Acts 20

Listen to Acts 20

Paul in Macedonia and Greece

1 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and 1departed for Macedonia.
2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece.
3 There he spent three months, and when 2a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.
4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, 3Aristarchus and Secundus; and 4Gaius of Derbe, and 5Timothy; and the Asians, 6Tychicus and 7Trophimus.
5 These went on ahead and were waiting for 8us at 9Troas,
6 but we sailed away from Philippi after 10the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

Eutychus Raised from the Dead

7 11On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together 12to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
8 There were many lamps in 13the upper room where we were gathered.
9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he 14fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
10 But Paul went down and 15bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, 16"Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him."
11 And when Paul had gone up and 17had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed.
12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land.
14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene.
15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and[a] the day after that we went to Miletus.
16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening 18to be at Jerusalem, if possible, 19on the day of Pentecost.

Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders

17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called 20the elders of the church to come to him.
18 And when they came to him, he said to them: 21"You yourselves know 22how I lived among you the whole time 23from the first day that I set foot in Asia,
19 24serving the Lord 25with all humility and with 26tears and with trials that happened to me through 27the plots of the Jews;
20 how I 28did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and 29teaching you in public and from house to house,
21 30testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of 31repentance toward God and of 32faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained 33by[b] the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,
23 except that 34the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that 35imprisonment and 36afflictions await me.
24 But 37I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only 38I may finish my course and 39the ministry 40that I received from the Lord Jesus, 41to testify to 42the gospel of 43the grace of God.
25 And now, behold, 44I know that none of you among whom I have gone about 45proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.
26 Therefore 46I testify to you this day that 47I am innocent of the blood of all of you,
27 for 48I did not shrink from declaring to you 49the whole counsel of God.
28 50Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all 51the flock, in which 52the Holy Spirit has made you 53overseers, 54to care for 55the church of God,[c] which he 56obtained 57with his own blood.[d]
29 I 58know that after my departure 59fierce wolves will come in among you, 60not sparing the flock;
30 and 61from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
31 Therefore 62be alert, remembering that 63for three years I did not cease night or day 64to admonish everyone 65with tears.
32 And now 66I commend you to God and to 67the word of his grace, which is able to 68build you up and to give you 69the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
33 70I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.
34 71You yourselves know that 72these hands ministered to my necessities and 73to those who were with me.
35 In all things 74I have shown you that 75by working hard in this way we must 76help the weak and 77remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed 78to give than to receive.'"
36 And when he had said these things, 79he knelt down and prayed with them all.
37 And 80there was much weeping on the part of all; 81they embraced Paul and 82kissed him,
38 being sorrowful most of all because of 83the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And 84they accompanied him to the ship.

Acts 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

Paul's journeys. (1-6) Eutychus restored to life. (7-12) Paul travels towards Jerusalem. (13-16) Paul's discourse to the elders of Ephesus. (17-27) Their farewell. (28-38)

Verses 1-6 Tumults or opposition may constrain a Christian to remove from his station or alter his purpose, but his work and his pleasure will be the same, wherever he goes. Paul thought it worth while to bestow five days in going to Troas, though it was but for seven days' stay there; but he knew, and so should we, how to redeem even journeying time, and to make it turn to some good account.

Verses 7-12 Though the disciples read, and meditated, and prayed, and sung apart, and thereby kept up communion with God, yet they came together to worship God, and so kept up their communion with one another. They came together on the first day of the week, the Lord's day. It is to be religiously observed by all disciples of Christ. In the breaking of the bread, not only the breaking of Christ's body for us, to be a sacrifice for our sins, is remembered, but the breaking of Christ's body to us, to be food and a feast for our souls, is signified. In the early times it was the custom to receive the Lord's supper every Lord's day, thus celebrating the memorial of Christ's death. In this assembly Paul preached. The preaching of the gospel ought to go with the sacraments. They were willing to hear, he saw they were so, and continued his speech till midnight. Sleeping when hearing the word, is an evil thing, a sign of low esteem of the word of God. We must do what we can to prevent being sleepy; not put ourselves to sleep, but get our hearts affected with the word we hear, so as to drive sleep far away. Infirmity requires tenderness; but contempt requires severity. It interrupted the apostle's preaching; but was made to confirm his preaching. Eutychus was brought to life again. And as they knew not when they should have Paul's company again, they made the best use of it they could, and reckoned a night's sleep well lost for that purpose. How seldom are hours of repose broken for the purposes of devotion! but how often for mere amusement or sinful revelry! So hard is it for spiritual life to thrive in the heart of man! so naturally do carnal practices flourish there!

