Acts 20

Paul in Macedonia and Greece

1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for 1the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left 2to go to 3Macedonia.
2 When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation *, he came to Greece.
3 And there he spent three months, and when 4a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for 5Syria, he decided * to return through 6Macedonia.
4 And he was accompanied by Sopater of 7Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by 8Aristarchus and Secundus of the 9Thessalonians, and 10Gaius of 11Derbe, and 12Timothy, and 13Tychicus and 14Trophimus of 15Asia.
5 But these had gone on ahead and were waiting for 16us at 17Troas.
6 18We sailed from 19Philippi after 20the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at 21Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days.
7 On 22the first day of the week, when 23we were gathered together to 24break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.
8 There were many 25lamps in the 26upper room where we were gathered together.
9 And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead.
10 But Paul went down and 27fell upon him, and after embracing him, he 28said, "Do not be troubled, for his life is in him."
11 When he had gone back up and had 29broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left.
12 They took away the boy alive, and were greatly * comforted.

Troas to Miletus

13 But 30we, going ahead to the ship, set sail for Assos, intending from there to take Paul on board; for so he had arranged it, intending himself to go by land.
14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene.
15 Sailing from there, we arrived the following day opposite Chios; and the next day we crossed over to Samos; and the day following we came to 31Miletus.
16 For Paul had decided to sail past 32Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in 33Asia; for he was hurrying 34to be in Jerusalem, if possible, 35on the day of Pentecost.

Farewell to Ephesus

17 From Miletus he sent to 36Ephesus and called to him 37the elders of the church.
18 And when they had come to him, he said to them, "You yourselves know, 38 from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time,
19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through 39the plots of the Jews;
20 how I 40did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,
21 solemnly 41testifying to both Jews and Greeks of 42repentance toward God and 43faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 "And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, 44I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there *,
23 except that 45the Holy Spirit solemnly 46testifies to me in every city, saying that 47bonds and afflictions await me.
24 "But 48I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may 49finish my course and 50the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to 51testify solemnly of the gospel of 52the grace of God.
25 "And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about 53preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.
26 "Therefore, I testify to you this day that 54I am innocent of the blood of all men.
27 "For I 55did not shrink from declaring to you the whole 56purpose of God.
28 "Be on guard for yourselves and for all 57the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd 58the church of God which 59He purchased with His own blood.
29 "I know that after my departure 60savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing 61the flock;
30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away 62the disciples after them.
31 "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of 63three years I did not cease to admonish each one 64with tears.
32 "And now I 65commend you to God and to 66the word of His grace, which is able to 67build you up and to give you 68the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
33 "69I have coveted no one's silver or gold or clothes.
34 "You yourselves know that 70these hands ministered to my own needs and to the 71men who were with me.
35 "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
36 When he had said these things, he 72knelt * down * and prayed with them all.
37 And they began to weep aloud and 73embraced * * Paul, and repeatedly kissed him,
38 grieving especially over 74the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were 75accompanying 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 75

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

Footnotes 22

Acts 20 Commentaries

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