Acts 19:6
And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.
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(6) They spake with tongues, and prophesied.—Better, they were speaking with tongues and prophesying, the verbs implying continuous action. As to the nature and relation of the two gifts, see Notes on Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46. Here all the facts of the case confirm the view which has there been stated. The mere power of speaking foreign languages without learning them, as other men learn, seems a much less adequate result of the new gift than that which we find in the new enthusiasm and intensity of spiritual joy, of which the gift of tongues was the natural expression. It is not without interest to remember that the discussion of the two gifts in 1 Corinthians 14, in which the connection of the “tongues” with jubilant and ecstatic praise is unmistakable (1Corinthians 14:14-16), was written not very long after this incident, and while the facts must yet have been fresh in St. Paul’s memory. On the “laying on of hands,” which was the “outward and visible sign” of the “inward and spiritual grace,” see Notes on Acts 8:14-18, where the laying-on of hands is followed by a gift of the Holy Ghost.

19:1-7 Paul, at Ephesus, found some religious persons, who looked to Jesus as the Messiah. They had not been led to expect the miraculous powers of the Holy Ghost, nor were they informed that the gospel was especially the ministration of the Spirit. But they spake as ready to welcome the notice of it. Paul shows them that John never design that those he baptized should rest there, but told them that they should believe on Him who should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. They thankfully accepted the discovery, and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Ghost came upon them in a surprising, overpowering manner; they spake with tongues, and prophesied, as the apostles and the first Gentile coverts did. Though we do not now expect miraculous powers, yet all who profess to be disciples of Christ, should be called on to examine whether they have received the seal of the Holy Ghost, in his sanctifying influences, to the sincerity of their faith. Many seem not to have heard that there is a Holy Ghost, and many deem all that is spoken concerning his graces and comforts, to be delusion. Of such it may properly be inquired, Unto what, then, were ye baptized? for they evidently know not the meaning of that outward sign on which they place great dependence.And when Paul laid his hands ... - See the notes on Acts 8:17.

And they spake with tongues - See the notes on Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46.

And prophesied - See the notes on Acts 2:17; Acts 11:27.

6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them … they spake with tongues, &c.—See on [2054]Ac 10:44,45. Laid his hands upon them; thereby ordaining and authorizing of them to preach the gospel.

The Holy Ghost came on them; in those extraordinary gifts of tongues, &c., whereby they were fitted to preach the gospel unto any nation or people unto whom they should be sent.

Prophesied; they prophesied, either in its proper sense, being enabled to foretell things that were to come; or in a larger and more improper sense, praising and magnifying of God, and declaring the hidden mysteries of the gospel; expounding the Scriptures, especially the prophecies concerning Christ, as 1 Corinthians 14:1. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them,.... They having been before baptized, not by him, but by John, or one of his disciples, in the name of the Lord Jesus; just as Peter and John laid their hands upon the believing Samaritans, who had been before baptized by Philip, Acts 8:14 and the same extraordinary effects followed:

the Holy Ghost came on them; in his extraordinary gifts, whose special grace they had before an experience of:

and they spake with tongues; with other tongues, or in other languages, which they had never learned, or had been used to, as the disciples did at the day of "Pentecost": and prophesied; preached, having an extraordinary gift at once, of explaining the prophecies of the Old Testament, and also foretold things to come.

