Acts 20:18

Ye yourselves know (umei epistasqe). Pronoun expressed and emphatic. He appeals to their personal knowledge of his life in Ephesus. From the first day that (apo prwth hmera ap h). "From first day from which." He had first "set foot" (epebhn, second aorist active indicative of old verb epibainw, to step upon or step into) in Ephesus four years ago in the spring of 51 or 52, but had returned from Antioch that autumn. It is now spring of 54 or 55 so that his actual ministry in Ephesus was about two and a half years, roughly three years (verse 2 Corinthians 31 ).

After what manner I was with you (pw meq mwn egenomhn). Literally, "How I came (from Asia and so was) with you." Cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 where Paul likewise dares to refer boldly to his life while with them "all the time" (ton panta cronon). Accusative of duration of time. So far as we know, Paul stuck to Ephesus the whole period. He had devoted himself consecratedly to the task in Ephesus. Each pastor is bishop of his field and has a golden opportunity to work it for Christ. One of the saddest things about the present situation is the restlessness of preachers to go elsewhere instead of devoting themselves wholly to the task where they are. 2 Thessalonians 19 . Serving the Lord (douleuwn twi kuriwi). It was Paul's glory to be the doulo (bond-slave) as in Romans 1:1 ; Philippians 1:1 . Paul alone, save Jesus in Matthew 6:24 ; Luke 16:13 , uses douleuw six times for serving God (Page). With all lowliness of mind (meta pash tapeinoprosunh). Lightfoot notes that heathen writers use this word for a grovelling, abject state of mind, but Paul follows Christ in using it for humility, humble-mindedness that should mark every Christian and in particular the preacher. With tears (dakruwn). Construed with meta. Paul was a man of the deepest emotion along with his high intellectuality. He mentions his tears again in verse Luke 31 , tears of sorrow and of anxiety. He refers to his tears in writing the sharp letter to the church in Corinth ( 2 Corinthians 2:4 ) and in denouncing the sensual apostates in Philippians 3:18 . Adolphe Monod has a wonderful sermon on the tears of Paul. Consider also the tears of Jesus. Trials which befell me (peirasmwn twn sumbantwn moi). Construed also with meta. Second aorist active participle of sunbainw, to walk with, to go with, to come together, to happen, to befall. Very common in this sense in the old Greek (cf. Acts 3:10 ). By the plots of the Jews (en tai epiboulai twn Ioudaiwn). Like the plot (epiboulh) against him in Corinth ( Acts 20:3 ) as well as the earlier trial before Gallio and the attacks in Thessalonica. In Acts 19:9 Luke shows the hostile attitude of the Jews in Ephesus that drove Paul out of the synagogue to the school of Tyrannus. He does not describe in detail these "plots" which may easily be imagined from Paul's own letters and may be even referred to in 1 Corinthians 4:10 ; 1 Corinthians 15:30 ; 1 Corinthians 16:9 ; 2 Corinthians 1:4-10 ; 2 Corinthians 7:5 ; 2 Corinthians 11:23 . In fact, one has only to dwell on the allusions in 2 Corinthians 11:1-33 to picture what Paul's life was in Ephesus during these three years. Luke gives in Acts 19:1-41 the outbreak of Demetrius, but Paul had already fought with "wild-beasts" there.