Acts 20 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

Acts 20
Pulpit Commentary
And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.
Verse 1. - Having sent for... and exhorted for called unto him, A.V. and T.R.; took leave of them, and departed for and embraced them, and departed, A.V. Departed for to go into Macedonia. This was St. Paul's purpose, as he had written to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:5) from Ephesus. He judged it wise, not only with a view to his own safety and that of his companions, but also for the rest and quiet of the Ephesian Church, to take advantage of the lull in the popular storm, and withdraw into quiet waters before any fresh outbreak occurred. Aquila and Priscilla seem to have left Ephesus about the same time, or soon after, since the Epistle to the Romans found them again at Rome (Romans 16:3, 4); and, if the view mentioned in the note to Acts 19:40 is true - that in the riot they had saved St. Paul's life at the risk of their own - there were probably the same prudential motives for their leaving Ephesus as there were in the case of the apostle.
And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,
Verse 2. - Through for over, A.V. When he had gone through (διελθών); see above, Acts 8:4, 40; Acts 10:38; Acts 13:6; Acts 18:23, note, etc.; Luke 9:6. Those parts; μέρη, a word especially used of geographical districts: τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας: τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος (Matthew 2:22; Matthew 15:21; see too Acts 2:10; Acts 19:1). Greece (Ἑλλάδα, not Ἀχαι'αν, as Acts 19:21; Acts 18:12, and elsewhere). Macedonia and Achaia are always coupled together (see Tacit., 'Ann..' 1:76). as in Romans 15:26; 1 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, written from Macedonia, it is always Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1, etc.). In fact, Ἑλλάς is found nowhere else in the New Testament, Achaia being the name of the Roman province. Bengel and others understand Hellas here of the country between Macedonia and the Peloponnesus, especially Attica; which would make it probable that St. Paul revisited Athens. But Meyer, Kuinoel, Alford, 'Speaker's Commentary,' etc., think it is synonymous with Achaia. There must, however, be some reason for this unusual use of Hellas instead of Achaia. None seems so likely as that it was meant to cover wider ground than Achaia would naturally indicate, namely Attica.
And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.
Verse 3. - When he had spent ... there for there abode, A.V.; a plot was laid against him by the Jews for when the Jews laid wait for him, A.V.; for for into, A.V.; determined for purposed, A.V. (ἐγένετο γνώμης, R.T.). When he had spent three months. For this use of ποιεῖν, see Acts 15:33; Acts 18:33. See also 2 Corinthians 11:25, where the R.V. varies the rendering, and seems to take ποιεῖν as a verb neuter, as the A.V. does here, the accusative (μῆνας τρεῖς) being taken as that of time how long. And a plot, etc. There is no "and" in the Greek. It is better to take the T.R., and to consider ποιήσας as a nominative pendens as ἐπιγνόντες is in Acts 19:34, according to the reading of Meyer, Alford, etc. A plot was laid against him by the Jews. It appears from this that Apollos had not succeeded in subduing the bigoted hatred of the Corinthian Jews. But probably the desperate measure of a plot against his life (ἐπιβουλή, as in Acts 9:23, 24; ver. 19 of this chapter, and Acts 23:30) is an indication that many of their number had joined the Church; and that the unbelieving remnant, being foiled in argument, had recourse to violence. He determined; literally, according to the R.T., he was of opinion. But the T.R. has ἐγένετο γνώμη, "his opinion was," the construction of the sentence being changed. The three months were probably chiefly spent at Corinth, according to the intention expressed in 1 Corinthians 16:6, though it would seem that he had stayed a longer time in Macedonia than he anticipated. It was during his sojourn at Corinth that the Epistle to the Romans was written.
And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.
Verse 4. - As far as for into, A.V.; Beraea for Berea, A.V.; the son of Pyrrhus is added in the R.T. and R.V.; Timothy for Timotheus, A.V. Accompanied; συνείπετο, peculiar to Luke in the New Testament, but common in medical writers. As far as Asia. If it were merely said, "there accompanied him," it might have been thought, with regard to the Macedonians Sopater, Aristarchus, and Secundus, that they had merely gone as far as their respective cities, Beraea and Thessalonica; it is therefore added (in most manuscripts, though not in B or the Codex Sinaiticus), "as far as Asia." It does not necessarily follow that they all went as fax as Jerusalem, though we know Trophimus and Aristarchus did. Sopater may probably be the same as Sosipater (Romans 16:21), whom St. Paul calls "his kinsman," though some think "the son of Pyrrhus" was added to distinguish him from him. The Thessalonian Aristarchus is doubtless the same as the person named in Acts 19:29; Acts 27:2; and so one would have thought Gaius must be the same as is named with Aristarchus in Acts 19:29, were it not that this Gaius is described as of Derbe, whereas the Gaius of Acts 19:29 was a man of Macedonia. Gaius of Derbe is here coupled with Timothy, who was of the neighboring city of Lystra (Acts 16:1), but was too well known to make it needful to specify his nationality. Secundus is not mentioned elsewhere. Compare Tertius and Quartus (Romans 16:22, 23), and the common Roman names, Quinctus, Sextus, Septimus, Octavius, Decimus. Tychicus, of Asia, is mentioned in Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12; by which we learn that he continued to be in constant attendance on St. Paul, and have abundant confirmation of his being "of Asia." Trophimus is called "an Ephesian" (Acts 21:29), and is named again as a companion of St. Paul, and presumably "of Asia" (2 Timothy 4:20). It is not improbable that some at least of there followers were chosen by the Churches to carry their alms to Jerusalem (see 2 Corinthians 8:19-23; 2 Corinthians 9:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 16:3, 4; Romans 15:25-28).
