4. Gospel expansion into Greece, 15:36-20:38

ix] The Ephesian riot


With the help of his ministry team, Paul is managing his mission churches throughout Greece and Asia from Ephesus. His plan is to visit them soon, prior to returning to Jerusalem with his collection for the poor saints there. This settled state of affairs is interrupted by a riot. Demetrius, a silversmith, reacting to a reduction in sales of silver shrines of Artemis, stirs up his fellow tradesmen, inevitably fermenting a riot and the storming of the Ephesian theatre. Thankfully, the town clerk has the wit to settle the rioters by arguing that there is no evidence of temple-destroyers at work in Ephesus. With the crowd settled, the clerk dismisses them in peace.


The gospel challenges social structures, not by force, but by the changed lives of its citizens.


i] Context: See 15:36-41.


ii] Background:


The Ephesus Theatre
Image: The Turkish Archeological Society

iFor an overview of Paul's movements at this time, see Paul's letter-writing, 19:8-20.


iii] Structure: The Ephesian riot:

Paul's mission plans, v21-22;

Demetrius stirs up a mob, v23-27;

The mob sets upon Gaius and Aristarchus, v28-31;

Conservative Jews attempt to get involved, 32-34;

The town clerk restores order, v35-41.


iv] Interpretation:

Again, Luke selects an incident to provide a snapshot of the spread of the gospel from its source in Jerusalem through to its impact on the life and times of the Roman empire. Paul's letters imply that his time in Ephesus was anything but quiet and uneventful, so this incident is but one of many, cf., 2Cor.1:8, 4:9-12, 6:4-10. The more critical commentators see the story as a Lukan creation, but Fitzmyer and the like are more inclined to identify a Pauline origin. So, what we have in this story is the record of one event, among many events, which serves to provide further insight into the movement of the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.

Before recording the riot, Luke provides us with an organisational note. The temporal introduction, "When these things were fulfilled", may apply to the incident with the Jewish exorcists, but we are best to follow Longenecker who argues that Luke is referring to all three of Paul's missionary campaigns. Paul has founded a series of churches throughout Greece (Macedonia and Achaia) and Asia, and now it is time to revisit them, before returning to Jerusalem, and then off to new pastures, particularly Rome. In preparation, he sends off Timothy and a hitherto unmentioned colleague named Erastus. It is likely that their task is to organise the collection Paul intends to take to Jerusalem.

Going on to recount the riot led by Artemis, Luke makes sure the reader understands that this has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with profit. The temple of Artemis in Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the world and so attracted tourists and devotees of the god of fertility (known as Diana to the Romans). Demetrius, and his fellow craftsmen, created miniatures of the temple, and of Artemis, for visitors to Ephesus, and he feared that this lucrative trade was in danger of decline.

The charge brought by Demetrius against Paul is accurate, and to the point - Paul's message has changed people's lives as they recognise that pagan god are no gods. The anger of the artisans spreads, and soon there is a confused mob heading for the Ephesian theatre. "The theatre is cut impressively into the western slope of Mount Pion, facing west toward the harbour" and with "a capacity of twenty four thousand people", Bock. Paul is inclined to address the mob, but like any riotous mob, there is no one issue driving their anger, so some of the civic authorities (Asiarcwn, "Asiarchs"), sympathetic to Paul, advise him to stay away.

Alexander, representing the Jews in the crowd, tries to speak. His intent is not clear, but probably the Jews want to disassociate themselves from the members of the Way. Anti-Semitism is obviously alive and well in Ephesus, and so the crowd quickly shut him down.

Roman administration is all about civic order, so a disorderly mob can easily find itself up against a cohort from the local garrison. If mob violence does eventuate, the local administrators will be the ones held responsible, so the grammateuV, probably used here for the chief executive officer, steps in the quieten the crowd. His argument is interesting because he suggests that Paul and his colleagues have not blasphemed against the goddess Artemis / Dianna. His argument may just be an example of political expedience, but it is more likely that Luke records the words to make the point again that Christianity does not really threaten the social fabric of Roman society, and where there may be matters of disagreement, the Roman legal system is well able to deal with it - "the courts are open and there are magistrates", v38.


v] Homiletics: The gospel and society

[revival meeting] When you pray for your country, your community, what do you pray for? Do you pray for peace and prosperity? That's certainly a good thing to pray for, although, of course, the Lord has never promised us prosperity - he has never promised health, wealth and happiness. Still, there's no harm in asking; He can only say no. I learnt that lesson many years ago as a teenager when asking girls out for a date; the worst that can happen is they say no.

