What does Acts 19:18-19 really mean?

Acts 19:18-19 is about the transformative power of the gospel leading people to renounce their past sins and turn away from practices associated with darkness towards a life dedicated to God.

18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.
19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.


Setting the Scene for Acts 19:18-19

In Acts chapter 19, we find ourselves in the city of Ephesus, known for its grand temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis. The scene unfolds in a bustling marketplace where merchants sell various goods, including books of magic and sorcery. Among the crowd are a group of new believers who have recently embraced the teachings of Paul, the apostle.

These believers, filled with a newfound zeal for their faith, gather together to renounce their past practices of magic. They bring out their scrolls and books containing incantations and spells, piling them up in a large bonfire. The flames leap high into the air, consuming the items that once held power over them. As the smoke billows and the crackling of the fire fills the air, a sense of liberation and freedom washes over the group.

Paul, who had been preaching in Ephesus, witnesses this powerful display of repentance and transformation. He sees the genuine commitment of these new believers to turn away from their old ways and fully embrace the teachings of Christ. The scene serves as a powerful testament to the transformative power of the gospel and the radical change it can bring about in the lives of those who believe.

What is Acts 19:18-19 about?

Ah, the transformative power of repentance! One embarks upon a profound journey when they choose to repent in this verse. It is not merely acknowledging wrongdoings, but it is a heartfelt commitment to change one’s ways and seek reconciliation with God. Confession is the act of humbly admitting our faults and weaknesses before the Divine, while renunciation signifies our intentional decision to turn away from sin and walk towards the path of righteousness.

Have you ever experienced the weight lifted off your shoulders when you confessed your mistakes and sought forgiveness? It is in these moments of vulnerability and humility that we pave the way for God’s grace to cleanse and renew our spirits. Repentance is not a one-time event but a continuous process of growth and transformation. We embrace this journey, opening ourselves to God’s mercy and guidance, allowing Him to mold us into the best versions of ourselves.

Understanding what Acts 19:18-19 really means

In Acts 19:18-19, we witness a profound moment in Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, where new believers publicly confessed their sins and burned their scrolls of sorcery. This event serves as a poignant symbol of transformation and a wholehearted commitment to a new life in Christ. The act of burning the scrolls signifies a complete break from past sins and a resolute dedication to following Christ, mirroring the transformative power of accepting Christ as highlighted in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

James 5:16 reminds us of the healing that comes from confession, emphasizing the importance of openly acknowledging our sins. The believers in Ephesus demonstrated the power of public confession, showing a willingness to confront their past wrongs and make a public commitment to change. This public display of repentance challenges us to consider the significance of openly addressing our own shortcomings and seeking forgiveness.

The call to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” in Matthew 3:8 resonates with the believers’ actions in Ephesus. By publicly burning their scrolls of sorcery, they exhibited a tangible expression of their repentance and a commitment to live in accordance with their newfound faith. This act serves as a powerful reminder for believers today to let go of anything that hinders their relationship with God, whether it be sinful habits, material possessions, or unhealthy relationships.

Consider a scenario where an individual struggling with addiction decides to destroy all remnants of their past habits in front of a support group. This symbolic act represents a decisive step towards a new life free from the chains of addiction. Similarly, the believers in Ephesus publicly burning their scrolls symbolized their break from the past and their unwavering commitment to Christ, inspiring others to reflect on their own attachments to worldly things.

The phrase “Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done” underscores the significance of confession in the Christian faith. Genuine belief leads to a humble acknowledgment of past wrongs and a sincere desire to make amends. The public burning of the sorcery scrolls in Ephesus was a bold declaration of faith, demonstrating a willingness to let go of their former ways and embrace a new life in Christ.

Acts 19:18-19 serves as a timeless lesson on the transformative power of faith, the importance of public confession, and the necessity of relinquishing anything that obstructs our relationship with God. As we reflect on this passage, may we be challenged to examine our own lives, openly confess our sins, and wholeheartedly commit to living in alignment with the teachings of Christ, allowing the word of the Lord to spread widely and grow in power through our authentic witness.

What are we willing to give up for God?

The believers in Ephesus willingly gave up their past practices involving occult magic in this passage. They brought their valuable scrolls and burned them publicly as a sign of their commitment to following God wholeheartedly. This act symbolized their willingness to let go of their old ways in order to wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to God and His kingdom.

Similarly, as followers of God, we are called to surrender our old habits, sinful behaviors, and attachments that hinder our relationship with Him. This may involve giving up things that we once held dear, which could be material possessions, unhealthy relationships, or even deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and living. It is a conscious decision to prioritize God above all else and to make sacrifices that align with His will. Our depth of faith and commitment to God is reflected by what we are willing to give up for Him. We are called to examine our own lives and make intentional choices to let go of anything that separates us from God, just as the believers in Ephesus actively chose to renounce their past practices. We open ourselves up to His transforming power and experience the abundant life He has promised us by surrendering to Him completely.


Reflect on the power of change and growth. Look within, identify your mistakes, and take action to make amends. It’s time to be honest with yourself and others, seeking forgiveness and healing. Will you embrace this chance to transform your life and relationships for the better?