Verses 13-16 Paul hastened to Jerusalem, but tried to do good by the way, when going from place to place, as every good man should do. In doing God's work, our own wills and those of our friends must often be crossed; we must not spend time with them when duty calls us another way.

Verses 17-27 The elders knew that Paul was no designing, self-seeking man. Those who would in any office serve the Lord acceptably, and profitably to others, must do it with humility. He was a plain preacher, one that spoke his message so as to be understood. He was a powerful preacher; he preached the gospel as a testimony to them if they received it; but as a testimony against them if they rejected it. He was a profitable preacher; one that aimed to inform their judgments, and reform their hearts and lives. He was a painful preacher, very industrious in his work. He was a faithful preacher; he did not keep back reproofs when necessary, nor keep back the preaching of the cross. He was a truly Christian, evangelical preacher; he did not preach notions or doubtful matters; nor affairs of state or the civil government; but he preached faith and repentance. A better summary of these things, without which there is no salvation, cannot be given: even repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, with their fruits and effects. Without these no sinner can escape, and with these none will come short of eternal life. Let them not think that Paul left Asia for fear of persecution; he was in full expectation of trouble, yet resolved to go on, well assured that it was by Divine direction. Thanks be to God that we know not the things which shall befall us during the year, the week, the day which has begun. It is enough for the child of God to know that his strength shall be equal to his day. He knows not, he would not know, what the day before him shall bring forth. The powerful influences of the Holy Spirit bind the true Christian to his duty. Even when he expects persecution and affliction, the love of Christ constrains him to proceed. None of these things moved Paul from his work; they did not deprive him of his comfort. It is the business of our life to provide for a joyful death. Believing that this was the last time they should see him, he appeals concerning his integrity. He had preached to them the whole counsel of God. As he had preached to them the gospel purely, so he had preached it to them entire; he faithfully did his work, whether men would bear or forbear.

Verses 28-38 If the Holy Ghost has made ministers overseers of the flock, that is, shepherds, they must be true to their trust. Let them consider their Master's concern for the flock committed to their charge. It is the church He has purchased with his own blood. The blood was his as Man; yet so close is the union between the Divine and human nature, that it is there called the blood of God, for it was the blood of Him who is God. This put such dignity and worth into it, as to ransom believers from all evil, and purchase all good. Paul spake about their souls with affection and concern. They were full of care what would become of them. Paul directs them to look up to God with faith, and commends them to the word of God's grace, not only as the foundation of their hope and the fountain of their joy, but as the rule of their walking. The most advanced Christians are capable of growing, and will find the word of grace help their growth. As those cannot be welcome guests to the holy God who are unsanctified; so heaven would be no heaven to them; but to all who are born again, and on whom the image of God is renewed, it is sure, as almighty power and eternal truth make it so. He recommends himself to them as an example of not caring as to things of the present world; this they would find help forward their comfortable passage through it. It might seem a hard saying, therefore Paul adds to it a saying of their Master's, which he would have them always remember; "It is more blessed to give than to receive:" it seems they were words often used to his disciples. The opinion of the children of this world, is contrary to this; they are afraid of giving, unless in hope of getting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing that can be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent. It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receives from none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good. This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also. It is good for friends, when they part, to part with prayer. Those who exhort and pray for one another, may have many weeping seasons and painful separations, but they will meet before the throne of God, to part no more. It was a comfort to all, that the presence of Christ both went with him and stayed with them.

