Acts 19:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 19:23, NIV: "About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way."

Acts 19:23, ESV: "About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way."

Acts 19:23, KJV: "And the same time there arose no small stir about that way."

Acts 19:23, NASB: "About that time a major disturbance occurred in regard to the Way."

Acts 19:23, NLT: "About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way."

Acts 19:23, CSB: "About that time there was a major disturbance about the Way."

What does Acts 19:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

For about three years (Acts 20:31), Paul has been in Ephesus, a city known for demonic activity and witchcraft. When the people who practiced witchcraft realized Paul's power was greater than the demons they served, they spoiled their spells and burned their written incantations (Acts 19:11–20). All over the province of Asia, in southwest modern-day Turkey, people were not only rejecting the demons, but also the Greek gods.

In Ephesus, this means Artemis. If people aren't worshiping Artemis, they're not buying her idols and shrines. The craftsmen don't care that Paul is rescuing people enslaved to demons; he's a threat to their livelihoods. Under the guise of concern for Artemis worship and regional patriotism, they protest as they march to the theater. Many others from the city join in their chant—"Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" —although they have no idea what's going on (Acts 19:24–34).

Eventually, the town clerk manages to quiet them down and disperse the crowd (Acts 19:35–41). Paul realizes it's time to leave Ephesus (Acts 20:1).

"The Way" is what the early Church calls its teaching as well as its religion (Acts 9:2; 19:9; 22:4; 24:14, 22). It seems to be based on Jesus' statement that He is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). "Christian" was first used in Syrian Antioch, likely as a derogatory term (Acts 11:26), and didn't significantly catch on until later.