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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Acts 19

Verse 1

Acts 19:1 . Ἀνωτερικὰ , the upper ) ch. Acts 18:23 . μαθητὰς , disciples ) Christians whom he had not seen at the time spoken of, ch. Acts 18:19 . Perhaps in the intervening time they had come to Ephesus. There is always a new crop springing up.

Verse 2

Acts 19:2 . Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ) The article is not added: the language is indefinite, to accord with the part (pro parte) of those who are being interrogated. πιστεύσαντες ) since ye have received the faith . οἱ δὲ ) but they said, plainly and openly. οὐδὲ ) i.e. not even have we heard this, that there are others ( some persons ) who receive Him (the Holy Spirit). For they could not have followed either Moses or John the Baptist, without hearing of the Holy Spirit Himself. [Therefore what they were ignorant of was, the effusion of the Holy Spirit peculiar to the New Testament. V. g.] ἔστιν , is ) that is, whether He is received . See note on John 7:39 ( To be is used for to be present, to be given , Matthew 2:18 ; Gen 42:36 ).

Verse 3

Acts 19:3 . Οὖν , then, therefore ) This question contains the idea of astonishment: from which it follows as a consequence, that all who were expressly baptized in the name of Jesus, received the Holy Spirit at that time. Nor does Paul inquire whether they were baptized, but εἰς τί , into what : for all were baptized. Ἰωάννου , of John ) We have received (taken up) the baptism of John, say they, so as to give ourselves up to his teaching. Therefore the baptism of John was most widely propagated, as well as his teaching; but, as often happens, in the case of those more remote and later in point of time, the ordinance was administered less purely or less fully.

Verse 4

Acts 19:4 . Ἰωάννης , John ) After this passage, no mention occurs of John the Baptist in the New Testament. Here at last (at this particular point) he wholly gives place to Christ. This was a great performance of Paul. μετʼ αὐτὸν ) after him . τουτέστιν εἰς τὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν , that is, on Christ Jesus [111] ) So Paul explained the testimony of John the Baptist.

[111] The word Χοιστὸν , according to the margin of both Editions and the Germ. Vers., ought to be omitted. E. B.

The word is omitted by ABE Vulg. Memph. and later Syr. D d read Χριστὸν alone. Rec. Text, without very ancient authority, joins the the two, Χριστὸν Ιησοῦν . E. and T.

Verse 5

Acts 19:5 . Ἀκούσαντες , having heard ) Luke mentions how the disciples at Ephesus obeyed Paul, receiving baptism in (into) the name of the Lord Jesus . For they had not known that they were bound by the baptism of repentance to faith in Jesus Christ : just as was the case with those who had slain Jesus, all of whom, therefore, Peter wished to “be baptized in the name of Jesus ,” ch. Acts 2:38 , although very many of them had not been previously baptized by John: Matthew 3:5-6 . Apollos, on the other hand, who had received the baptism of John, accompanied with full instruction concerning Jesus Christ , was not re-baptized: ch. Acts 18:25 . Nor were the apostles re-baptized. For in reality the baptism which is mentioned in Matthew 3, 28 was one: otherwise there would not have been the beginning of the Gospel in John ( Mar 1:1-3 ), and the Lord’s Supper, in Matthew 26:0 , would be older than baptism, Matthew 28:0 . Nor in this verse is he speaking of the people baptized by John; for it was not until his last days that John pointed to Jesus: ch. Acts 13:25 . Wherefore it cannot be said that he baptized them into the name of the Lord Jesus; unless you say that John baptized the people twice, first to repentance, then afterwards into the name of the Lord Jesus. Justus Jonas writes, “They were re-baptized, who had been baptized with the baptism of John, for this reason, because John was not the author of righteousness, or the giver of the Spirit, but only preached the Spirit, and grace, which was about to be conferred, a little afterwards, through Christ, who alone is the cause (source) and author of righteousness.” ἐβαπτίσθησαν , were baptized ) Paul laid his hands on them; he left the act of baptism to others. [ τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ , of the Lord Jesus ) In this way John at last utterly gave place to the Lord Jesus. V. g.]

