Acts 19 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Acts 19)
19:1 And 1 it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

(1) Paul, not being offended at the rudeness of the Ephesians, plants a church amongst them.

19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the a Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

(a) Those excellent gifts of the Holy Spirit, which were in the Church in those days.

19:3 2 And he said unto them, Unto b what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto c John's baptism.

(2) John only began to instruct the disciples whom Christ would make perfect.
(b) In what doctrine then are you taught and instructed?
(c) To be baptized into John's baptism is to profess the doctrine which John preached and to be identified with his baptism.

19:9 3 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that d way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one e Tyrannus.

(3) For a man to separate himself and others from infidels who are utterly desperate, is not to divide the Church, but rather to unite it, and make it one.
(d) By this word "way", the Hebrews understand any type of life, and here it is taken for Christianity.
(e) This was a man's proper name.

19:13 4 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, f exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.

(4) Satan is forced to give witness against himself.
(f) So were they called who cast out demons by forcing them to leave in the name of God: and in the beginning of the Church, those who had the gift of working miracles, and laid their hands on those that were possessed with demons, were called the same.

19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and g prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

(g) He prevailed against them, though they struggled ever so much.

19:18 5 And many that believed came, and h confessed, and shewed their deeds.

(5) Conjuring and sorcery is condemned by open testimony, and by the authority of the apostle.
(h) Confessed their errors, and openly detested them, being terrified with the fear of the judgment of God: and how does this compare to confession to a priest?

19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all [men]: and they counted the price of them, and found [it] i fifty thousand [pieces] of silver.

(i) Those that give the lowest estimate, reckon it to be about eight hundred pounds English.

19:21 6 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the k spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

(6) Paul is never weary.
(k) By the motion of God's Spirit: therefore we may not say that Paul ran rashly unto death, but as the Spirit of God led him.

19:23 7 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.

(7) Gain cloaked with a show of religion is the very cause why idolatry is strongly and stubbornly defended.

19:24 For a certain [man] named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver l shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

(l) These were special counterfeit temples with Diana's picture in them, which those who worshipped her bought.

19:27 So that not only m this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

(m) As if he said, "If Paul goes on in this way as he has begun, to confuse the opinion which men have of Diana's image, all of our gain will come to nothing."

19:31 8 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring [him] that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.

(8) There ought to be in all Christians, and especially in the ministers, an invincible steadfastness which may not by any storms or assaults be overcome, which nonetheless must modestly allow itself to be governed by wisdom.

19:34 9 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great [is] Diana of the Ephesians.

(9) Instead of reason, the idolaters are sufficiently contented with their own madness and outcries, and those are the greatest defence that they have.

19:35 10 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, [Ye] men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which n fell down from Jupiter?

(10) An example of a political man who redeems peace and quietness with lies, which Paul would have never done.
(n) The Ephesians believed superstitiously that the image of Diana came down to them from heaven.

19:38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a o matter against any man, the p law is open, and there are q deputies: let them implead one another.

(o) Have anything to accuse any man of.
(p) For there are certain days appointed for civil causes and matters of judgment, and the deputies sit on those days.
(q) By the deputies are meant also the deputies' substitutes, that is, those who sat for them.

19:39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a r lawful assembly.

(r) He speaks of a lawful assembly not only to speak against the disordered tumult of the people, but also against all meeting and coming together which was not by order: for there were certain days appointed to call people together in.