Acts 19:1-7 Paul returned to Ephesus and baptized about twelve disciples that had not yet been baptized, for they did not even know of the “Holy Spirit”. They were disciples of John the Baptist. When baptized, they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Acts 19:8-10 Again, Paul tried to persuade those in the synagogue about Jesus and the Kingdom of God for about three months. Some of them spoke evil of the Way, so Paul left and took some of the disciples with him. He spoke in the hall of Tyrannus for about two years where by the end of this time, all people throughout Asia had heard the word of the Lord.
Notes: Tyrannus was either the owner of the lecture hall, or a philosopher who taught there.
Acts 19:11-20 Paul was doing great miracles among the people. Even objects that touched by him carried the power of God to heal. Traveling Jewish exorcists (Seven sons of a Jewish high priest name Sceva), when hearing of the healing power through Paul tried their hand at healing by calling on Jesus whom Paul proclaimed. The evil spirits did not recognize their authority, so they attacked the exorcists. This became known to all the surrounding residents, for fear fell upon them and Jesus’ name was praised! Many practicing magicians, now believers, confessed their practice as evil and deceptive. They burned their magic books in the sight of all. The word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily in Ephesus.
Acts 19:21-27 Paul stayed in Asia for a while, resolving to eventually return to Jerusalem and then on to Rome. While in Asia, a silversmith named Demetrius caused trouble for Paul. Demetrius made shrines (representing the temple of Artemis) out of silver, for Paul’s message was bad for his business. Demetrius gathered those in his craft together and warned them that Paul’s message that has spread throughout Asia was a threat to their way of life, even the temple that housed the great goddess Artemis would be counted as nothing in the eyes of the people, a god that is worshipped throughout all of Asia and the world.
Notes: Artemis: She was also known as “Diana.” Worship of her, centered at the great temple of Diana at Ephesus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), was widespread throughout the Roman Empire. Silver shrines were replicas of the temple of Artemis that were used for home altars or as offerings to be presented to the goddess as often as daily.
Acts 19:28-34 The people were stirred up and dragged two of Paul’s companions into the theater. The disciples refused to let Paul enter the theater to defend his two companions out of fear for his life. The assembly was in confusion. The Jews put forward Alexander to defend the Jews in general, but the Gentiles refused to listen and kept chanting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
Acts 19:35-41 The town clerk told the crowd that everyone knew that Ephesus was the temple keeper of the great Artemis, and that no threat would change that, hoping they would disperse in peace. He said if they had a complaint, they should take the two men and charge them properly in the courts. The town clerk feared of being charged with rioting from the top authorities. They listened to him, and the crowds left.
Notes: town clerk: In modern terms, he was Ephesus' mayor. He was the liaison between the town council and the Roman authorities—who would hold him personally responsible for the riot.