These going before tarried for us at Troas.
Verse 5. - But these had gone for these going, A.V. and T.R.; and were waiting for tarried, A.V. The narrative is so concise that the exact details are matters of conjecture. There is consequently much difference of opinion about them. Howson, with whom Farrar (vol. 2:274) apparently agrees, thinks that the whole party traveled together by land through Bercea and Thessalonica, to Philippi; that the party consisting of Sopater, Aristarchus and Secundus, Gains, Timothy, Tychicus, and Trophimus, went on at once from Philippi via Neapolis, to Troas, leaving St. Paul, who was now joined by St. Luke, at Philippi, to pass eight or nine days there during the Feast of the Passover. And this seems quite consistent with St. Luke's narrative. But Lewin (vol. it. p. 74) thinks that only St. Paul (accompanied, as he supposes, by Luke, Titus, and Jason) went to Macedonia, and that the others sailed direct from Cenchreae to Troas. Renan, on the other hand, thinks they all sailed together from Cenchreae to Neapolis, whence Paul's party went to Philippi, and the others to Troas. There is no clue to the reason why the party thus separated.
And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
Verse 6. - Tarried for abode, A.V. We; distinctly marking that Luke, the author of the narrative, whom we left at Philippi (Acts 16:13, 14), joined him again at the same place. Renan (p. 498) well remarks, "At Philippi Paul once more met the disciple who had guided him for the first time to Macedonia. He attached him to his company again, and thus secured as his companion in the voyage the historian who was to write an account of it, with such infinite charm of manner and such perfect truth." It may be noted that this passage is quite conclusive against the notion entertained by some, that Timothy was the writer of the Acts. From Philippi; i.e. from Neapolis, the port of Philippi. After the days of unleavened bread, which lasted eight days, including the day of eating the Passover. In five days. An unusually long voyage, owing, doubtless, to unfavorable winds. On the former occasion when he sailed from Troas to Neapolis he was only two days (Acts 16:11). Where we tarried seven days. As the last of these seven days was Sunday - " the first day of the week" - he must have arrived on the preceding Monday, and left Neapolis on the preceding Thursday. Some, however, reckon the days differently. It must be remembered that the apostle's movements were dependent upon the arrival and departure of the merchant ships by which he traveled.
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
Verse 7. - We were gathered for the disciples came, A.V. and T.R.; discoursed with for preached unto, A.V.; intending for ready, A.V.; prolonged for continued, A.V. The first day of the week. This is an important evidence of the keeping of the Lord's day by the Church as a day for their Church assemblies (see Luke 24:1, 30, 35; John 20:19, 26; 1 Corinthians 16:2). To break bread. This is also an important example of weekly communion as the practice of the first Christians. Comparing the phrase, "to break bread," with St. Luke's account of the institution of the Holy Eucharist (Luke 22:19) and the passages just quoted in Luke 24, and St. Paul's language (1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:24), it is impossible not to conclude that the breaking of bread in the celebration of the Lord's Supper is an essential part of the holy sacrament, which man may not for any specious reasons omit. Further, this passage seems to indicate that evening Communion, after the example of the first Lord's Supper, was at this time the practice of the Church. It was preceded (see ver. 11) by the preaching of the Word. The following description, given by Justin Martyr, in his second Apology to Antoninus Plus (or Marcus Aurelius), of the Church assemblies in his day, not a hundred years after this time, is in exact agreement with it: - "On the day which is called Sunday, all (Christians) who dwell either in town or country come together to one place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read for a certain time, and then the president of the meeting, when the reader has stopped, makes a discourse, in which he instructs and exhorts the people to the imitation of the good deeds of which they have just heard. We then all rise up together, and address prayers (to God); and, when our prayers are ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president, to the best of his ability, offers up both prayers and thanksgivings, and the people assent, saving 'Amen.' And then the distribution of the bread and wine, over which the thanksgivings have been offered, is made to all present, and all partake of it." He adds that the elements are carried to the absent by the deacons, and that collections are made for poor widows, and orphans, and sick, and prisoners. Discoursed (διελέγετο); Acts 17:17, note. Prolonged (παρέτεινε). The word is found only here in the New Testament, but is of frequent use in medical writers.
