So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.—The verbs imply a continuous growth. The better MSS. give, “the word of the Lord.”
(1) That religion has power to break the hold of sinners on unjust and dishonest means of living.
(2) that those who have been engaged in an unchristian and dishonorable practice will abandon it when they become Christians.
(3) that their abhorrence of their former course will be, and ought to be, expressed as publicly as was the offence.
(4) that the evil practice will be abandoned at any sacrifice, however great. The question will be, what is right; not what will it cost. Property, in the view of a converted man, is nothing when compared with a good conscience.
(5) this conduct of those who had used curious arts shows us what ought to be done by those who have been engaged in any evil course of life and who are then converted. If what they did when they were converted was right - and who can doubt it? - it settles a great principle on which young converts should act. If a man has been engaged in the slave-trade, he will abandon it, and his duty will not be to sell his ship to one who he knows will continue the traffic. His property should be withdrawn from the business publicly, either by being destroyed, or by being converted to a useful purpose. If a man has been a distiller of ardent spirits as a drink, his duty will be to forsake his evil course. Nor will it be his duty to sell his distillery to one who will continue the business, but to withdraw his property from it publicly, either by destroying it, or converting it to some useful purpose. If a man has been engaged in the traffic in ardent spirits, his duty is not to sell his stock to those who will continue the sale of the poison, but to withdraw it from public use - converting it to some useful purpose, if he can; if not, by destroying it. All that has ever been said by money-loving distillers, or venders of ardent spirits, about the loss which they would sustain by abandoning the business, might have been said by these practitioners of curious arts in Ephesus. And if the excuses of rumselling people are valid, their conduct was folly; and they should either have continued the business of practicing "curious arts" after they were converted, or should have sold their "books" to those who would have continued it. For assuredly it was not worse to practice jugglery and fortune-telling than it is to destroy the bodies and souls of people by the traffic in ardent spirits. And yet, how few people there are in Christian lands who practice on the principle of these honest, but comparatively unenlightened men at Ephesus.
brought their books—containing the mystic formularies.
and burned them before all—The tense, here used graphically, expresses progress and continuance of the conflagration.
counted the price … and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver—about £2000 (presuming it to be the drachma, the current coin of the Levant, of about 10d. value). From their nature they would be costly, and books then bore a value above any standard we are familiar with. The scene must have been long remembered at Ephesus, as a strong proof of honest conviction on the part of the sorcerers and a striking triumph of Jesus Christ over the powers of darkness. The workers of evil were put to scorn, like Baal's priests on Carmel, and the word of God mightily grew and prevailed [Howson].Isaiah 55:11. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 19:20. So (so much) with power (par force) grew (in external diffusion, Acts 6:7, Acts 12:24) and displayed itself powerful (in the production of great effects) the doctrine of the Lord.
κατὰ κράτος] See Valckenaer, p. 565; Bernhardy, p. 241; Bornemann, ad Xen. Cyr. i. 4. 23. The reference of κράτος to the power of Christ (Ephesians 1:19) has occasioned the order τοῦ Κυρίου ὁ λόγος (Lachmann and Tischendorf, following A B א*).Acts 19:20. κατὰ κράτος: adverbial, so only here in N.T., cf. Jdg 4:3, and Jos., Ant., viii., 11, 3, in classical Greek, Xen., Cyr., i., 4, 23, etc.—ηὔξ. καὶ ἴσ.: in contrast to the empty superstitions and vanities the continuous growth (imperfect) of the Church.20. So mightily grew the word of God, &c.] The oldest Greek texts have “the word of the Lord” (adopted by R. V.), The full sense of the words rendered “mightily” is “with overpowering force and strength, which nothing could resist.”Acts 19:20. Ηὔξανε, grew) in point of extent.—ἴσχυεν, prevailed) in regard to intensity.Verse 20. - The Lord for God, A.V. If the R.T. has the true order of the words, they must be construed, To such an extent, according to the might of the Lord, did the word grow and prevail, after the analogy of Ephesians 1:19. Κατὰ κράτος, however, taken by itself, is quite usual, like κατὰ μικρόν καθ ὑπερβολήν, etc. (Alford), and is rightly rendered "mightily."
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