Acts Chapter Nineteen
From verse 24 of chapter 18 to verse 7 of chapter 19 we have a kind of summary of the progress made by the doctrine of Christ, and of the power that accompanied it. Apollos knew only of the teaching of John; but, upright in heart, he publicly confessed and preached that which he knew. It was the faith of a regenerate soul. Aquila and Priscilla enlighten him fully with regard to the facts of the gospel, and the doctrine of a dead and glorified Christ. At Corinth he becomes a powerful teacher of the gospel, of the Lord among the Jews, thus confirming the faith of the disciples. The energy of the Holy Ghost manifests itself in him without any intervention of the apostle or of the twelve. He acts independently; that is, the Spirit acts independently in him. People could say, "I am of Apollos." It is interesting to see these different manifestations of the power and liberty of the Spirit, and to remember that the Lord is above all, and that, if He acts greatly by a Paul, He acts also in whom He will.
In that which follows we find, on another side, the progress of the divine revelation in union with Paul's apostolic power made very prominent by the capability of communicating the Holy Ghost. Twelve persons had believed, but with no other instruction than that of John: their baptism had been in reference to it. It was a Christ to come, and a Holy Ghost whom He would communicate, that they looked for. Now John's baptism required repentance, but in no way came out of the Jewish pale; although it opened a perspective of something different, according to the sovereignty of God, and as the effect of Christ's coming. But it was a baptism unto repentance for man on the earth, and not Christ's death and resurrection. Grace acted in a remnant, but of whom Jesus was a companion on earth. Now Christianity (for man's sin has been fully manifested) is founded on death and resurrection; first, that of Christ, thus accomplishing redemption, and then on our death and resurrection with Him so as to place us in Him and as Him before God in sinless life, life of His life, and washed in His blood from all our sins. But John's baptism, in fact, only taught repentance here below in order to receive Christ; Christianity taught the efficacy of the death and resurrection of a rejected Christ, in virtue of which the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete come down from heaven, should be received.
These twelve men (although John had announced that the baptism of the Holy Ghost should be the result of Christ's intervention) did not know whether  a plain proof that they had not come into the house of God in which He dwelt. Paul explains this to them, and they are baptised in the name of Jesus. Paul, in his apostolic capacity, lays his hands on them; and they receive the Holy Ghost. They speak with tongues, and they prophesy.
This power, and he who was its instrument, were now to be brought out into distinct relief. The capital city of Asia (that is, of the Roman province so named) is the theatre in which this was to be effected. We shall see a power displayed in this locality, which acts independently of all traditional forms, and which governs all that surrounds it, whether man, conscience, or the enemy-an organising power, which forms of itself and for itself the institutions and the body that suit it, and which governs the whole position. The power of active grace has been displayed in the work of Paul, beginning with Antioch; and had shewn itself in different ways. Here we have some details of its formal establishment in a great centre.
During three months of patience he preaches Christ in the synagogue, and reasons with the Jews, conscious of divine strength and of the truth. He grants precedence, as the sphere of testimony, to that which had been the instrument and the people of God: "To the Jews first." It is no longer said, "Salvation is of the Jews," but it is preached to them first.
But this work having had its development, and many taking the place of adversaries, Paul acts as the founder of that which was according to God and on the part of God. He separates the disciples, and discourses upon Christianity in the hall of a Greek who had a public class. This went on for two years: so that the doctrine was spread through all the country among both the Jews and the Greeks. God did not fail to bear testimony to the word of His grace, and His power was displayed in a remarkable manner in connection with the person of the apostle who bore the testimony. The manifestations of the enemy's power disappear before the action of this liberative power of the Lord, and the name of Jesus was glorified. Now the reality of this action was demonstrated in a striking way, that is, its source in the personal, positive, and real action of the Lord on the one side, and on the other, the mission of Paul, and faith as the instrument by which this supernatural power wrought. Certain Jews desired to avail themselves of it for their own self-interest; and devoid of faith, they use the name of "Jesus whom Paul preached" as though it had been a kind of charm. But the evil spirit, whose power was as true and real in its way as that of the Lord which he was forced to acknowledge when it was in exercise, knew very well that here it was not so, that there was neither faith nor power. "Jesus I know," said he, "and who Paul is I know; but who are ye?" And the man who was possessed attacked and wounded them. Striking testimony to the action of the enemy, but at the same time to that superior force. to the reality of that intervention of God. which was carried into effect by means of Paul. Now, when God shews Himself, conscience always shews itself; and the power of the enemy over it is manifested and ceases. The Jews and Greeks are filled with fear, and many who became Christians brought the proofs of their sorceries.