Verse 6

Acts 19:6 . Καὶ , and ) A very similar instance occurs, ch. Acts 8:12 ; Acts 8:15-16 , in the case of some persons who had been at first baptized in the name of JESUS, and afterwards received the Holy Ghost. ἦλθε ) came promptly. ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς , upon them ) Therefore they knew now from the effect that there is (the presence of) the Holy Ghost, Acts 19:2 .

Verse 7

Acts 19:7 . Ὡσεὶ , about ) There was no need that the precise number should be indicated. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:16 , “I baptized also the household of Stephanas; besides I know not whether I baptized any other.”

Verse 8

Acts 19:8 . Διαλεγόμειος , discussing ) A holy occupation: Acts 19:9 [therefore, to avoid profaning what is holy, he separated the disciples ].

Verse 9

Acts 19:9 . Ὡς πλήθους , when before the multitude ) A cause for just separation is public revilings against the truth. ἀποστὰς , having withdrawn ) He left their synagogue to them, content with a smaller school, and a more select number: ἀποστὰς ἀφώρισε , having withdrawn he separated : by his act he influenced other good men; [and so he secured them against the stumbling-block thrown in their way by the evil-speakers. V. g.] καθʼ ἡμέραν , daily ) not merely on the Sabbath or Lord’s day. σχολῇ , the school ) instead of the synagogue.

Verse 12

Acts 19:12 . Χρωτὸς , from his body ) χρὼς , the skin, the outermost part of the body . Here evidently (his) miraculous power reached its highest point. σιμικίνθια , semi-girdles , narrow aprons ) with which they used formerly to be girded. ἀπʼ αὐτῶν , from them ) We read of evil spirits having often excited (caused) a disease, which might seem to be due to natural causes.

Verse 13

Acts 19:13 . Ἐπεχείρησαν , took in hand, attempted ) And yet there was no room for temerity in the case of such matters. Comp. Hebrews 11:29 , 1Ma 5:57 , etc., concerning unseasonable imitation: περιερχομένων , going about, vagabond ) as impostors (jugglers) are wont to do. τοὺς ἔχοντας , them who had ) This is plural; but the singular in Acts 19:15 . If the attempt had succeeded once, they would have dared to do it oftener. ὀνομάζειν , to name ) though they were in other respects aliens to Him, and void of the power of faith. “They say, whom Paul preacheth , as if they would say, We will try whether evil spirits go out in (by) this name: in short, there was no faith in them; but Satan is to be overcome by no forms of speech, and by no works, but by faith alone in the Word of GOD: wherefore also the very cunning spirit, seeing in this case that they have not faith, nor the word of GOD deeply fixed in their heart, laughs at their attempt. The expulsion of Satan from demoniacs is only an adumbration of the expulsion of Satan in ordinary cases from the hearts of all men. But even as he here mocked at those who attempt to effect the expulsion from demoniacs by a mere literal invocation of the name of Jesus without faith: so he derided, and in the present day laughs at, those who have attempted by works to deliver themselves from his power, ex. gr. priests and monks, etc.; for he then first began to have dominion over them, and to treat them altogether as he pleased. Satan is a most crafty spirit, as compared with whose cunning and strength all the light of reason is nothing. His cunning is not known except through the Holy Ghost; and he is not to be expelled except in the exercise of true faith, and by the most spiritual.” Justus Jonas. ὀνομάζειν τὸ ὄνομα , to name the name ) A frequent phrase in the LXX. In the Hebrew there is added to the word שם , the verb הזכיר or נקב or קרא . Ἰησοῦν , Jesus) “They use the appellation, Jesus, simply, whereas they ought to have called Him the Saviour of the world, who had risen from the dead.” Chrysost.

