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Acts 19
Part IV

The Movement of God’s Word
Acts 19:8-12

Acts 19:8
And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Disputing is once again dialegomai and is speaking of a conversation, a dialogue. Paul did this for three months. That is longer than he lasted in the synagogue in any other city he has visited. What did he preach about to them? The Kingdom of God.

Understand he is speaking with people locked into Judaism. They are not looking for the Kingdom of God, they are looking for the Kingdom of Israel, with a Messiah, out of the line of David whereby they can live in peace.

Why preach the Kingdom of God?

Why not the Administration of Grace?

Adam and Eve were in the Kingdom of God until Adam sinned in Genesis chapter three. Since that time, all men born in Adam’s line have been under the reign of the Adversary. But now, in the Administration of Grace, through God’s grace and mercy, men and women can once again walk this earth as citizens of heaven and citizens of the Kingdom of God. With the exception of Jesus Christ, this has not happened since Genesis chapter three, and we understand why Jesus is the exception.

The Kingdom of God is righteousness (Romans 14:17), we have the righteousness of God. The Kingdom of God is peace (Romans 5:1), we have no condemnation from God to us, for we have been justified in Christ. The Kingdom of God is joy (Romans 5:11), we are at one with God, we have been reconciled, spiritually we are home.

Philippians 3:20-21
For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Romans 15:13
Now the God of [the] hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

While Paul was in the synagogue in Ephesus, as an Ambassador for Christ, he was speaking to the Judeans and all who feared God about his home in the heavens, and the grace of God that brought him there.

Acts 19:9
But when divers [some] were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

Some were hardened, and believed not…” Hardened is skleryno, it means they were inflexible, stubborn, obstinate. It is everyone’s right to refuse the words of God. But these took it a step further, “they spake evil of that way before the multitude…” Spake evil is the compound Greek word kakologeo, from kakos which means a bad or destructive nature. The other word is logos which in this context refers to the words spoken.

Helps Word-studies declares, “kakologéō (from /kakós, a malicious disposition" and /légō, "speaking to a conclusion") properly, to speak evil, using malicious, damaging words that are calculated to destroy (misrepresent). Calculated evil-speaking tries to make evil seem good ("positive"), presenting what is wrong as "right" (or the reverse). kakologéō issues from a twisted disposition (make-up, perspective). 1

These guys were hard, a solid wall of resistance that found their voice in attacking Paul and what he was preaching. For three months Paul would visit this synagogue to preach and teach, holding conversations, answering questions, opening the scriptures. But after three months Paul separated those who believed from the unbelief in the synagogue.

Children begin to learn in kindergarten, if not earlier, that you cannot have chaos in the room if you expect to learn anything. It is a lesson that needs to be established every year for children as they progress through their years of schooling. It is a lesson Paul understood. He moved, with the disciples, to a location where he could teach, without the hostility from some unbelievers.

Departed is the Greek word aphistemi, from apo which means away from, and histemi which means to set, place, or to stand. Paul left the synagogue, and he took with him those which were disciples. Separated is the Greek word aphorizo, from apo again and horizo which means to set boundaries, to appoint, or to determine. Together they mean to set aside for a purpose. The purpose was to learn the words of God.

Paul did this in the school of Tyrannus. There are many theories as to how this was accomplished; Paul rented the school, Tyrannus was a believer and opened his doors to Paul, Paul used the school between the hours of eleven am and four pm, the normal midday meal and rest time in that area of the world. 

But what does the verse say? 

Paul departed, set himself aside from the synagogue and set apart the disciples, disputing [dialegomai] daily in the school of Tyrannus. We know nothing else about Tyrannus or his school. Nor does God fill in the specific blanks in any other verses, so we drop the theories and move with, “I don’t know”, for any other questions about Tyrannus or his school.

I am not opposed to deductive reasoning and critical thinking, but base your reasoning on the words of God rather than third party guessing or secondhand assumptions.

Acts 19:10
And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 

Let’s read that verse in some other versions and then consider it.

Acts 19:10
And this went on for two years, so that all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the message about the Lord.
Holman Christian Standard Bible

Acts 19:10
This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
New International Version

All versions agree that in the space of two years ALL the Judeans and ALL the Gentiles in Asia heard the word of God pertaining to the Lord. Look at the Roman map which identifies Asia in the First Century. (See Map)

This map agrees with what we can see when we look at God’s Word for an indication of the boundaries of Asia.

Acts 16:6
Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

Coming out of Antioch in Pisidia Paul was forbidden to preach in Asia. This sets our eastern boundary.

Acts 16:7
After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

When Paul wanted to go north as he came close to Bithynia and Pontus, again the answer from God was no. This sets our northern border. The Mediterranean Sea sets our southern border. Then the Aegean Sea sets the western border.

The only time Paul speaks God’s Word in Asia, on his second missionary trip, is possibly in Troas to Luke, as the man from Macedonia and that would have been by revelation. So, the Roman idea of Asia, as seen on the map, matches what we can see in God’s Word.