The mighty action of the Spirit shewed itself by the decision it produced, by the immediate and unhesitating acting out of the thoughts and resolutions produced in the heart. There were no long inward arguments; the presence and the power of God produced their natural effects.
The enemy's resources were, however, not exhausted. The work of God was done, in the sense of the establishment of the testimony through apostolic labour; and God was sending His servant elsewhere. The enemy, as usual, excites a tumult, stirring up the passions of men against the instruments of the testimony of God. Paul had already intended to go away, but a little later; he had therefore sent Timothy and Erastus before him into Macedonia, purposing to visit Macedonia, Achaia, and Jerusalem, and afterwards to go to Rome; and he still remains some time in Asia. But after the departure of these two brethren, Demetrius excites the people against the Christians. Inveterate against the gospel, which shook the whole system in connection wi th which he made his fortune, and which was linked with all that gave him importance, this agent of the enemy knew how to act on the passions of the workmen who had the same occupation as himself; for he made little portable shrines to Diana, in silver. His employment was connected with that which all the world admired, with that which had possession of men's minds-a great comfort to man who feels the need of something sure-with that which had long given its hue to their religious habits. A great part of the influence exercised was, not "Great is Diana!" but "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" It was, in short, the power of the enemy among the Gentiles. The Jews apparently sought to avail themselves of this by putting one Alexander forward-the same possibly who had withstood Paul, and who they supposed would therefore be listened to by the people. But it was the evil spirit of idolatry that agitated them; and the Jews were foiled in their hope. Paul was prevented, both by the brethren and by some of the Asiarchs,(26) from shewing himself in the theatre. The assembly was dissolved by the town authorities; and Paul, when he had seen the disciples, went away in peace.  His work there was finished, and the gospel planted in the capital of the province of Asia, and even in the whole province: Greece and Macedonia had already received it.
There was yet Rome. In what manner should he go thither? This is now the remaining question. His free and active life ended with the events which now occupy us, as far as it is given us by the Holy Ghost. A life blessed with an almost unequalled faith, with an energy that surpassed anything that has been seen in men, and which, through the divine power that wrought in it, produced its effects in spite of obstacles apparently insurmountable, in spite of every kind of opposition, in contempt and destitution, and which stamped its character on the assembly by giving it, instrumentally, its existence; and that, not only in spite of two hostile religions which divided the civilised world between them, but in spite of a religious system which possessed the truth, but which ever sought to confine it within the boundary of traditions that granted some place to the flesh-a system that had the plea of priority, and was sanctioned by the habits of those apostles who were nominated by the Lord Himself.
The assembly indeed, as Paul foresaw, soon returned to its Judaic ways, when the energy of the apostle was absent. It requires the power of the Holy Ghost to rise above the religiousness of the flesh. Piety does not necessarily do this; and power is never a tradition-it is itself, and thereby independent of men and of their traditions, even when bearing with them in love. The flesh therefore always returns to the path of traditions and forms; because it is never power in the things of God, although it can recognise duty. It does not therefore rise to heaven; it does not understand grace; it can see what man ought to be for God (without however perceiving the consequences of this, if God is revealed), but it cannot see what God in His sovereign grace is for man. It will perhaps retain it as orthodoxy, where the Spirit has wrought; but it will never bring the soul into it. This it was, more than the violence of the pagans or the hatred of the Jews, which wrung the heart and caused the anguish of the faithful and blessed apostle, who by grace had a character, or rather a position, more like that of Christ than any other on earth.
