Acts + Letters Lesson 20 Day 3

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Acts 19

Questions for Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 20

Paul in Ephesus

6. John’s baptism, Lord Jesus’ baptism, and Holy Spirit baptism

When Paul met these disciples, something prompted him to ask if they had received the Holy Spirit. They had not heard of the Holy Spirit.

When asked about baptism, they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Like Apollos, they had incomplete information about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“When the men are called disciples without further qualification, that…seems to mean that they were disciples of Jesus. Had Luke meant to indicate that they were disciples of John the Baptist… he would have said so explicitly.” (Bruce via Enduring Word)

Repentance baptism

John the Baptist’s baptism was a water baptism of repentance, “not necessarily faith unto salvation. John’s message pointed to Jesus, but did not take men there itself.” (David Guzik)

[John the Baptist said] “I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)

Salvation Baptism

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (v. 4b)

[Jesus said] Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)

Holy Spirit Baptism

When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke with other languages and prophesied. (v. 6)

Paul wrote the letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians during his stay in the city of Ephesus . . . and 1 Corinthians has much to say about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. (David Guzik)

7. Paul continues teaching in Ephesus for over two years.

Paul taught in the synagogue “and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning God’s Kingdom.” (v. 8 emphasis added)

Some hardened their hearts and did not believe. When the situation became too adversarial, Paul taught daily in the school of a Gentile teacher named Tyrannus.

One ancient, though not inspired, writing says that Paul held his meetings at the school of Tyrannus from eleven in the morning to four in the afternoon. This was the time most people rested from work, including Paul, who worked to support himself while in Ephesus (Acts 20:34-35). These also may have been the “off hours” for the school of Tyrannus. (

Paul’s hundreds of hours of effective teaching equipped these believers to serve and build up the body of Christ in their region. (Ephesians 4:11-12)

8. The seven sons of Sceva

Some say they believe in Jesus but deny his miracle working power of his Spirit, but these sons of a Jewish chief priest, invoked the power in Jesus’ name without believing. The evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are You?”

The man with the evil spirit “leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (v. 16)

The sons of Sceva failed because they did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Everyone in Ephesus heard about it.

“Fear fell on them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Many . . . believed.” (v. 17, 18)

People who were into magic brought their books valued at fifty thousand pieces of silver and started a bonfire. (v. 19)

Or “fifty thousand silver drachmas.” Some historians have said that one lamb would be sold for one silver drachma. The price of a ewe lamb today is about 150 USD. A drachma was one day’s wage, and fifty thousand drachmas would be one hundred years’ wages. The value of the books could have been millions of dollars. (Footnote on Acts 19:19 TPT)

The 50,000 pieces of silver here probably referred to 50,000 drachmas. If so, the value of the burned books was equivalent to about 160 man-years of wages for agricultural laborers. (Footnote in WEB translation)

9. The riot—Acts 19:23-41

Paul shared the gospel so well that it affected the economy of the entire community.

This tremendous temple to Diana (also known as Artemis) in Ephesus was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was supported by 127 pillars, each 60 feet high, and was decorated with great sculptures. It was lost to history until it was discovered in 1869, and its main altar was unearthed in 1965.

i. “The epicenter of Artemis worship was a black meteorite that either resembled or had been fashioned into a grotesque image of a woman. The lower part was wrapped like a mummy…the idol was covered with breasts, symbolizing fertility.” (Hughes)

ii. “The Temple of Artemis was also a major treasury and bank of the ancient world, where merchants, kings, and even cities made deposits, and where their money could be kept safe under the protection of deity.” (Longenecker)

iii. Whom all Asia and the world worship: The temple of Diana in Ephesus was indeed famous around the world. The trinkets and idols from it must have been a substantial trade, no matter how immoral the worship of the sex-goddess was. (

The whole city was filled with confusion.

“They rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel.” (v. 29)

“Most of them didn’t know why they had come together.” (v. 32)

When Alexander, a Jewish man, stood up to get the crowd’s attention, “all with one voice for a time of about two hours cried out, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!'” (v. 34) Two hours!

The city clerk, concerned about “Rome’s iron-fisted attitude toward such civil disorder,” calmed and dismissed the crowd. (v. 41)

God used the city clerk to calm the mob and end the immediate threat to Paul and the other Christians. God had preserved His work, and His people, again. (

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Unless noted, all Scripture from public domain WEB translation.
My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 20 Day 3