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Acts 19-21 Common English Bible (CEB)

Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul took a route through the interior and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you came to believe?”

They replied, “We’ve not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

Then he said, “What baptism did you receive, then?”

They answered, “John’s baptism.”

Paul explained, “John baptized with a baptism by which people showed they were changing their hearts and lives. It was a baptism that told people about the one who was coming after him. This is the one in whom they were to believe. This one is Jesus.” After they listened to Paul, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in other languages and prophesying. Altogether, there were about twelve people.

Paul went to the synagogue and spoke confidently for the next three months. He interacted with those present and offered convincing arguments concerning the nature of God’s kingdom. Some people had closed their minds, though. They refused to believe and publicly slandered the Way. As a result, Paul left them, took the disciples with him, and continued his daily interactions in Tyrannus’ lecture hall. 10 This went on for two years, so that everyone living in the province of Asia—both Jews and Greeks—heard the Lord’s word.

11 God was doing unusual miracles through Paul. 12 Even the small towels and aprons that had touched his skin were taken to the sick, and their diseases were cured and the evil spirits left them.

13 There were some Jews who traveled around throwing out evil spirits. They tried to use the power of the name of the Lord Jesus against some people with evil spirits. They said, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you!” 14 The seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

15 The evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus and I’m familiar with Paul, but who are you?” 16 The person who had an evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all with such force that they ran out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus. Everyone was seized with fear and they held the name of the Lord Jesus in the highest regard.

18 Many of those who had come to believe came, confessing their past practices. 19 This included a number of people who practiced sorcery. They collected their sorcery texts and burned them publicly. The value of those materials was calculated at more than someone might make if they worked for one hundred sixty-five years.[a] 20 In this way the Lord’s word grew abundantly and strengthened powerfully.

21 Once these things had come to an end, Paul, guided by the Spirit, decided to return to Jerusalem, taking a route that would carry him through the provinces of Macedonia and Achaia. He said, “After I have been there, I must visit Rome as well.” 22 He sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he remained awhile in the province of Asia.

23 At that time a great disturbance erupted about the Way. 24 There was a silversmith named Demetrius. He made silver models of Artemis’ temple, and his business generated a lot of profit for the craftspeople. 25 He called a meeting with these craftspeople and others working in related trades and said, “Friends, you know that we make an easy living from this business. 26 And you can see and hear that this Paul has convinced and misled a lot of people, not only in Ephesus but also throughout most of the province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands aren’t really gods. 27 This poses a danger not only by discrediting our trade but also by completely dishonoring the great goddess Artemis. The whole province of Asia—indeed, the entire civilized world—worships her, but her splendor will soon be extinguished.”

28 Once they heard this, they were beside themselves with anger and began to shout, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

29 The city was thrown into turmoil. They rushed as one into the theater. They seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from the province of Macedonia. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the assembly, but the disciples wouldn’t allow him. 31 Even some officials of the province of Asia, who were Paul’s friends, sent word to him, urging him not to risk going into the theater. 32 Meanwhile, the assembly was in a state of confusion. Some shouted one thing, others shouted something else, and most of the crowd didn’t know why they had gathered. 33 The Jews sent Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd directed their words toward him. He gestured that he wanted to offer a defense before the assembly, 34 but when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” This continued for about two hours.

35 The city manager brought order to the crowd and said, “People of Ephesus, doesn’t everyone know that the city of Ephesus is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you must calm down. Don’t be reckless. 37 The men you brought here have neither robbed the temple nor slandered our goddess. 38 Therefore, if Demetrius and the craftspeople with him have a charge against anyone, the courts are in session and governors are available. They can press charges against each other there. 39 Additional disputes can be resolved in a legal assembly. 40 As for us, we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since we can’t justify this unruly gathering.” 41 After he said this, he dismissed the assembly.

Paul visits Macedonia and Greece

20 When the riot was over, Paul sent for the disciples, encouraged them, said good-bye, and left for the province of Macedonia. He traveled through that region with a message of encouragement. When he came to Greece, he stayed for three months. Because the Jews hatched a plot against Paul as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided instead to return through Macedonia. He was accompanied by Sopater, Pyrrhus’ son from Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. They went on ahead and waited for us in Troas. We sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread and met them five days later in Troas, where we stayed for a week.

Meeting with believers in Troas

On the first day of the week, as we gathered together for a meal, Paul was holding a discussion with them. Since he was leaving the next day, he continued talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we had gathered. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window. He was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell from the third floor and died. 10 Paul went down, fell on him and embraced him, then said, “Don’t be alarmed. He’s alive!” 11 Then Paul went back upstairs and ate. He talked for a long time—right up until daybreak—then he left. 12 They took the young man away alive, and they were greatly comforted.

Farewell to the Ephesian leaders

13 We went on to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we intended to take Paul on board. Paul had arranged this, since he intended to make his way there by land. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we sailed from there and arrived opposite Chios. On the day after, we sailed to Samos, and on the following day we came to Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he wouldn’t need to spend too much time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by Pentecost Day.