And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
Verse 8. - We for they, A.V. and T.R. It is not obvious why St. Luke mentions the many lights. Some say to mark the solemnity of the first day of the week (Kuinoel); some, to remove all possible occasion of scandal as regards such midnight meetings (Bengel); some, to explain how the young man's fall was immediately perceived (Meyer); others, to account for the young man's drowsiness, which would be increased by the many lights, possibly making the room hot (Alford); for ornament (Olshausen). But possibly it is the mere mention by an eye-witness of a fact which struck him. It is obvious that the room must have been lit for a night meeting - only perhaps there were more lights than usual.
And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
Verse 9. - The for a, A.V.; borne down with for being fallen into a, A.V.; discoursed yet longer for was long preaching, A.V.; being borne down by his sleep he for he sunk down with sleep, and, A.V.; story for loft, A.V. In the window; or, on the window-seat. The window was merely the opening in the wall, without any glass or shutter. Borne down; καταφερόμενος, the proper word in connection with sleep, either, as here, when sleep is the agent, or, followed by εἰς ὕπνον, falling into sleep. Yet longer; rather, as in the A.V., long; i.e. longer than usual, somewhat or very long.
And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
Verse 10. - Make ye no ado for trouble not yourselves, A.V. Fell on him, and embracing him said; imitating the action of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17:17-21; 2 Kings 4:34). Make ye no ado (μὴ θορυβεῖσθε). Θόρυβος and θορυβεῖσθαι are words especially used of the lamentations made for the dead. Thus when Jesus came to the house of Jairus, he found the multitude outside the house, θορυβούμενον, "making a tumult." This is still more clearly brought out in Mark 5:38, 39, "He beholdeth a tumult (θόρυβον), and many weeping and wailing greatly. And... he saith unto them, Why make yea tumult (θορυβεῖσθε), and weep? The child is not dead, but sleepeth." In exactly the same way St. Paul here calms the rising sobs and wailings of the people standing round the body of Eutychus, by saying, Μὴ θορυβεῖσθε," Do not wail over him as dead, for his life is in him."
When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
Verse 11. - And when he was gone up for when he therefore was come up again, A.V.; the bread for bread, A.V. and T.R.; had talked with them for talked, A.V. Had broken the bread; i.e. the bread already prepared, and spoken of in ver. 7 (where see note), but which had not yet been broken in consequence of Paul's long discourse. And eaten. Γενσάμενος does not seem to mean "having eaten of the bread broken," for the word is never used of the sacramental eating of bread. That word is always φάγειν (1 Corinthians 11:20, 24) or ἐσθίειν (1 Corinthians 11:26, 27, 28, 29). But γευσάμενος seems rather to be taken absolutely, as in Acts 10:10, "having eaten," meant "having partaken" of the meal, the agape, which followed the Eucharist. Talked with them (ὁμιλήσας). Of familiar converse (Luke 24:14, 15; Acts 24:26). Compare the use of ὁμιλία in 1 Corinthians 15:33; from whence, of course, comes the word" homily." Ver. 12. - Lad for young man, A.V.
And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.
Verse 13. - But for and, A.V.; going for went, A.V.; the ship for ship, A.V.; set sail for and sailed, A.V.; for for unto, A.V.; intending for minding, A.V.; by land for afoot, A.V. Assos. A seaport on the coast of Troas, twenty-four Roman miles from Troas. The town was built on a high and precipitous cliff. Luke does not tell us why on this occasion he was separated from Paul. Had he appointed. The passive διατεταγμένος ῆν is acre used in an active sense, as in Died. Sic. (quoted by Kuinoel) and other Greek writers (see Steph., 'Thesaur.'). But some consider it as the middle voice (Meyer).
And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.
Verse 14. - Met for met with, A.V. Mitylene. The capital of the island of Lesbos, called by Horace "pulchra Mitylene" ('Epist.,' 1. 11:17). The harbor on the north-eastern coast is described by Strabo as "spacious and deep, and sheltered by a breakwater" (13. 2).
And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.
