Acts 20:35

35 In all things 1I have shown you that 2by working hard in this way we must 3help the weak and 4remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed 5to give than to receive.'"

Acts 20:35 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 20:35

I have showed you all things
Both as to doctrine and practice, and had set them an example how to behave in every point, and particularly in this:

how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak;
the sense of which is, that they should labour with their hands as he did, and so support the weak; either such who were weak in body, and unable to work and help themselves, and therefore should be helped, assisted, relieved, and supported by the labours of others, that were able; or the weak in faith, and take nothing of them, lest they should think the preachers of the word sought only their own worldly advantage, and so they should be stumbled and fall from the truth:

and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus;
which the apostle had either collected as the sense of some passages of his, such as ( Luke 6:30 Luke 6:35 Luke 6:38 ) ( Luke 14:13 Luke 14:14 ) ( Matthew 25:34 Matthew 25:35 ) or which though not recorded in any of the Gospels, the apostle might have received from one or other of the twelve disciples, as what were frequently used by Christ in the days of his flesh; and which the apostle had inculcated among the Ephesians, and now puts them in mind of them, they being worthy of remembrance: how he said,

it is more blessed to give than to receive:
it is more comfortable, honourable, pleasant, and profitable: the giver is in a more comfortable situation, having an abundance, at least a sufficiency, and something to spare; whereas the receiver is often in want and distress, and so uncomfortable: it is an honour to give; an honour is reflected upon the giver, both by the receiver, and others; when to receive is an instance of meanness, and carries in it, among men, some degree of dishonour: it is a pleasure to a liberal man to distribute to the necessities of others; and it cannot be grateful to a man to be in such circumstances, as make it necessary for him to receive from others, and be dependent on them; and great are the advantages and profit which a cheerful giver reaps, both in this world, and that to come: wherefore the conclusion which the apostle would have drawn from hence is, that it is much more eligible for a man to work with his own hands, and support himself, and assist others, than to receive at the hands of others.

Acts 20:35 In-Context

33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.
34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.
35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.
37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him,

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Cross References 5

  • 1. 2 Thessalonians 3:7
  • 2. Ephesians 4:28
  • 3. 1 Thessalonians 5:14; [1 Corinthians 12:28]
  • 4. Acts 11:16
  • 5. Matthew 10:8
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.