When I pray for my country, I actually pray for revival. For you see, I believe we, in the Western world, have reached a point of no return. We have expunged the principles of Christian civilisation from our institutions of learning and civil administration, and replaced them with a benign form of Marxism. Marxist socialism is nothing more than a secular version of a Christian heresy, the idea that you can create the kingdom of heaven on earth, and for the Marxist, it's a kingdom without God. Country after country has gone down the socialist road and ended up in a heap of rubble. It simply doesn't work. Just look at how multiculturalism is flourishing in Europe at the moment - not so well!

I well remember Phillip Jensen, a leading light in the Anglican church in Sydney many years ago, argue that a believer has the option of two paths in life, either become an evangelist, or work to support evangelism. There is a bit more to it than that, but it certainly should be front and centre. As we saw in our reading today, societies are changed for good, not by force, but by the changed lives of their citizens; lives changed by a gospel proclaimed in the power of God's Spirit.

So, I pray for revival, a revival activated by a church committed to making the gospel known and living by it.


Image: Dreamstime


vi] Pastoral Note: Being Christian after Christendom

[Map] This book, by David Rietveld, deals with both the sociology and history involved in the West's move to a post Christian world view. For the pastor seeking to understand this new secular age, it explains what went wrong, and poses some solutions.

As we have observed in Acts, Luke has made a point of revealing how Christianity is not a threat to order within the Roman Empire; it does not seek to overturn the existing order, rather, it seeks to be law-abiding. Yet, at the same time, "the early Christians set about being a different people who lived by a different code, following a different king, establishing a different kingdom, and it worked." As we saw with the Ephesians and their fixation with the magic arts, the gospel activated change in the life of the believers, and the change changed society for the good.

Text - 19:21

The Ephesian riot, v21-41; i] Paul's missionary plans, v21-22. Luke now gives us Paul's big-picture plan for a visit to Rome. Paul himself tells us that he wants to visit Jerusalem to deliver funds for the poor "saints" (Jewish believers) in Jerusalem, funds collected from his Gentile churches, Rom.15:25-32, 1Cor.16:1-4. The theological motivation for this probably relates to the fulfilment of prophecy, of Gentiles bearing gifts to God's historic people. This sign serves to reinforce the validity of his Gentile mission. None-the-less, from Luke's perspective, the motivation is for the Pauline gospel to finally reach Rome.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative; "Now after these things", ESV.

wJV "after [all this happened]" - when fulfilled [these things]. Temporal conjunction, introducing a temporal clause. As noted above, the object "these things" is unclear.

en + dat. "in" - [paul resolved] in [the spirit]. Local, expressing space, either "in" his spirit, so "within himself", or "in" the Holy Spirit, incorporative union, "in association with the Spirit." The general consensus is for the first option, that it is idiomatic for "to decide, resolve"; "Paul resolved", ESV.

poreuesqai (poreuomai) pres. inf. "to go" - to go [into jerusalem]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul resolved.

dielqwn (diercomai) aor. part. "passing through" - having passed through [macedonia and achaia]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the infinitive "to go"; "Paul determined in his own mind to travel through Macedonia and Greece and go to Jerusalem", Weymouth. The participle should properly agree with the subject, here the assumed "Paul", accusative subject of the infinitive, but often such participles retain the usual nominative case, as here.

eipwn (legw) aor. part. "-" - laying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to resolve", semi-redundant, serving to introduce direct speech.

meta to + inf. "after" - after the [me to become there]. This construction, meta + the articular infinitive, introduces a temporal clause, subsequent time. The accusative pronoun me, "me", serves as the subject of the infinitive, "after I have been there"; "And after that", Cassirer.

me acc. pro. "I" - me. The pronoun may serve as the accusative subject of the infinitive "to see", "me = I to visit Rome is necessary", but it more likely serves as the accusative direct object of the impersonal verb "it is necessary"; "to visit Rome is necessary for me." "It is necessary for me also to visit Rome."

idein (oJraw) aor. inf. "[must] visit" - to see [rome is necessary for me]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the impersonal verb "it is necessary." For Culy's take on this construction see plhrwqhnai 1:16.