These conflicts will be unfolded to us in the Epistles, as well as that ardent heart which-while embracing in its thoughts all the revealed counsels of God, and putting each part in its place, and embracing in its affections the whole of the work and of the assembly of God-could equally concentrate its whole energy of thought on a single important point, and of affection on a poor slave whom grace had given to him in his chains. The vessel of the Spirit, Paul shines with a heavenly light throughout the whole work of the gospel. He condescends at Jerusalem, thunders in Galatia when souls were being perverted, leads the apostles to decide for the liberty of the Gentiles, and uses all liberty himself to be as a Jew to the Jews, and as without law to those that had no law, as not under law, but always subject to Christ. Yet how difficult to maintain the height of life and of spiritual revelation, in the midst of so many opposing tendencies! He was also "void of offence." Nothing within hindered his communion with God, whence he drew his strength to be faithful among men. He could say, and none but he, "Be ye imitators of me, as I am of Christ." Thus also he could say, "I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory," words which would not be improper in the Lord's mouth-in a more exalted sense doubtless, because He endured for Paul himself the wrath that would have been his eternal condemnation-yet words which bring out the remarkable position of this man of God, as the vessel of the Holy Ghost by whom he was used. "I fill up," said he,  of the sufferings of Christ for his body's sake, which is the assembly; whereof I am made a minister to complete the word of God.
John (through his intimate knowledge of the Person of Christ, born on earth and Son of God) was able to maintain this essential and individually vital truth, in the same field in which Paul laboured; but it was Paul's part to be the active instrument for propagating the truth which saves the soul, and brings ruined man into connection with God by faith, by communicating all His counsels of grace.
Still Paul was a man, although a man wonderfully blest. The intrinsic power of Judaism in connection with its relationship to the flesh is marvellous. As to the result indeed, if man takes his place below grace, that is, below God, it is better in a certain sense that he should be man under law than man without law. He will be the one or the other; but in taking up the exclusive idea of duty he forgets God as He is-for He is love; and too often forgets also man as he is-for he is sin. If he unites the idea of duty and of sin, it is continual bondage, and this is what Christianity in general is reduced to; with the addition of ordinances to ease the burdened conscience, of forms to create piety where communion is absent; clothing it all with the name of Christ, and with the authority of the church, so named, the very existence of which in its reality is identified with the principle of sovereign grace, and characterised by subjection. 
 Literally whether the Holy Ghost was. The expression, which is the same as in John 7, is a very striking testimony to the distinctness and importance of the Holy Ghost's presence down here on earth. It is called "the Holy Ghost," though we all know He had ever been. But what is called the Holy Ghost, that is, His presence down here-this had never been.
 It may perhaps interest the reader and help him to understand this part of the New Testament history, if I point out the time at which Paul wrote some of his epistles. He wrote the First to the Corinthians from Ephesus, and sent it by Titus. Timothy he sent by way of Macedonia. The latter might perhaps go into Greece; "If he come," the apostle says to the Corinthians. Then came the tumult, and just at this moment, or about the same time, his life was endangered; he did not even suppose that he should save it. He had purposed going by Greece into Macedonia, and then returning to Greece; but the state Corinth was in prevented it, and he went first into Macedonia. On his way he goes to Troas, but does not stay there; in Macedonia he is much exercised in mind, and has no rest, because Titus had not brought him tidings of the Corinthians. There, however, Titus found him, and the apostle was comforted in his trouble by the good news of the return of the Corinthians to a right mind. Upon this he writes the second letter to them, and, after having visited the assemblies, he pursues his journey to Corinth, whence he wrote his epistle to the Romans. I only speak here of that which relates to thus part of the apostle's history, and throws light upon his labours.
 The reader must distinguish between the Lord's sufferings for sin from God in righteousness, and those which He endured from sinful men for righteousness' sake. We partake in the latter, while Christ has saved us from the former, in which there is no question at all of participation, but of His substitution for us when we have deserved the condemnation due to sin.
 See Ephesians 5:24.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Acts》
Paul instructs the disciples of John at Ephesus. (1-7) He teaches there. (8-12) The Jewish exorcists disgraced. Some Ephesians burn their evil books. (13-20) The tumult at Ephesus. (21-31) The tumult appeased. (32-41)
Commentary on Acts 19:1-7
(Read Acts 19:1-7)
Paul, at Ephesus, found some religious persons, who looked to Jesus as the Messiah. They had not been led to expect the miraculous powers of the Holy Ghost, nor were they informed that the gospel was especially the ministration of the Spirit. But they spake as ready to welcome the notice of it. Paul shows them that John never design that those he baptized should rest there, but told them that they should believe on Him who should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. They thankfully accepted the discovery, and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Ghost came upon them in a surprising, overpowering manner; they spake with tongues, and prophesied, as the apostles and the first Gentile coverts did. Though we do not now expect miraculous powers, yet all who profess to be disciples of Christ, should be called on to examine whether they have received the seal of the Holy Ghost, in his sanctifying influences, to the sincerity of their faith. Many seem not to have heard that there is a Holy Ghost, and many deem all that is spoken concerning his graces and comforts, to be delusion. Of such it may properly be inquired, "Unto what, then, were ye baptized?" for they evidently know not the meaning of that outward sign on which they place great dependence.
