Acts 19 concerns Paul's work in Ephesus. Similarly to Corinth, Ephesus was renown for it being the home of the Pan-Ionian games; famous for charms and spells called 'Ephesian letters' used for successful journeys and to bring children to the childless; it was a refuge for criminals as the Temple of Diana there possessed the right of asylum; however, its greatest glory was the Temple of Artemis-the Greek name for which Diana was the Latin-one of the seven wonders of the world. We have already been introduced to Apollos who remained in Corinth whilst Paul journeyed to Ephesus. There he met twelve men who knew the baptism of John the Baptist, but not the baptism of Jesus: the key difference being that John's message and baptism was one of repentance before an angry God, whereas Jesus's was one of Good News and welcoming into the Kingdom. Look up Matthew 3 v 7-12 and contrast with Luke 3 v 3-11. It is just like the two stages people go through in becoming Christians today: there is first a sense of inadequacy, sinfulness and helplessness followed by the joy of acceptance by Christ. So, for these men their Christianity was one of struggle and with Paul's aid it became one of peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Again Paul headed for the synagogue and spent three months teaching about Jesus; when it became too difficult to speak because of opposition he moved to the hall of Tyrannus, who was a Philosopher. We are informed elsewhere that Paul spoke from 11 am to 4 pm, those being the hottest hours of the day. He would work the other hours and when the Philosopher took a break over midday, Paul would commandeer the hall to teach his growing group of believers. Exorcism was a common issue in the Ancient world and there were many who saw themselves as exorcists. They believed that if they used the name of someone more powerful than the spirit then it was possible to force that spirit to flee from the one possessed. Paul could use the name of Jesus successfully, but not others who tried for their own ends. So powerful was the ministry of Paul and his group that many people came and burned their books of magic to demonstrate a clear break with their superstitious pasts. Is there something in our lives which we need to make a clear break from?
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