Acts 19:8-12

8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

10And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,

12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

While at Ephesus, Paul worked (probably as a tentmaker with Priscilla and Aquila) to pay his own way (Acts 20:34). It was while he was in Ephesus that he wrote his letters to the Galatians and Corinthians. (He probably also made a quick, unrecorded trip to Corinth, as his second recorded visit is called his third visit.)

kingdom of God (v.8) — not to be confused with “the kingdom of heaven” (the earthly kingdom promised to Israel)

hardened (v.9) — A verb specially used of the Jews, and chiefly in respect of their refusal to hear and obey God’s voice (Romans 9:18; Hebrews 3:8, 13, 15; 4:7). The tense is imperfect; the process of hardening went on continually.

did not believe (v.9) — Also a verb in the imperfect tense. It combines the ideals of unbelief and disobedience. See Acts 14:2. In the Greek, there is a reference to the word “persuaded.” They would not be persuaded, but continued unpersuaded and disobedient. — Walker, page 409.

disciples (v.9) — Acts 20:4

school (v.9) — The word “school” (scholee), from which our English equivalent is derived, occurs only here in the New Testament. It denotes “a lecture hall,” and Tyrannus was, most likely, a Greek philosophical teacher from whom the apostle hired [or borrowed] the room. His lecture room was probably in one of the “gymnasia,” or places for public resort and recreation which existed in places like Ephesus. — Walker, page 410.


for two years (v.10) — He alludes to this prolonged and special opportunity in 1 Corinthians 16:9. This period excludes the “three months” of verse 8. According to Jewish reckoning, any space of time over two years and up to three would be called “three years,” and hence the statement of Acts 20:31. It was Paul’s longest stay in any missionary center. — Walker, page 411.

Asia (v.10) — Asia Minor

[We read here (v.11)] of] the “special” miracles which God wrought through Paul. Actually the word “special” should have been rendered in the negative as it is in the Greek: “not common” or “not ordinary.” The idea is that though Ephesus, being more oriental in character than Athens or Corinth, had many magicians and wonder-workers about her streets, God used Paul to work miracles which they could not duplicate, just as Moses and Aaron, more than 15 centuries earlier, had wrought miracles which Pharaoh’s magicians found it impossible to imitate … The era of demonstrative miracles had not yet passed. — Stam, page 174.


handkerchiefs (v.12) — Really a Latin word “sudaria,” meaning clothes for wiping off perspiration. It occurs again in Luke 19:20; John 11:44; 20:7. They were, it appears, “handkerchiefs” with which the hard-working tentmaker had wiped off the sweat of honest toil.

aprons (v.12) — Also a Latin word “semi-cinctria,” aprons worn by artisans in their work. It is peculiar to this verse. These, too, were clearly used by the apostle in his labors. — Walker, page 412.

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