ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
While Apollos was in Corinth,
Paul travelled through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus.
There he found some disciples whom he asked,
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
“We have not even heard that anyone may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Paul then asked,
“What kind of baptism have you received?”
And they answered,
“The Baptism of John.”
Paul then explained,
“John’s baptism was for conversion,
but he himself said they should believe in the one who was to come,
and that one is Jesus.”
Upon hearing this,
they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came down upon them;
and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy.
There were about twelve of them in all.
Paul went into the synagogue and for three months he preached and discussed there boldly,
trying to convince them about the kingdom of God.
Some of them, instead of believing, grew obstinate and criticised the way publicly.
So Paul departed from them and took the disciples with him.
He taught daily in the lecture hall of a certain Tyrannus.
He did this for two years,
so all those who lived in the province of Asia,
both Jews and non-Jews, heard the word of the Lord.
God did extraordinary deeds of power through the hand of Paul.
Even handkerchiefs or cloths that had touched his skin were laid upon the sick and their illnesses were cured,
and evil spirits also departed from them.
Some Jews who travelled around driving out evil spirits,
also tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those possessed by evil spirits, saying,
“I command you by this Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
Among them were the seven sons of a Jewish priest named Sceva.
But one day, when they entered a house and dared to do this,
the evil spirit said to them,
“Jesus I recognise and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Then the man with the evil spirit sprang at them and overpowered first one and then another.
And he handled them so violently that they fled from that house naked and mauled.
This became known to all the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus;
all of them were very impressed
and the name of the Lord Jesus
came to be held in great honour.
Many of those who had become believers came forward and openly acknowledged their former practices.
Many who had practiced magic arts collected their books and burned them in front of everyone.
When the value of these was assessed, it came to fifty thousand silver coins.
In this way,
the word of the Lord spread widely and with power.
When all these events were completed Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, decided to travel through Macedonia and Achaia again and then go on to Jerusalem.
And he said,
“After I have been there,
I must visit Rome also.”
So he sent two of his assistants,
Timothy and Erastus,
to Macedonia ahead of him,
while he himself stayed on for a time in Asia.
About that time the city was deeply troubled because of the way.
It all began because of a certain silversmith named Demetrius,
who made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis
and whose business brought a great deal of profit to the workers.
He called them, together with others who did similar work, and said,
you know that our prosperity depends on this work.
But, as you can see and hear for yourselves,
this Paul has led astray a great number of people, not only here in Ephesus, but also throughout most of the province of Asia.
And he has convinced them that gods made by human hands are no gods at all.
The danger grows that not only our trade will be discredited,
but even that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will count for nothing.
She whom Asia and all the world worships may soon be stripped of her renown.”
On hearing this they became enraged and began shouting,
“Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
The uproar spread throughout the whole city.
The mob rushed to the theatre,
dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, two Macedonians who were Paul’s travelling companions.
Paul wished to face this crowd, but the disciples would not let him.
Some of the officials of the Asian province also,
who were friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to show himself in the theatre.
Meanwhile the whole assembly was in an uproar.
Some shouted one thing, and some shouted another and most of them did not know why they were there.
Some of the crowd wanted a certain Alexander to speak, whom the Jews put forward.
Alexander intended to make a speech of defense before the crowd,
but when they recognised that he was a Jew,
they chanted all together for about two hours,
“Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
Finally the town clerk was able to calm the mob.
“Citizens of Ephesus,
who does not know that Ephesus is keeper of the temple of the great Artemis, and of her image which fell from the sky?
Since these things are undeniable, you must calm yourselves and do nothing rash.
These men whom you brought here are not temple-robbers nor have they spoken ill of our goddess.
If Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen want to bring charges against anyone, the courts are open and there are officials.
Let them bring charges against each other.
If there is anything further that needs to be investigated, let it be done in the lawful assembly.
For as it is today, we are in danger of being charged with rioting, since there is no valid excuse we can give for this wild demonstration.”
And the town clerk dismissed the assembly.