Acts 19:37 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 19:37, NIV: "You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess."

Acts 19:37, ESV: "For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess."

Acts 19:37, KJV: "For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess."

Acts 19:37, NASB: "For you have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess."

Acts 19:37, NLT: "You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess."

Acts 19:37, CSB: "For you have brought these men here who are not temple robbers or blasphemers of our goddess."

What does Acts 19:37 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This is a fascinating statement, given who is speaking and why. Paul's work in Ephesus and the surrounding province has caused a decrease in Artemis worship. The craftsmen who make idols and shrines are afraid, if this continues, they could lose their businesses. They have created a marketing campaign under the guise of a rally in support of Artemis and her place in Ephesian culture. Their campaign is working. A huge mob has descended on the Ephesian theater and has been shouting "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" for two hours (Acts 19:23–34).

During the march, people find Paul's companions Gaius and Aristarchus and drag them into the melee. Meanwhile, church members and provincial officials hold Paul back (Acts 19:29–31). It's unclear what the mob plans to do with Gaius and Aristarchus, but Paul later writes that his team experienced a terrifying event that had them fearing for their lives (2 Corinthians 1:8–10). It's likely this is that event. Regardless, God uses the city clerk to settle the crowd and allow Paul and his team to escape (Acts 20:1).

Paul's ministry in Ephesus has centered around healing, casting out demons, and inviting people into the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8, 11–12). It's unclear what part Gaius or Aristarchus play in the teaching part of the ministry, but the city clerk affirms something we see throughout the book of Acts. Paul doesn't spread Christianity by attacking pagan gods; he introduces the one true God. In Athens, Paul doesn't come out and condemn Athena. He gently compares his God to those of the Athenians by showing how the philosophers have unwittingly limited the nature of the God who is worth worshiping (Acts 17:24–29). His words are stronger in his letters (Galatians 4:8), but he treads lightly when speaking with unbelievers about their gods.

The city clerk points out that the mob has nothing with which to charge Gaius and Aristarchus. They have neither spoken against Artemis nor damaged her temple, which was a capital offense under Roman law. If the craftsmen want to charge Paul with a crime, they need to go through the proper channels. As it stands, it is not Paul and his team who are breaking the law; in truth, the mob is quickly descending into a riot. If they continue, the Romans will come, and the Romans did not suffer disorder (Acts 19:38–40).