Verse 15. - Sailing from for we sailed, A.V.; we came for and came, A.V.; following for next, A.V.; touched for arrived, A.V.; and the day after for and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day, A.V. and T.R. Over against Chios. Their course would lie through the narrow strait between Chios on the west and the mainland on the east. Samos. The large island opposite Ephesus. There they touched, or put in (παρεβάλομεν). If the clause in the T.R. is genuine, they did not pass the night at Samos, but "made a short run from thence in the evening to Trogyllium (Alford), "the rocky extremity of the ridge of Mycale, on the Ionian coast, between which and the southern extremity of Samos the channel is barely a mile wide" ('Speaker's Commentary'). We came to Miletus. Anciently the chief city of Ionia, and a most powerful maritime and commercial place, about twenty-eight miles south of Ephesus; though in the time of Homer it was a Carian city. In St. Paul's time it was situated on the south-west coast of the Latmian gulf, just opposite the mouth of the Meander on the east. But since his time the whole gulf of Latmos has been filled up with soil brought down by the river, so that Miletus is no longer on the seacoast, and the new mouth of the Meander is to the west instead of to the east of Miletus, which lies about eight miles inland (Lewin, vol. it. p. 90; Smith's 'Dict. of Geog.'). Miletus was the scat of a bishopric in after times. As regards this visit to Miletus, some identify it with that mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:20. And it is certainly remarkable that so many of the same persons in connection with the same places are mentioned in both passages and in the pastoral Epistles generally. The identical persons are Paul, Timothy, Luke, Trophimus, Tychicus, and Apollos (Acts 20:4, 5, compared with 2 Timothy 4:11, 12, 20); and the identical places are Corinth, Thessalonica, Troas, Ephesus, Miletus, and Crete. But the other circumstances do not agree well with the events of this journey, but seem to belong to a later period of St. Paul's life (see below, ver. 25, note).
For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
Verse 16. - Past for by, A.V.; that he might not have to for because he would not, A.V.; time for the time, A.V.; was hastening for hasted, A.V. To spend time; χρονοτριβῆσαι, found only here in the New Testament, but used by Aristotle and others. It has rather the sense of wasting time, spending it needlessly. The day of Pentecost. The time of year is rims very distinctly marked. Paul was at Philippi at the time of the Passover, and hoped to reach Jerusalem by Pentecost.
And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
Verse 17. - Called to him for called, A.V. The R.V. gives the force of the middle voice μετεκαλέσατο. The elders of the Church; viz. of Ephesus. These are manifestly the same as are called ἐπισκόπους in ver. 28, "overseers," or bishops. The distinctive names and functions of Church officers were not yet fixed; and the apostles themselves, aided by degrees by such as Timothy and Titus, were what we now call bishops, exercising oversight over the elders themselves as well as over the whole flock (see 1 Timothy 3:1). The diocesan episcopate came in gradually as the apostles died off, and the necessity for a regular episcopate arose (see Acts 6:1-6; Acts 14:23, etc.).
And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
Verse 18. - Ye yourselves for ye, A.V.; set foot in for came into, A.V.; was for have been, A.V.; all the time for at all seasons, A.V.
Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
Verse 19. - Lowliness for humility, A.V.; tears for many tears, A.V. and T.R.; with trials for temptations, A.V.; plots for lying in wait, A.V. Plots (ἐπιβουλαῖς); comp. ver. 3, and note. There is no special account of Jewish plots in St. Luke's narrative of St. Paul's sojourn at Ephesus. But from Acts 19:9, 13, and probably 33, we may gather how hostile the unbelieving Jews were to him.
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
Verse 20. - How that I shrank not from declaring unto you anything for and how I kept back nothing, A.V.; profitable for profitable unto you, A.V; and teaching for but have showed you and have taught, A.V. I shrank not from declaring, etc. The R.V. seems to construe the phrase as if it were Ὡς ὑπεσταιλάμην τοῦ μὴ ἀναγγεῖλαι ὑμῖν οὐδὲν τῶν συμφερόντων, which is a very labored construction, of which the only advantage is that it gives exactly the same sense to ὑπεστειλάμην as it has in ver. 27. But it is much simpler to take οὐδὲν here as governed by ὑπεστειλάμην, and to take the verb in its very common sense of "keeping back," or "dissembling" (see the very similar passages quoted by Kuinoel from Demosthenes, Plato, Socrates, etc., Οὐδὲν ὑποστειλάμενος, μηδὲν ὑποστείλαμεμος κ.τ.λ.), and to take the τοῦ μὴ ἀναγγεῖλαι ὑμῖν καὶ διδάξαι as expressing what would have been the effect of such "keeping back," or "dissembling," the μὴ extending to both infinitives (Meyer), "so as not to declare and teach," etc. In ver. 27 the verb ὑπεστειλάμην must be taken in the equally common sense of "holding back," or "shrinking," under the influence of fear, or indolence, or what not. The difference of rendering is required by the fact that here you have οὐδὲν ὑπεστειλάμην, whereas in ver. 27 you have οὐκ ὑπεστειλάμην In several of the classical passages quoted above, and others in Schleusner, ὑποστέλλεσθαι is opposed to παρρησίαζεσθαι, or, μετὰ παρρησίας διαλεχθῆναι (comp. therefore for the sentiment, Acts 2:29; Acts 4:13, 29, 31; Acts 9:27; Acts 13:46; Acts 14:3; Acts 28:31, etc.; Ephesians 6:19, 20).
