Acts 19

Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul was visiting some places on the way to Ephesus. There he found some followers 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

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

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

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

4 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, and that one is Jesus.”

5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Then Paul laid his hands on them,[a] and the Holy Spirit came upon them. They began speaking different languages[b] and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve people in this group.

8 Paul went into the synagogue and spoke out boldly for three months. He talked with the people and persuaded them to accept the things he said about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became stubborn. They refused to believe and said evil things about the Way of Jesus before all the people. So Paul left them, and taking the followers with him, he went to the school of a man named Tyrannus. 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 But some people also were traveling around and making evil spirits go out of people. They 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!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.

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

16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them. Because he was so much stronger than all of them, they ran away from the house naked and hurt. 17 All the people in Ephesus—Jews and Greeks—learned about this and were filled with fear and 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 who had used magic brought their magic books and burned them before everyone. Those books were worth about fifty thousand silver coins.[c]

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

21 After these things, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, planning 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, but he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

Trouble in Ephesus

23 And during that time, there was some serious trouble in Ephesus about the Way of Jesus. 24 A man named Demetrius, who worked with silver, made little silver models that looked like the temple of the goddess Artemis.[d] Those who did this work made much money. 25 Demetrius had a meeting with them 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 made by human hands 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 others heard this, they became very angry and shouted, “Artemis, the goddess of Ephesus, is great!” 29 The whole city became confused. The people grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who were from Macedonia and were traveling with Paul, and 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 who were friends of Paul 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 them did not know why they had come together. 33 They put a man named Alexander in front of the people, and some of them told him what to do. Alexander waved his hand so he could explain things to the people. 34 But when they saw that Alexander was a Jew, they all shouted the same thing for two hours: “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!”

35 Then the city clerk made the crowd be quiet. He said, “People of Ephesus, everyone knows that Ephesus is the city that keeps the temple of the great goddess Artemis and her holy stone[e] that fell from heaven. 36 Since no one can say this is not true, you should be quiet. Stop and think before you do anything. 37 You brought these men here, but they have not said anything evil against our goddess or stolen anything from her temple. 38 If Demetrius and those who work with him have a charge against anyone they should go to the courts and judges where they can argue with each other. 39 If there is 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. 19:6 laid his hands on them The laying on of hands had many purposes, including the giving of a blessing, power, or authority.
  2. 19:6 languages This can also be translated “tongues.”
  3. 19:19 fifty thousand silver coins Probably drachmas. One coin was enough to pay a worker for one day’s labor.
  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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