What does Acts 19:17 mean?
ESV: And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.
NIV: When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.
NASB: This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.
CSB: When this became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, they became afraid, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high esteem.
NLT: The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.
KJV: And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
NKJV: This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
Verse Commentary:
Ephesus was so well known for witchcraft that the phrase "Ephesian writings" refers to inscribed magical spells. The city also had an infestation of demons, likely drawn by the humans who desired interaction with supernatural power. The demons, in turn, attracted Jewish exorcists. The Roman Empire was so inundated with gods and idols that people sometimes looked to the east for more esoteric, less banal spirituality. Judaism, with its invisible God, often drew interest, and Jewish magicians, looking to make money, took advantage.

So it is that Paul's ministry might not have seemed so unusual except that it is incredibly effective. He not only heals and expels demons, but also cloth he has touched heals and expels demons. The Jewish magicians note he uses the name of "Jesus" and add the name to their repertoire of magical incantations (Acts 19:11–12).

It may have been effective for some demons, but when seven sons of a Jewish high priest try to exorcise a powerful demon "by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims," the demon acknowledges it knows Jesus and Paul but not them. He then beats them until they flee from the house naked (Acts 19:13–16).

The Ephesians suddenly realize that words hold no power but "Jesus whom Paul proclaims" does. They worship Jesus, repent from their witchcraft, and burn their spell books (Acts 19:18–19).
Verse Context:
Acts 19:11–20 gives the account of the Sons of Sceva in Ephesus. Witchcraft was endemic in Ephesus, and itinerant Jewish exorcists took advantage of the corresponding demonic activity. Paul has been healing and expelling demons in Jesus' name. But when the sons of Sceva attempt to use his faith in Christ as a formula, the demon beats them up. The people see how Paul has access to real power that can free them, and they abandon their magic and follow Jesus—much to the dismay of the guild that makes and sells idols of Artemis (Acts 19:23–27).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 19 recounts Paul's three-year visit in Ephesus. He starts by revealing how Jesus of Nazareth has brought to life the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit validates Paul's message by healing those struck with physical ailments and demon possession. Amazed by Paul's authority over evil spirits, so many magicians turn to Christ that the craftsmen who make idols fear for their livelihoods. They nearly incite a riot before the town clerk settles them down. Paul realizes his time in Ephesus has ended, and he travels to Macedonia (Acts 20:1).
Chapter Context:
Acts 19 is the meat of Paul's third missionary voyage. He has already revisited the churches in central modern-day Turkey (Acts 18:23). Now he returns to Ephesus for a three-year stay. After firmly establishing the church there, rescuing many from pagan magic and the worship of Artemis, he returns to Macedonia and Greece. A threat on his life sends him back up to Macedonia and across to Troas. He meets briefly with the Ephesian elders to tell them they will not meet again (Acts 20). When he returns to Jerusalem, he is arrested and, eventually, taken to Rome.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/26/2024 11:00:19 AM
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