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 21. - To Jews and to Greeks for both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, A.V. (see Acts 19:10, 17). Repentance, etc. The two cardinal points of gospel teaching, as they are the two necessary qualities for every Christian man. "Repentance whereby we forsake sin, and faith whereby we steadfastly believe the promises of God." There is no ground for the remarks of Kuinoel and others, that repentance is to be referred chiefly to the Gentiles, and faith to the Jews (see Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 5:31, etc.; Mark 1:15, etc.).
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
Verse 22. - Bound in the spirit. Τῷ πνεύματι, may either mean "in my spirit" or "by the Spirit," i.e. the Holy Ghost. If the former, which is the most probable sense (as τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον follows in the next verse), is taken, the sense will be that St. Paul felt himself constrained to go to Jerusalem. A sense of absolute necessity was upon him, and he did not feel himself a free agent to go anywhere else. If the latter sense be taken, the meaning will be that the Holy Ghost was constraining him to go to Jerusalem.
Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
Verse 23. - Testifieth unto me for witnesseth, A.V. and T.R. The Holy Ghost, speaking by the prophets in the different Church assemblies, as the apostle journeyed from city to city. We have one instance of such prophesying recorded in Acts 21:10, 11. The instances to which St. Paul here alluded were not mentioned in Luke's brief narrative.
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Verse 24. - I hold not my life of any account, as dear for none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear, A.V. and T.R.; may accomplish my course for might finish my course with joy, A.V. and T.R.; received for have received, A.V.; from for of, A.V. I hold not my life, etc. It is inconceivable that St. Paul should have uttered, or St. Luke have reported, such an unintelligible sentence as that of the R.T., when it was perfectly easy to express the meaning clearly. Neither does the mention of his life, in the first instance, tally with that of "bonds and afflictions." The T.R., which has considerable support, seems to be far preferable. The first clause, Οὐδενὸς λόγον ποιοῦμαι, means quite naturally," I take no account of anything;" I value nothing, neither liberty, nor ease, nor comfort. I am ready to suffer the loss of all things, and I do count them as dung (Philippians 3:7-9); and then he adds yet further, "Neither do I count my own life as precious, so as to accomplish my course," etc. This metaphor of running a race is a favorite one with St. Paul (1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 5:7; Philippians 3:13, 14; 2 Timothy 4:7). To testify the gospel of the grace of God. An invaluable epitome of the Christian ministry. The essential feature of the gospel is its declaration of God's free grace to a guilty world, forgiving sins, and imputing righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. The distinctive work of the ministry is to declare that grace. So St. Paul describes his own ministry, and the record of his ministry in the Acts and in his Epistles exactly agrees with this description.
And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
Verse 25. - Went about for have gone, A.V.; kingdom for kingdom of God, A.V. and T.R. I know that ye all, etc. It is a very perplexing question whether St. Paul in this statement spake with prophetic, and therefore infallible, foreknowledge, or whether he merely expressed the strong present conviction of his own mind, that he should never return to Asia again. The question is an important one, as the authenticity of the pastoral Epistles is in a great measure bound up with it. For, in the apparent failure of all hypotheses to bring the writing of them within the time of St. Luke's narrative, prior to St. Paul's journey to Rome, we are driven to the theory which places the writing of them, and the circumstances to which they allude, to a time subsequent to St. Paul's imprisonment at Rome. But this involves the supposition that St. Paul returned to Ephesus after his release from his Roman imprisonment (1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:15, 18; 2 Timothy 4:9-14, 19; Titus 1:5), and consequently that St. Paul's anticipation, that he was in Asia for the last lime, was not realized. The question is well discussed by Alford, in the 'Prolegomena to the Pastoral Epistles,' and in Paley's 'Horae Paulinae,' Acts 11. But it can hardly be said to be definitively settled (see above, note to ver. 15). Bengel thinks the explanation may be that most of those present were dead or dispersed when Paul returned some years later.
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
Verse 26. - Testify unto you for take you to record, A.V. The solemnity of this address is dependent upon the speaker's conviction that he was speaking to his hearers for the last time. Hence the force of the words, "this day" (ἐν τῇ σήμερον ἡμέρᾳ); "my last opportunity." I am pure, etc. (comp. Ezekiel 3:17-21; Ezekiel 33:2, 9; Hebrews 13:17). Note the peril of hiding or watering God's truth.