Paul mentions both Timothy and Erastus in his epistles, both serving as his representatives in Macedonia, most likely with Corinth as their base of operations.

aposteilaV (apostellw) aor. part. "he sent" - [but/and] having sent [into macedonia]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to hold back = stay."

twn diakonountwn (diakonew) gen. pres. part. "[two] of his helpers" - [two] of the ones serving, ministering to. The participle serves as a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, partitive.

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - him. Dative of direct object after the verb "to minister to." Possibly with the sense "to minister with."

Timoqeon (oV) "Timothy" - timothy and erastus. Standing in apposition to duo, "two", accusative in agreement.

autoV pro. "[while] he" - he [he stayed]. Emphatic use of the pronoun; "while he himself stayed on in Asia", Barclay.

cronon (oV) acc. "a little longer" - a time [into = in asia]. The accusative is adverbial, temporal, extent of time; "while he remained for some time in Asia", Berkeley.


ii] Demetrius stirs up a mob, v23-27. Luke now sets out to describe a moment when the church of the Way could have easily ended up in serious trouble. As Luke puts it, the church was caught up in "a no little disturbance" (a litotes - a negated understatement stating the opposite); "A huge ruckus occurred over what was now being referred to as the Way", Peterson.

egeneto de "-" - but/and became happened. Transitional, indicating a major step in the narrative.

kata + acc. "about [that time]" - [a no little confusion, disturbance] according to [that time]. Adverbial use of the preposition, temporal, contemporaneous time, "at, around that time."

peri + gen. "about" - about [the way]. Expressing reference / respect, "about, concerning, with reference to."


Artemis (Diana in Latin), the huntress goddess, was by this stage worshipped as a mother goddess of fertility. Her images, and that of the temple, were crafted as ornaments and jewellery in every other material available.

gar "-" - for. More reason than cause, explanatory.

onomati (a atoV) dat. "named" - [a certain demetrius] by name. The dative is adverbial, reference / respect. The pronoun tiV, "a certain", is probably the subject, "a certain man", with "Demetrius" standing in apposition; "a certain man, Demetrius by name."

poiwn (poiew) pres. part. "who made" - making [silver shrines]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "a certain man", as NIV.

ArtemidoV (iV odoV) gen. "of Artemis" - of artemis. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, identifying the possession of a derivative characteristic, or possibly idiomatic, something like "silver shrines which serve to represent Artemis."

toiV tecnitaiV (hV ou) dat. "for the craftsmen there" - [was providing no small gain, profit] to the craftsmen. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage. Note the use of another litotes, "no small profit" = "a very considerable profit for the craftsmen", Barclay.


Luke's "workmen with regard to such things" probably refers to members of the different trade guilds that operated in Ephesus, rather than just the silversmiths. So, Demetrius rounds up the silversmiths (ouJV sunaqroisaV, "whom having assembled"), and kai, "also = along with" "the workers in related trades", NIV, and makes the point that their trade is hJ euporia hJmin, "wealth, prosperity, abundant living for us."

sunaqroisaV )sunaqroizw aor. part. "he called together" = [whom] having assembled. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say"; "these he gathered together ..... and said."

kai "along with" - and = also. Adverbial, adjunctive, "also". Culy suggests that it is epexegetic, but we should probably go with Kellum who sees it as identifying a second group of tradesmen, ie., members of other guilds involved in making trinkets for tourists and devotees.

peri + acc. "in [related trades]" - [the workmen] with reference to, with regard to [the things]. The prepositional phrase modifies "workmen", so it functions adjectivally, attributive, limiting "workmen"; "craftsmen who are in related trades."

oJti "that" - [he said, men, you know] that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they know.

ek + gen. "from" - from [this trade prosperity is]. Expressing source / origin.

hJmin dat. pro. "-" - to us. Obviously not a dative of indirect object / interest, advantage, so it must be possessive, "prosperity is ours."


