Every chapter in Acts is a keeper, but none are more fascinating than chapter 19 for a variety of reasons.
CAUTION: The first lesson we encounter right off the bat is not to construct a doctrine or our theology on an isolated event, no matter how intriguing we find it.
In Ephesus, Paul encounters some disciples of John the Baptist who have had no teachings since the death of that wonderful servant. They’ve not heard of Jesus and know nothing of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost. So, Paul teaches them, then baptizes them “in the name of Jesus.”
I’ve known for religious groups to build an entire interpretation of how the Holy Spirit comes and works just on this story. Not a safe thing to do. In fact, most commentators on Acts will point out that, just as Jesus said in John 3 the Holy Spirit moves like the wind — you do not know where it came from or where it will go from here, but you simply see the effects at the moment — the Lord works in various ways and uses various methodologies throughout Acts.
A little later (19:11-12), we see people healed by handkerchiefs taken from Paul’s body. Take that verse out of the Bible and half the evangelists on television would go out of business.
FUNNY: The little story in Acts 19:11-16 may be the funniest thing in the New Testament. Granted, the Bible was not given as a comedy routine and anyone reading it seeking humorous material are pursuing a fool’s quest, but it does have its moments.
Paul has been mightily used of the Lord in Ephesus for miracles of exorcism and healings. Seven sons of a Jewish priest named Sceva watched him and decided they could do that. They found a demon-possessed person — apparently they were plentiful — and gathered around him. One said, “I know how to do this. I’ve seen that Paul fellow work.” As they all laid hands on the poor fellow, the leader of the seven sons intoned, “We command you in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches to come out of this man.”
The demon inside the man said, “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?”