The Gospel’s Power to Overcome

KEY VERSE: “So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed.” —Acts 19:20

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Acts 19:1-6, 11-20

PAUL’S SECOND JOURNEY came to a conclusion when he went to Jerusalem to keep a vow he had made. See Acts 18:18. Leaving Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla sailed with him as far as Ephesus, their new home. Paul visited the synagogue there, to reason on the Scriptures. The Jews wanted him to stay, but he continued on his journey because of his vow.

He discharged his obligations to the church at Jerusalem, and went to his home congregation in Antioch. There he stayed awhile—perhaps several months. (Acts 18:19-23) Both Silas and Timothy remained in Corinth to help build up the faith of the church there. Luke remained in Philippi.

Then Paul began his third journey. He took the same route as he had for his second journey, and visited brethren in Galatia and Phrygia, as well as those in some new territory he had not visited before. Finally he arrived at Ephesus where he met twelve disciples, who, though they had knowledge of Jesus, had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Upon further questioning, Paul discovered that they had been baptized with John’s baptism to repentance. Paul explained the purposes of both John’s ministry, and of Jesus’ ministry. And so they were baptized again—this time in the name of the Lord Jesus. They received the Holy Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit as well.

While Paul had been away in Jerusalem and Antioch before beginning his third journey, Aquila and Priscilla continued to go to the synagogue in Ephesus, and encountered Apollos there. They “expounded to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:26-29, RSV) Up to this time, no church had been established in Ephesus. Now Paul joined them, and for three months preached in the synagogue on the kingdom of God. When some opposed Paul, he withdrew from the synagogue, taking disciples with him.

Paul taught for two years and had much success among the Ephesians. It is recorded that “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:10) Paul also performed many miracles of healing which attracted people to listen to his message.

Paul was assisted by an event that became widely publicized throughout the city. It seems that seven sons of a Jewish priest were practicing exorcism. They had noted Paul’s success in casting out evil spirits, and tried to copy him. But they were severely beaten by a man whom they tried to exorcize. This became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Gentiles.

Ephesus was a large and important city, known as the gateway to Asia. It was the site of the Temple of Diana, whose many worshipers made pilgrimages to the city. It was a stronghold of Satan, and large numbers of residents were possessed by evil spirits; black magic and curious arts were common practice.

But Paul’s Gospel message overcame the power of Satan! Many under this influence became believers, who divulged and confessed their former corrupt practices. They publicly burned their books on evil arts. “In this way the Word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (Acts 19:20, NIV), and “the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”—vs. 17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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