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Verse 27. - Shrank not from declaring for have not shunned to declare, A.V. (see ver. 20, note); the whole for all the, A.V. Counsel of God. His revealed will and purpose concerning man's salvation (Acts 2:23; Acts 4:28; Ephesians 1:11).
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Verse 28. - Take heed for take heed therefore, A.V. and T.R.; in for over, A.V.; bishops for overseers, A.V.; purchased for hath purchased, A.V. Take heed, etc.; προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς, peculiar to Luke (Acts 5:53; Luke 12:1; Luke 17:3; Luke 21:34). Now follows the weighty charge of this great bishop to the clergy assembled at his visitation. With the true feeling of a chief pastor, he thinks of the whole flock, but deals with them chiefly through the under-shepherds. If he can awaken in these individually a deep concern for the souls committed to their charge, he will have done the best that can be done for the fleck at large. The first step to such concern for the flock is that each be thoroughly alive to the worth and the wants of his own soul. "Take heed unto yourselves." He that is careless about his own salvation will never lie careful about the souls of others (comp. 1 Timothy 4:16). In the which the Holy Ghost, etc. Ἐν ῷ, no doubt, does not strictly contain the idea of "over which;" but the idea of authoritative oversight is contained in the word ἐπίσκοπος, and therefore the rendering of the A.V., and of Alford's A.V. revised, is substantially correct. Perhaps the exact force of the ἐν ῷ is "among which," like ἐν ἡμῖν (Acts 2:29, and elsewhere). The call and appointment to the ministry is the special function of the Holy Ghost (John 20:22, 23; Acts 12:2; Ordination Service). To feed; ποιμαίνειν, the proper word for "tending" in relation to τὸ ποίμνιον, the flock, as ποιμήν, the pastor, or shepherd, is for him who so feeds the flock of Christ (see John 10:11, 16; John 21:17; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:2, 3). St. Peter applies the titles of "Shepherd and Bishop of souls" to the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 2:25). St. Paul does not use the metaphor elsewhere, except indirectly, and in a different aspect (1 Corinthians 9:7). The Church of God; margin, Church of the Lord. There is, perhaps, no single passage in Scripture which has caused more controversy and evoked more difference of opinion than this. The T.R. has τοῦ Θεοῦ, but most uncials have τοῦ Κυρίου. Kuinoel asserts that the reading τοῦ Κυρίου rests on the authority, besides that of the oldest manuscripts, of the old versions, and of many el' the most ancient Fathers, and says that it is undoubtedly the true reading. Meyer, too, thinks that the external evidence for τοῦ Κυρίου is decisive, and that the internal evidence from the fact that ἐκκλησία τοῦ Κυρίου Occurs nowhere else in St. Paul's writings, is decisive also. But on the other hand, both the Codex Vaticanus (B) and the Codex Sinaitieus (א), the two oldest manuscripts, have Θεοῦ (Θυ). The Vulgate, too, and the Syriac have it; and such early Fathers as Ignatius (in his Epistle to the Ephesians) and Tertullian use the phrase, "the blood of God," which seems to have been derived from this passage. And Alford reasons powerfully in favor of Θεοῦ, dwelling upon the fact that the phrase ἐκκλησία τοῦ Θεοῦ occurs ten times in St. Paul's writings, that of ἐκκλησία τοῦ Κυρίου not once. The chief authorities on each side of the question are:

(1) in favor of τοῦ Κυρίου, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Bornemann, Lunge, Olshausen, Davidson, Meyer, Hackett, as also Grotius, Griesbaeh (doubtfully), Wetstein, Le Clerc, and others;

(2) in favor of τοῦ Θεοῦ, Bengel, Mill, Whitby, Wolf, Scholz, Knapp, Alford, Wordsworth, etc., and the R.T. It should be added that the evidence for τοῦ Θεοῦ has been much strengthened by the publication by Tischendorf, in 1563, of rite Codex Sinaiticus, and in 1867 of the Codex Vaticanus, from his own collation. The result is that τοῦ Θεοῦ seems to be the true reading (see the first of the two collects for the Ember weeks in the Book of Common Prayer. With regard to the difficulty that this reading seems to imply the unscriptural phrase, "the blood of God," and to savor of the Monophysite heresy, it is obvious to reply that there is a wide difference between the phrase as it stands and such a one as the direct "blood of God," which Athanasius and others objected to. The mental insertion of "the Lord" or "Christ," as the subject of the verb "purchased," is very easy, the transition from God the Father to God incarnate being one that might be made almost imperceptibly. Others (including the R.T.) take the reading of several good manuscripts, Διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου, and understand τοῦ ἰδίου to be an ellipse for τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ, the phrase used in Romans 8:32; and so render it "which he purchased by the blood of his own Son." Οἱ ἰδίοι, his own, is used without a substantive in John 1:11. This clause is added to enhance the preciousness of the flock, and the responsibility of those who have the oversight of it.