Acts 18:21

21 But as he left, he said, "I will come back to you again if God wants me to." And so he sailed away 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 Then they went to Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. While Paul was there, he went into the synagogue and talked with the Jews.
20 When they asked him to stay with them longer, he refused.
21 But as he left, he said, "I will come back to you again if God wants me to." And so he sailed away from Ephesus.
22 When Paul landed at Caesarea, he went and gave greetings to the church in Jerusalem. After that, Paul went to Antioch.
23 He stayed there for a while and then left and went through the regions of Galatia and Phrygia. He traveled from town to town in these regions, giving strength to all the followers.