While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples
and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied.
Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
There were about twelve men in all.
Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.
But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,
so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out."
Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
[One day] the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"
Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.
A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.
In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome also."
He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.
About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.
A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen.
He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business.
And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all.
There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."
When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater.
Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.
Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.
The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.
The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people.
But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven?
Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash.
You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess.
If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges.
If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly.
As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of today's events. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it."
After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia.
He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece,
where he stayed three months. Because the Jews made a plot against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia.
He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.
These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas.
But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.
Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.
Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!"
Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left.
The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot.
When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene.
The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus.
Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.
From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church.
When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.
You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
"Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.
Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.
Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
"Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing.
You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: `It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.
They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.
What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.