Acts 19:13

ESV Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”
NIV Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, 'In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.'
NASB But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had the evil spirits, saying, 'I order you in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches!'
CSB Now some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists also attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I command you by the Jesus that Paul preaches! "
NLT A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, 'I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!'
KJV 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.

What does Acts 19:13 mean?

In the Roman Empire, gods were everywhere. Households put little idols on shelves and offered a handful of grain to them every day. Cities had specific gods—Ephesus specialized in Artemis—and to refuse to worship those gods was to show a lack of loyalty and care for one's community. When a region had older, native gods, they renamed them after Roman deities so they could keep worshiping them. And everyone was required to worship the emperor.

Despite the inundation of gods, people long for something real; in Ephesus, they sought it through witchcraft. Many in the Roman Empire looked to the religions of the East, which tend to be more esoteric and exotic. From a Roman perspective, few religions were more unconventional than Judaism: the Jews worship a God with no physical representation! In addition, they refuse to say His name. Pagan magicians concluded that "YWHW," "Sabaoth," and "Abraham" must be magical words.

Fraudsters often take advantage of the search for a deeper connection to the spirit world. During their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas met a Jewish magician and false prophet named Bar-Jesus who had found a lucrative position with Sergius Paulus, the proconsul of the island of Cyprus. When Bar-Jesus interrupted Paul's explanation of Jesus' offer of salvation, Paul blinded him (Acts 13:4–12).

Some of those in Ephesus hear Paul use a new name—"Jesus"—to cast out demons and try it out. Since "Jesus" is fairly common, they identify Him as the one Paul talks about. "Adjure" is from the Greek root word horkizō. Like the legion of demons tried with Jesus (Mark 5:7), the exorcists try to force the demons to take an oath to do what they want.

Although the exorcists use the sounds that identify the Jesus Paul worships, they don't use Jesus' name. His name includes His power, sovereignty, character, and authority. When we are baptized in Jesus' name, we submit ourselves to Him. To use Jesus without really knowing Him is to risk His rejection (Matthew 7:21–23). It's also to risk being ignored (Mark 9:18) or, worse, attacked by the demons being addressed (Acts 19:16).
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