Paul at Ephesus
19 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men.
8 And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.10(3) This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
Miracles at Ephesus
11 God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. 13 But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”14 Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.18(4) Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. 19(1-2) And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.
(from NASB Life Application Study Bible © 2000 by Tyndale Publishers, Inc)
(1)19:13 These Jews traveled from town to town making a living by claiming to heal and drive out demons. (Exorcists) Often they would recite a whole list of names in their incantation to be sure of including the right deity. Here they were trying to use Jesus’ name in an effort to match Paul’s power
(2)19:13-16 Many Ephesians engaged in exorcism and occult practices for profit (see 19:18-19) [just like today!-R812]. The sons of Sceva were impressed by Paul’s work, whose power to drive out demons came from God’s Holy Spirit, not from witchcraft, and was obviously more powerful than theirs. They discovered, however, that no one can control or duplicate God’s power. These men were calling on the name of Jesus without knowing the person. The power to change people comes from Christ. It cannot be tapped by reciting his name like a magic charm. God works his power only through those he chooses.
(3)19:10 “Asia” refers to Asia Minor or modern-day Turkey.
(4)19:18-19 Ephesus was a center for black magic and other occult practices. The people cooked up magical formulas to give them wealth, happiness, and success in marriage. Superstition and sorcery were commonplace [just like today-R812]. God clearly forbids such practices (Deuteronomy 18:9-13). You cannot be a believer and hold on to the occult, black magic, or sorcery. Once you begin to dabble in these areas, it is extremely easy to become obsessed [addicted-R812] by [to-R812] them because Satan is very powerful [because we have left Elohim, Return!-R812]. but God’s power is even greater (1 John 4:4; Revelation 20:10). If you are mixed up in the occult, learn a lesson from the Ephesians and get rid of anything that could keep you trapped in such practices. [Getting rid of them is not enough, one must also sever ties with it verbally (Breaking (Negative) Soul Ties, Covenants/Agreements)