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Acts of Apostles - Chapter 19
1 It happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul made his way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples.
2 When he asked, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?' they answered, 'No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit.'
3 He asked, 'Then how were you baptised?' They replied, 'With John's baptism.'
4 Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who was to come after him -- namely Jesus.'
5 When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus,
6 and the moment Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy.
7 There were about twelve of these men in all.
8 He began by going to the synagogue, where he spoke out fearlessly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. He did this for three months,
9 till the attitude of some of the congregation hardened into unbelief. As soon as they began attacking the Way in public, he broke with them and took his disciples apart to hold daily discussions in the lecture room of Tyrannus.
10 This went on for two years, with the result that all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, were able to hear the word of the Lord.
11 So remarkable were the miracles worked by God at Paul's hands
12 that handkerchiefs or aprons which had touched him were taken to the sick, and they were cured of their illnesses, and the evil spirits came out of them.
13 But some itinerant Jewish exorcists too tried pronouncing the name of the Lord Jesus over people who were possessed by evil spirits; they used to say, 'I adjure you by the Jesus whose spokesman is Paul.'
14 Among those who did this were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest.
15 The evil spirit replied, 'Jesus I recognise, and Paul I know, but who are you?'
16 and the man with the evil spirit hurled himself at them and overpowered first one and then another, and handled them so violently that they fled from that house stripped of clothing and badly mauled.
17 Everybody in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, heard about this episode; everyone was filled with awe, and the name of the Lord Jesus came to be held in great honour.
18 Some believers, too, came forward to admit in detail how they had used spells
19 and a number of them who had practised magic collected their books and made a bonfire of them in public. The value of these was calculated to be fifty thousand silver pieces.
20 In this powerful way the word of the Lord spread more and more widely and successfully.
21 When all this was over Paul made up his mind to go back to Jerusalem through Macedonia and Achaia. 'After I have been there,' he said, 'I must go on to see Rome as well.'
22 So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, ahead of him to Macedonia, while he remained for a time in Asia.
23 It was during this time that a serious disturbance broke out in connection with the Way.
24 A silversmith called Demetrius, who provided work for a large number of craftsmen making silver shrines of Diana,
25 called a general meeting of them with others in the same trade. 'As you know,' he said, 'it is on this industry that we depend for our prosperity.
26 Now you must have seen and heard how, not just in Ephesus but nearly everywhere in Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and converted a great number of people with his argument that gods made by hand are not gods at all.
27 This threatens not only to discredit our trade, but also to reduce the sanctuary of the great goddess Diana to unimportance. It could end up by taking away the prestige of a goddess venerated all over Asia, and indeed all over the world.'
28 This speech roused them to fury, and they started to shout, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!'
29 The whole town was filled with the uproar and the mob made a concerted rush to the theatre, dragging along two of Paul's Macedonian travelling companions, Gaius and Aristarchus.
30 Paul wanted to make an appeal to the people, but the disciples refused to let him;
31 in fact, some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent messages urging him not to take the risk of going into the theatre.
32 By now everybody was shouting different things, till the assembly itself had no idea what was going on; most of them did not even know why they had gathered together.
33 Some of the crowd prevailed upon Alexander, whom the Jews pushed forward; he raised his hand for silence with the intention of explaining things to the people.
34 As soon as they realised he was a Jew, they all started shouting in unison, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!' and they kept this up for two hours.
35 When the town clerk eventually succeeded in calming the crowd, he said, 'Citizens of Ephesus! Is there anybody who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the guardian of the temple of great Diana and of her statue that fell from heaven?
36 Nobody can contradict this and there is no need for you to get excited or do anything rash.
37 These men you have brought here are not guilty of any sacrilege or blasphemy against our goddess.
38 If Demetrius and the craftsmen he has with him want to complain about anyone, there are the assizes and the proconsuls; let them take the case to court.
39 And if you want to ask any more questions you must raise them in the regular assembly.
40 We could easily be charged with rioting for today's happenings: there is no ground for it all, and we can give no justification for this gathering.' When he had finished this speech he dismissed the assembly.
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