Acts 19:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 19:16, NIV: "Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding."

Acts 19:16, ESV: "And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."

Acts 19:16, KJV: "And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."

Acts 19:16, NASB: "And the man in whom was the evil spirit, pounced on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."

Acts 19:16, NLT: "Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered."

Acts 19:16, CSB: "Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them, so that they ran out of that house naked and wounded."

What does Acts 19:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Interacting with demons is dangerous. Using a borrowed word to try to control a powerful demon in a city filled with witchcraft is very dangerous. It's the spiritual equivalent of using a made-up name and costume to sneak into an urban gang's private room.

Seven sons of a purported Jewish high priest named Sceva have come to Ephesus to take advantage of the people's desperate need for rescue from the many demons that fill the city. Like other Jewish exorcists, they have seen Paul heal and expel demons using the name of "Jesus." They try to force a demon to make an oath to follow their instructions by declaring, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims" (Acts 19:13). It's unclear if they know who Jesus is, but the demon does. It responds, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" (Acts 19:15).

Like Gentiles from other areas (Acts 13:4–12), the people of Ephesus rely on Jews because they seem to have access to a power beyond the Greek gods and grimoires. To see the sons of a Jewish priest so overcome strikes fear in the witnesses. They realize Paul is the true prophet, that Jesus is a man with great power, and that they desperately need rescue from the evil that surrounds them. They confess their sorcery, burn their books, and flock to the church to learn more about this Savior (Acts 19:17–20).