Read thru New Testament Devotional – July 16, 2017

July 16


Acts 19:21-41

Acts 19:21-Paul decides that he will continue his trip through Macedonia and Achaia, then he will head back to Jerusalem…after which, he hoped to go to Rome.

Acts 19:22-Paul sends Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia, probably to make arrangements for when he arrived...and then he stays a while longer in Asia.

Acts 19:23-41-Before Paul left Ephesus, a disturbance arose concerning “the Way”.  A man named Demetrius (a silversmith who made and sold idols of the goddess Artemis, Latin-Diana) gathered a group against "the Way" (:23) and Paul.


Ryrie Study Bible 19:27 the Gospel was endangering the business of these idol-makers. In order to stir up opposition against the Christians, the craftsman appealed to the civic pride of the Ephesians.  The temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world—a magnificent structure with 127 columns 60 feet high standing on the area 425 feet long and 220 feet wide.


Demetrius claimed that because Paul was leading so many people to forsake the goddess Artemis and follow Jesus, it was hurting their business and they were losing money (:25-27).  A riot began.  The people grabbed Paul's traveling companions, Gaius and Aristarchus and drug them into a theater for a public assembly.


The theater (capacity twenty-four thousand) was the largest and most impressive of all structures in ancient Ephesus. Built into the steep western slope of Mount Pion with a view of the city and the broad street to the sea, it was used for large gatherings of inhabitants, as well as the citizens' assembly (Finegan 1981:162). This gathering is probably an unofficial meeting of the city assembly in which Demetrius hopes to put pressure on civic authorities to take action against the apostolic group (Sherwin-White 1963:83). The declaration of the truth has wounded religious and ethnic pride, which reacts with a destructive mixture of mindless zeal and fury (compare Lk 4:28; 8:33; Acts 5:17; 7:57; 13:45). Today the same reaction to the gospel from zealots of the world's great religions or of antireligious ideologies should be no surprise.



Paul wanted to go there but the disciples would not allow him.  Most of the people who had come were not even aware of why they were there.  Alexander tried to speak and give a defense (an explanation) of what was going on.  However, when the followers of Artemis saw him they recognized that he was a Jew and began to shout him down…this went on for two hours.  The town clerk is sympathetic with their concerns…saying that all of them are aware that the city of Ephesus is the primary center of worship of Artemis…since they possessed the statue which “fell down from heaven”.


The image which fell down from Jupiter.—The name was often given to old pre-historic images—as, e.g., to that of Athenè Polias at Athens. It may have been merely a legendary way of stating that no one knew what artist had sculptured the image, or when it had been first worshipped. Possibly, however, the word may have had a more literal meaning as applied to a meteoric stone which had been employed by the sculptor, or was worshipped in its original form. The many-breasted image of Aitemis described in the Note on Acts 19:24 is, however, reported to have been made of olive-wood. The word image is not in the Greek, and one familiar word (diopetes) was sufficient to express what requires seven in the English paraphrase., Ellicot’s Commentary for English Readers


The town clerk warned the crowd that it was an unlawful assembly and they could be held accountable for it.  The courts were in session and if any legal matters needed to be settled they were ready for it.  With that, he dismissed the crowd.

Prayer: Father, any time that You begin to work among the people there is resistance.  I ask that You work through me and allow me to be Your servant...but I pray that You will give me the strength to face the resistance that is certain to come.  Please give me the wisdom to recognize it and the strength to continue to stand strong for You.

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