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Verse 29. - I know for, for I know this, A.V. and T.R.; grievous wolves shall for shall grievous wolves, A.V. After my departure (ἄφιξιν, not ἀνάλυσιν, as 2 Timothy 4:6). The word, which is only found here in the New Testament, usually means "arrival" in classical Greek, but it also means, as here, "departure." It is not to be taken in the sense of "departure from this life," but refers to that separation, which he thought was forever, which was about to take place. Grievous wolves; still keeping up the metaphor of the flock. The wolves denote the false teachers, principally Judaizers. See 2 Timothy 3:1-12, and 13, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." These came from Judaea.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Verse 30. - And from among for also of, A.V.; the disciples for disciples, A.V. From among your own selves; as opposed to the strangers from Judaea in the preceding verse. So 2 Timothy 4:3, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (see, as instances, 2 Timothy 2:17, 18; 2 Timothy 4:14). Speaking perverse things. So 2 Timothy 4:4, "They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." To draw away the disciples, etc.; i.e. to induce Christians to leave the communion and doctrine of the Church, and join their heresy. The A.V., "to draw away disciples," is manifestly wrong; τοὺς μαθητὰς are Christ's disciples. For the general statement, see 2 Timothy 3:6, "They which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women;" and comp. Romans 16:17, 18, which, according to Renan, was addressed to the Ephesians. For the rise of false teachers in Asia, see 1 Timothy 1:3, 20; 1 Timothy 4:1-7; 1 Timothy 6:20, 21; 2 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 2:26; 1 John 4:1, 3, 5; and through the whole Epistle; Revelation 2:1-7.
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Verse 31. - Wherefore watch ye for therefore watch, A.V.; remembering for and remember, A.V.; admonish for warn, A.V. By the space of three years (τριετίαν). The word is only found here in the New Testament; but it is used in the LXX. of Isaiah 15:5 and 2 Chronicles 31:16, and in classical Greek. We have here one of the few chronological data in the Acts. Three years includes the whole of his sojourn at Ephesus as his headquarters. There were first the three months during which he preached in the synagogue; then the two years which he spent in preaching in the school of Tyrannus, and which terminated with the incident of burning the books of magic (Acts 19:8, 10, 19). Then there was an indefinite time described in Acts 19:22 as "for a while" (αὐτὸς ἐπέσχε χρόνον), during which he was busy making plans, probably writing letters, sending off Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia, and perhaps making missionary expeditions in the neighborhood. This may have occupied three or four months longer, and made up a term of two years and six, seven, or eight months, which would quite justify the term τριετία. Every one. Each one separately, not merely the whole flock together. A weighty lesson for every one who has the cure of souls (comp. John 10:3). Night and day. The night is mentioned first, in accordance with Hebrew usage (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, etc.; comp. the word νυχθήμερον in 2 Corinthians 11:25) St. Paul enforces the word "Watch," so appropriate to shepherds who watch over their flocks by night (Luke 2:8), by his own example of admonishing by night as well as day.
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
Verse 32. - Now for now brethren, A.V. and T.R.; the inheritance for an inheritance, A.V. and T.R.; that for which, A.V. I commend you to God (παρατίθεμαι ὑμᾶς). A most beautiful and significant phrase! The apostle is leaving for ever the flock which he had fed with such devoted care and loved with such a fervent love. He was leaving them with a strong impression of the dangers to which they would be exposed. To whom could he entrust them? to what loving hands could he consign them? He gives them to God, to take watchful custody of them. He brings them to him in the prayer of faith. He commits to him the precious deposit (παραθήκη), to be preserved safe unto the day of Christ. So the Savior of the world, when dying on the cross, said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit "(Luke 23:46), and then trustingly gave up the ghost (see too Acts 14:23). No less beautiful are the words which follow: And to the word of his grace. He was thinking of the grievous wolves, and of their pernicious doctrine; of the deceivers that should arise, and their soul-destroying heresies; and so he turns to the one source of safety "the Word of God's grace in Jesus Christ." If they are kept in that Word of truth, if they nourish their souls with that sincere milk, they will be safe. The gospel which he had preached would be their safety unto the end. It would build them up on the one Foundation which never can be moved; it would preserve them holy to take possession of the inheritance of the saints in light. The inheritance (τὴν κληρονομίαν); comp. Ephesians 1:14, 18; Ephesians 5:5; and Ephesians 1:11, ἐκληρώθημεν. In Acts 26:18 it is κλῆρον (as in Colossians 1:12), and the ἡγιασμένοι are further defined by the addition of πίστει,  ῞τῇ εἰς ἐμέ, "by the faith which is in me" (for the use of ἀγιάζεσθαι, comp. Hebrews 10:10, 14; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 6:11, etc.).
