Handkerchiefs or aprons - Σουδαρια η σιμικινθια, Probably the sudaria were a sort of handkerchiefs, which, in travelling, were always carried in the hand, for the convenience of wiping the face; and the simikinthia were either the sashes or girdles that went about the loins. These, borrowed from the apostle, and applied to the bodies of the diseased, became the means, in the hand of God, of their restoration to health.
The diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them - Here, there is a most evident distinction made between the diseases and the evil spirits: hence they were not one and the same thing.
So that from his body - That is, those handkerchiefs which had been applied to his body, which he had used, or which he had touched. An instance somewhat similar to this occurs in the case of the woman who was healed by touching the hem of the Saviour‘s garment, Matthew 9:20-22.
d Unto the sick - The sick who were at a distance, and who were unable to go where he was. If it be asked why this was done, it may be observed:
(1) That the working of miracles in that region would greatly contribute to the spread of the gospel.
(2) we are not to suppose that there was any efficacy in the aprons thus brought, or in the mere fact that they had touched the body of Paul, anymore than there was in the hem of the Saviour‘s garment which the woman touched, or in the clay which he made use of to open the eyes of the blind man, John 8:6.
(3) in this instance, the fact that the miracles were performed in this manner by garments which had touched his body, was a mere sign, or an evidence to the persons concerned, that it was done by the instrumentality of Paul, as the fact that the Saviour put his fingers into the ears of a deaf man, and spit and touched his tongue Mark 7:33, was an evidence to those who saw it that the power of healing came from him. The bearing of these aprons to the sick was, therefore, merely evidence to all concerned that miraculous power was given to Paul.
Handkerchiefs - The word used here σουδάρια soudariais of Latin origin, and properly denotes “a piece of linen” with which sweat was wiped from the face; and then “any piece of linen used for tying up or containing anything.” In Luke 19:20, it denotes the “napkin” in which the talent of the unprofitable servant was concealed; in John 11:44; John 20:7, the “napkin” which was used to bind up the face of the dead applied to Lazarus and to our Saviour.
Or aprons - σιμικίνθια simikinthiaThis is also Latin word, and means literally a half girdle, or covering half the person a piece of cloth which was girded round the waist to preserve the clothes of those who were engaged in any kind of work. The word “aprons” expresses the idea.
And the diseases departed - The sick were healed.
And the evil spirits - See the notes on Matthew 4:24. It is evident that this power of working miracles would contribute greatly to Paul‘s success among the people.
There is still another lesson for us in the experience of those Jewish converts. When they received baptism at the hand of John they did not fully comprehend the mission of Jesus as the Sin Bearer. They were holding serious errors. But with clearer light, they gladly accepted Christ as their Redeemer, and with this step of advance came a change in their obligations. As they received a purer faith, there was a corresponding change in their life. In token of this change, and as an acknowledgment of their faith in Christ, they were rebaptized in the name of Jesus. AA 285.1
As was his custom, Paul had begun his work at Ephesus by preaching in the synagogue of the Jews. He continued to labor there for three months, “disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.” At first he met with a favorable reception; but as in other fields, he was soon violently opposed. “Divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude.” As they persisted in their rejection of the gospel, the apostle ceased to preach in the synagogue. AA 285.2
The Spirit of God had wrought with and through Paul in his labors for his countrymen. Sufficient evidence had been presented to convince all who honestly desired to know the truth. But many permitted themselves to be controlled by prejudice and unbelief, and refused to yield to the most conclusive evidence. Fearing that the faith of the believers would be endangered by continued association with these opposers of the truth, Paul separated from them and gathered the disciples into a distinct body, continuing his public instructions in the school of Tyrannus, a teacher of some note. AA 285.3Read in context »
19. Value of the Books Sacrificed—When the books had been consumed, they proceeded to reckon up the value of the sacrifice. It was estimated at fifty thousand pieces of silver, equal to about ten thousand dollars (Sketches from the Life of Paul, 137). 6BC 1064.1Read in context »
This chapter is based on Acts 19:1-20.
While Apollos was preaching at Corinth, Paul fulfilled his promise to return to Ephesus. He had made a brief visit to Jerusalem and had spent some time at Antioch, the scene of his early labors. Thence he traveled through Asia Minor, “over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia” (Acts 18:23), visiting the churches which he himself had established, and strengthening the faith of the believers. AA 281.1Read in context »