Verse 14

Acts 19:14 . Ἑπτὰ , seven ) On which very number the exorcists seem to have relied, as also upon the dignity of their nation and their Father. In our time seven sons, or the seventh among them, is reputed, I know not whether without superstition, to be endowed with a healing power for the cure of diseases.

Verse 15

Acts 19:15 . Τίνες , who ) This indicates contempt. [What has it profited thee, if thou knowest so as to be able to relate many things concerning Jesus, or even concerning His true members, if thou thyself art notwithstanding destitute of (saving) power? Who art thou? V. g.]

Verse 16

Acts 19:16 . Κατακυριεύσας , having prevailed against ) They irritated the evil spirit. ἀμφοτέρων , both ) More recent copies have αὐτῶν , from the alliteration to the αὐτῶν immediately following. [112] The seven sons of Sceva were wont to do that: two did so in this instance, which Luke records; comp. with this Acts 19:13 , where the τῶν refers to the seven: the word ΤΙΝῈς , certain persons , refers to the two. Often there lies hid some such hint in one little word of the text, which, without that word, no one would have suspected from the circumstance (fact) itself.

[112] The reading αὐτὼν ἀμφοτέρων is approved of by the margin of Exodus 2:0 : and the word ἀμφοτέρων is exhibited also by the Germ. Vers. The decision of the larger Ed. had been different. E. B.

Ἀμφοτέρων is supported by ABD d Vulg. later Syr. Αὐτῶν is read by the Rec. Text. E e omit the words altogether. E. and T.

Verse 17

Acts 19:17 . Ἐμεγαλύντεο , was magnified ) These exorcists were treated more severely than that person, who was casting out demons in Luke 9:49-50 . But the same persons, though not forbidden by Paul, yet by the very disaster which they suffered were for the Christian cause (in spite of themselves). The contumely cast on those who act in a sinister manner is subservient to the Divine glory, and to the estimation of the servants of GOD endowed with real power.

Verse 18

Acts 19:18 . Τὲ , and ) The others, beholding the sons of Sceva, the more withdrew themselves from all wickedness. ἤρχοντο , came ) of their own accord . The efficacy of the Divine word (is hereby illustrated), penetrating into the inmost recesses of souls, so that of their own accord they confess that which they would not be brought to confess by any natural sincerity, or by any tortures. ἐξομολογούμενοι , confessing ) From this verb, it is evident that those actions were bad actions which had been perpetrated before that they had received faith. ἀναγγέλλοντες , announcing, showing ) The beginning of confession is difficult. Once that a beginning is made, the statement of the whole matter is afterwards easy: and this is an indication of a mind freed from the dominion of sins.