Demetrius identifies the problem, now facing the craft guilds, in the terms of an unwanted social change, ie., Paul has metesthsen iJkanon oclon, "turned away a large crowd" - changed lives = a changed society. In this case, a loss in trade due to an increasing number of people no longer willing to pay out for the images of a divine, given the growing belief that "gods made with hands are not gods", ESV.

oJti "how [this fellow Paul]" - [and you see and hear] that [this paul]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what people see and hear. The use of the pronoun ou|toV, "this one", is probably derogatory.

peisaV (peiqw) aor. part. "has convinced" - having persuaded. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to turn aside"; "has persuaded and turned away a great many people", ESV.

alla "but" - [not only of ephesus] but [nearly of all asia, turned aside a large crowd]. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction, "not ....., but ...." The genitives "of Ephesus", and "of all Asia", are adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / source; "this person has drawn away a considerable number of people, not only from Ephesus, but also from Asia as well"

legwn oJti "he says that" - saying that. Whereas the attendant participle legwn, "saying", by itself would serve to introduce direct speech, often the presence of oJti indicates indirect speech, or a quote, as here. Culy classifies such participles as adverbial, usually modal, expressing manner, but sometimes, as here, instrumental, expressing means, "by saying that ......." See legonteV, 1:6.

oiJ ... ginomenoi (ginomai) pres. part. "[gods] made" - the things being made. The participle serves as a substantive, nominative subject of the verb to-be.

dia + gen. "by [human hands]" - by means of [hands are not gods]. Instrumental, expressing means. With respect to the substantive participle "the things being made", Culy suggests that the prepositional phrase "by hands" is attributive in function, although surely it serves to modify the verbal aspect of the participle, and as such is adverbial???


The argument used by Demetrius is a good one, namely that Christianity has the potential to damage the economy and motivating principles of Ephesian life, although Luke will go on to show that Christianity is not a wrecker. The relevance of this episode is not hard to miss. Today, the corporate world enjoys the fruits of a winner-take-all form of capitalism, having devalued its Christian moral compass. Gone is the ideal: care for the customer, care for the staff, and the profits will care for themselves. A revitalised Christian ethic within society would be viewed as a serious threat to the bottom line. As for motivating principles, any threat to the shibboleth of equity is fiercely countered today. The children of Marx (Karl, not Groucho!!) are determined that his "majesty" will not suffer loss in any contest with Jesus. The fired-up social media mob is ready and able to shout "Great is Equity."

ou monon "not only" - [but/and] not only. With alla kai, "but also", ou menon introduces a counterpoint construction; "Not only may our trade be diminished, but also, the great goddess Artemis may be diminished."

to meroV (oV ouV) "[that our] trade" - [to come into reproach is in danger this] part [to us]. Here, an unusual sense is attached to the word "part", namely, "line of business", Bruce, Gk. It is modified by the neuter demonstrative pronoun touto, "this"; "this line of business"; The dative pronoun hJmin is possessive, "there is danger for this line of business to us = of ours" = "for our line of business."

elqein (ercomai) aor. inf. "[will lose]" - to come [into discredit, reproach, disaproval]. The infinitive forms a nominal phrase which serves as the subject of the impersonal verb "it is in danger"; "to come into reproach is in danger for our line of business." The preposition eiV, "into", is adverbial, enabling the adjective "reproachful" to modify the infinitive. The actual sense of the adjective apelegmon, "reproachful", is unclear - it is a hapax legomenon, single use in the NT. The sense seems to be that the Christian gospel is exposing them to the danger that the trinket trade will be counted as nothing, fall into disrepute, be diminished, as also there is a danger for the goddess Artemis to be diminished in the eyes of the populous.

alla kai "but also" - but and = also. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "and over and above that .....", Cassirer.

logisqhnai (logizomai) aor. pas. inf. "will be discredited" - to be considered [into nothing is in danger for the temple of the great goddess artemis]. Again, the infinitive, modified by an adverbial prepositional phrase "into nothing" = "as nothing", forms a nominal phrase which serves as the subject of the assumed impersonal verb "it is in danger." The clause identifies a second potential danger from the Christian gospel, namely, "the risk that the temple of the great Artemis should come to be looked upon as being of no value", Cassirer.

te kai "and" - and and = and also. Coordinative, serving to introduce a third potential danger from the Christian gospel.

mellein (mellw) pres. inf. "-" - to be about [to suffer loss of the majesty of her which all asia and the world worship is in danger for artemis]. Again, the infinitive forms a nominal phrase which serves as the subject of the assumed impersonal verb "it is in danger."