Cross References 84

  • 1. See Acts 19:21
  • 2. ver. 19; [Acts 13:50]; See Acts 9:24
  • 3. Acts 14:6, 21; See Acts 19:29
  • 4. Acts 14:6, 21; See Acts 19:29
  • 5. See Acts 16:1
  • 6. Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12
  • 7. Acts 21:29; 2 Timothy 4:20
  • 8. ver. 6-8, 13-15
  • 9. Acts 16:8-11
  • 10. Acts 12:3; Exodus 12:14, 15; Exodus 23:15
  • 11. 1 Corinthians 16:2; [Mark 16:9; John 20:19; Revelation 1:10]
  • 12. ver. 11; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23, 24; See Acts 2:42
  • 13. Acts 1:13; Acts 9:37, 39
  • 14. 2 Kings 1:2
  • 15. [1 Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 4:34]
  • 16. [Matthew 9:23, 24; Mark 5:39]
  • 17. ver. 7
  • 18. ver. 22; Acts 24:11; [ver. 6; Acts 19:21; 1 Corinthians 16:8]
  • 19. Acts 2:1
  • 20. See Acts 11:30
  • 21. 1 Thessalonians 1:5; [ver. 31, 34]
  • 22. Acts 18:19; Acts 19:1, 10
  • 23. 1 Thessalonians 1:5; [ver. 31, 34]
  • 24. [Romans 12:11; Colossians 3:24]
  • 25. [1 Thessalonians 2:6, 7]; See Ephesians 4:2
  • 26. [ver. 31; 2 Corinthians 2:4; Philippians 3:18]
  • 27. See ver. 3
  • 28. ver. 27
  • 29. [ver. 31]
  • 30. ver. 24; Acts 18:5
  • 31. Mark 1:15; Hebrews 6:1; See Acts 2:38
  • 32. [Ephesians 1:15; Colossians 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:13]
  • 33. [Acts 17:16]
  • 34. [Acts 21:4, 11]; See Acts 8:29; Acts 9:16
  • 35. Acts 21:33
  • 36. Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:3
  • 37. See Acts 21:13
  • 38. 2 Timothy 4:7
  • 39. Acts 1:17; 1 Timothy 1:12
  • 40. Galatians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; [Acts 26:16; Titus 1:3]
  • 41. ver. 21
  • 42. Acts 15:7
  • 43. [ver. 32; 1 Timothy 1:14]; See Acts 11:23
  • 44. [Philippians 1:25]
  • 45. See Acts 28:31
  • 46. Deuteronomy 8:19
  • 47. See Acts 18:6
  • 48. ver. 20; [Jeremiah 26:2; Ezekiel 33:8]
  • 49. Acts 13:36; Luke 7:30; [Acts 2:23; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 6:17]
  • 50. [1 Timothy 4:16]
  • 51. ver. 29; [Ephesians 4:11]; See Luke 12:32
  • 52. [Acts 13:2; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11]
  • 53. Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7; [ver. 17]
  • 54. See John 21:16
  • 55. 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 10:32; 1 Corinthians 11:16; 1 Corinthians 15:9
  • 56. [2 Peter 2:1]
  • 57. Hebrews 9:12, 14; [Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7]; See 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Revelation 5:9
  • 58. [See ver. 28 above]
  • 59. See Matthew 7:15
  • 60. John 10:12; [Colossians 2:8]
  • 61. [1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Corinthians 11:13; 1 Timothy 1:19, 20; 1 John 2:18, 19]
  • 62. [Hebrews 13:17]; See Matthew 24:42
  • 63. [Acts 19:8, 10; Acts 24:17]
  • 64. Colossians 1:28
  • 65. [Hebrews 13:17]; See ver. 19
  • 66. Acts 14:23
  • 67. Acts 14:3; [ver. 24]
  • 68. See Colossians 2:7
  • 69. Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:14, 18; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 1:12; Colossians 3:24; Hebrews 9:15; [1 Peter 1:4]; See Matthew 25:34; Romans 8:17
  • 70. 1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 7:2; 2 Corinthians 11:9; 2 Corinthians 12:17; [1 Samuel 12:3; Matthew 10:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:5]
  • 71. [ver. 18]
  • 72. See Acts 18:3
  • 73. Acts 19:22, 29
  • 74. 2 Thessalonians 3:7
  • 75. Ephesians 4:28
  • 76. 1 Thessalonians 5:14; [1 Corinthians 12:28]
  • 77. Acts 11:16
  • 78. Matthew 10:8
  • 79. See Acts 7:60
  • 80. [2 Timothy 1:4]
  • 81. See Luke 15:20
  • 82. See Luke 15:20
  • 83. ver. 25
  • 84. See Acts 15:3

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Some manuscripts add after remaining at Trogyllium
  • [b]. Or bound in
  • [c]. Some manuscripts of the Lord
  • [d]. Or with the blood of his Own

Acts 20 Commentaries