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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Acts of Apostles 19:1-41

19  In the course of events, while A·polʹlos+ was in Corinth, Paul went through the inland regions and came down to Ephʹe·sus.+ There he found some disciples  and said to them: “Did you receive holy spirit when you became believers?”+ They replied to him: “Why, we have never heard that there is a holy spirit.”  So he said: “In what, then, were you baptized?” They said: “In John’s baptism.”+  Paul said: “John baptized with the baptism in symbol of repentance,+ telling the people to believe in the one coming after him,+ that is, in Jesus.”  On hearing this, they got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul laid his hands on them, the holy spirit came upon them,+ and they began speaking in foreign languages and prophesying.+  There were about 12 men in all.  Entering the synagogue,+ for three months he spoke with boldness, giving talks and reasoning persuasively about the Kingdom of God.+  But when some stubbornly refused to believe,* speaking injuriously about The Way+ before the crowd, he withdrew from them+ and separated the disciples from them, giving talks daily in the school auditorium of Ty·ranʹnus. 10  This went on for two years, so that all those living in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. 11  And God kept performing extraordinary powerful works through the hands of Paul,+ 12  so that even cloths and aprons that had touched his body were carried to the sick,+ and the diseases left them, and the wicked spirits came out.+ 13  But some of the Jews who traveled around casting out demons also tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had wicked spirits; they would say: “I solemnly charge you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”+ 14  Now there were seven sons of a Jewish chief priest named Sceʹva doing this. 15  But in answer the wicked spirit said to them: “I know Jesus+ and I am acquainted with Paul;+ but who are you?” 16  At that the man with the wicked spirit leaped on them, overpowered them one after the other, and prevailed against them, so that they fled naked and wounded out of that house. 17  This became known to all, both the Jews and the Greeks who lived in Ephʹe·sus; and fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus went on being magnified. 18  And many of those who had become believers would come and confess and report their practices openly. 19  Indeed, quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody.+ And they calculated their value and found them worth 50,000 pieces of silver. 20  Thus in a mighty way, the word of Jehovah kept growing and prevailing.+ 21  After these things had taken place, Paul resolved in his spirit that after going through Mac·e·doʹni·a+ and A·chaʹia, he would travel to Jerusalem.+ He said: “After going there, I must also see Rome.”+ 22  So he sent to Mac·e·doʹni·a two of those who ministered to him, Timothy+ and E·rasʹtus,+ but he himself stayed on for some time in the province of Asia. 23  At that time quite a disturbance+ arose concerning The Way.+ 24  For a man named De·meʹtri·us, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Arʹte·mis, brought considerable profit to the craftsmen.+ 25  He gathered them and others who worked at such things and said: “Men, you well know that from this business comes our prosperity. 26  Now you see and hear how, not only in Ephʹe·sus+ but in nearly all the province of Asia, this Paul has persuaded a considerable crowd and turned them to another opinion, saying that the gods made by hands are not really gods.+ 27  Moreover, the danger exists not only that this business of ours will come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Arʹte·mis will be viewed as nothing, and she who is worshipped in the whole province of Asia and the inhabited earth will be deprived of her magnificence.” 28  Hearing this and becoming full of anger, the men began crying out: “Great is Arʹte·mis of the E·pheʹsians!” 29  So the city became filled with confusion, and all together they rushed into the theater, dragging along with them Gaʹius and Ar·is·tarʹchus,+ Mac·e·doʹni·ans, traveling companions of Paul.+ 30  For his part, Paul was willing to go inside to the people, but the disciples would not permit him. 31  Even some of the commissioners of festivals and games who were friendly to him sent word to him, pleading with him not to risk going into the theater. 32  Some were, in fact, crying out one thing and others something else; for the assembly was in confusion and the majority of them did not know the reason why they had come together. 33  So they brought Alexander out of the crowd, the Jews shoving him forward, and Alexander motioned with his hand and wanted to make his defense to the people. 34  But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all started shouting in unison for about two hours: “Great is Arʹte·mis of the E·pheʹsians!” 35  When the city recorder had finally quieted the crowd, he said: “Men of Ephʹe·sus, who really is there among men who does not know that the city of the E·pheʹsians is the temple keeper of the great Arʹte·mis and of the image that fell from heaven? 36  Since these things are indisputable, you should keep calm and not act rashly. 37  For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38  So if De·meʹtri·us+ and the craftsmen with him do have a case against someone, court days are held and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges against one another. 39  But if you are searching for anything beyond that, it must* be decided in a regular assembly. 40  For we are really in danger of being charged with sedition over today’s affair, since there are no grounds we could present as a reason for this disorderly mob.” 41  And after saying this, he dismissed the assembly.

