In John’s baptism: See study note on Ac 18:25.
the school auditorium of Tyrannus: Or “the lecture hall of Tyrannus.” No details are provided regarding the purpose for which that school was established, but Paul was apparently welcome to use the facilities, perhaps for a number of hours each day. A few ancient manuscripts add “from the fifth hour to the tenth,” that is, from about 11:00 a.m. to about 4:00 p.m. The fact that this phrase is missing from several early manuscripts indicates that it is not part of the original text. However, some suggest that even if this addition is not original, the timing mentioned seems reasonable and may reflect Paul’s daily schedule while he was in Ephesus. It would denote that Paul took the opportunity to teach the disciples during those hot but quiet hours when many stopped their work to rest.
the province of Asia: See Glossary, “Asia.”
cloths and aprons: The cloths may have been handkerchiefs worn by Paul around the forehead to keep perspiration from running into the eyes. Aprons were worn by laborers, suggesting that Paul may have been plying his trade of tentmaking during his free hours, perhaps early in the morning.—Ac 20:34, 35.
magical arts: The Greek word for “magical arts” is pe·riʹer·ga, “curiosities.” One lexicon defines the word as “pert[aining] to undue or misdirected curiosity . . . as in the practice of magic.” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, 2000) It describes the arts of those who with the aid of evil spirits pry into forbidden things. Many people practiced magic and other forms of demonism in Ephesus. When Paul wrote his inspired letter to the Ephesians, he urged them to put on the complete suit of armor from God so that they could fight against wicked spirit forces.—Eph 6:11, 12.
50,000 pieces of silver: If the drachma or the denarius is meant by the term “pieces of silver,” a laborer would have had to spend 50,000 days, or about 137 years working seven days a week, to earn that amount of money.
The Way: As shown in the study note on Ac 9:2, the expression “The Way” was used with reference to the early Christian congregation. True Christianity is not a matter of outward appearance or mere formal worship. It is a way of life permeated by the worship of God and guided by his spirit. (Joh 4:23, 24) The Syriac Peshitta reads: “the way of God”; the Latin Vulgate according to the Clementine recension reads: “the way of the Lord”; and some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J17, 18 in App. C4) use the divine name here and read: “Jehovah’s way.”
Artemis: Artemis of Ephesus was a fertility goddess who was worshipped in cities throughout Asia Minor. (Ac 19:27) Statues of Artemis were adorned with what have variously been identified as multiple breasts, eggs, and the testicles of sacrificed bulls. The mummylike lower half of her body was decorated with various symbols and animals. Though there was a Greek virgin goddess of hunting known as Artemis, the Artemis of Ephesus has little in common with the Greek deity of classical mythology. The Roman name for Artemis was Diana.
some of the commissioners of festivals and games: Lit., “some of the Asiarchs.” These high-ranking officials or leading men of the Roman province of Asia were apparently chosen because of their influence and wealth. They presided over and financed the public games held in the province.
proconsuls: A proconsul was the principal governor of a province administered by the Roman Senate. He had judicial and military power, and although his actions were subject to review by the Senate, he was the highest authority in the province. A province had only one proconsul, so the plural form here is apparently used in a general sense. Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and the proconsul resided there.—See Glossary, “Asia.”