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Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul was visiting some places on the way to Ephesus. There he found some followers. Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

They said, “We have never even heard of a Holy Spirit!”

So he asked, “What kind of baptism did you have?”

They said, “It was the baptism that John[a] taught.”

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of changed hearts and lives. He told people to believe in the One who would come after him. That One is Jesus.”

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul laid his hands on them,[b] and the Holy Spirit came upon them. They began speaking different languages and prophesying. There were about 12 men in this group.

Paul went into the synagogue and spoke out boldly for three months. He talked with the Jews and persuaded them to accept the things he said about the kingdom of God. But some of the Jews became stubborn and refused to believe. These Jews said evil things about the Way of Jesus. All the people heard these things. So Paul left them and took the followers with him. He went to a place where a man named Tyrannus had a school. There Paul talked with people every day 10 for two years. Because of his work, every Jew and Greek in Asia heard the word of the Lord.

The Sons of Sceva

11 God used Paul to do some very special miracles. 12 Some people took handkerchiefs and clothes that Paul had used and put them on the sick. When they did this, the sick were healed and evil spirits left them.

13-14 But some Jews also were traveling around and making evil spirits go out of people. The seven sons of Sceva were doing this. (Sceva was a leading Jewish priest.) These Jews tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force the evil spirits out. They would say, “By the same Jesus that Paul talks about, I order you to come out!”

15 But one time an evil spirit said to these Jews, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

16 Then the man, who had the evil spirit in him, jumped on these Jews. He was much stronger than all of them. He beat them and tore their clothes off, so they ran away from the house. 17 All the people in Ephesus, Jews and Greeks, learned about this. They were filled with fear. And the people gave great honor to the Lord Jesus. 18 Many of the believers began to confess openly and tell all the evil things they had done. 19 Some of them had used magic. These believers brought their magic books and burned them before everyone. Those books were worth about 50,000 silver coins.[c]

20 So in a powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing.

Paul Plans a Trip

21 After these things, Paul made plans to go to Jerusalem. He planned to go through the countries of Macedonia and Southern Greece, and then on to Jerusalem. He said, “After I have been to Jerusalem, I must also visit Rome.” 22 Paul sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, ahead to Macedonia. He himself stayed in Asia for a while.

Trouble in Ephesus

23 But during that time, there was some serious trouble in Ephesus about the Way of Jesus. 24 There was a man named Demetrius, who worked with silver. He made little silver models that looked like the temple of the goddess Artemis.[d] The men who did this work made much money. 25 Demetrius had a meeting with these men and some others who did the same kind of work. He told them, “Men, you know that we make a lot of money from our business. 26 But look at what this man Paul is doing! He has convinced and turned away many people in Ephesus and in almost all of Asia! He says the gods that men make are not real. 27 There is a danger that our business will lose its good name. But there is also another danger: People will begin to think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is not important! Her greatness will be destroyed. And Artemis is the goddess that everyone in Asia and the whole world worships.”

28 When the men heard this, they became very angry. They shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The whole city became confused. The people grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus. (These two men were from Macedonia and were traveling with Paul.) Then all the people ran to the theater. 30 Paul wanted to go in and talk to the crowd, but the followers did not let him. 31 Also, some leaders of Asia were friends of Paul. They sent him a message, begging him not to go into the theater. 32 Some people were shouting one thing, and some were shouting another. The meeting was completely confused. Most of the people did not know why they had come together. 33 The Jews put a man named Alexander in front of the people. Some of them had told him what to do. Alexander waved his hand because he wanted to explain things to the people. 34 But when they saw that Alexander was a Jew, they all began shouting the same thing. They continued shouting for two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 Then the city clerk made the crowd be quiet. He said, “Men of Ephesus, everyone knows that Ephesus is the city that keeps the temple of the great goddess Artemis. All people know that we also keep her holy stone[e] that fell from heaven. 36 No one can say that this is not true. So you should be quiet. You must stop and think before you do anything. 37 You brought these men here, but they have not said anything evil against our goddess. They have not stolen anything from her temple. 38 We have courts of law, and there are judges. Do Demetrius and the men who work with him have a charge against anyone? They should go to the courts! That is where they can argue with each other! 39 Is there something else you want to talk about? It can be decided at the regular town meeting of the people. 40 I say this because some people might see this trouble today and say that we are rioting. We could not explain this because there is no real reason for this meeting.” 41 After the city clerk said these things, he told the people to go home.


  1. 18:25; 19:3 John John the Baptist, who preached to people about Christ’s coming (Matthew 3; Luke 3).
  2. 19:6 laid his hands on them Here, doing this was a sign to show that Paul had God’s authority or power to give these people special powers of the Holy Spirit.
  3. 19:19 50,000 silver coins Probably drachmas. One coin was enough to pay a man for working one day.
  4. 19:24 Artemis A Greek goddess that the people of Asia Minor worshiped.
  5. 19:35 holy stone Probably a meteorite or stone that the people thought looked like Artemis.

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