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Paul in Ephesus

19

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7altogether there were about twelve of them.


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Ac 19:1-41. Signal Success of Paul at Ephesus.

1-3. while Apollos was at Corinth—where his ministry was so powerful that a formidable party in the Church of that city gloried in his type of preaching in preference to Paul's (1Co 1:12; 3:4), no doubt from the marked infusion of Greek philosophic culture which distinguished it, and which the apostle studiously avoided (1Co 2:1-5).

Paul having passed through the upper coasts—"parts," the interior of Asia Minor, which, with reference to the seacoast, was elevated.

came to Ephesus—thus fulfilling his promise (Ac 18:21).

finding certain disciples—in the same stage of Christian knowledge as Apollos at first, newly arrived, probably, and having had no communication as yet with the church at Ephesus.

2. Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?—rather, "Received ye the Holy Ghost when ye believed?" implying, certainly, that the one did not of necessity carry the other along with it (see on Ac 8:14-17). Why this question was asked, we cannot tell; but it was probably in consequence of something that passed between them from which the apostle was led to suspect the imperfection of their light.

We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost—This cannot be the meaning, since the personality and office of the Holy Ghost, in connection with Christ, formed an especial subject of the Baptist's teaching. Literally, the words are, "We did not even hear whether the Holy Ghost was (given)"; meaning, at the time of their baptism. That the word "given" is the right supplement, as in Joh 7:39, seems plain from the nature of the case.

4. Then said Paul, John … baptized with the baptism of repentance—water unto repentance.

saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him—that is, who should baptize with the Holy Ghost. The point of contrast is not between John and Christ personally, but between the water baptism of John unto repentance, and the promised baptism of the Spirit from the hands of his coming Master unto new life. As to all the facts, or at least the significancy, of this baptism, which made the whole life and work of Christ another thing from what it was conceived to be before it was vouchsafed, these simple disciples were unenlightened.

5-7. When they heard this—not the mere words reported in Ac 19:4, but the subject expounded according to the tenor of those words.

they were baptized—not however by Paul himself (1Co 1:14).

in the name of the Lord Jesus—into the whole fulness of the new economy, as now opened up to their believing minds.

6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them … they spake with tongues, &c.—See on Ac 10:44,45.




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