kaqaireisqai (kaqairew) pres. mid. inf. "will be robbed" - to suffer loss, be taken down, overturned. Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the infinitive "to be about."

thV megaleiothtoV (hV htoV) gen. "of [her] divine majesty" - of the majesty [of her]. Culy suggests an ablative classification, expressing separation, although we probably should follow Zerwick who opts for adjectival, partitive, given that the loss is of part of something, in this case, the majesty of Artemis.


iii] The mob sets upon Gaius and Aristarchus, v28-31. The Western text tells us that the crowd then ran out into the street.

akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "when they heard this" - [but/and] having heard. The participle, along with "having become", is adverbial, temporal, as NIV.

qumou (oV) gen. "furious" - [and having become full] of anger. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / content; "When they heard this they were roused to fury", Cassirer.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "[began shouting]" - [they were crying out] saying. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant, serving to introduce direct speech. The imperfect tense of the verb "to cry out" is probably used to express durative aspect; "they were continually crying out", Kellum.

Efesiwn (oV) gen. "of the Ephesians" - [great is artemis of] the ephesias. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / subordination; "great is Artemis who exercises divine authority over the Ephesians."


A mob that takes matters into their own hands is not an uncommon feature of ancient societies; Josephus records a similar riot in Ephesus involving Jews. The massive Roman theatre, still visible today, serves as the appropriate venue to conduct the lynching. Both Gaius and Aristarchus are mentioned in Paul's letters, although we should note that Gaius was a common name at the time.

thV sugcusewV (iV ewV) gen. "in an uproar" - [and the city was filled] of confusion. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / content; "filled full of confusion."

sunarpasanteV (sunarpadzw) aor. part. "the people seized" - having seized [gaius and aristarchus]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "After seizing Gaius and Aristarchus."

MakedonaV (wn onoV) acc. "from Macedonia" - macedonians [travelling partners]. Both "Macedonians", and "travelling partners", are accusative in apposition to "Gaius and Aristarchus."

Paulou (oV) gen. "Paul's" - of paul. The genitive is adjectival, relational.

oJmoqumadon adv. "together" - [and they rushed] with one accord [into the theatre]. Modal adverb, expressing manner, modifying the verb "to rush."


Bock notes how Paul's part in this story is a minor one. If it were a Lukan creation, we would expect Paul to take a more central role. We are not told why Paul wanted to speak with the dhmon, "public assembly", nor what happened to Gaius and Aristarchus.

boulomenou (boulomai) pres. part. "[Paul] wanted" - [but/and, paul] wanting. The genitive participle with its genitive subject Paul, forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal; "But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd", ESV. Note, Barrett observes that Paul appears as the subject of the genitive absolute and then as the object of the main verb "were not allowing" - "Luke is not writing in his best style." Culy corrects this point by stating that in Koine Greek the subject of a genitive absolute is always different to the subject of the main verb, as here. The use of the personal pronoun auton, "him", referring to Paul, the object of the main verb, is not poor style.

eiselqein (eisercomai) aor. inf. "to appear" - to enter [into the public assembly, the disciples were not allowing him]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the participle "wanting, willing, wishing." It may also be view as introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul wanted. Note that Luke uses an imperfect verb to express the restraint of Paul by the believers; "they have to persuade Paul about this", Bock.


The exact function of the Asiarcwn, "Asiarchs", in Ephesian society is unclear, but it is prestigious. Luke again makes the point that the upper class happily associate with Paul and the church of the Way; they are his filoi, "friends."

twn Asiarcwn (hV ou) "[some] of the officials of the province" - [but/and some and = also] of the asiarchs. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

o[noeV (eimi) pres. part. "-" - being [friends]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Asiarchs"; "who were friends of his", Moffatt.

autw/ dat. pro. "of Paul" - to him. "Being friends to" = "friendly with", ie., adverbial dative, but probably best classified as a dative of possession, "friends of him"

pemyanteV (pempw) aor. part. "sent" - having sent [a message toward him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperfect verb "to urge, exhort"; "sent a message imploring him not to venture by himself into the amphitheatre", Cassirer.

dounai (didwmi) aor. inf. "to venture" - [urging him not] to give [himself into the theatre]. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the friends urged Paul not to do. The use of the verb "to give" is somewhat strange, but as Barrett says, the sense is simply "not to go into"; "not to venture into the theatre", Zerwick.


iv] Conservative Jews attempt to get involved, v32-34. "Some were yelling one thing, some another. Most of them had no idea what was going on or why they were there", Peterson.

men oun "-" - for on the one hand. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative back to the actions of the crowd, which action progresses in v33, de, "and on the other hand"; see men oun 1:6.

alloi .... allo adj. "some [were shouting one thing], some another" - others = some [were crying out certain = one thing, and others were crying out another thing = something different]. According to Robertson, this construction takes the sense "one thing, one another."

