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Acts chapter 19

1
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples
2
and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" "No," they told him, "we haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
3
"Then with what [baptism] were you baptized?" he asked them. "With John's baptism," they replied.
4
Paul said, "John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus."
5
On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6
And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak with [other] languages and to prophesy.
7
Now there were about 12 men in all.
8
Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things related to the kingdom of God.
9
But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them and met separately with the disciples, conducting discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
10
And this went on for two years, so that all the inhabitants of the province of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
11
God was performing extraordinary miracles by Paul's hands,
12
so that even facecloths or work aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.
13
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!"
14
Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15
The evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize-- but who are you?"
16
Then the man who had the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them, so that they ran out of that house naked and wounded.
17
This became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. Then fear fell on all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
18
And many who had become believers came confessing and disclosing their practices,
19
while many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value, and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver.
20
In this way the Lord's message flourished and prevailed.
21
When these events were over, Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem. "After I've been there," he said, "I must see Rome as well!"
22
So after sending two of those who assisted him, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, he himself stayed in the province of Asia for a while.
23
During that time there was a major disturbance about the Way.
24
For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen.
25
When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: "Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business.
26
You both see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost the whole province of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods!
27
So not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin-- the very one whom the whole province of Asia and the world adore."
28
When they had heard this, they were filled with rage and began to cry out, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
29
So the city was filled with confusion; and they rushed all together into the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's traveling companions.
30
Though Paul wanted to go in before the people, the disciples did not let him.
31
Even some of the provincial officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent word to him, pleading with him not to take a chance by going into the amphitheater.
32
Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing and some another, because the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.
33
Then some of the crowd gave Alexander advice when the Jews pushed him to the front. So motioning with his hand, Alexander wanted to make his defense to the people.
34
But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a united cry went up from all of them for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
35
However, when the city clerk had calmed the crowd down, he said, "Men of Ephesus! What man is there who doesn't know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple guardian of the great Artemis, and of the image that fell from heaven?
36
Therefore, since these things are undeniable, you must keep calm and not do anything rash.
37
For you have brought these men here who are not temple robbers or blasphemers of our goddess.
38
So if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a case against anyone, the courts are in session, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another.
39
But if you want something else, it must be decided in a legal assembly.
40
In fact, we run a risk of being charged with rioting for what happened today, since there is no justification that we can give as a reason for this disorderly gathering."
41
After saying this, he dismissed the assembly.

Acts chapter 20

1
After the uproar was over, Paul sent for the disciples, encouraged them, and after saying good-bye, departed to go to Macedonia.
2
And when he had passed through those areas and exhorted them at length, he came to Greece
3
and stayed three months. When he was about to set sail for Syria, a plot was devised against him by the Jews, so a decision was made to go back through Macedonia.
4
He was accompanied by Sopater, son of Pyrrhus, from Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia.
5
These men went on ahead and waited for us in Troas,
6
but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread. In five days we reached them at Troas, where we spent seven days.
7
On the first day of the week, we assembled to break bread. Paul spoke to them, and since he was about to depart the next day, he extended his message until midnight.
8
There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were assembled,
9
and a young man named Eutychus was sitting on a window sill and sank into a deep sleep as Paul kept on speaking. When he was overcome by sleep he fell down from the third story, and was picked up dead.
10
But Paul went down, threw himself on him, embraced him, and said, "Don't be alarmed, for his life is in him!"
11
After going upstairs, breaking the bread, and eating, he conversed a considerable time until dawn. Then he left.
12
They brought the boy home alive and were greatly comforted.
13
Then we went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, from there intending to take Paul on board. For these were his instructions, since he himself was going by land.
14
When he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene.
15
Sailing from there, the next day we arrived off Chios. The following day we crossed over to Samos, and the day after, we came to Miletus.
16
For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so he would not have to spend time in the province of Asia, because he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, for the day of Pentecost.
17
Now from Miletus, he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.
18
And when they came to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time--
19
serving the Lord with all humility, with tears, and with the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews--
20
and that I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you anything that was profitable, or from teaching it to you in public and from house to house.
21
I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.
22
"And now I am on my way to Jerusalem, bound in my spirit, not knowing what I will encounter there,
23
except that in town after town the Holy Spirit testifies to me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me.
24
But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God's grace.
25
"And now I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will ever see my face again.
26
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of everyone's blood,
27
for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.
28
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.
29
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
30
And men from among yourselves will rise up with deviant doctrines to lure the disciples into following them.
31
Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning each one of you with tears.
32
"And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.
33
I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing.
34
You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my needs, and for those who were with me.
35
In every way I've shown you that by laboring like this, it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
36
After he said this, he knelt down and prayed with all of them.
37
There was a great deal of weeping by everyone. And embracing Paul, they kissed him,
38
grieving most of all over his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

Acts chapter 21

1
After we tore ourselves away from them and set sail, we came by a direct route to Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
2
Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail.
3
After we sighted Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there.
4
So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. They said to Paul through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem.
5
When our days there were over, we left to continue our journey, while all of them, with their wives and children, escorted us out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach to pray,
6
we said good-bye to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home.
7
When we completed our voyage from Tyre, we reached Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them one day.
8
The next day we left and came to Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him.
9
This man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
10
While we were staying there many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
11
He came to us, took Paul's belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into Gentile hands.'"
12
When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13
Then Paul replied, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
14
Since he would not be persuaded, we stopped talking and simply said, "The Lord's will be done!"
15
After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem.
16
Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us and brought us to Mnason, a Cypriot and an early disciple, with whom we were to stay.
17
When we reached Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly.
18
The following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.
19
After greeting them, he related one by one what God did among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20
When they heard it, they glorified God and said, "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.
21
But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk in our customs.
22
So what is to be done? They will certainly hear that you've come.
23
Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have obligated themselves with a vow.
24
Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay for them to get their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that what they were told about you amounts to nothing, but that you yourself are also careful about observing the law.
25
With regard to the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter containing our decision that they should keep themselves from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality."
26
Then the next day, Paul took the men, having purified himself along with them, and entered the temple, announcing the completion of the purification days when the offering for each of them would be made.
27
As the seven days were about to end, the Jews from the province of Asia saw him in the temple complex, stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him,
28
shouting, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place. What's more, he also brought Greeks into the temple and has profaned this holy place."
29
For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple complex.
30
The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul, dragged him out of the temple complex, and at once the gates were shut.
31
As they were trying to kill him, word went up to the commander of the regiment that all Jerusalem was in chaos.
32
Taking along soldiers and centurions, he immediately ran down to them. Seeing the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
33
Then the commander came up, took him into custody, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He asked who he was and what he had done.
34
Some in the mob were shouting one thing and some another. Since he was not able to get reliable information because of the uproar, he ordered him to be taken into the barracks.
35
When Paul got to the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the mob's violence,
36
for the mass of people were following and yelling, "Kill him!"
37
As he was about to be brought into the barracks, Paul said to the commander, "Am I allowed to say something to you?" He replied, "Do you know Greek?
38
Aren't you the Egyptian who raised a rebellion some time ago and led 4,000 Assassins into the desert?"
39
Paul said, "I am a Jewish man from Tarsus of Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Now I ask you, let me speak to the people."
40
After he had given permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned with his hand to the people. When there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language: