Acts 20



1 “And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and

embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.”  Having sent for...

 and exhorted for called unto him, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus;

took leave of them, and departed for and embraced them, and departed,

Authorized Version. Departed for to go into Macedonia. This was Paul's purpose,

as he had written to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 16:5) from Ephesus. He judged

it wise, not only with a view to his own safety and that of his companions, but also

for the rest and quiet of the Ephesian Church, to take advantage of the lull in the

popular storm, and withdraw into quiet waters before any fresh outbreak occurred.

Aquila and Priscilla seem to have left Ephesus about the same time, or soon after,

since the Epistle to the Romans found them again at Rome (Romans 16:3-4); and,

if the view mentioned in the note to ch.19:40 is true - that in the riot they had

saved Paul's life at the risk of their own - there were probably the same prudential

motives for their leaving Ephesus as there were in the case of the apostle.


2 “And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much

exhortation, he came into Greece,”  Through for over, Authorized Version.

When he had gone through (διελθών – dielthon – passing through); see above,

ch. 8:4, 40; 10:38; 13:6; 18:23, note, etc.; Luke 9:6. Those parts; μέρη – merae –

parts, a word especially used of geographical districts: τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας:

ta merae taes Galilaias: the parts of Galilee -  τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος  -

ta merae Turou kai Sidonos -  the parts of Tyre and of Sidon (Matthew 2:22; 15:21;

see too here  ch.2:10; 19:1). Greece (Ἑλλάδα – Hellada - Greece, not Ἀχαιαν

Achaian - Achaia, as ch.19:21; 18:12, and elsewhere). Macedonia and Achaia are

always coupled together (see Tacit., 'Ann..' 1:76). as in Romans 15:26;

I Thessalonians 1:7-8. In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, written from

Macedonia, it is always Achaia (II Corinthians 1:1, etc.). In fact, Ἑλλάδα

is found nowhere else in the New Testament, Achaia being the name of the

Roman province. Bengel and others understand Hellas here of the country

between Macedonia and the Peloponnesus, especially Attica; which would make

it probable that Paul revisited Athens. But Meyer, Kuinoel, Alford, 'Speaker's

Commentary,' etc., think it is synonymous with Achaia. There must, however,

be some reason for this unusual use of Hellas instead of Achaia. None seems so

likely as that it was meant to cover wider ground than Achaia would naturally

indicate, namely Attica.


3 “And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him,

as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.”

When he had spent ... there for there abode, Authorized Version; a plot was laid

against him by the Jews for when the Jews laid wait for him, Authorized Version;

for for into, Authorized Version; determined for purposed, Authorized Version.

(ἐγένετο γνώμης – egeneto gnomaes - he came to be of opinion  , Received Text).

When he had spent three months. For this use of ποιήσαςpoiaesas - spending,

see ch.15:33. See also II Corinthians 11:25, where the Revised Version

varies the rendering, and seems to take ποιεῖν as a verb neuter, as the

Authorized Version does here, the accusative (μῆνας τρεῖς – maenas treis –

three months) being taken as that of time how long. And a plot, etc. There is no

"and" in the Greek. It is better to take the Textus Receptus, and to consider ποιήσας

poiaesas - as a nominative pendens as ἐπιγνόντες – epignontes – when they knew –

is in ch. 19:34, according to the reading of Meyer, Alford, etc. A plot was laid

against him by the Jews. It appears from this that Apollos had not succeeded in

subduing the bigoted hatred of the Corinthian Jews. But probably the desperate

measure of a plot against his life (ἐπιβουλής – epiboulaes), as in ch. 9:23-24; v. 19

here, and 23:30) is an indication that many of their number had joined the Church;

and that the unbelieving remnant, being foiled in argument, had recourse to violence.

He determined; literally, according to the Received Text, he was of opinion. But the

Textus Receptus has ἐγένετο γνώμη – egeneto gnomae -  his opinion was,

the construction of the sentence being changed. The three months were probably

chiefly spent at Corinth, according to the intention expressed in I Corinthians 16:6,

though it would seem that he had stayed a longer time in Macedonia than he

anticipated. It was during his sojourn at Corinth that the Epistle to the Romans

was written.


4  “And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the

Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus;

and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.”  As far as for into, Authorized Version;

Beraea for Berea, Authorized Version; the son of Pyrrhus is added in the Received

Text and Revised Version; Timothy for Timotheus, Authorized Version. Accompanied;

συνείπετο – suneipeto - peculiar to Luke in the New Testament, but common in medical

writers.  As far as Asia. If it were merely said, "there accompanied him," it might have

been thought, with regard to the Macedonians Sopater, Aristarchus, and Secundus, that

they had merely gone as far as their respective cities, Beraea and Thessalonica; it is

therefore added (in most manuscripts, though not in B or the Codex Sinaiticus),

"as far as Asia." It does not necessarily follow that they all went as far as Jerusalem,

though we know Trophimus and Aristarchus did. Sopater may probably be the same

as Sosipater (Romans 16:21), whom Paul calls "his kinsman," though some think

"the son of Pyrrhus" was added to distinguish him from him. The Thessalonian

Aristarchus is doubtless the same as the person named in ch.19:29;  27:2; and so

one would have thought Gaius must be the same as is named with Aristarchus in

ch.19:29, were it not that this Gaius is described as of Derbe, whereas the Gaius

there was a man of Macedonia. Gaius of Derbe is here coupled with Timothy, who

was of the neighboring city of Lystra (ch. 16:1), but was too well known to make it

needful to specify his nationality. Secundus is not mentioned elsewhere. Compare

Tertius and Quartus (Romans 16:22-23), and the common Roman names, Quinctus,

Sextus, Septimus, Octavius, Decimus. Tychicus, of Asia, is mentioned in

Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; II Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12; by which we learn

that he continued to be in constant attendance on Paul, and have abundant

confirmation of his being "of Asia." Trophimus is called "an Ephesian"

(ch. 21:29), and is named again as a companion of  Paul, and presumably "of Asia"

(II Timothy 4:20). It is not improbable that some at least of there followers were

chosen by the Churches to carry their alms to Jerusalem (see II Corinthians 8:19-23;

9:12-13; I Corinthians 16:3-4; Romans 15:25-28).


5 “These going before tarried for us at Troas.”  But these had gone for these going,

Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; and were waiting for tarried, Authorized

Version. The narrative is so concise that the exact details are matters of conjecture.

There is consequently much difference of opinion about them. Howson, with

whom Farrar (vol. 2:274) apparently agrees, thinks that the whole party traveled

together by land through Bercea and Thessalonica, to Philippi; that the party

consisting of Sopater, Aristarchus and Secundus, Gains, Timothy, Tychicus, and

Trophimus, went on at once from Philippi via Neapolis, to Troas, leaving Paul,

who was now joined by Luke, at Philippi, to pass eight or nine days there during

the Feast of the Passover. And this seems quite consistent with Luke's narrative.

But Lewin (vol. it. p. 74) thinks that only Paul (accompanied, as he supposes,

by Luke, Titus, and Jason) went to Macedonia, and that the others sailed direct

from Cenchreae to Troas. Renan, on the other hand, thinks they all sailed together

from Cenchreae to Neapolis, whence Paul's party went to Philippi, and the others

to Troas. There is no clue to the reason why the party thus separated.


6 “And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread,

and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.”

Tarried for abode, Authorized Version. We; distinctly marking that Luke,

the author of the narrative, whom we left at Philippi (ch. 16:13-14), joined him

again at the same place. Renan (p. 498) well remarks, "At Philippi Paul once

more met the disciple who had guided him for the first time to Macedonia. He

attached him to his company again, and thus secured as his companion in the

voyage the historian who was to write an account of it, with such infinite charm

of manner and such perfect truth." It may be noted that this passage is quite

conclusive against the notion entertained by some, that Timothy was the writer

of the Acts. From Philippi; i.e. from Neapolis, the port of Philippi. After the days

of unleavened bread, which lasted eight days, including the day of eating the

Passover. In five days. An unusually long voyage, owing, doubtless, to unfavorable

winds. On the former occasion when he sailed from Troas to Neapolis he was only

two days (ch. 16:11). Where we tarried seven days. As the last of these seven days

was Sunday - "the first day of the week" - he must have arrived on the preceding

Monday, and left Neapolis on the preceding Thursday. Some, however, reckon

the days differently. It must be remembered that the apostle's movements were

dependent upon the arrival and departure of the merchant ships by which he traveled.

The position of Troas was such that any startling event would spread its influence

East and West.


7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to

break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and

continued his speech until midnight.”  We were gathered for the disciples came,

Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; discoursed with for preached unto,

Authorized Version; intending for ready, Authorized Version; prolonged for

continued, Authorized Version. The first day of the week. This is an important

evidence of the keeping of the Lord's day by the Church as a day for their

Church assemblies (see Luke 24:1, 30, 35; John 20:19, 26; I Corinthians 16:2).

To break bread. This is also an important example of weekly communion as the

practice of the first Christians. Comparing the phrase, "to break bread," with

Luke's account of the institution of the Holy Eucharist (Luke 22:19) and the

passages just quoted in Luke 24, and Paul's language (I Corinthians 10:16; 11:24),

it is impossible not to conclude that the breaking of bread in the celebration of the

Lord's Supper is an essential part of the holy sacrament, which man may not for any

specious reasons omit. Further, this passage seems to indicate that evening

Communion, after the example of the first Lord's Supper, was at this time the

practice of the Church. It was preceded (see v. 11) by the preaching of the Word.

The following description, given by Justin Martyr, in his second Apology to

Antoninus Pius (or Marcus Aurelius), of the Church assemblies in his day, not

a hundred years after this time, is in exact agreement with it: - "On the day which

is called Sunday, all (Christians) who dwell either in town or country come together

to one place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read

for a certain time, and then the president of the meeting, when the reader has stopped,

makes a discourse, in which he instructs and exhorts the people to the imitation of the

good deeds of which they have just heard. We then all rise up together, and address

prayers (to God); and, when our prayers are ended, bread and wine and water are

brought, and the president, to the best of his ability, offers up both prayers and

thanksgivings, and the people assent, saving 'Amen.' And then the distribution

of the bread and wine, over which the thanksgivings have been offered, is made

to all present, and all partake of it." He adds that the elements are carried to the

absent by the deacons, and that collections are made for poor widows, and orphans,

and sick, and prisoners. Discoursed (διελέγετο – dielegeto – argued; preached);

ch. 17:17, note.  Prolonged (παρέτεινένpareteiven – continued; prolonged).

The word is found only here in the New Testament, but is of frequent use in

medical writers.




The Lord’s Day Sabbath (v. 7)


This is the first allusion to distinctively Christian meetings as held on the

first day of the week, the day which commemorates the resurrection of the

Lord Jesus. The grounds on which it pleased God to separate a regular,

and a frequently recurring, portion of time from common worldly labor

may be pointed out. Two things especially require notice.


1. Such a recurring period of rest is practically proved to be necessary for

man’s physical well-being. It is more and more clearly shown, that the

recovering and restoring power of nightly sleep is not sufficient, and that

the weekly prolonged rest is essential to the continued maintenance of the

bodily powers.


2. A man is not chiefly a body. He is a composite being; but he is, in the

truest conception of him, a soul, having a body for his use. And it is of the

first importance that the soul should have its due and adequate

opportunities of culture. For the securing of such opportunities, the tension

of bodily claims must be at times relieved. The change of the day kept as

the sabbath, from the seventh to the first of the week, does not seem to

have taken place by any revelation or any distinct apostolic arrangement. It

came about in the natural course of events. Probably at first the Jewish

Christian disciples kept the Jewish sabbath in the usual way, and also had

some special meeting of their own, in remembrance of the Lord’s

resurrection, on the evening of the first day of the week. As the gospel won

its way among the Gentiles, the distinctively Christian meetings would

grow in importance; and when Paul separated the disciples from the

synagogue, Jewish customs and rules ceased to have authority over them.

As Judaism faded away, the Christian day of rest took the place of the

older sabbath; and the Christian forms of worship superseded the temple

and the synagogue ordinances. We dwell on two points.



THE OLDER JEWISH SABBATH. What was essential in the original

institution was the devotement to God of one day in seven. No importance

attached to its being the first, or fourth, or seventh, as men may arbitrarily

reckon the days of the week. The division of time into weeks is not a

natural division, dependent on movements of earth or of moon. It is an

arrangement made entirely in view of man’s physical and spiritual interests.

And the change of the precise day teaches us the important lesson that God

cares for the essence of obedience, for the spirit of service; and while this

finds its proper expression in minute and careful observance of His

requirements, God is not limited by the mere formality of His commands,

but graciously leaves the times, seasons, and modes of our obedience to

our good will and judgment. Wherever there is the spirit of obedience,

there need be little fear as to the finding of right modes. All that is essential

in the Jewish sabbath holy souls jealously preserve in the Christian Sunday.




JESUS CHRIST. We are to “keep the sabbath day holy;” that is, we are to

fill it fully up with thoughts of God and work for God. But to us God has

been “manifest in the flesh;” “He was made flesh and dwelt among us.” As

with us here in our humanity, Jesus was the Brightness of the Father’s

glory, and the express Image of his person.”  (Hebrews 1:3)  And so the

keeping the Christian Sunday holy is filling it fully up with thoughts of

Christ and work for Him. And that they might be helped to such remembrances,

the early disciples, every Sunday evening, broke bread together, this being the

appointed means for recalling to their minds their Lord’s broken body and

shed blood. For our soul’s life, the Sunday is a day for communion with

Christ. For the world’s salvation, Sunday is a day for witnessing of Christ

and working for Him. We may learn, then, in what lies the very essence of

the rightly kept Christian sabbath. It must have two things always in it.


