Bible Study Moment

Acts 19 is about Paul in Ephesus and there is a lot here.

First off Acts 19:1 places Apollos in Corinth while Acts 18:24 had him in Ephesus. This may be another place where the chapter division may have been better to include 18:24-28 with chapter 19.

Maybe Apollos was first in Ephesus and then went to Corinth since Paul finds about a dozen people who have been baptized into John’s baptism like Apollos had been doing. Paul asks if they received the Holy Spirit and they know nothing of the Holy Spirit. Paul places his hands on them and they receive the Spirit and start speaking in tongues and prophesying.

Those Christian groups that include things like speaking in tongues as part of their practice interpret the presence of tongues and prophesy when people are described as receiving the Holy Spirit as proof that they are the signs of the Holy Spirit. Groups that don’t regularly include them tend to look at 1 Corinthians 12 & 14 where Paul lists several gifts of the Spirit, de-emphasizing speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is part of the latter group, which is interesting because the beginning of the Christian Church side (Barton Stone) of our heritage there were people speaking in tongues, sometimes described as “barking in the Spirit” because the sound was like dogs barking. It seems that the Disciples side (Campbell) prevailed with its emphasis on reason, the idea that a reasonable (person) could read the Bible and discern God’s plan for them without any “emotional” event.

Then in verses 13-17 there is a story that has always seemed somewhat humorous to me. Seven brothers try to cast a demon out of a man by saying “By the power of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, come out!” The demon responds “Jesus I know and Paul I know but who are you” then overpowers all 7 of them so that they run out of the house naked and wounded.

Next time – the riot!

Mark Phillips