Acts 19
Acts 18:27–19:6 on recto side in Papyrus 38, written about AD 250.
BookActs of the Apostles
CategoryChurch history
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part5

Acts 19 is the nineteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It records part of the third missionary journey of Paul. The author of the book containing this chapter is anonymous but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.[1]


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 41 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:


Central and eastern Mediterranean Sea is located in Mediterranean
Places mentioned in (blue) and related to (black) this chapter.

This chapter mentions the following places (in the order of appearance):


Map of apostle Paul's third journey.
Map of apostle Paul's third journey.

This part of the third missionary journey of Paul took place in ca. AD 53–55.[2]

Paul's ministry in Ephesus (19:1–22)

This part covers Paul's long stay (almost 3 years) in Ephesus, where he encountered "some disciples" of John the Baptist and confronted the influence of magic and occult in that city.[3]

Verse 4

Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus".[4]

"Believe on him" is the translation used by the King James Version and New King James Version. The more natural phrase "believe in him" is used by the New American Standard Bible.[5]

Verse 5

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.[6]

Verse 14

Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so (i.e. attempted to heal using the name of the Lord Jesus).[7]

Sceva (Greek: Σκευᾶς, translit. Skeuas) was a Jew called a "chief priest" (Greek: ιουδαιου αρχιερεως). Some scholars note that it was not uncommon for some members of the Zadokite clan to take on an unofficial high-priestly role, which may explain this moniker.[8] However, it is more likely that he was an itinerant exorcist based on the use of the Greek term (Greek: περιερχομένων, translit. perierchomenōn) "going from place to place" in Acts 19:13.[9]

In this verse, it is recorded that he had seven sons who attempted to exorcise a demon from a man in Ephesus by using the name of Jesus as an invocation. This practice is similar to the Jewish practice, originating in the Testament of Solomon, of invoking Angels to cast out demons.[9] Sorcery and exorcism are mentioned several times in Acts: Simon Magus and Elymas Bar-Jesus, and divination is illustrated by the girl at Philippi. "She was regarded as spirit-possessed, and it was the spirit who was addressed and expelled by Paul in Acts 16:16–18".[10]

Verse 15

And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”[11]

This evil spirit had heard of both Jesus and Paul, but not of the seven sons of Sceva, which soon received 'such a beating' from the spirit 'that they ran' (Acts 19:16); theologian Conrad Gempf argues that this shows that power over evil spirits does not work in a mechanical way in the name of Jesus, but because one knows Jesus and, more importantly, is known by him.[12]

Verse 19

Main article: Book burning at Ephesus

Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.[13]

Verse 21

When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome".[14]

Paul has already intended to have his trip to Jerusalem followed with a trip to Rome.[12]

The riot in Ephesus (19:23–45)

The amount of money in the scroll-burning incident (19:19) must have stirred many people, whole livelihood (that is dependent on the selling of religious objects) is threatened by the successful growth of the Christian church, and now is bolstering a serious opposition.[12]

Verse 29

So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel companions.[15]

See also: Gaius (biblical figure)

Verse 33

And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  2. ^ Robinson, John Arthur Thomas (1976). "Redating the New Testament", Westminster Press. 369 pages ISBN 978-1-57910-527-3
  3. ^ Gempf 1994, p. 1096.
  4. ^ Acts 19:4: NKJV
  5. ^ Acts 19:4: NASB
  6. ^ Acts 19:5 KJV
  7. ^ Acts 19:14 NKJV
  8. ^ Jeremias, Joachim (1969), Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus: An Investigation Into Economic & Social Conditions During the New Testament Period, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, p. 193, ISBN 978-1-4514-1101-0, retrieved 2013-03-01
  9. ^ a b Arnold, Clinton (March 2012), "Sceva, Solomon, and Shamanism: The Jewish Roots of the Problem at Colossae" (PDF), Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 55 (1): 7–26, ISSN 0360-8808, retrieved 2013-03-01
  10. ^ Magic and Sorcery, Encyclopedia of the Bible, accessed 6 October 2015
  11. ^ Acts 19:15 NKJV
  12. ^ a b c d e Gempf 1994, p. 1097.
  13. ^ Acts 19:19 NKJV
  14. ^ Acts 19:21 NKJV
  15. ^ Acts 19:29 NKJV
  16. ^ Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome (2007). "70. Colossians". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 1198. ISBN 978-0199277186. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  17. ^ Acts 19:33 NKJV
  18. ^ Coogan 2007, p. 351 New Testament.