Books on sorcery are burnt when their owners becom believersPaul preaches in Ephesus. Books on magical arts are burnt when their owners become believers (v 19).

Paul then causes a riot when his preaching upsets the local silversmiths.

1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus and found certain disciples.
2He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They said to him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3He said, “Into what then were you baptised?”
They said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4Paul said, “John indeed baptised with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”
5When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke with other languages and prophesied.
7They were about twelve men in all.
8He entered into the synagogue and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning God’s Kingdom.
9But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
10This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
11God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul,
12so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out.
13But some of the itinerant Jews, exorcists, took on themselves to invoke over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
14There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this.
15The evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?”
16The man in whom the evil spirit was leapt on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
17This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
18Many also of those who had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds.
19Many of those who practised magical arts brought their books together and burnt them in the sight of all. They counted their price, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20So the word of the Lord was growing and becoming mighty.
21Now after these things had ended, Paul determined in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
22Having sent into Macedonia two of those who served him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
23About that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way.
24For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen,
25whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Sirs, you know that by this business we have our wealth.
26You see and hear that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods that are made with hands.
27Not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.”
28When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
29The whole city was filled with confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theatre, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel.
30When Paul wanted to enter in to the people, the disciples didn’t allow him.
31Certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theatre.
32Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them didn’t know why they had come together.
33They brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made a defence to the people.
34But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice for a time of about two hours cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35When the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, “You men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus?
36Seeing then that these things can’t be denied, you ought to be quiet and to do nothing rash.
37For you have brought these men here, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess.
38If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a matter against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another.
39But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the regular assembly.
40For indeed we are in danger of being accused concerning today’s riot, there being no cause. Concerning it, we wouldn’t be able to give an account of this commotion.”
41When he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.


1. What did Paul preach for three months in the Ephesian synagogue?

v 8 He entered into the synagogue and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning God’s Kingdom.

2. What did they call the Christians' beliefs in Ephesus at that time?

v 9 ... speaking evil of the Way ...

and v 23 ... there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way.

3. What had Paul persuaded people throughout Asia that so upset the Ephesian metalworkers?

v 26  ... they are no gods that are made with hands.  

Summary Points

  • v 1 to 10 Paul arrives at Ephesus and meets disciples who have only been baptised into John's baptism. They are instructed by Paul, who re-baptises them in the name of Jesus. Paul tells his hearers about God's Kingdom. When opposition increases, Paul moves to the school of Tyrannus and preaches to all who will listen
  • v 11 to 20 Jewish exorcists trying to cure a man by using the name of Jesus fraudulently are overpowered by him, causing many to believe. Many of those who practise magical arts burn their books
  • v 21 to 41 The whole of Ephesus is in uproar as pagan craftsmen see their livelihood threatened by the gospel message. The town clerk then calms the multitude and dismisses the assembly

Timeline AD 60



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