Verse 19

Acts 19:19 . Ἱκανοὶ , many ) Even magicians may be converted: ch. Acts 8:13 (Simon Magus). τὰ περίεργα , curious arts ) magic arts, in great variety. This appellation has in it a Meiosis [less said than is meant. Append.] συνενέγκαντες , having brought together ) with great unanimity. τὰς βίβλους , their books ) True religion abolishes bad books: and the world had been filled (crammed) with such books. Ephesus burned up all curious and bad books as accursed (anathema when the word of the Lord began to prevail: in turn (by a righteous compensation), Ephesus afterwards enjoyed good books, nay, was made the depository of the sacred books. The Epistle of Paul sent to the Ephesians also is extant: Timothy was at Ephesus when Paul wrote both the Epistles to him. Furthermore, Timothy was desired to carry to Rome from Asia the books for Paul when close to his martyrdom, 2 Timothy 4:13 ; books which no doubt were a portion of the books of Holy Scripture: and these not of the Old Testament, of which there was everywhere an abundance, but the writings of Paul himself, or even of other apostles, and these chiefly of parchment , for the sake of durability. Paul desired Timothy, when he came, to bring these with him safely; not, I imagine, with the intention of selling them for the sake of alms-giving, but in order that he might commit these to Timothy face to face, before his martyrdom, for the weightiest reasons, inasmuch as he had designed to make Timothy in some measure his own successor in the Evangelical office. Timothy brought back to Ephesus, or to that region, after the martyrdom of Paul (comp. Heb 13:23 ), most costly treasures ( κειμήλια , deposits ), as we may suppose. It was in the same place that the writings of John, after the death of John also, were in especial esteem. As to the autograph Gospel of John, see Appar. Crit. p. 602, with which comp. p. 420. The Epistles of John, and the last verse of the first, are especially appropriate (applicable) to Ephesus. The Apocalypse, sent first from Patmos to Ephesus, was read first at Ephesus. What is the purport of this remark? In the Appar. pp. 770, 884 (Ed. ii. pp. 480, 620), I have written that it is not an unreasonable expectation, that the autographs of the apostles, furnished with appropriate criteria to test them, may at some time be restored to the light. What if some of them lie hid at Ephesus? and also at Thessalonica? See note on 1 Thessalonians 1:1 . It is an opinion, nothing more; one not however to be ridiculed, inasmuch as being harmless, nay, useful in deterring critics from rashness, lest, if they wander too far out of the track, the original manuscripts may hereafter confute them. κατέκαιον , turned up ) [regarding them as anathema, or accursed. V. g.] This was better than to sell them, even though the money had been spent upon the poor. ἐνώπιον πάντων , in the presence of all ) A remarkable spectacle. ἀργυρίου μυριάδας πέντε ) fifty thousand drachms. The drachm almost corresponds to the denarius; of which I have treated on Cic. Ep. pp. 76, 452, 723. The Argentine money approaches nearest to this, which is equivalent to 12 Kreuzer , 3 heller ; so that 5 drachms should be 1 florin and a little more; 50,000 drachms is more than 10,000 florins. [113] This is the price of a large library.

[113] The Greek drachm was properly about 9¾d.: the Roman denarius, 8½d. But subsequently the drachm fell in weight, so as to be equal to the denarius. E. and T.

Verse 20

Acts 19:20 . Ηὔξανε , grew ) in point of extent. ἴσχυεν , prevailed ) in regard to intensity.

Verse 21

Acts 19:21 . Ἐπληρώθη , were fulfilled or ended ) Paul did not at this point think that he ought now to be at rest, but he pants after something more, in the same way as if he had done nothing. He gains possession of Ephesus and Asia; he makes an appointment for Macedonia and Achaia: he looks towards Jerusalem: he meditates Rome; thence to Spain. See Romans 15:26 , with what goes before and follows. No Alexander, no Cæsar, no other hero, approaches to the large-mindedness of this Little Benjamite [2 Corinthians 10:1 ; 2 Corinthians 10:10 ; Php 3:5 ]. The truth concerning Christ, and faith and love towards Christ, enlarged his heart, like the sand of the sea [ 1Ki 4:29 ]. Yet he proceeds in order: When these things were fulfilled or completed . Indeed the cause of Christianity had reached the proper degree of maturity in Asia: Acts 19:9 ; Acts 19:13-14 ; Acts 19:18 . ἔθετο ἐν τῷ πνεύματι , purposed in the spirit ) This is said of a holy purpose: of a bad purpose, ἔθου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου , thou hast conceived (laid up) in thine heart : ch. Acts 5:4 . The design of Paul pleased the Lord: for He himself adds the promise, ch. Acts 23:11 . Observe the energy of Paul, ch. Acts 20:2 , note. διελθὼν , having passed through ) Construe this with πορεύεσθαι , to go , not with ἔθετο , purposed , for he was not yet in Macedonia. [ Ἱερουσαλὴμ Ῥώμην , to Jerusalem Rome ) Two metropolitan cities, the one in an ecclesiastical, the other in a political point of view. V. g.] δεῖ , I must ) The Lord answers in ch. Acts 23:11 , so must thou . ἰδεῖν , see ) He speaks in a noble spirit. Many adversities were awaiting him when about to see Rome. Paul regards not that consideration.

