Acts 19:21-40 – Trouble in Ephesus

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Acts 19:23-28

  1. In Ephesus there was a large temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, or Diana as she is also known, which was considered to be one of the seven wonders of antiquity.
  2. Many travellers visited the temple, worshipped Artemis and bought a statue or something similar. This, of course, brought considerable income to the city’s craftsmen, an income that was now in danger of being lost because of Paul’s preaching.
  3. It is important to remember that Paul was not preaching against Artemis, but for Jesus. That those who started believing in Jesus and stopped believing in Artemis then stopped buying statues was a natural reaction. But Paul’s main purpose was not to go against another religion but rather to preach about Jesus, something that is clearly confirmed in verse 37, where the city secretary declares that Paul has not blasphemed Artemis at all.

Acts 19:29-32

  1. Many in the city were extremely upset, while many others didn’t really know why they had even gathered.
  2. The theatre in Ephesus could hold 25,000 people and the city had a maximum of about 50,000 inhabitants. The text doesn’t say how many people were in the theatre, but you can imagine that there were a lot of people and the screams must have been deafening!

Acts 19:35-40

  1. It has happened many times that different kinds of people have been very upset by the Christian message, but here we see that even high political leaders in the city’s elite could see that there was nothing really to fear.
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