Footnotes

Or “some went on hardening themselves and not believing.”
Or “will.”

Study Notes

the baptism of John: This baptism was a public demonstration of the individual’s repentance over his sins against the Law that Jehovah gave to Moses, a Law that the Jews had agreed to follow. (Ex 24:7, 8) Undergoing the baptism of John, however, was not valid after Pentecost 33 C.E. when the Law covenant ended. (Ro 10:4; Ga 3:13; Eph 2:13-15; Col 2:13, 14) From that time on, the only baptism approved by Jehovah was the one that Jesus instructed his disciples to carry out. (Mt 28:19, 20) The events involving Apollos, described here, happened about the year 52 C.E.

In John’s baptism: See study note on Ac 18:25.

The Way: A designation used in the book of Acts to refer to the Christian way of life and the early Christian congregation. It may have roots in Jesus’ statement at Joh 14:6: “I am the way.” Those who became followers of Jesus were spoken of as belonging to “The Way,” that is, they kept a way of life following Jesus’ example. (Ac 19:9) His life centered on worship of the only true God, Jehovah. For Christians, this manner of life also focused on faith in Jesus Christ. Sometime after 44 C.E., in Syrian Antioch, disciples of Jesus “were by divine providence called Christians.” (Ac 11:26) However, even after that designation was applied, Luke refers to the congregation as “The Way” or “this Way.”—Ac 19:23; 22:4; 24:22; see study notes on Ac 18:25; 19:23.

The Way: As shown in the study note on Ac 9:2, the expression “The Way” was used with reference to the early Christian congregation. True Christianity is not a matter of outward appearance or mere formal worship. It is a way of life permeated by the worship of God and guided by his spirit. (Joh 4:23, 24) The Syriac Peshitta reads: “the way of God”; the Latin Vulgate according to the Clementine recension reads: “the way of the Lord”; and some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J17, 18 in App. C4) use the divine name here and read: “Jehovah’s way.”

The Way: See study notes on Ac 9:2; 19:23 and Glossary.

the school auditorium of Tyrannus: Or “the lecture hall of Tyrannus.” No details are provided regarding the purpose for which that school was established, but Paul was apparently welcome to use the facilities, perhaps for a number of hours each day. A few ancient manuscripts add “from the fifth hour to the tenth,” that is, from about 11:00 a.m. to about 4:00 p.m. The fact that this phrase is missing from several early manuscripts indicates that it is not part of the original text. However, some suggest that even if this addition is not original, the timing mentioned seems reasonable and may reflect Paul’s daily schedule while he was in Ephesus. It would denote that Paul took the opportunity to teach the disciples during those hot but quiet hours when many stopped their work to rest.

the province of Asia: See Glossary, “Asia.”

cloths and aprons: The cloths may have been handkerchiefs worn by Paul around the forehead to keep perspiration from running into the eyes. Aprons were worn by laborers, suggesting that Paul may have been plying his trade of tentmaking during his free hours, perhaps early in the morning.—Ac 20:34, 35.

magical arts: The Greek word for “magical arts” is pe·riʹer·ga, “curiosities.” One lexicon defines the word as “pert[aining] to undue or misdirected curiosity . . . as in the practice of magic.” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, 2000) It describes the arts of those who with the aid of evil spirits pry into forbidden things. Many people practiced magic and other forms of demonism in Ephesus. When Paul wrote his inspired letter to the Ephesians, he urged them to put on the complete suit of armor from God so that they could fight against wicked spirit forces.—Eph 6:11, 12.

