powerful speaking to the Jews and show them the errors in their thinking and that Jesus was the Christ. Isn’t it awesome how God uses situations in our lives to give him glory. We see back in verse 19 of this chapter that Paul had left Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus and then six verses later a fellow named Apollos shows up in Ephesus preaching a gospel that was lacking in understanding and Priscilla and Aquila show him the rest of the story. Some of us may say that is a coincidence but I truly believe that this was part of God’s plan.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 18:18-22

Chapter 18:18 Paul, having remained many days longer, took leave of the brethren and put out to sea for Syria, and with him were Priscilla and Aquila. In Cenchrea he had his hair cut; for he was keeping a vow.

Chapter 18:19 They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

Chapter 18:20 When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent;

Chapter 18:21 but taking leave of them and saying, “I will return to you again if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus.

Chapter 18:22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch.

These verses complete the second missionary journey of Paul and in verse 18, Paul leaves Corinth and makes a Nazirite vow (Num.6:18: Acts 21.24) but we do not know the reason. A Nazirite vow was a layperson of either sex who was bound by a vow of consecration to God’s service for a certain period of time or in some cases for life. This outward sign of cutting his hair served as a public testimony of Paul’s dedication to God. He leaves Cenchrea, which was the eastern port of Corinth and heads to Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquila. As a side note, during this time in Corinth, is when Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians.

Notice at Ephesus, he immediately enters the synagogue and begins conversing with the Jews. Paul knew what his calling was and nothing was going to deter him. I truly believe that at the end of this missionary journey, he must have been exhausted but he was continuing the good fight. This gives me great comfort and also strengthens my resolve in doing God’s will in my life. The road is long and often times very, very difficult but God always has the best for us and allows us to persevere. Paul puts it in God’s hands if he will return, but I know in my heart, that was something he really wanted to do.