Acts 19:31

ESV And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater.
NIV Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.
NASB Also some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his sent word to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater.
CSB Even some of the provincial officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent word to him, pleading with him not to venture into the amphitheater.
NLT Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater.
KJV 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.

What does Acts 19:31 mean?

Paul has been healing, teaching, and expelling demons in Ephesus for three years (Acts 20:31). People from all over the province of Asia have been freed from demonic oppression; many have abandoned witchcraft and burned their spell books (Acts 19:11–12, 18–20). People are finding real freedom in Christ.

A silversmith named Demetrius notices that Paul's followers are also abandoning their worship of the Greek gods. Without god-worship, the craftsmen can't sell idols and shrines. Although their minds are on the money they're losing, they start a protest in support of Artemis, the city's patron goddess. They lead a mob of people, most of whom don't know what's going on, to the theater. Along the way, they grab two of Paul's traveling companions, Gaius and Aristarchus, and bring them along (Acts 19:23–30).

Paul is beside himself. He wants to dive into the mob and explain, even knowing it may lead to his death (2 Corinthians 1:8–10). Early in his ministry, he bore the brunt of persecution when he entered a new city to share Jesus' offer of salvation (Acts 14:5–6, 19; 16:22–24). In Thessalonica and Berea, believers from the churches kept him from harm (Acts 17:10, 13–15). Here in Ephesus, both church members and "Asiarchs" prevent Paul from sacrificing himself (Acts 19:30).

"Asiarchs" are people from Asia, the province in southwestern modern-day Turkey. The term specifically refers to high-ranking officers. People from all over Asia have heard Paul's message and believe (Acts 19:10), but it's not clear if these men are Jesus-followers or if they just care about Paul's well-being as his friends.
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