I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
Verse 33. - Coveted for have coveted, A V. Apparel. One of the items of an Oriental's treasure for the purpose of gifts (2 Kings 5:5, 22, 23, 26; Genesis 45:22; Matthew 6:19, 2(1). St. Paul contrasts his own example in not seeking such gifts with the conduct of the false apostles who draw away disciples after them for gain (1 Timothy 6:5-10; Romans 16:17, 18; comp. 1 Corinthians 9.).
Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
Verse 34. - Ye for yea ye, A.V. and T.R.; ministered for have ministered, A.V. These hands (see 1 Corinthians 4:12, written from Ephesus a few months before).
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Verse 35. - In all things I gave you an example for I have showed you all things, A.V.; help for support, A.V.; he himself for he, A.V. In all things (πάντα, for κατὰ πάντα, 1.q. πάντως); altogether, in all respects. Gave you an example. The common use of ὑποδείκνυμι is, as rendered in the A.V., "to show," "to teach," as in Acts 9:16; Luke 6:47; and repeatedly in the LXX. But perhaps its force here is equivalent to the phrase in John 13:15, ὑπόδειγμα ε}δωκα ὑμῖν, "I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you," as the R.V. takes it. So laboring; viz. as ye have seen me do. To help the weak. Meyer, following Bengel and others, understands this to mean the weak in faith," like ἀσθενής in 1 Corinthians 9:22. They say that St. Paul's self-denial in refusing the help he had a right to claim as an apostle, and supporting himself by his labor, was a great argument to convince the weak in faith of his disinterestedness and of the truth of his gospel, and so he recommends the elders of the Church to follow his example. But the word here is ἀσθενούντων, and ἀσθενεῖν and ἀσθενεία rather suggest the idea of bodily weakness (Matthew 25:36; Matthew 10:8, etc.; Luke 5:15, etc.), and the words of the Lord Jesus which follow suggest almsgiving to the needy. So that it is better to understand the word of the weakly and poor, those unable to work for themselves. Doubtless St. Paul, out of his scanty earnings, found something to give to the sick and needy. The sentiment in our text is thus exactly analogous to the precept in Ephesians 4:28. The very word there used, χερσίν, recalls the αἱ χεῖρες αὕται of ver. 34. To remember the words of the Lord Jesus. This is a solitary instance era saying of our Lord's, not recorded in the Gospels, being referred to in Scripture. There are many alleged sayings of Christ recorded in apocryphal Gospels or in the writings of Fathers as Papias and others (Routh, 'Reliq. Sac.,' 1:9, 10, 12), some of which may be authentic; but this alone is warranted by Scripture. How it came to St Paul's knowledge, and that of the Ephesian elders to whom he seems to have taken for granted that it was familiar, it is impossible to say. But it seems likely that, in those very early days, some of the Lord's unwritten words may have floated in the memory of men, and been preserved by word of mouth. Clement (1 Corinthians it.) seems to refer to the saying when he writes in praise of the former character of the Corinthians, that they were then ἥδιον διδόντες η} λομβάνοντες. But he probably had it from the Acts of the Apostles, as had the author of the 'Apostol. Constitut.' (4. 3, 1). Similar apophthegms are quoted from heathen writers, as those cited by Kuinoel: Δωρεῖσθαι καὶ διδόναι κρεῖττον η} λαμβάνειν (Artemidor., 'Onirocr.,' 4, 3); Μᾶλλόν ἐστὶ τοῦ ἐλευθέρου τὸ διδόναι οι{ς δεῖ ἠ λαμβάνειν ὕθεν δεῖ (Arist., 'Nieom.,' 4, 1), "It is more becoming to a free man to give to whom he ought to give, than to receive from whom he ought to receive."
And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,
Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.
Verse 38. - The word which he had spoken for the words which he spake, A.V.; behold for see, A.V.; brought him on his way for accompanied him, A.V. Brought him on his way; προέπεμπον, as Acts 15:3; Acts 21:5. So too 1 Corinthians 16:6, 11; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13 3 John 6. But the rendering accompanied gives the meaning of the two last passages in the Acts better than that of the R.V. It is impossible to part with this most touching narrative, of such exquisite simplicity and beauty, without a parting word of admiration and thankfulness to God for having preserved to his Church this record of apostolic wisdom and faithfulness on the one hand, and of loving devotion of the clergy to their great chief on the other. As long as the stones of the Church are bound together by such strong mortar, it can defy the attacks of its enemies from without.

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