Acts 19:26
Moreover you see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia.—The language of Demetrius, though, perhaps, betraying the exaggeration of alarm, confirms the statement of Acts 19:10 as to the extent of St. Paul’s labours. Pliny, in his Epistle to Trajan (Epp. x. 96), uses language, half a century later, which is hardly less strong, speaking of “deserted temples,” “worship neglected,” “hardly a single purchaser” (rarissimus emptor) found for sacrificial victims.

Saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands.—The wrath of the mob-leader makes him virtually commit himself to the opposite statement that the idol is the god. Philosophers might speak of symbolism and ideal representations, but this was, and always has been, and will be, the conclusion of popular idolatry.

19:21-31 Persons who came from afar to pay their devotions at the temple of Ephesus, bought little silver shrines, or models of the temple, to carry home with them. See how craftsmen make advantage to themselves of people's superstition, and serve their worldly ends by it. Men are jealous for that by which they get their wealth; and many set themselves against the gospel of Christ, because it calls men from all unlawful crafts, however much wealth is to be gotten by them. There are persons who will stickle for what is most grossly absurd, unreasonable, and false; as this, that those are gods which are made with hands, if it has but worldly interest on its side. The whole city was full of confusion, the common and natural effect of zeal for false religion. Zeal for the honour of Christ, and love to the brethren, encourage zealous believers to venture into danger. Friends will often be raised up among those who are strangers to true religion, but have observed the honest and consistent behaviour of Christians.Ye see and hear - You see at Ephesus, and you hear the same in other places.

Throughout all Asia - All Asia Minor; or perhaps the province of which Ephesus was the capital. See the notes on Acts 2:9.

This Paul hath persuaded - We have here the noble testimony of a pagan to the zeal and success of the ministry of Paul. It is an acknowledgment that his labors had been most strikingly successful in turning the people from idolatry.

Saying that they be no gods ... - See the notes on Acts 14:14-15.

26. ye see and hear—The evidences of it were to be seen, and the report of it was in everybody's mouth.

that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath … turned away much people—Noble testimony this to the extent of Paul's influence!

saying that they be no gods which are made with hands—The universal belief of the people was that they were gods, though the more intelligent regarded them only as habitations of Deity, and some, probably, as mere aids to devotion. It is exactly so in the Church of Rome.

He tells them indeed what was St. Paul’s doctrine; but he conceals the reasons of his doctrine; for there can be nothing more evident to any considering man, than that there is but one God who made all things; as Psalm 115:3,4 Jer 10:10. Moreover, ye see and hear,.... Demetrius appeals to their senses of seeing and hearing; they saw what was done in their own city, and they had heard how things were elsewhere; they might believe what they saw with their eyes, and they had reason to depend upon the report which was brought to their ears:

that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people; by "all Asia" is meant Ionia, that part of Asia, of which Ephesus was the metropolis; from whence great multitudes came to Ephesus, and heard Paul in the school of Tyrannus, Acts 19:10 so that not only many in the city of Ephesus, but even in almost every city and town of Asia, had heard and received the Gospel preached by Paul; of whom Demetrius speaks very contemptibly, as if he was a worthless vagabond fellow, who had the art of persuading and deluding people; he prevailed upon them to believe in Christ whom he preached, and turned away much people from the worshipping of idols, to the living God:

saying, that they be no gods which are made with hands; such as was their Diana, and the images of her, which these workmen made; and consequently if his doctrine prevailed, as it had much already, their trade would be worth nothing, and their livelihood be lost, which was the grand thing they had in view; for one would think they could never believe themselves, that the images they made were really gods; but whether they did or not, certain it is, that the apostle's doctrine was true, that such could not be gods, and which agrees both with reason and revelation.

Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 19:26. οὐ μόνονἀλλὰ: non modo … sed.σχεδὸν, Acts 13:44, we cannot take the genitive with ὄχλον, as Hackett suggests.—Ἀσίας: the Roman province, so Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 278, where he corrects his former interpretation of the word in this passage in Church in the Roman Empire, p. 166; see above on Paul’s work outside Ephesus.—οὗτος: contemptuous.—μετέστησεν, cf. Joshua 14:8. The testimony thus borne to the wide and effective influence of the Apostles even by their enemies is well commented on by St. Chrys., Hom., xlii., and see also below.26. Moreover ye see and hear] Better, And ye, &c. They were eyewitnesses of what had taken place in Ephesus, and the falling-off in the demand would be made known from all the country round, for the preaching and preachers spread far and wide.

that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia] Beside Ephesus itself we have only notices through St Paul’s writings of churches founded at Colossæ, Laodicæa and Hierapolis. But in the Apocalypse we find beside these, Pergamus, Smyrna, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia, places whose position shews us that through about two-thirds of the coastline of Asia important centres of Christian life were formed before that book was written, and we cannot doubt that from St Paul and his fellow-workers the Gospel was preached in all that district. Hence the alarm of Demetrius.

this Paul] If we think of the bodily presence of St Paul which he himself always describes as insignificant, and which would be familiar to the hearers of Demetrius, we can fancy the scorn which would be thrown into the words as they fell from angry lips.

hath persuaded and turned away, &c.] From their devotion to Artemis, and so from the purchase of shrines.Acts 19:26. Οὗτος, this) The demonstrative, to kindle their passions.—οὐκ εἰσὶ, they are no gods) Are they then, Demetrius?Verse 26. - And for moreover, A.V. We have here a wonderful testimony from an enemy to the power and efficacy of St. Paul's labors. Asia, here and in ver. 22, etc., means Proconsular Asia, of which Ephesus was the chief city. That they be no gods, etc. This is an incidental proof that St. Paul's success at Ephesus lay chiefly among the heathen, since we know from Acts 14:15-17; Acts 17:23, 24, etc., that this was exactly his style of preaching to Gentiles, quite different from his method with Jews.
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