Acts 18:21

21 But on taking leave of them he said, "I will return to you 1if God wills," and he set sail from Ephesus.

Acts 18:21 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 18:21

But bade them farewell, saying
As follows:

I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem;
which perhaps was the passover, since that often went by the name of the feast: the why he must by all means keep it, was not because it was obligatory upon him; nor did he always observe it, as appears from his long stay at Corinth, and other places; and besides, as a Christian, he had nothing to do with it; but either because of his vow, ( Acts 18:18 ) or because he knew he should have an opportunity of preaching the Gospel to great numbers; the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions omit this clause:

but I will return again unto you, if God will;
he promises to return to them, but not peremptorily as knowing that he was altogether subject to the will of God, who disposes and orders all things according to his sovereign pleasure; see ( James 4:15 ) and he sailed from Ephesus; which was near the Aegean sea: such was the situation of Ephesus, according to Apollonius F6; who says, that it stood out to the sea, which encompassed the land on which it was built; so Pausanias F7 relates, that Lysimachus passing into Asia by shipping, took the kingdom of Antigonus from him, and built the city the Ephesians now inhabit near the sea; so Josephus F8 reports of Herod and Agrippa, that travelling by land to Phrygia Major, they came to Ephesus, and again, (diepleusin) , "they sailed from Ephesus" to Samos.


F6 Philostrat. Vita Apollonii, l. 8. c. 3.
F7 Attica sive, l. 1. p. 16.
F8 Antiqu. l. 16. c. 2. sect. 2.

Acts 18:21 In-Context

19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
20 When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined.
21 But on taking leave of them he said, "I will return to you if God wills," and he set sail from Ephesus.
22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch.
23 After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Cross References 1

  • 1. 1 Corinthians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 16:7; Hebrews 6:3; James 4:15; [Romans 15:32; 1 Peter 3:17]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.