Demetrius

Demetrius the silversmith

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Demetrius
ACTS 19 COMMENTARY
Acts 19:8-13 Paul in Ephesus
Acts 19:14-22 Seven Sons of Sceva

Acts 19:23-28 Demetrius

Acts 19:29-41 Ephesus Theater
ACTS 19:23-24  23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen.

Who was "Demetrius" (Acts 19:24)?
Demetrius was "a silversmith" who specialized in making miniature "silver shrines of Diana" (Acts 19:24).

How was business for Demetrius?
It used to be good - "brought no small profit" (Acts 19:24) - for Demetrius and his fellow "craftsmen" (Acts 19:24), but was now suffering because of "the Way" (Acts 19:23), which is what they called Christianity, so Demetrius and his friends weren't happy and caused "great commotion" (Acts 19:24) against it.

Who was "Diana" (Acts 19:24)?
In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt.

How did a temple dedicated to a Roman goddess end up in Ephesus?
The temple was originally dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and of fertility in Greek mythology. When the Romans conquered Ephesus, they re-dedicated the temple to the Roman goddess of hunt.

What was the temple Diana/Artemis like?
It was 130 yards (146 meters) long - longer than a football field - and 60 yards (55 meters) wide. The roof was supported by 127 columns, each 60 feet (18 meters) tall. It covered almost 4 times more area than the Parthenon in Athens and was deemed one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

ACTS 19:25-28  25 He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. 26 Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. 27 So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.” 28 Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

Why was Demetrius upset with "Paul" (Acts 19:26)?
God's ministry through Paul had crushed idolatry in Ephesus and turned many of Demetrius' former customers into Christians, who were no longer buying the idolatrous miniature shrines made by Demetrius and his fellow silversmiths.

But weren't they more upset about their goddess being disrespected?
Had the thrust of their objection been theological, Ephesians like Demetrius would have revolted when the Romans replaced their goddess Artemis with the Roman goddess Diana, but there is no record of such a revolt. They in fact may have been happy about being able to draw "pilgrims"/customers from a much larger region: the Roman Empire.

Are the theological disputes at your church theological or fronts for other issues?
 

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