Acts 19:24-41 – Demetrius and the Silversmiths in Ephesus


Acts 19:24-41


In Ephesus, Demetrius the silversmith gathers his fellow workers who have seen a loss in demand for their product, statuettes of the great goddess Artemis, as a result of growing numbers of Christ believers who reject all supposed gods made with human hands.


This story  shows how a trade group of silver workers in the prominent city of Ephesus (capital of the Roman province of Asia in what is now western Turkey) whipped up opposition against Paul for hurting their booming business related to the popular goddess of fertility, Artemis. These craftsmen made and sold small silver replicas of the goddess and her temple. Paul’s preaching about the “Way” of Christ (19:9, 23) and insisting “that gods made with hands are not gods” (19:26) lessened the demand for miniature Artemis shrines. Once again, the gospel of Christ has a marked economic impact (see 16:16‒22).

The uproar against Paul sparks a riotous protest with reverberating shouts of “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” When Paul wishes to go and address the manic crowd, his supporters hold him back out of fear for his life. In any event, Paul has managed to turn another major city in the Roman Empire “upside down” for a time (cf. 17:6).