So, what is the big deal about all this stuff with Asia?

In two years and three months the Word of God, taught by the Apostle Paul, reached all of Asia. All the inhabitants, all the Judeans, and all the Gentiles, no one was missed. This did not happen because Paul kept a torrid pace of witnessing throughout Asia as he systematically covered every city and every village. 

We just finished reading in Acts nineteen that Paul moved his disciples to the school of Tyrannus and that for two years he taught there every day. A man can only be in one place at a time. 

Colossians 2:1
For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh.

There were those at Colosse that had not seen his face. Well, if he was at the school of Tyrannus every day, where is his time to travel throughout Asia? How did anyone from Colosse know his face? Was there time for short trips to nearby cities or villages? I do not know. Did his disciples carry the Word of God to greater distances? That is a logical conclusion. Did people who heard the Word of God taught by his disciples come to Ephesus to spend some time in the school of Tyrannus? Again, a logical conclusion.

That all the inhabitants of Asia heard the Word of the Lord is not Luke’s opinion, it is the Word of God! That Paul taught daily in the school of Tyrannus is not Luke’s opinion, it is the Word of God!

Colossians 1:6-7
Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ.

Some of those who believed in Colosse heard God’s Word from Epaphras. He was a beloved fellow servant, syndoulos, this speaks of Epaphras’ commitment to serve God, and a faithful minister, diakonos, this speaks of his commitment in service to man. So, it is not just a logical conclusion to say the disciples of Paul went forth from Ephesus, it is what we can see in God’s Word.

Isaiah 55:10-11
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

It was not Paul’s Gospel of Grace that went forth from the school of Tyrannus in Ephesus, it was the Gospel of God’s Grace! It was the words of God and His words come with power on the lips of one who believes. It is God who brings to pass the promises made in His Word. It is God who energizes the manifestation of holy spirit, so that, there is edification for the individual and for the Body of Christ. It is God who energizes the gift of holy spirit to bring forth signs, miracles, and wonders, as God directs them by word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits.

Acts 19:11-12
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

When I first read these verses, my immediate response was, “I thought all miracles were special!” The word translated special is tygchano and in this context is best translated ordinary. Another word ou, meaning no, is not translated in the King James Version, but would make the accurate phrase “no ordinary.”

Acts 19:11
And God wrought no ordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,
Darby Bible Translation

Now, my response is, what is an ordinary miracle? If I cannot identify an ordinary miracle, I will never be able to see a miracle that goes beyond the ordinary.

Acts 14:9
The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith [believing] to be healed,

The Greek word for “perceiving” is horao and it means to see with the eyes or with the mind.

Helps Word-studies: horáō – properly, see, often with metaphorical meaning: "to see with the mind" (i.e., spiritually see), i.e., perceive (with inward spiritual perception).2 

You cannot see another man’s heart with your eyes. Believing comes from the heart. Paul saw the man had the believing to be healed. God gave Paul the manifestation of word of knowledge and the manifestation of word of wisdom. Knowledge of what was in the man’s heart and wisdom as to what to do with that knowledge, that information.

Acts 14:10a
Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet…

The manifestation of word of wisdom, what to do with the knowledge God had given to Paul about the believing the man had in his heart,

Acts 14:10
Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Then Paul operated the manifestation of believing, and the manifestation of miracles, and the manifestation of gifts of healings.

This is an ordinary manifestation of miracles. First, the one who has the need hears the words of God. The one ministering is personally with the one believing to receive. The one ministering receives revelation from God through the Head, Christ. In this case Paul, perhaps the next time you.

What took place in Asia, with the Apostle Paul, were no ordinary miracles.

Acts 19:12
So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

There is no promise in God’s Word about a napkin or small piece of cloth touching a child of God and then having the power to minister healing and even deliverance from devil spirits. This is above and beyond anything God has promised in His Word. 

Perhaps because Paul was not out and about in Asia God did this for him. We cannot know for sure why God did this for Paul. We can say it is His love, we can say it is His grace, and both would be true, for God has told Paul His grace is sufficient for him.

Ephesians 3:20
Now unto him [God] that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 

We learned back in Romans chapter four that God is both willing and able to do what He has declared. Here God is saying, I will do exceedingly abundantly ABOVE all that you can ask or think! I do not know about you, but I can ask or think many things in a situation and God is willing and able to do exceedingly abundantly above that, according to the power that works in us.

I do not know what Paul asked of His Heavenly Father, but I know a man can only be in one place at a time, and verse eleven says, “no ordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,” hands that were in Ephesus at the school of Tyrannus daily. It is as though Paul’s hands traveled with his words throughout Asia.

This was a movement of God’s Word over the area known as Asia. In two years and three months all the inhabitants of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Ephesians 3:21
Unto him [God] be glory in the [His] church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

  1. Strong's Greek: 2551. κακολογέω (kakologeó) -- to speak ill of (
  2. Strong's Greek: 3708. ὁράω (horaó) -- to see, perceive, attend to (

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A Journey through the Book of Acts