What does Acts 19:14 really mean?

Acts 19:14 is about the account of the seven sons of Sceva, who attempted to exorcise evil spirits in the name of Jesus without having a genuine relationship with Him, highlighting the importance of authentic faith and reverence in spiritual matters.

14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.


Setting the Scene for Acts 19:14

In Acts chapter 19, we find a scene in the city of Ephesus, known for its pagan practices and worship of the goddess Artemis. A group of Jewish exorcists, seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva, had heard about the miracles and teachings of the apostle Paul. Intrigued by the power Paul wielded in the name of Jesus, they decided to try and replicate it themselves.

The sons of Sceva attempted to cast out evil spirits by saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” However, the evil spirit responded, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” The possessed man then overpowered the sons of Sceva, leaving them wounded and fleeing the house naked and humiliated. This incident served as a powerful demonstration of the authority and authenticity of Paul’s ministry, contrasting it with the ineffective and unauthorized attempts of the Jewish exorcists.

The scene is set in a tense and dramatic atmosphere, with the sons of Sceva facing the consequences of their presumptuous actions. The encounter highlights the spiritual warfare present in Ephesus and the importance of genuine faith and authority in the name of Jesus. The failed exorcism serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of trying to manipulate spiritual forces without a true relationship with Christ.

What is Acts 19:14 about?

This verse, found in Acts 19:13-16, highlights the importance of authenticity and sincerity in our faith and spiritual practices. The seven sons of Sceva tried to imitate the Apostle Paul by commanding evil spirits to leave a possessed man. However, their attempt backfired as the demons recognized their lack of genuine authority and overpowered them. This story reminds us that true spiritual power comes from a genuine relationship with God, not from mere imitation or empty words. As teachers of faith, we must delve deeper into the meaning of this verse and ask ourselves: Are we truly connected to the source of our beliefs, or are we simply going through the motions? Do our words and actions reflect a sincere faith that can withstand challenges and tests? This story serves as a warning against hypocrisy and superficial spiritual practices, urging us to cultivate a genuine and profound connection with our beliefs. Let us strive to live out our faith authentically in our thoughts, words, and deeds, not only professing it outwardly.

Understanding what Acts 19:14 really means

In Acts 19:14, we encounter a pivotal moment where the seven sons of Sceva, Jewish chief priest, attempted to invoke the name of Jesus to cast out evil spirits. This event takes place in Ephesus, amidst Paul’s ministry of miracles and Gospel proclamation. The narrative serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the significance of authentic faith and spiritual authority in Christ.

The broader context of Acts 19 reveals the unfolding of events in Ephesus, where Paul’s ministry is met with both miraculous demonstrations of God’s power and confrontations with spiritual forces. The specific mention of the seven sons of Sceva attempting to use Jesus’ name highlights the dangers of superficial faith and the importance of genuine relationship with Christ.

Related passages such as Acts 19:13-16, Matthew 7:22-23, and James 2:19 further illuminate the themes of faith, authority, and belief. These verses underscore the necessity of a deep, personal connection with Jesus rather than mere outward expressions or rituals. They caution against relying solely on the name of Jesus without a true understanding and relationship with Him.

The relevance of this story to contemporary audiences is profound. In a world where quick fixes and superficial solutions abound, the account of the seven sons of Sceva challenges us to seek authentic faith and spiritual depth. It prompts reflection on the nature of our relationship with Jesus and the source of true spiritual authority in our lives.

Consider the analogy of someone wearing a doctor’s coat without medical knowledge. Just as appearances do not equate to healing ability in the medical field, using Jesus’ name without genuine faith and understanding yields no spiritual power. The failed attempt of the sons of Sceva serves as a stark reminder that true faith transcends outward actions and requires a deep, personal connection with Christ.

Key phrases like “seven sons of Sceva,” “Jewish chief priest,” and “attempted to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus” offer nuanced insights into the narrative. They highlight the need for personal faith regardless of religious background, the distinction between religious authority and spiritual power, and the difference between using Jesus’ name as a tool versus embodying true faith.

By delving into Acts 19:14 and its surrounding context, we are prompted to examine the authenticity of our faith, the source of our spiritual authority, and the depth of our relationship with Jesus. This passage challenges us to move beyond superficial expressions of faith and embrace a transformative connection with Christ as the foundation of our spiritual journey.

Do you know Jesus personally like Paul?

The passage in Acts 19:14 mentions how the seven sons of Sceva attempted to cast out demons in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preached about. This incident emphasizes the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus, as Paul did. Knowing Jesus personally is about having a genuine faith in Him, understanding His teachings, and living a life that reflects his love and grace. Paul’s close relationship with Jesus allowed him to perform miracles and spread the Gospel effectively.

Knowing Jesus personally means having a deep, intimate connection with Him. It involves surrendering one’s life to Him, seeking His will, and following His teachings. While the specific details of knowing Jesus personally may vary from person to person, the essence remains the same – a profound connection with the Savior that transforms one’s life and empowers them to serve others in love and compassion. Paul’s personal relationship with Jesus fueled his ministry and enabled him to endure hardships and persecutions for the sake of the Gospel.

Like Paul, we are called to know Jesus personally and to live out our faith in a way that glorifies Him. This involves spending time in prayer, studying the Scriptures, and seeking to align our lives with His will. When we have a personal relationship with Jesus, we are empowered by His Spirit to share His love with others and make a meaningful impact in the world around us.


Dear friend, let’s harness the strength found in Acts 19:14 and remember the might of Jesus’ Name. It’s time to reinforce our faith in Him, drawing courage from this unshakable foundation. As believers, let’s embrace our divine authority and confront any challenges with the unwavering truth of His teachings. Are you ready to step into your role as a warrior of faith and claim the power bestowed upon you by God?