Commentary on Acts 19:8-12
(Read Acts 19:8-12)
When arguments and persuasions only harden men in unbelief and blasphemy, we must separate ourselves and others from such unholy company. God was pleased to confirm the teaching of these holy men of old, that if their hearers believed them not, they might believe the works.
Commentary on Acts 19:13-20
(Read Acts 19:13-20)
It was common, especially among the Jews, for persons to profess or to try to cast out evil spirits. If we resist the devil by faith in Christ, he will flee from us; but if we think to resist him by the using of Christ's name, or his works, as a spell or charm, Satan will prevail against us. Where there is true sorrow for sin, there will be free confession of sin to God in every prayer and to man whom we have offended, when the case requires it. Surely if the word of God prevailed among us, many lewd, infidel, and wicked books would be burned by their possessors. Will not these Ephesian converts rise up in judgement against professors, who traffic in such works for the sake of gain, or allow themselves to possess them? If we desire to be in earnest in the great work of salvation, every pursuit and enjoyment must be given up which hinders the effect of the gospel upon the mind, or loosens its hold upon the heart.
Commentary on Acts 19:21-31
(Read Acts 19:21-31)
Persons who came from afar to pay their devotions at the temple of Ephesus, bought little silver shrines, or models of the temple, to carry home with them. See how craftsmen make advantage to themselves of people's superstition, and serve their worldly ends by it. Men are jealous for that by which they get their wealth; and many set themselves against the gospel of Christ, because it calls men from all unlawful crafts, however much wealth is to be gotten by them. There are persons who will stickle for what is most grossly absurd, unreasonable, and false; as this, that those are gods which are made with hands, if it has but worldly interest on its side. The whole city was full of confusion, the common and natural effect of zeal for false religion. Zeal for the honour of Christ, and love to the brethren, encourage zealous believers to venture into danger. Friends will often be raised up among those who are strangers to true religion, but have observed the honest and consistent behaviour of Christians.
Commentary on Acts 19:32-41
(Read Acts 19:32-41)
The Jews came forward in this tumult. Those who are thus careful to distinguish themselves from the servants of Christ now, and are afraid of being taken for them, shall have their doom accordingly in the great day. One, having authority, at length stilled the noise. It is a very good rule at all times, both in private and public affairs, not to be hasty and rash in our motions, but to take time to consider; and always to keep our passions under check. We ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly; to do nothing in haste, of which we may repent at leisure. The regular methods of the law ought always to stop popular tumults, and in well-governed nations will do so. Most people stand in awe of men's judgments more than of the judgement of God. How well it were if we would thus quiet our disorderly appetites and passions, by considering the account we must shortly give to the Judge of heaven and earth! And see how the overruling providence of God keeps the public peace, by an unaccountable power over the spirits of men. Thus the world is kept in some order, and men are held back from devouring each other. We can scarcely look around but we see men act like Demetrius and the workmen. It is as safe to contend with wild beasts as with men enraged by party zeal and disappointed covetousness, who think that all arguments are answered, when they have shown that they grow rich by the practices which are opposed. Whatever side in religious disputes, or whatever name this spirit assumes, it is worldly, and should be discountenanced by all who regard truth and piety. And let us not be dismayed; the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; he can still the rage of the people.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Acts》
 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Have ye received the Holy Ghost? — The extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, as well as his sanctifying graces? We have not so much as heard - Whether there be any such gifts.
 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Into what were ye baptized — Into what dispensation? To the sealing of what doctrine? Into John's baptism - We were baptized by John and believe what he taught.
 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
John baptized — That is, the whole baptism and preaching of John pointed at Christ. After this John is mentioned no more in the New Testament. Here he gives way to Christ altogether.
 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And hearing this, they were baptized — By some other. Paul only laid his hands upon them.
They were baptized — They were baptized twice; but not with the same baptism. John did not administer that baptism which Christ afterward commanded, that is, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
The way — The Christian way of worshipping God.
He departed — Leaving them their synagogue to themselves.
Discoursing daily — Not on the Sabbath only, in the school of one Tyrannus - Which we do not find was any otherwise consecrated, than by preaching the Gospel there.
