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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - ACTS 19
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    CHAPTER 19

    Ac 19:1-41. SIGNAL SUCCESS OF PAUL AT EPHESUS.

    1-3. while Apollos was at Corinth--where his ministry was so powerful that a formidable party in the Church of that city gloried in his type of preaching in preference to Paul's (1Co 1:12; 3:4), no doubt from the marked infusion of Greek philosophic culture which distinguished it, and which the apostle studiously avoided (1Co 2:1-5).
    - Paul having passed through the upper coasts--"parts," the interior of Asia Minor, which, with reference to the seacoast, was elevated.
    - came to Ephesus--thus fulfilling his promise (Ac 18:21).
    - finding certain disciples--in the same stage of Christian knowledge as Apollos at first, newly arrived, probably, and having had no communication as yet with the church at Ephesus.

    2. Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?--rather, "Received ye the Holy Ghost when ye believed?" implying, certainly, that the one did not of necessity carry the other along with it (see on Ac 8:14-17). Why this question was asked, we cannot tell; but it was probably in consequence of something that passed between them from which the apostle was led to suspect the imperfection of their light.
    - We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost--This cannot be the meaning, since the personality and office of the Holy Ghost, in connection with Christ, formed an especial subject of the Baptist's teaching. Literally, the words are, "We did not even hear whether the Holy Ghost was (given)"; meaning, at the time of their baptism. That the word "given" is the right supplement, as in Joh 7:39, seems plain from the nature of the case.

    4. Then said Paul, John . . . baptized with the baptism of repentance--water unto repentance.
    - saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him--that is, who should baptize with the Holy Ghost. The point of contrast is not between John and Christ personally, but between the water baptism of John unto repentance, and the promised baptism of the Spirit from the hands of his coming Master unto new life. As to all the facts, or at least the significancy, of this baptism, which made the whole life and work of Christ another thing from what it was conceived to be before it was vouchsafed, these simple disciples were unenlightened.

    5-7. When they heard this--not the mere words reported in Ac 19:4, but the subject expounded according to the tenor of those words.
    - they were baptized--not however by Paul himself (1Co 1:14).
    - in the name of the Lord Jesus--into the whole fulness of the new economy, as now opened up to their believing minds.

    6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them . . . they spake with tongues, &c.--See on Ac 10:44,45.

    8-10. he went into the synagogue and spake boldly for . . . three months, &c.--See on Ac 17:2, 3.

    9. when divers--"some."
    - were hardened, &c.--implying that others, probably a large number, believed.
    - spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed--from the synagogue, as at Corinth (Ac 18:7).
    - and separated the disciples--withdrawing to a separate place of meeting, for the sake both of the converts already made, and the unsophisticated multitude.
    - disputing--"discoursing" or "discussing."
    - daily in the school--or lecture hall.
    - of one Tyrannus--probably a converted teacher of rhetoric or philosophy.

    10. this continued . . . two years--in addition to the former three months. See on Ac 20:31. But during some part of this period he must have paid a second unrecorded visit to Corinth, since the one next recorded (see on Ac 20:2, 3) is twice called his third visit (2Co 12:14; 13:1). See on 2Co 1:15, 16, which might seem inconsistent with this. The passage across was quite a short one (see on Ac 18:19) --Towards the close of this long stay at Ephesus, as we learn from 1Co 16:8, he wrote his FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS; also (though on this opinions are divided) the EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS. (See Introduction to First Corinthians, and Introduction to Galatians). And just as at Corinth his greatest success was after his withdrawal to a separate place of meeting (Ac 18:7-10), so at Ephesus.
    - so that all they which dwelt in--the Roman province of
    - Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks--This is the "great door and effectual opened unto him" while resident at Ephesus (1Co 16:9), which induced him to make it his headquarters for so long a period. The unwearied and varied character of his labors here are best seen in his own subsequent address to the elders of Ephesus (Ac 20:17, &c.). And thus Ephesus became the "ecclesiastical center for the entire region, as indeed it remained for a very long period" [BAUMGARTEN]. Churches arose at Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis eastward, either through his own labors or those of his faithful helpers whom he sent out in different directions, Epaphras, Archippus, Philemon (Col 1:7; 4:12-17; Phm 23).

    11, 12. God wrought special--no ordinary
    - miracles by the hands of Paul--implying that he had not been accustomed to work such.

    12. So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, &c.--Compare Ac 5:15, 16, very different from the magical acts practiced at Ephesus. "God wrought these miracles" merely "by the hands of Paul"; and the very exorcists (Ac 19:13), observing that the name of Jesus was the secret of all his miracles, hoped, by aping him in this, to be equally successful; while the result of all in the "magnifying of the Lord Jesus" (Ac 19:17) showed that in working them the apostle took care to hold up Him whom he preached as the source of all the miracles which he wrought.