Verse 22

Acts 19:22 . Διακονούντων , of those ministering to him) He had at the time many engaged in the business of the Gospel: Acts 19:29 .

Verse 24

Acts 19:24 . Ναοὺς ἀργυροῦς , silver shrines ) silver models of the temple or ‘clinodia,’ which represented the form of the temple of Diana. Similar coins also were made. The margin of the map of Palestine has a copy of them in Hedinger’s Bible.

Verse 25

Acts 19:25 . Ἐργάτας , workmen ) The τεχνῖται , the artificers of a nobler class, were distinct from the ἐργάται , workmen . ἡ εὐπορία , gain, wealth ) It is upon the plea of this that the faith is often crushed.

Verse 26

Acts 19:26 . Οὗτος , this ) The demonstrative, to kindle their passions. οὐκ εἰσὶ , they are no gods) Are they then, Demetrius?

Verse 27

Acts 19:27 . Ἡμῖν , for us ) The dative of profit or loss. ἀλλὰ καὶ , but also ) An effective speech, which is whetted by personal interest and by superstition. μεγάλης , of the great ) A solemn and customary epithet of Diana. Hence presently, μεγαλειότητα , her magnificence , or majesty ; comp. Acts 19:28 ; Acts 19:34-35 . Hiller’s Onom., pp. 795, 634, 625, shows that also the names Ἄρτεμις and Diana denote greatness. εἰς οὐδὲν λογισθῆναι ) So the LXX., 1 Samuel 1:13 , ἐλογίσατο αὐτην εἰς μεθύουσαν , he counted her as drunken . καθαιρεῖσθαι , to he destroyed ) Wretched majesty , which is thus destroyed . αὐτῆς ) her . ὅλη , the whole ) The multitude (great number) of those in error does not make error into truth.

Verse 28

Acts 19:28 . Ἀκούσαντες , having heard this) viz. the artificers and workmen.

Verse 29

Acts 19:29 . Ὥρμησαν , they rushed ) viz. Demetrius with his band. θέατρον ) the theatre , which was also the forum. Γάϊον καὶ Ἀρίσταρχον , Gaius and Aristarchus ) when they did not find Paul himself. Aristarchus was the same who recurs in ch. Acts 20:4 ; with which comp. ch. Acts 27:2 : but here the Gaius, a Macedonian, is distinct from the Gaius of Derbe, ch. Acts 20:4 ; although there are some who think them one and the same person.

Verse 30

Acts 19:30 . Βουλομένου , when Paul was wishing ) With great boldness. See note, 1 Corinthians 15:32 . No military boldness is equal to this bravery. He was wishing to defend Gaius and Aristarchus, and to confute the worship of Diana. οὐκ εἴων αὐτὸν , the disciples did not permit him) A good wish which is thwarted, may notwithstanding both be good and be? rightly thwarted. οἱ μαθηταὶ , the disciples ) seeing that it was Paul who was principally aimed at: Acts 19:26 .

Verse 31

Acts 19:31 . Τῶν Ἀσιαρχῶν , of the rulers of Asia ) those who administered the affairs of state, and were at that time over the sacred rites of Diana.

Verse 32

Acts 19:32 . Οὐκ ᾔδεισαν , knew not ) An apt and characteristic description of a people in a tumult. [This is a matter of usual occurrence to senseless zealots. V. g.]