 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
All who desired it among the inhabitants of the proconsular Asia, now heard the word: St. Paul had been forbidden to preach it in Asia before, Acts 16:6. But now the time was come.
 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
Special miracles — Wrought in a very uncommon manner.
 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
Evil spirits — Who also occasioned many of those diseases, which yet might appear to be purely natural.
 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
Exorcists — Several of the Jews about this time pretended to a power of casting out devils, particularly by certain arts or charms, supposed to be derived from Solomon.
Undertook to name — Vain undertaking! Satan laughs at all those who attempt to expel him either out of the bodies or the souls of men but by Divine faith. All the light of reason is nothing to the craft or strength of that subtle spirit. His craft cannot be known but by the Spirit of God nor can his strength be conquered but by the power of faith.
 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
And the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified — So that even the malice of the devil wrought for the furtherance of the Gospel.
 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
Many came confessing — Of their own accord, and openly declaring their deeds - The efficacy of God's word, penetrating the inmost recesses of their soul, wrought that free and open confession to which perhaps even torments would not have compelled them.
 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
Curious arts — Magical arts, to which that soft appellation was given by those who practised them. Ephesus was peculiarly famous for these. And as these practices were of so much reputation there, it is no wonder the books which taught them should bear a great price.
Bringing their books together — As it were by common consent, burnt them - Which was far better than selling them, even though the money had been given to the poor.
Fifty thousand pieces of silver — If these pieces of silver be taken for Jewish shekels, the sum will amount to six thousand two hundred and fifty pounds.
 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
So powerfully did the word of God grow — In extent, and prevail - In power and efficacy.
 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
After these things were ended — Paul sought not to rest, but pressed on, as if he had yet done nothing. He is already possessed of Ephesus and Asia. He purposes for Macedonia and Achaia. He has his eye upon Jerusalem, then upon Rome; afterward on Spain, Romans 15:28. No Cesar, no Alexander the Great, no other hero, comes up to the magnanimity of this little Benjamite. Faith and love to God and man had enlarged his heart, even as the sand of the sea.
 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;
Silver shrines — Silver models of that famous temple, which were bought not only by the citizens, but by strangers from all parts.
The artificers — The other silversmiths.
 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
The workmen — Employed by him and them.
 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
Saying, that they are not gods which are made with hands — This manifestly shows, that the contrary opinion did then generally prevail, namely, that there was a real Divinity in their sacred images. Though some of the later heathens spoke of them just as the Romanists do now.
 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.
There is danger, not only that this our craft [trade] should come into disgrace, but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised - No wonder a discourse should make so deep an impression, which was edged both by interest and superstition. The great goddess was one of the standing titles of Diana.
Her majesty destroyed — Miserable majesty, which was capable of being thus destroyed! Whom all Asia and the world - That is, the Roman empire, worshippeth - Although under a great variety of titles and characters. But the multitude of those that err does not turn error into truth.
 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
They rushed with one accord — Demetrius and his company, into the theatre - Where criminals were wont to be thrown to the wild beasts, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus - When they could not find Paul. Probably they hoped to oblige them to fight with the wild beasts, as some think St. Paul had done before.
 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.
When Paul would have gone in to the people — Being above all fear, to plead the cause of his companions, and prove they are not gods which are made with hands.
 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.
The principal officers of Asia — The Asian priests, who presided over the public games, which they were then celebrating in honour of Diana.
 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
The greater part did not know for what they were come together — Which is commonly the case in such an assembly.
 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
And they thrust forward — Namely, the artificers and workmen, Alexander - Probably some well-known Christian whom they saw in the crowd: the Jews pushing him on - To expose him to the more danger.
And Alexander waving with his hand — In token of desiring silence, would have made a defence - For himself and his brethren.
 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
But when they knew that he was a Jew — And consequently an enemy to their worship of images; they prevented him, by crying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?
The register — Probably the chief governor of the public games.
The image which fell down from Jupiter — They believed that very image of Diana, which stood in her temple, fell down from Jupiter in heaven. Perhaps he designed to insinuate, as if falling down from Jupiter, it was not made with hands, and so was not that sort of idols which Paul had said were no gods.
 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
Nor blasphemers of your goddess — They simply declared the one God, and the vanity of idols in general.
 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.