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the assembly was in confusion, "because" they didn't have a clue what was going on, or even why they were there" (an example of Lukan humour).

h\n .... sugkecumenh (sugcew) perf. mid. part. "-" - [the assembly] had been confused. The perfect participle with the imperfect verb to-be forms a periphrastic pluperfect construction, probably serving to emphasise aspect, expressing ongoing confusion.

oiJ art. "most of the people" - the many [had not known]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the adverb "many" into a substantive; "the majority."

tvinoV e{neka "why" - because of why [they had assembled]. Causal construction; "they did not know the reason why they had come together."


This verse is somewhat confused, so much so that the Western text attempts to rework it. The verb sumbibazw, "to instruct, teach, advise", seemed so ill-fitted to the context that they changed it to katabibazw, "to pull down"; see AV. Bruce Gk., opts for the more subtle sense of "conjectured", and this with the assumed subject tineV, "certain", gives the sense, "certain from the crowd conjectured about Alexander", ie., "the crowd conjectured that Alexander must be the ringleader of the trouble", Barclay. Barclay treats the following genitive absolute construction as causal, "because the Jews were pushing him forward." Luke provides no reason why the Jews are promoting Alexander, but probably they want to dissociate themselves from Paul and the believers. As it turns out, the attempt backfires when Alexander motions to the crowd that he intends to speak - he gets shouted down "when they realised that he was a Jew."

ek + gen. "-" - [but/and certain] from [the crowd conjectured about alexander that he must be the ringleader of the trouble]. If we follow Bruce Gk., then the preposition serves here as a partitive genitive, the accusative "Alexander", serving as an accusative of reference / respect. Barrett agrees, but also offers an alternative, namely that the preposition introduces an adverbial modifier of the verb sunebibasan, "they instructed from the crowd Alexander, the Jews having brought him forward."

probalontwn (proballw) gen. aor. part. "pushed forward" - [the jews] having put forward [him]. The genitive participle and its genitive subject "the Jews", forms a genitive absolute construction, best treated as causal, "because the Jews were pushing him forward", Barclay.

kataseisaV (kataseiw) aor. part. "he motioned for silence" - [but/and alexander] having given a signal [the = his hand, was wanting]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to want"; "Alexander motioned with his hand to get silence and wanted to = intended to present an apology (make a defence / argument / reason with) to the crowd, but ......" Translators often treat the infinitival phrase "wanted to make an apology / argument" adverbially, as NIV; "so as to make a defence, Berkeley, etc. Cassirer even crafts it as an attributive modifier, "who wished to make a defence".

apologeisqai (apologeomai) pres. inf. "in order to make a defence" - to make an apology, reasoned argument, defence. Complementary infinitive completing the sense of the verb "to will, wish."

tw/ dhmw/ (oV) dat. "before the people" - to the gathered assembly. Dative of indirect object.


The crowd's response to Alexander demonstrates ingrained anti-Semitism. It also demonstrates that, as far as the populous is concerned, there is little difference between Jews and members of the church of the Way. As an interesting side-note, with the hard left in the West today, increasing anti-Semitisim goes hand-in-hand with increasing anti-Christian.

epignonteV (epiginwskw) aor. part. "when they realised" - [but/and] having known. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV. Given that the subject of the main verb, the singular "one voice", is different to the assumed subject of the participle, "the crowd", a genitive absolute would be expected, but Luke has used an "according to sense" construction, so Barrett. Haenchen. The "one voice / roar happened from everyone" is simply an oblique reference to the crowd, ie., the crowd roared out as one.

oJti "-" - that [he is a jew]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they realised. In typical form, the tense of their realisation is appropriate to the moment of their realisation, so "is a Jew".

ek + gen. "-" - [one voice = roar became] from [all = everyone]. Expressing source / origin; "there arose from them all one roar of shouting", Weymouth.

