by Joe Slater
There was a book-burning in Ephesus (Acts 19:19). Evidently some of the brethren had not made a clean break with their pagan past (see v.18). Now they demonstrated their resolve by burning enough books on magic to be worth 50,000 pieces of silver. That must have been quite a stack of books!
“Magic” (or the “curious arts”) is a word elsewhere translated busybody. It deals with prying into forbidden things (such as other people’s business – or, in this context, trying to communicate with the dead, tell fortunes, etc., all of which are offensive to God).
Does this story remind you of something in the news recently? Terry Jones, a denominational preacher in Florida, plans to burn some copies of the Quran on Saturday (September 11). Does his plan parallel Acts 19? No, it does not.
Terry Jones is not a former Muslim. His act is not intended to demonstrate his repentance and reformation. Rather, it is a misguided attempt to protest Islamic radicalism.
I have no sympathy whatever for the Islamic religion. I believe the Quran is an inherently dangerous book which, if faithfully followed, will lead its adherents to persecute and kill non-Muslims. However, burning a few copies of the Quran to protest such behavior would be counterproductive.
Paul didn’t go through Ephesus buying up magic books and burning them to protest the wicked treatment of Christians by the pagans. Instead, he busied himself teaching the pagans about Jesus. The influence of Christ and His gospel motivated them to abandon their magic arts and burn their own books.
I doubt that many of us have magic books we need to burn. There might be some sleazy novels we need to toss into the fire! But remember the Ephesians who made a clean break with their past. Is there in your past that you haven’t made a clean break with? Why not correct that matter now?
Joe has preached for 33 years and has written tracts and various other Biblical materials. He preaches in Justin, Texas.
by Joe Slater