50,000 pieces of silver: If the drachma or the denarius is meant by the term “pieces of silver,” a laborer would have had to spend 50,000 days, or about 137 years working seven days a week, to earn that amount of money.

the word of Jehovah: This expression has its background in the Hebrew Scriptures, where it appears as a combination of a Hebrew term for “word” and the divine name. Together with the expression “Jehovah’s word,” it occurs in some 200 verses. (Some examples are found at 2Sa 12:9; 24:11; 2Ki 7:1; 20:16; 24:2; Isa 1:10; 2:3; 28:14; 38:4; Jer 1:4; 2:4; Eze 1:3; 6:1; Hos 1:1; Mic 1:1; Zec 9:1.) When this expression occurs at Zec 9:1 in an early copy of the Septuagint found at Nahal Hever, Israel, in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea, the Greek word loʹgos is followed by the divine name written in ancient Hebrew characters (). This parchment scroll is dated between 50 B.C.E. and 50 C.E. The reasons why the New World Translation uses the expression “the word of Jehovah” in the main text, although many Greek manuscripts of Ac 8:​25 read “the word of the Lord,” are explained in App. C.

the word of Jehovah: See study note on Ac 8:​25 and App. C.

The Way: A designation used in the book of Acts to refer to the Christian way of life and the early Christian congregation. It may have roots in Jesus’ statement at Joh 14:6: “I am the way.” Those who became followers of Jesus were spoken of as belonging to “The Way,” that is, they kept a way of life following Jesus’ example. (Ac 19:9) His life centered on worship of the only true God, Jehovah. For Christians, this manner of life also focused on faith in Jesus Christ. Sometime after 44 C.E., in Syrian Antioch, disciples of Jesus “were by divine providence called Christians.” (Ac 11:26) However, even after that designation was applied, Luke refers to the congregation as “The Way” or “this Way.”—Ac 19:23; 22:4; 24:22; see study notes on Ac 18:25; 19:23.

The Way: As shown in the study note on Ac 9:2, the expression “The Way” was used with reference to the early Christian congregation. True Christianity is not a matter of outward appearance or mere formal worship. It is a way of life permeated by the worship of God and guided by his spirit. (Joh 4:23, 24) The Syriac Peshitta reads: “the way of God”; the Latin Vulgate according to the Clementine recension reads: “the way of the Lord”; and some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J17, 18 in App. C4) use the divine name here and read: “Jehovah’s way.”

Artemis: Artemis of Ephesus was a fertility goddess who was worshipped in cities throughout Asia Minor. (Ac 19:27) Statues of Artemis were adorned with what have variously been identified as multiple breasts, eggs, and the testicles of sacrificed bulls. The mummylike lower half of her body was decorated with various symbols and animals. Though there was a Greek virgin goddess of hunting known as Artemis, the Artemis of Ephesus has little in common with the Greek deity of classical mythology. The Roman name for Artemis was Diana.

some of the commissioners of festivals and games: Lit., “some of the Asiarchs.” These high-ranking officials or leading men of the Roman province of Asia were apparently chosen because of their influence and wealth. They presided over and financed the public games held in the province.

proconsuls: A proconsul was the principal governor of a province administered by the Roman Senate. He had judicial and military power, and although his actions were subject to review by the Senate, he was the highest authority in the province. A province had only one proconsul, so the plural form here is apparently used in a general sense. Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and the proconsul resided there.—See Glossary, “Asia.”

Media

Inscription Mentioning Ephesian Silversmiths
Inscription Mentioning Ephesian Silversmiths

A number of inscriptions mentioning the silversmiths of the city have been found in Ephesus. The one shown here, dated to the third century C.E., records the honor they gave to the proconsul Valerius Festus as their benefactor and for his work on the harbor. The inscription confirms the prominence of the silversmiths as well as the fact that they were organized into an association, or guild. The book of Acts tells of their rioting when faced with the loss of profits from selling their “silver shrines of Artemis.”—Ac 19:24.

The Theater and Surroundings in Ephesus
The Theater and Surroundings in Ephesus

The theater shown in this video could hold 25,000 people, making it the largest theater in Asia Minor in Paul’s day. Located at the intersection of two of the principal thoroughfares in Ephesus, the theater was a prominent part of life in that city. Roman theaters were used not only for theatrical performances but also for hosting debates. It was into this theater that a mob dragged Paul’s traveling companions when the silversmith Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen stirred up a riot against Paul.—Ac 19:23-28.

1. Theater

2. Agora

3. Arcadian Way

4. Gymnasium (built in the late first century C.E.)