Curious Arts and Christian Hearts #2

Saturday, September 4, 2021

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:17-20 KJV).

What wise guidance can we derive from today’s Scripture?

Those in Ephesus who had believed Paul’s Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—publicly acknowledged their sin problem and former lifestyle. In fact, Luke records that one of their responses to hearing and believing those precious words of God was their abandonment of “curious arts,” even going so far as to set on fire its related books.

Our Authorized Version translators handled the Greek word “perierga” here, found only one other time in Scripture. “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies [periergoi], speaking things which they ought not” (1 Timothy 5:13). A “busybody” is simply a meddling or prying person, one too involved in the affairs or lives of others. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines the word as: “busy about trifles and neglectful of important matters, especially busy about other folks’ affairs, a busybody.” If we take into consideration what has gone before, it is quite easy to see “curious arts” are an investigation into things unnecessary, useless, profitless.

The pagans in Ephesus believed the Gospel of Grace, and they had such a radical change in lifestyle they subsequently brought their “curious arts” books and burned them in front of everyone. Remembering their heathen region, we should view these books as nothing more than volumes of magical spells or incantations or prayers. In other words, they had intruded into the occult, witchcraft, or sorcery! Such needless and worthless information was the Devil’s realm, so they as Christians rightfully destroyed them. We as members of the Church the Body of Christ should follow their example….