17 From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus calling for the church’s elders to meet him. 18 When they arrived, he said to them, “You know how I lived among you the whole time I was with you, beginning with the first day I arrived in the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears in the midst of trials that came upon me because of the Jews’ schemes. 20 You know I held back nothing that would be helpful so that I could proclaim to you and teach you both publicly and privately in your homes. 21 You know I have testified to both Jews and Greeks that they must change their hearts and lives as they turn to God and have faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 Now, compelled by the Spirit, I’m going to Jerusalem. I don’t know what will happen to me there. 23 What I do know is that the Holy Spirit testifies to me from city to city that prisons and troubles await me. 24 But nothing, not even my life, is more important than my completing my mission. This is nothing other than the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify about the good news of God’s grace.

25 “I know that none of you will see me again—you among whom I traveled and proclaimed the kingdom. 26 Therefore, today I testify to you that I’m not responsible for anyone’s fate. 27 I haven’t avoided proclaiming the entire plan of God to you. 28 Watch yourselves and the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as supervisors, to shepherd God’s church, which he obtained with the death of his own Son.[b] 29 I know that, after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and won’t spare the flock. 30 Some of your own people will distort the word in order to lure followers after them. 31 Stay alert! Remember that for three years I constantly and tearfully warned each one of you. I never stopped warning you! 32 Now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all whom God has made holy. 33 I haven’t craved anyone’s silver, gold, or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that I have provided for my own needs and for those of my companions with my own hands. 35 In everything I have shown you that, by working hard, we must help the weak. In this way we remember the Lord Jesus’ words: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

36 After he said these things, he knelt down with all of them to pray. 37 They cried uncontrollably as everyone embraced and kissed Paul. 38 They were especially grieved by his statement that they would never see him again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

Paul travels to Jerusalem

21 After we tore ourselves away from them, we set sail on a straight course to Cos, reaching Rhodes the next day, and then Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, boarded, and put out to sea. We spotted Cyprus, but passed by it on our left. We sailed on to the province of Syria and landed in Tyre, where the ship was to unload its cargo. We found the disciples there and stayed with them for a week. Compelled by the Spirit, they kept telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem. When our time had come to an end, we departed. All of them, including women and children, accompanied us out of town where we knelt on the beach and prayed. We said good-bye to each other, then we boarded the ship and they returned to their homes.

Continuing our voyage, we sailed from Tyre and arrived in Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers and sisters there and spent a day with them. The next day we left and came to Caesarea. We went to the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters who were involved in the work of prophecy. 10 After staying there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In Jerusalem the Jews will bind the man who owns this belt, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the local believers urged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.

13 Paul replied, “Why are you doing this? Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I’m ready not only to be arrested but even to die in Jerusalem for the sake of the name of the Lord Jesus.”

14 Since we couldn’t talk him out of it, the only thing we could say was, “The Lord’s will be done.”

15 After this, we got ready and made our way up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and led us to Mnason’s home, where we were guests. He was from Cyprus and had been a disciple a long time. 17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters welcomed us warmly.

Meeting the Jerusalem church leaders

18 On the next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James. All of the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he gave them a detailed report of what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 Those who heard this praised God. Then they said to him, “Brother, you see how many thousands of Jews have become believers, and all of them keep the Law passionately. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to reject Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to live according to our customs. 22 What about this? Without a doubt, they will hear that you have arrived. 23 You must therefore do what we tell you. Four men among us have made a solemn promise. 24 Take them with you, go through the purification ritual with them, and pay the cost of having their heads shaved. Everyone will know there is nothing to those reports about you but that you too live a life in keeping with the Law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we wrote a letter about what we decided, that they avoid food offered to idols, blood, the meat from strangled animals, and sexual immorality.” 26 The following day Paul took the men with him and went through the purification ritual with them. He entered the temple and publicly announced the completion of the days of purification, when the offering would be presented for each one of them.

Paul seized by the people

27 When the seven days of purification were almost over, the Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the temple. Grabbing him, they threw the whole crowd into confusion by shouting, 28 “Fellow Israelites! Help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, the Law, and this place. Not only that, he has even brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” (29 They said this because they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him earlier, and they assumed Paul had brought him into the temple.) 30 The entire city was stirred up. The people came rushing, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the gates were closed. 31 While they were trying to kill him, a report reached the commander of a company of soldiers that all Jerusalem was in a state of confusion. 32 Without a moment’s hesitation, he took some soldiers and officers and ran down to the mob. When the mob saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 When the commander arrived, he arrested Paul and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Only then did he begin to ask who Paul was and what he had done.

34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing, others shouted something else. Because of the commotion, he couldn’t learn the truth, so he ordered that Paul be taken to the military headquarters. 35 When Paul reached the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers in order to protect him from the violence of the crowd. 36 The mob that followed kept screaming, “Away with him!”

37 As Paul was about to be taken into the military headquarters, he asked the commander, “May I speak with you?”

He answered, “Do you know Greek? 38 Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists into the desert some time ago?”

39 Paul replied, “I’m a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Please, let me speak to the people.” 40 With the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and gestured to the people. When they were quiet, he addressed them in Aramaic.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 19:19 Or fifty thousand silver drachmen (a drachme is equivalent in value to a denarion, a typical day’s wage).
  2. Acts 20:28 Or with the death of his own, or with his own death
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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