wJV epi + acc. "for about [two hours]" - as upon [two hours]. The preposition epi is temporal, "upon an hour" = "for an hour", while the indefinite particle wJV is used here to express approximation; "for about one hour."

krazontwn (krazw) gen. pres. part. "shouting" - crying out [great is artemis of the ephesians]. The classification of this participle is open to some debate, but it is probably attendant circumstance, semi-redundant, serving to introduce direct speech, so Kellum. It is genitive in agreement to "everyone". Some texts have a singular participle, preferred by Barrett, which would mean that it agreed with the singular nominative subject mia, "one [voice = roar]", again according to sense, as above - "the crowd roared out as one .......... saying ....." "Of the Ephesians", see v28.


v] The town clerk restores order, v35-41. Order is restored by the grammatouV, "scribe", used here of the local keeper of records. He is not a Roman official, but rather a local government official who the Roman's will hold responsible if things get out of hand. The speech implies that both Judaism and Christianity is no threat to the status of Artemis. It is unclear whether this is Luke's take on the incident, or whether the speech is nothing more than a political ploy.

katasteilaV (katastellw) aor. part. "quieted [the crowd]" - [but/and the scribe] having settled [the crowd, says]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "When the city secretary had succeeded in quietening the mob", Barclay.

gar "-" - [men, ephesians] for. More reason that cause, serving to introduce a reasoned argument, but possibly emphatic, "indeed! Who is there .....".

tivV pro. "-" - who [is there]. Serving to introduce a rhetorical question.

anqrwpwn (oV) gen. "-" - of men. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

ou\san (eimi) pres. part. "that [the city of Ephesus] is" - [who does not know the ephesian city] being. The participle serves to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what everyone knows, "that ......". We would expect "Ephesian city" to take the nominative case, subject of the participle, but "the immediate apprehension of a fact in Gk. takes an accusative", Kellum.

thV ... ArtemidoV (iV idoV) gen. "of the [great] Artemis" - [keeper = guardian, protector] of the [great] artemis [and of the thing fallen from heaven]. The genitive is adjectival, verbal, objective. "The thing fallen from heaven" is most likely a meteorite. There are a number of examples in ancient society where meteorites were collected and worshipped, cf., Bruce Gk. p367. Of course, the adjective may just reflect the view that the image of Artemis is heavenly in origin.


Johnson notes that "there is a balance to the clerk's discourse."

oun "therefore" - therefore. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion.

ontwn (eimi) gen. pres. part. "since [these facts] are" - [these things] being [undeniable, indisputable]. The genitive participle, along with its genitive subject, "these things", and its genitive predicate, "undeniable", forms a genitive absolute construction, probably causal, as NIV.

deon (dew) pres. part. "you ought" - it is being necessary. The participle with estin, the verb to-be, forms a present periphrastic construction. Culy suggests that this construction, rather than the use of the normal verb dei, "it is necessary", "is likely more emphatic."

uJparcein (uJparkw) pres. inf. "to calm down" - [you to be having become calm and to do nothing reckless]. This infinitive, along with prossein, "to do", forms a nominal phrase, subject of the impersonal periphrastic "it is necessary"; "you to be ....... is necessary". The pronoun hJmaV, "you", serves as the accusative subject of both infinitives. The accusative participle katestalmenouV,"having become calm, settled, quiet", serves as a substantive, object of the infinitive "to be"; "you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash", ESV. For the complementary classification of the infinitives see plhrwqhnai, 1:16.


As Fitzmyer puts it, "the clerk insists that what Paul has been preaching about Christ does not constitute a reviling of Ephesian Artemis" - neither iJerosulouV, "sacrilegious, temple-robbers", nor blasqhmountaV, "blasphemers [of our God]". Again, we are unsure whether Luke wants to make the point that Christianity is in no way a disruptive element within civil society, or whether he is simply reporting a political statement crafted to restore order.

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the crowd ought to calm down, "because" there is no evidence that the men they have taken hold of have disrespected Artemis.

blasfhmountaV (blaptw) pres. part. "blasphemed" - [neither sacreligious nor] blaspheming [the god of us]. The participle, as with the adjective "sacrilegious", serves as a substantive, together forming a nominal phrase standing in apposition to andraV, "men".


