Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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ACTS - Chapter 19

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Acts 19

Supplemental Commentary:

THE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS OF ST. PAUL  13, 1 -- 28, 31 (continued)

3.  Third Missionary Journey  18, 23 -- 21, 16 (continued)

18, 23 -- 19, 40:  Return to Ephesus (continued).    19, 3.  These men had not heard John the Baptist's designation of Jesus as the One for whom he was merely preparing the way.  Apollos was better instructed, though he knew nothing of Christian Baptism (18, 25).    6.  On first meeting them St. Paul thought that perhaps they had not been confirmed.  Now after having them baptized he administered the sacrament of Confirmation, according to a common opinion.

9.  To in the school of one Tyrannus Codex D adds "from the fifth to the tenth hours."  This may be founded on good tradition and would then imply that during the morning and evening St. Paul worked at his trade and did his preaching during the customary hours of rest, from about noon till four o'clock.  10.  From Ephesus as a center St. Paul evangelized the whole region, probably by sending out missioners.  On his second journey he had stayed at Corinth for eighteen months, and now he spends over two years at Ephesus (cf. 20, 31).  This  modifies the common idea that he was continually hurrying from place to place.  Though an extensive traveler, he was also a great organizer and took care that everything should proceed regularly in the churches he founded.

13.  Not only pagans, but Jews also were deeply interested in trying to control the spirit world, and so magic spells and formulas were highly esteemed.  It was considered of the first importance to call the spirit by his proper name, and these names were among the high priced secrets of the sorcerers.  14.  High priest: in the wide sense this designated a member of one of the priestly families from which came the high-priest in the strict sense (cf. 4, 6).

18.  Old superstitions die hard, and many converts had not realized the evil of magic or had lapsed into it again.    19.  The estimated price would amount to about $10,000 but money had far greater purchasing value then.    21.  Feeling that he had already established churches in the most promising fields of the Orient, St. Paul hoped soon to visit Rome on the way to new regions farther west.

24.  The temple of Diana at Ephesus was one of the wonders of the ancient world.  The shrines were statues of Diana standing under a canopy, and were widely used as charms.    25-28.  Loss of trade was what was most feared, but zeal for religion was put forward to support it.    33.  By denouncing the Christians, Alexander was to keep the crowd from blaming the Jews.

Confraternity Bible:

1 Now it was while Appollos was in Corinth that Paul, after passing through the upper districts, came to Ephesus and found certain disciples; 2 and he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?"  But they said to him, "We have not even hear that there is a Holy Spirit."  3 And he said, "How then were you baptized?"  They said, "With John's baptism."  4 Then Paul said, "John baptized the people with a baptism of repentance, telling them to believe in him who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus."  5 On hearing this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus;  6 and when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy.  7 There were about twelve men in all.

8 Now for three months he used to go to the synagogue and speak confidently, holding discussions and trying to persuade them about the kingdom of God.  9 But when some were obstinate and refused to believe, speaking evil of the Way before the community, he left them and withdrew his disciples from them, and held daily discussions in the school of one Tyrannus.  10 Now this went on for two years, so that all who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord.  11 And God worked more than the usual miracles by the hand of Paul; 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons were carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.

13 But certain of the itinerant Jews, exorcists, also attempted to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits in them, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches."  14 And a certain Sceva, a Jewish high priest, had seven sons who were doing this.  15 But the evil spirit answered and said to them, "Jesus I acknowledge, and Paul I know, but who are you?"  16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was sprang at them and overpowered them both with such violence that they fled from that house tattered and bruised.

17 And this became known to all the Jews and Gentiles living in Ephesus, and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus came to be held in high honor.  18 And many of those who believed kept coming, and openly confessed their practices.  19 And many who had practiced magical arts collected their books and burnt them publicly; and they reckoned up the prices of them, and found the sum to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.  20 Thus mightily did the word of the Lord spread and prevail.

21 After all this, Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and to go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome."  22 So he sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed on for a while in the province of Asia.

23 Now at that time there arose no small commotion about the Way.  24 For a silversmith named Demetrius, by making silver shrines of Diana, brought no small gain to the craftsmen; 25 and these he got together, along with workmen of like occupation, and said, "Men, you know that our wealth comes from this trade; 26 and you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but almost over the whole province of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and turned away numbers of people, saying, 'Gods made by human hands are not gods at all.'  27 And there is danger, not only that this business of ours will be discredited, but also that the temple of the great Diana will be regarded as nothing, and even the magnificence of her whom all Asia and the world worship will be on the decline."  28 On hearing this they were filled with wrath and cried out, saying, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians."

29 And the city was filled with confusion, and they rushed by a common impulse into the theatre, dragging along the Macedonians Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's fellow-travellers.  30 But when Paul wanted to go before the people, the disciples would not let him; 31* and some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theatre.  32 Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing and some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had gathered together.  33 Then some of the crowd called upon Alexander, as the Jews were pushing him forward; and Alexander, motioning with his hand for silence, wanted to give an explanation to the people.  34 But as soon as they saw that he was a Jew, they all with one voice for about two hours shouted, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians."

35 But when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, "Men of Ephesus, what man indeed is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great Diana and of Jupiter's offspring?  36 Since therefore this is undeniable, you ought to be calm and do nothing rash.  37 For you have brought these men here who are neither guilty of sacrilege nor blasphemers of your goddess.  38 Therefore, if Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, court days are kept and there are proconsuls; let them take action against one another.  39 And if you require anything further, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly.  40 For we are even in danger of being accused of riot over today's uproar, since there is no culprit whom we can hold liable for this disorderly gathering."  And with these words he dismissed the assembly.


31: Asiarchs: officers in charge of the religious feasts and of certain other matters in the province of Asia.