There are proconsuls — One in every province. There was one at Ephesus.
 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
In a lawful assembly — In such a regular assembly as has authority to judge of religious and political affairs.
 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
This concourse — He wisely calls it by an inoffensive name.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Acts》
The story has been told of a group of colonists who
Finally, another group of travelers made its way through the region and came upon these isolated settlers. Naturally, there was much conversation about the outside world. The travelers asked the mountaineers what they thought about “the Republic” and the policies of “Congress.”
The isolated ones answered, “We have not heard anything of a Congress or a Republic.” Then they went on to explain that they thought of themselves as loyal subjects of the British king. When told all about the nation’s independence and how it came about, they entered into an understanding of their new status, and became “American citizens” in that hour by knowledge, as they had been for some time in fact.
Even many Christians, as in Paul’s day in
Chapter 19. The Evil Defeated by the Virtuous
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
I. Prevail in Ephesus
II. Seven sons Invoke the Name and were Humiliated
III. The riot in Ephesus
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
The Twelve Disciples Of John (19:1-10)
1. In our survey of "Conversions In The Book of Acts", we have
considered the following examples of conversion...
a. The 3000 on Pentecost - Ac 2:1-41
b. The 2000 at Solomon's Porch - Ac 3:1-4:4
c. The Samaritans - Ac 8:4-25
d. The Ethiopian Eunuch - Ac 8:26-40
e. Saul Of
- Ac 9:1-19; 22:6-16; 26:12-18 Tarsus
f. Cornelius And His Household - Ac 10:1-48; 11:1-18
g. Two Households At
Philippi- Ac 16:6-34
h. The Athenians - Ac 17:16-34
i. The Corinthians - Ac 18:1-11
2. There were others that we might have considered, but did not...
a. Those at
Antiochof - Ac 11:19-21 Syria
b. Sergius Paulus on the
- Ac 13:4-12 islandof Paphos
c. Those at
of Pisidia - Ac 13:13-48 Antioch
d. Those at Iconium, Lystra and Derbe - Ac 14:1-20
e. Those at Thessalonica and
- Ac 17:1-12 Berea
f. Apollos, who was taught by Aquilla and Priscilla - Ac 18:24-28
3. But in those we examined, I shared the following observations:
a. The gospel message was one that focused on Jesus...
1) Who died for our sins
2) Who was raised from the dead
3) Who is both Lord and Christ, returning again one day to judge
b. The response expected of those who heard was one of...
1) Faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (which included
confessing that faith)
2) Repentance of one's sins
3) Baptism for the remission of sins
4. Before we conclude this series, I wish to examine one more case of
a. It is the last example of conversion in Acts (with the possible
of exception of some in the audience when Paul spoke at
- Ac 28:23-24)
b. It is unique for several reasons, one of which is that it
describes a "re-baptism"
[I am referring to "The Twelve Disciples Of John", recorded in Ac 19:
1-10. As we begin this study, let's review the Biblical record...]
I. THE CONVERSION OF TWELVE "DISCIPLES"
A. PAUL'S ARRIVAL IN
1. He had just started his third journey - Ac 18:22-23
2. At the end of his second journey, he had made a quick stop at
- Ac 18:19-21 Ephesus
3. True to his word, he returned to
- Ac 19:1 Ephesus
B. PAUL MEETS TWELVE "DISCIPLES"...
1. He finds some "disciples", who were twelve in number - Ac 19:
2. Upon questioning, he learns they were disciples of John the
Baptist - Ac 19:2-3
a. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit when
1) As explained in the conversion of "The Samaritans" (Ac
8:4-25), I believe the phrase "receive the Holy Spirit"
to be a metonymy for receiving a miraculous gift from
2) As an apostle, Paul had the ability to impart spiritual
gifts - Ro 1:11; 2 Ti 1:6
3) Assuming the "disciples" to have been baptized into
Christ, he desired to give them gifts from the Spirit
(such as the gifts of tongues and prophesy, cf. 1 Co
b. Their immediate answer sparks another question from Paul
1) They had not heard about a Holy Spirit
a) They must not have known much of John's own teaching,
for he taught about the Holy Spirit - cf. Mt 3:11
b) They clearly could not have been properly baptized
into Christ, for it is a baptism into the name of the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit! - cf. Mt 28:19