Verse 33

Acts 19:33 . Προεβίβασαν , they brought forward ) This was done by the authors of the tumult, with whom the Jews conspired against the Christians. Ἀλέξανδρον , Alexander ) It is this very man who seems to have been the coppersmith, concerning whom 2Ti 4:14 speaks, known by Demetrius on account of his handicraft. προβαλόντων having thrust him forward ) for the sake of their own defence [that he might speak in their defence and against the Christians]. κατασείσαν τὴς χεῖρα ) This phrase implies somewhat of a more vehement kind of gesture, than that which has been substituted by some for it from the parallelism (ch. Act 12:17 ), κατασείσας τῇ χειρί . It is not quite certain what reading the Latin Vulg. followed. [114] ἈΠΟΛΟΓΕῖΣΘΑΙ , to make a defence ) in behalf of the Jews, against the Christians.

[114] ABE read τὴν χεῖρα : D d , τῇ χειρί . E. and T.

Verse 34

Acts 19:34 . Ἐπιγνόντες δὲ ) The nominative for the oblique case [the genitive, to agree with πάντων ]. “A change of construction” [anacoluthon], says Camerarius, “not unusual in Greek, similar to that in the Iliad, ἄμφω δʼ ἑζόμενοι γεραρώτερος ἦεν Ὀδυσσεύς .” ἐκ πάντων , from all ) They were unwilling to hear a Jew. Thus the danger was averted from the Christians.

Verse 35

Acts 19:35 . Ὁ γραμματεὺς ) the town-clerk . τίς γάρ ἐστιν , for who is there, who then is there ) Paul would have spoken otherwise. [But the raving (insane) multitude was unworthy of his preaching. V. g.] However, the language of the clerk is ambiguous, and he may have spoken so, either because of (to suit) the exigency, or because he sincerely thought what he said: for even in Act 19:37 he says, Your goddess, not, Our goddess. Ἐφεσίων , of the Ephesians ) By the repetition of the proper name, their celebrity is signified. νεωκόρον ) The Perinthians were νεωκόροι (worshippers, temple-worshippers) of Hercules; other peoples were worshippers of other gods; the Ephesians, of Diana. See J. H. A. Seelen Medit. Exeget., p. 523. οὖσαν , is ) At that very time the Ephesians were priding themselves on that distinction. See Gregory’s Observ., ch. 10. There was therefore a great conflux of men to the sacred games to her in that city. Διοπετοῦς ) They had supposed the image of Diana to have fallen down from heaven, from Jupiter .

Verse 36

Acts 19:36 . Ὑπάρχειν , to be ) An apposite word for appeasing those making the tumult. He does not say, to become , nor to continue quiet (orderly); but the word expresses something between the two.

Verse 37

Acts 19:37 . Ἠγάγετε , ye have brought ) hastily (raptim), into the theatre, as if to a tribunal, or to punishment. τούτους , these men) Acts 19:29 . οὔτε , neither ) i.e. they have neither by deed injured the temple, nor by word injured Diana. οὔτε βλασφημοῦντας , nor yet blasphemers of ) The apostles did not gather together many of the absurd stories out of their mythology, but set forth the truth of GOD, and in general terms the vanity of idols, Acts 19:26 . They who believed, afterwards of themselves rejected false gods.

Verse 38

Acts 19:38 . Πρός τινα , against any man) The clerk prudently does not name Paul. ἀγοραῖοι ) viz. ἡμέραι . ἀνθύπατοι , proconsuls ) There was but one proconsul at the one time: but the clerk speaks in the plural of that which is wont never to cease to be [a permanent institution, such as the proconsulate].

Verse 39

Acts 19:39 . Τῆ ) the ordinary lawful assembly.

Verse 40

Acts 19:40 . Τῆς σήμερον ) viz. ἡμέρας : ch. Acts 20:26 , ἐν τῇ σήμερον . αἰτίου ) The Vulgate takes this in the masculine gender: but the neuter in this book is frequent. περὶ οὗ οὐ δυνησόμεθα ) A double negation: ch. Acts 10:47 , κωλῦσαι τοῦ μὴ βαπτισθῆναι τούτους . συστροφῆς ) which has the appearance of a στάσις , insurrection . The mild term is prudently used by the clerk.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Acts 19". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/acts-19.html. 1897.