    13. vagabond Jews--simply, "wandering Jews," who went from place to place practicing exorcism, or the art of conjuring evil spirits to depart out of the possessed. That such a power did exist, for some time at least, seems implied in Mt 12:27. But no doubt this would breed imposture; and the present case is very different from that referred to in Lu 9:49, 50.
    - We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth--a striking testimony to the power of Christ's name in Paul's mouth.

    14-17. seven sons of . . . Sceva . . . chief of the priests--head, possibly, of one of the twenty-four courts.

    15. the evil spirit answered, Jesus I know--"recognize."
    - and Paul I know--"know intimately," in contrast to them, whom he altogether disowns.
    - but who are ye?

    16. And the man in whom the evil spirit was--Mark the clear line of demarcation here between "the evil spirit which answered and said" and "the man in whom the evil spirit was." The reality of such possessions could not be more clearly expressed.
    - leaped on them . . . so that they fled . . . naked and wounded--This was so appalling a testimony at once against those profane impostors and in favor of Paul and the Master whom he preached, that we wonder not that it spread to "all the Jews and Greeks at Ephesus, that fear fell on them," and that "the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified."

    18-20. many that believed came and confessed . . . their deeds--the dupes of magicians, &c., acknowledging how shamefully they had been deluded, and how deeply they had allowed themselves to be implicated in such practices.

    19. Many of them . . . which used curious arts--The word signifies things "overdone"; significantly applied to arts in which laborious but senseless incantations are practiced.
    - brought their books--containing the mystic formularies.
    - and burned them before all--The tense, here used graphically, expresses progress and continuance of the conflagration.
    - counted the price . . . and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver--about £2000 (presuming it to be the drachma, the current coin of the Levant, of about 10d. value). From their nature they would be costly, and books then bore a value above any standard we are familiar with. The scene must have been long remembered at Ephesus, as a strong proof of honest conviction on the part of the sorcerers and a striking triumph of Jesus Christ over the powers of darkness. The workers of evil were put to scorn, like Baal's priests on Carmel, and the word of God mightily grew and prevailed [HOWSON].

    21, 22. After these things were ended--completed, implying something like a natural finish to his long period of labor at Ephesus.
    - Paul purposed . . . when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem . . . After I have been there, I must also see Rome--Mark here the vastness of the apostle's missionary plans. They were all fulfilled, though he "saw Rome" only as a prisoner.

    22. So he sent into Macedonia . . . Timotheus and Erastus--as his pioneers, in part to bring "them into remembrance of his ways which were in Christ" (1Co 4:17; 16:10), partly to convey his mind on various matters. After a brief stay he was to return (1Co 16:11). It is very unlikely that this Erastus was "the chamberlain of the city" of Corinth, of that name (Ro 16:23).
    - he himself stayed in--the province of
    - Asia for a season--that is, at Ephesus, its chief city. (Asia is mentioned in contrast with Macedonia in the previous clause).

    23. the same time--of Paul's proposed departure.
    - about that--"the"
    - way--So the new religion seemed then to be designated (Ac 9:2; 22:4; 24:14).

    24-26. silver shrines for--"of"
    - Diana--small models of the Ephesian temple and of the shrine or chapel of the goddess, or of the shrine and statue alone, which were purchased by visitors as memorials of what they had seen, and were carried about and deposited in houses as a charm. (The models of the chapel of our Lady of Loretto, and such like, which the Church of Rome systematically encourages, are such a palpable imitation of this heathen practice that it is no wonder it should be regarded by impartial judges as Christianity paganized).
    - gain to the craftsmen--the master-artificers.

    25. Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation--rather, "with the workmen (or fabricators) of such articles," meaning the artisans employed by the master-artificers, all who manufactured any kind of memorial of the temple and its worship for sale.

    26. ye see and hear--The evidences of it were to be seen, and the report of it was in everybody's mouth.
    - that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath . . . turned away much people--Noble testimony this to the extent of Paul's influence!
    - saying that they be no gods which are made with hands--The universal belief of the people was that they were gods, though the more intelligent regarded them only as habitations of Deity, and some, probably, as mere aids to devotion. It is exactly so in the Church of Rome.

    27. So that not only this our craft is in danger . . . but, &c.--that is, "that indeed is a small matter; but there is something far worse." So the masters of the poor Pythoness put forward the religious revolution which Paul was attempting to effect at Philippi, as the sole cause of their zealous alarm, to cloak the self-interest which they felt to be touched by his success (Ac 16:19-21). In both cases religious zeal was the hypocritical pretext; self-interest, the real moving cause of the opposition made.
    - also the temple of the great goddess Diana . . . despised, and her magnificence . . . destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth--It was reckoned one of the wonders of the world. It was built about 550 B.C., of pure white marble, and though burned by a fanatic on the night of the birth of Alexander the Great, 356 B.C., was rebuilt with more splendor than before. It was four hundred twenty-five feet long by two hundred twenty broad, and the columns, one hundred twenty-seven in number, were sixty feet in height, each of them the GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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