2) So Paul inquires into their baptism
a) He learns that it was John's baptism
b) Some have suggested that these 12 may have been
converted by Apollos before Apollos himself learned
the truth - cf. Ac 18:24-25
C. THE TWELVE ARE "RE-BAPTIZED"...
1. Paul explains that while John did teach a baptism of
repentance, he directed people to believe on Jesus who would
come after him - Ac 19:4
2. The twelve are then baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus
- Ac 19:5
a. This would be the baptism commanded by Jesus - Mt 28:18-20
b. And the baptism expected of all would-be disciples of Jesus
- Ac 2:38; 22:16
3. Following their baptism, Paul laid hands on them and the
Spirit imparted gifts of tongues and prophesy - Ac 19:6-7
[Such was the beginning of a very successful period for the gospel (cf.
Ac 19:8-10). Again we see what was considered the normal response of
one who wished to become a disciple of Jesus (faith and baptism).
The example of "The Twelve Disciples Of John" does raise an interesting
question concerning "re-baptism": Under what circumstances should one
be baptized again? Here are some thoughts regarding this question...]
II. IS "RE-BAPTISM" EVER NECESSARY?
A. OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE TWELVE DISCIPLES...
1. They had been previously "baptized"
2. Their baptism, however, was lacking in some way
a. Even though it was immersion
b. Even though it was "for the remission of sins" - Mk 1:4
c. But baptism was not in the name of Jesus - Ac 2:38; 10:48;
1) That is, by His authority
2) Which would have been a baptism into the name of the
Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son - Mt 28:19
3. Because their first baptism LACKED AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT,
"re-baptism" was necessary!
-- May we not conclude that if an earlier baptism lacks some
essential element, then "re-baptism" is necessary?
B. WHEN "RE-BAPTISM" IS APPROPRIATE...
1. There are four "essential elements" of Bible baptism
a. The proper MODE: a burial (immersion) - Ro 6:3; Co 2:12
b. The proper AUTHORITY: in the name of Christ - Ac 19:5
c. The proper PURPOSE: remission of sins - Ac 2:38; 22:16
d. The proper SUBJECT: penitent believer - Ac 2:38; 8:37;
2. When just one of these "essential elements" was lacking,
"re-baptism" was commanded
a. In Ac 19:1-5, the proper AUTHORITY was lacking
b. Even though their previous baptism had the right MODE,
PURPOSE, and SUBJECT
3. Some cases where "re-baptism" would seem appropriate
a. If we were baptized by SPRINKLING OR POURING, for the
proper mode is immersion
b. If we were baptized by THE AUTHORITY OF ANYONE OTHER THAN
JESUS, for the proper authority is Jesus Christ
c. If we were baptized AS A PUBLIC CONFESSION OF FAITH
(thinking that we were already saved), for the proper
purpose is the remission of sins
d. If we were baptized BUT WERE NOT PENITENT BELIEVERS, for a
proper subject is one who believes "with all their heart"
1) E.g., when one is baptized just because their friends
are doing it
2) E.g., Because their spouse, fiance?or parents are
pressuring them to do it (and they do it to please them,
4. But let me be sure to clarify:
a. When one is baptized because their "first" baptism lacked
an essential element...
1) It is not really "re-baptism!"
2) For in the strictest sense, that person is finally being
baptized scripturally for the FIRST time!
b. When one has been scripturally baptized ONCE...
1) There is never a need to be baptized again!
2) Once we have clothed ourselves with Christ in baptism:
a) The blood of Christ continually cleanses us of our
b) As we REPENT and CONFESS our sins to God in prayer
- Ac 8:22; 1 Jn 1:9
1. The example of "The Twelve Disciples Of John" certainly illustrates
that one can...
a. Be religious
b. Have undergone some baptismal experience
...and still not be a true disciple of Jesus Christ!
2. One can rest assured that they are a true disciple of Jesus when
their baptism had...
a. The right MODE - immersion
b. The right AUTHORITY- Jesus Christ
c. The right PURPOSE - remission of sins
d. The right SUBJECT - penitent believer
-- Lacking any of these "essential elements", one should consider
being baptized again in order to "make your calling and election
3. If we desire to truly be disciples of Jesus Christ, then let's make
a. We proclaim the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, as preached by His
apostles in the first century A.D.
b. We have responded to that gospel in the same manner as those who
heard the good news preached in its purity and simplicity
I pray that this study, "Conversions In The Book Of Acts", has been
beneficial toward that end.