Acts 19 Commentary

Acts chapter 19 commentary Bible study

Acts Chapter 19 Commentary Bible Study


Acts 19:6-7 Speaking in Tongues
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 Bible Study Questions (Handout)
ACTS 19:1  1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples,

Who is "Apollos" (Acts 19:1) and where is "Corinth" (Acts 19:1)?
See Acts 18 and Apollos.

Where is "Ephesus" (Acts 19:1)?
Ephesus was a port city located on the southwest coast of Turkey, where the Cayster River empties into the Mediterranean Sea. An archaeological ruin today, Ephesus was a major commercial hub back then, and with a population of about 250,000.

Through which "upper regions" (Acts 19:1) had Paul passed?
From Antioch in Syria, Paul had traveled west, across what is Turkey today, passing through Galatia and central Phrygia, which were at higher elevations ("upper regions") than Ephesus, which was at sea level.

ACTS 19:2-5  2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 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.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

How many "disciples" (Acts 19:1) did Paul find?
"About twelve in all" (Acts 19:7 - see Speaking in tongues)

What did they know, and who didn't they know?
They knew the "baptism" (Acts 19:3) of John the Baptist but had "not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit" (Acts 19:2).

From whom had they learned?
Since they were repeating what
Apollos taught until Aquila and Priscilla "took him aside and explained to him" (Acts 18:26) that the Messiah whom John had prophesied about had already come, they most likely learned from Apollos. They didn't know the Gospel in full, so they had neither heard Paul when he "entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews" (Acts 18:19) on his previous visit to Ephesus nor met Aquila and Priscilla.

What does that imply about Paul's previous visit to Ephesus and Apollos' stay in Ephesus?
Paul's previous visit to Ephesus may have been very short, and he may have reasoned in the synagogue as above only once before departing for Caesarea as recorded in Acts 18. As for Apollos, he may have left for Corinth right after hearing Aquila and Priscilla's explanation, without preaching again in Ephesus' synagogue. The job of bringing the Gospel of "Christ Jesus" (Acts 19:4) to Ephesus appears to have been reserved for Paul.

Why were the new disciples baptized a second time?
Baptism is an expression of repentance and faith. By being baptized "into John's baptism" (Acts 19:3), they had expressed their repentance and faith in the message preached by John the Baptist, that the Messiah "would come" (Acts 19:4) to save them. While John the Baptist's message had been correct, it had become outdated since the Messiah already had come. By being "baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:5), they expressed their belief in Jesus as the prophesied Savior who saved them from their sins.