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Acts 19:6-7. After the baptism the imposition of the hands of the apostle (see on Acts 8:15, remark) became the vehicle of the reception of the πνεῦμα ἅγιον on the part of the minds opened by the apostolic word. The Spirit descended upon them, and manifested Himself partly by their speaking with tongues (see on Acts 10:46), and partly in prophetic inspiration (see on Acts 11:27). These two must, according to the technical mode of reference to them in the apostolic church attested by 1 Corinthians 12-14, be distinguished, and not treated as equivalent, with van Hengel, who (comp. on chap. Acts 2:10) finds here merely in general an expression of the inspired praising aloud of God in Christ. See his Gave d. talen, p. 84 ff.; Trip, p. 185, follows him. The analogy of the phenomenon with what occurred in the history of Cornelius (Acts 10:44 ff.) serves Baur, I. p. 212 f., ed. 2 (with whom Zeller agrees; and see earlier, Schneckenburger, p. 56 ff.), for a handle to condemn the whole narrative as unhistorical, and to refer it to the set purpose of placing the Apostle Paul, by a new and telling proof of his apostolic dignity and efficiency, on a parallel with the Apostle Peter. The author had, in Baur’s view, seeing that the first γλώσσαις λαλεῖν (chap. 2) is exhibited in the person of Jews, and the second (chap. 10) in that of Gentiles, now chosen for the third a middle class, half-believers (like the Samaritans! see Schwegler). With all this presumed refinement of invention, it is yet singular that the author should not have carried out his parallelism of Paul with Peter even so far as to make the descent of the Holy Spirit and the speaking with tongues take place, as with Cornelius, before baptism, on the mere preaching of the apostle! People themselves weave such fictions, and give forth the author of the book, which is thus criticised, as the ingenious weaver.

Acts 19:7. A simple historical statement, not in order to represent the men “as a new Israel.”[93]

[93] So Baumgarten, II. p. 7, whom the very ὡσεί ought to have preserved from this fancy.Acts 19:6. καὶ ἐπιθ. αὐτοῖς τοῦ Π. τὰς χ., see above on Acts 8:16.—ἐλάλουν τε γλ. καὶ προεφ.: the imperfects may mean that they began to speak, or that the exercise of the gifts mentioned continued. The two gifts are discussed in 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:14, in an Epistle which was written probably during this stay at Ephesus—no doubt the gifts are specially mentioned because the bestowal of such gifts distinguished Christian Baptism from that of John. McGiffert, p. 286, while admitting the accuracy of the account as a whole, thinks that its representation is moulded, as in 8, in accordance with the work of Peter and John in Samaria; so too Hilgenfeld refers the account to his “author to Theophilus,” who also, in Acts 8:16, narrates that the baptised Samaritans received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of Peter’s hands. This is in some respects not unlike the older view of Baur, who held that the narrative was introduced to parallel Paul’s dignity and work with that of Peter in Acts 10:44—the first speaking with tongues in 2 is narrated in relation to Jews, the second in relation to Gentiles, 10, and the third in relation to a kind of middle class, half-believers like the Samaritans! (so Zeller and Schneckenburger). But not only does this require us to identify 2 with 10 and 19, the speaking of tongues at Pentecost with subsequent bestowal of the gift, but it seems strange that a narrative should not have been constructed more free from liability to misconception and misinterpretation if the leading purpose of its introduction had been as supposed above.6. And when Paul, &c.] The gift of the Holy Ghost to these disciples appears to have been a special provision of the Spirit for the great work which was to change Ephesus, from the city wholly devoted to the goddess Diana, into the centre of Christian life throughout the west of Asia Minor for several centuries.

and they spake with tongues] A Pentecostal outpouring, for as in Jerusalem the gift wrought its effect among the Jews then gathered there from every quarter, so was the Spirit given in this great centre of Gentile activity that a like result might follow, and that the amazement and marvel at such a power might win attention to the message and gain converts to Christ.

and prophesied] Probably in this case to be understood of the exposition of Old Testament prophecy, and the power of preaching bestowed on them by the gift of the Holy Ghost. The foretelling of future events would be no such help to the cause of Christ as would the power of prophecy in the other sense.Acts 19:6. Καὶ, and) A very similar instance occurs, ch. Acts 8:12; Acts 8:15-16, in the case of some persons who had been at first baptized in the name of JESUS, and afterwards received the Holy Ghost.—ἦλθε) came promptly.—ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς, upon them) Therefore they knew now from the effect that there is (the presence of) the Holy Ghost, Acts 19:2.Verse 6. - Had laid his hands, etc. (see Acts 8:17 and note). We have here a distinct mark of Paul's true apostleship (see Acts 8:17, 18). For the manifestation of the Spirit, see Acts 10:46.
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