In this, and the following verse, legal terminology is used to make the point that disputes must be properly handled in a legal (as opposed to illegal) assembly before the appropriate authorities. Is Luke again ticking the Christianity is a champion for civic order box?

men oun "then" - therefore on the one hand. Again, Luke uses this transitional construction to link with the speech in v37, and then to a further progression of the speech in v39, completing the link in v39 with de, "but/and on the other hand ..."; see men oun 1:6.

ei + ind. "if" - if [demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a word (charge) toward (to bring against) anyone, then the market-place (courts) are going (in session) and there are proconsuls]. Introducing a first class conditional clause where the proposed condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case ......, then .....". "So, if Demetrius and his guild of artisans have a complaint, they can take it to the court and make all the accusations they want", Peterson.

allhloiV dat. pro. "[they can press charges]" - [let them bring an accusation against] them. Dative of direct object after the en prefix verb "to bring a charge against."


"But if it is a larger question you are raising, it will be dealt with in the statutory assembly", REB.

ei "if" - [but/and] if. Introducing a 1st. class conditional clause where the proposed condition is assumed to be true, "if, as is the case, ....., then ...."

peraiterw adv. "[there is anything] further" - [certain = anything] further [you seek]. Comparative adverb; "a larger question you are raising", REB. The variant reading peri eJterwn, "concerning other things", has strong textual support, but is not accepted by Metzger because peraiterw is "appropriate in the context." He suggests that it came about from "itacism", ie., a hearing mistake during transcription.

en + dat. "[it must be settled] in" - [it will be explained = settled] in [the lawful assembly]. Adverbial, most likely local, expressing space, as NIV, but possibly temporal, "when the lawful assembly meets." The future verb "to explain = resolve, decide, settle" is handled by the NIV as an imperatival future; "let it be straightened out in court."


As Johnson notes, the Roman Empire was "chronically suspicious of any unregulated assembly", and of course, it will be people like the town clerk who have to bear the brunt of any crackdown by the Roman authorities. In this context, the noun stasiV means "revolt, sedition", and anything of that nature prompted the most violent response possible from Rome.

kai gar "as it is" - for and = also. Bruce Gk. suggests an emphatic sense, "for indeed"; "for we really are in danger ...", ESV. The clause is obviously causal, but as Kellum notes, kai is probably adjunctive, "also", such that kai gar provides "a second ground for dispersing".

egkaleisqai (egkalew) pres. mid. inf. "of being charged" - [we run the risk] to be charged. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to run the risk, to be in danger."

stasewV (iV ewV) gen. "with rioting" - of revolt, rioting [concerning the thing of the today]. Genitive of direct object after the en prefix infinitive "to be charged of", genitive of the thing accused. It is possible to take this genitive with the preposition peri, "we are in danger of being charged concerning = for (reference / respect. The NIV takes it as causal, "because") the rioting of the day = today's rioting." If we leave the genitive "rioting" with the infinitive "to be charged", an assumed genitive substantive must follow peri, eg., "what has happened", Zerwick, as NIV. Bruce Gk., opts for "assembly"; "For indeed, we are in danger of being charged with riot on account of today's assembly". As for the genitive article thV, it serves as a nominalizer, turning the adverb "today" into a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, possessive; "what has happened = the event of today" = "today's event / assembly".

apodounai (apodidwmi) aor. inf. "[we would not be able] to account" - [about which we will not be able] to give back = render [a word] (give a reason, justification). Complementary infinitive completing the sense of the negated verb "to be able."

peri + gen. "for" - about [this uproar, disturbance / seditious gathering]. Expressing reference / respect; "with respect to, concerning, ..."

uJparcontoV (uJparcw) gen. pres. part. "since there is [no reason for it]" - [nothing reasonable] being, existing. The genitive participle with its genitive subject mhdenoV aitiou, "nothing reasonable", forms a genitive absolute construction, most likely causal; "And let me make a further point. We run the risk of being charged with initiating an uprising because of today's assembly, since there is no satisfactory reason we can provide for such a gathering; it will be impossible for us to give any reasonable justification for what amounts to an act of sedition."


eipwn (legw) aor. part. "after he said [this]" - [and] having said [these things he released = dismissed the assembly]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.


Acts Introduction

Exegetical Commentaries


[Pumpkin Cottage]