Acts 19

Paul speaks in Ephesus about Jesus

1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled through the region of Asia. He arrived in Ephesus and he found some believers there. 2 Paul asked them, ‘When you believed the message about Jesus, did you receive God's Holy Spirit?’

The believers answered, ‘We did not even know that there is a Holy Spirit.’

3 So Paul asked them, ‘When someone baptized you, what kind of baptism was that?’

‘We received the baptism that John spoke about,’ they answered.

4 Then Paul said, ‘John baptized people who knew that they had done wrong things. They wanted to stop doing these things. But John also said to the people, “You must believe in the man who will come soon.” This person is Jesus.’ 5 When the believers in Ephesus understood this, Paul baptized them. This showed that they now believed in the Lord Jesus. 6 Then Paul put his hands on each believer's head. When he did this, the Holy Spirit came down on them. They spoke in different languages and they spoke messages from God. 7 There were about 12 men there.

8 For three months, Paul went to the Jewish meeting place in Ephesus on their day of rest. He was not afraid to speak to the people there. He talked strongly with them about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them did not accept what Paul said. They refused to believe the message about Jesus. Some of them said bad things against the Way of the Lord Jesus and many people in the group heard this. So Paul stopped speaking to people in that meeting place. He left there and he took with him the other believers. Every day he talked with people in another place. It was a large room, where a man called Tyrannus usually taught people. 10 Paul taught the people there for two years. During that time, all the people who lived in Asia region heard the message about the Lord Jesus. This included Jews and Gentiles.

The sons of Sceva tell bad spirits to leave people

11 God was helping Paul to do special miracles. 12 Because of this, people were taking pieces of cloth and clothes that Paul gave to them. Paul had used these things, and people took them to those who were ill. After they touched these cloths, the sick people would become well again. Bad spirits also left them.

13 There were some Jewish men who travelled about to different places. They caused bad spirits to leave people. Some of them wanted to use the name of the Lord Jesus when they did this. These Jews said to the bad spirits, ‘We tell you to come out of these people. We say this with the authority of Jesus, the man that Paul teaches people about.’

14 Sceva was a leader of the Jewish priests in that place. He had seven sons who were telling bad spirits to come out of people. They used the name of Jesus when they did this. 15 But one day the bad spirit in a man said to them, ‘I know who Jesus is. I also know about Paul. But I do not know who you are.’ 16 The man who had the bad spirit in him then jumped up. He fought with the seven sons and he was too strong for them. He hurt them badly and he tore their clothes off. So the sons ran away from the man's house. Their bodies were bleeding and they wore no clothes.

17 All the Jews and Gentiles who lived in Ephesus heard about this. They became very afraid. Now they respected the name of the Lord Jesus very much. They knew that he was very powerful. 18 Many of the believers agreed that they had done wicked things. They told other believers about this. 19 Some of them had used magic to do powerful things. These people brought all their special books and they burned them in a fire. Everybody saw what they did. The books had cost a lot of money. The value of all the books was 50,000 silver coins. 20 As a result of this, more and more people heard the good news about the Lord Jesus. The message was powerful and people's lives changed.

Bad troubles happen in Ephesus

21 After these things happened, Paul decided that he should go to Jerusalem. But first he wanted to visit the believers in Macedonia and Greece. He said, ‘After I have been to Jerusalem, I must also go to Rome.’ 22 At that time, Timothy and Erastus were helping Paul with his work. Paul sent them to Macedonia while he stayed longer in Asia region.

23 Soon after that, there was bad trouble in Ephesus. Some people began to speak strongly against the Way of the Lord Jesus. 24 In Ephesus there was a man called Demetrius. He used silver to make beautiful things. He made models that looked like the temple of Artemis. He paid a lot of money to people who did this work for him. 25 So he told all his workers to meet with him. He also asked other workers to come, who did the same kind of work. He said to all these men, ‘Men, you know that our work has caused us to become rich. 26 Also, you can see what this man Paul is doing. You have heard his message. Many people here in Ephesus, and in nearly all the places in Asia region, believe what he says. Paul teaches people this: “Anything that men have made is not really a god.” 27 If people continue to believe Paul's message, it will be very bad for us. People will say bad things against our work. The house of our god Artemis will not be important any more. People will even think that Artemis herself is not a great god. As it is now, people in all of Asia region and everywhere else worship her. We do not want that to change.’

19:24Artemis was a female god that the Ephesians worshipped.

28 When the workers heard Demetrius, they became very angry. They all shouted, ‘Our god Artemis of Ephesus is very great!’ 29 More and more people in the whole city began to shout. There was trouble everywhere. Gaius and Aristarchus had been travelling with Paul. They had come with him from Macedonia. Some people from the crowd took hold of Gaius and Aristarchus. They pulled them quickly to the big public meeting place in the middle of the city.

19:29In this place, the Roman people met together to watch many different things.

30 Paul himself wanted to go there. He wanted to speak to the crowd. But the other believers would not let him do that. 31 Some Roman officers in that region were Paul's friends. They also sent a message to him. They said to him, ‘Please, do not go to the meeting place.’

32 The crowd of people in the meeting place continued to shout loudly. Some people were shouting one thing and other people were shouting something different. Not many of the people even knew why they had all met together. 33 There was a Jewish man called Alexander in the crowd. The Jews pushed him to the front of the crowd. He raised his hands towards the people, so that they would be quiet. He wanted to explain to them that he and his Jewish friends had not caused the trouble. 34 But the crowd knew that Alexander was a Jew. So they continued to shout the same words for about two hours. All together they shouted, ‘Our god Artemis of Ephesus is very great!’

35 After two hours, an important officer of the city caused the crowd to be quiet. He said, ‘People of Ephesus! Everybody knows about our god Artemis who has her temple here in Ephesus. People come here to worship her. Her special stone that fell from the sky is also here in Ephesus. We take care of all her things. Everybody knows that! 36 Nobody can say that this is not true. So be careful! Do not quickly do anything that is silly. 37 You have brought Gaius and Aristarchus here to the city officers' meeting place. But what bad thing have they done? They have not robbed the house of Artemis. They have not said bad things against her. 38 Perhaps Demetrius and his workers think that someone has done a bad thing to them. If they think that, they should let a judge decide. There are officers for the government who will do this. If someone has done a wrong thing, people should tell a judge.

39 So, if you want to argue about these problems any more, do it properly. Go to the place where the judges meet. 40 Today, there is a crowd of people who are shouting and fighting. The Roman rulers may hear about what has happened. They will say that we have done bad things. We could not explain to them the reason why there is all this trouble.’ 41 When the officer had said all this, he said to the crowd, ‘All of you should go home now.’