Chapter Nineteen — Part Six: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 08/21/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 19:29-40

1. Riot in Ephesus.
a. Demetrius and the silversmiths stirred up the crowd into a frenzy against Paul and the disciples.
b. Acts 19:29 AMPC — Then the city was filled with confusion; and they rushed together into the amphitheater, dragging along with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were fellow travelers with Paul.
c. The whole city was full of confusion, turning the crowd into a mob.
d. When people are zealous for a false religion, reason is thrown aside and passion rules.
e. They dragged Gaius and Aristarchus into the theater.
f. Theaters, or amphitheaters, were locations made for sports and various public gatherings.
g. It was also where they watched men being devoured by wild beasts, as entertainment.
h. Aristarchus is a Macedonian of Thessalonica (mentioned in Acts 20:4; 27:2; Col. 4:10; Phm. 1:24).
i. Colossians 4:10 NKJV — Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you…
j. Acts 19:30 AMPC — Paul wished to go in among the crowd, but the disciples would not permit him to do it.
k. Paul wanted to rush to their defense, but some of the Asiarchs, who were Paul’s friends, wanted to protect him from the mob and warned him against such a course of action.
l. Acts 19:31 AMPC — Even some of the Asiarchs (political or religious officials in Asia) who were his friends also sent to him and warned him not to risk venturing into the theater.
m. The Asiarchs were political or religious officials in Asia.
n. Every year, out of the leading cities of proconsular Asia, ten of the most honorable and wealthy citizens were selected by the general council and sent to the proconsul.
o. The proconsul then chose one to preside over, and to defray the expenses of, the games to be exhibited that year.
p. Acts 19:32 AMPC — Now some shouted one thing and some another, for the gathering was in a tumult and most of them did not know why they had come together.
q. Most of the people were ignorantly sucked into participating, not knowing what the fuss was about, but joining in anyway.

2. Alexander.
a. Acts 19:33 AMPC — Some of the crowd called upon Alexander [to speak], since the Jews had pushed and urged him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, wishing to make a defense and [planning] to apologize to the people.
b. The heathen did not necessarily see a difference between Jew and Christian.
c. And indeed, neither Christian nor Jew ascribed to the pagan idol worship of these heathen.
d. However, the Jews were more than happy to cast full blame on the Christians for exposing the ungodliness of the idol-worshippers and for disrupting the idol trade.
e. They preferred to compromise and blend in to save their own skin, rather than standing up for the Word of God.
f. So, the Jews pushed Alexander forward to apologize for the “troublesome” Christians, but he didn’t get the opportunity.
g. The same Alexander who did Paul much evil and harm (1Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 4:14).
h. Acts 19:34 AMPC — But as soon as they saw him and recognized that he was a Jew, a shout went up from them as the voice of one man, as for about two hours they cried, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!
i. The goddess, Artemis, is translated “Diana.”
j. In their minds, Diana made Ephesus great, so they had to defend her honor, and declare her greatness.
k. For about two hours the crowd fanatically chanted her name.

3. The Town Clerk.
a. Acts 19:35 AMPC — And when the town clerk had calmed the crowd down…
b. The town clerk calmed the people down.
c. The town clerk (Greek grammateus) — a clerk; scribe; especially, a public servant; secretary; recorder—the register of their games—whose office and influence differed in different states. Translated “scribe” 66 times and “town clerk” once, here,
d. Acts 19:35 AMPC — …he said, Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone [image of her] that fell from the sky?
e. Their priests persuaded the people that Diana’s image was sacred, having fallen from the heavens.
f. The town clerk appeases them by reminding them that it is an uncontested fact that she is their goddess, and that Ephesus is the guardian of her temple.
g. Acts 19:36 AMPC — Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet (keep yourselves in check) and do nothing rashly.
h. He points out that anything that is an accepted fact, does not need defending.
i. Acts 19:37 AMPC — For you have brought these men here, who are [guilty of] neither temple robberies nor blasphemous speech about our goddess.
j. He points out that the accused Christians had not actually broken any of their laws.

4. Quelling the Riot.
a. Acts 19:38 AMPC — Now then, if Demetrius and his fellow tradesmen who are with him have a grievance against anyone, the courts are open and proconsuls are [available]; let them bring charges against one another [legally].
b. If Demetrius had a legitimate civil case, there were legal channels he could use.
c. Acts 19:39 AMPC — But if you require anything further about this or about other matters, it must be decided and cleared up in the regular assembly.
d. Any other legal matter would have to be decided by the proper court authorities and not decided by an unruly mob.
e. Acts 19:40 AMPC — For we are in danger of being called to render an account and of being accused of rioting because of [this commotion] today, there being no reason that we can offer to justify this disorder.
f. The Romans would not tolerate mobs and had strict laws against them.
g. They were all now in danger of being accused of breaking these laws, bringing unnecessary penalties on their own heads.
h. Acts 19:41 AMPC — And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.