Ø      Conscious communion with Christ.

Ø      Active cooperation with Him in His sublime purpose to redeem and

save the world.


8 “And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered

together.”  We for they, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. It is not obvious

why Luke mentions the many lights. Some say to mark the solemnity of the first day

of the week (Kuinoel); some, to remove all possible occasion of scandal as regards

such midnight meetings (Bengel); some, to explain how the young man's fall was

immediately perceived (Meyer); others, to account for the young man's drowsiness,

which would be increased by the many lights, possibly making the room hot (Alford);

for ornament (Olshausen). But possibly it is the mere mention by an eye-witness of a

fact which struck him. It is obvious that the room must have been lit for a night

meeting - only perhaps there were more lights than usual.


9 “And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being

fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with

sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.”

The for a, Authorized Version; borne down with for being fallen into a,

Authorized Version; discoursed yet longer for was long preaching,

Authorized Version; being borne down by his sleep he for he sunk down with

sleep, and, Authorized Version; story for loft, Authorized Version. In the window;

or, on the window-seat. The window was merely the opening in the wall, without

any glass or shutter. Borne down; καταφερόμενοςkatapheromenos – sinking –

the proper word in connection with sleep, either, as here, when sleep is the agent,

or, followed by εἰς ὕπνονeis hupnon -  falling into sleep. Yet longer; rather,

as in the Authorized Version, long; i.e. longer than usual, somewhat or very long.


10 “And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not

yourselves; for his life is in him.”  Make ye no ado for trouble not yourselves,

Authorized Version. Fell on him, and embracing him said; imitating the action

of Elijah and Elisha (I Kings 17:17-21; II Kings 4:34). Make ye no ado

(μὴ θορυβεῖσθε – mae thorubeisthe – be ye not making a tumult). Θόρυβος –

Thorubos – Noise; uproar, tumult and θορυβεῖσθαι – thorubeisthai - are words

especially used of the lamentations made for the dead. Thus when Jesus came to

the house of Jairus, He found the multitude outside the house, θορυβούμενον

thoruboumenon -  making a tumult. This is still more clearly brought out in

Mark 5:38-39, "He beholdeth a tumult (θόρυβον), and many weeping and

wailing greatly. And... he saith unto them, Why make ye a tumult (θορυβεῖσθε),

and weep? The child is not dead, but sleepeth." In exactly the same way Paul

 here calms the rising sobs and wailings of the people standing round the body

of Eutychus, by saying, Μὴ θορυβεῖσθε, "Do not wail over him as dead, for

his life is in him."




Sleepy Eutychus (vs. 9-10)


Explain precisely what happened. The window was a lattice opening, and,

for the sake of air to the crowded room, the lattices were put aside. How

crowded the house was is intimated by the presence of some people in this

third story. There they would be sure to feel oppressed by the heat of the

house. Eutychus may have fallen into the street, but it is more likely that he

fell into the hard paved courtyard. For a similar fall, see the account of the

death of Ahaziah, King of Israel (II Kings 1:2, 17). The word that is

translated “young man” implies that Eutychus was quite a youth, and not

likely to be very directly interested in Paul’s address. He very probably

was a child of the house where the meeting was held. While the narrative

does not positively say that Eutychus was killed by the fall, and indeed

leaves it possible for us to assume that he was only badly stunned, the

simplest reading of it — without prejudice in relation to the miraculous —

certainly leaves the impression of a real death and restoration. We bend

attention to the conduct of Paul in relation to the matter, and inquire

why he took the trouble thus to recover the fallen and dead youth.

Dismissing, with a brief mention, the interest he would feel in such a

calamity affecting the people of the house, and seeking for explanations

having a more general application, we notice:



one was to blame, it was the apostle himself, who had been led on to talk

so long and keep the meeting to unreasonable hours for young folk. Long

services make too great a demand on the physical strength of young

people. They are trying even to the elder Christians, but their awakened

spiritual interest will enable them to bear such fatigue of body. It was not

wrong for Eutychus to sleep. He was simply overborne by the heat of the

place and the lateness of the hour. And still we need to distinguish between

failings, which come out of human frailties, and sins that come out of

human willfulness. Too often the young are punished for what is merely

due to the influence of surrounding circumstances and the undeveloped

bodily conditions. The relation of public services to the young needs

careful and judicious treatment.


Ø      Services for them are advisable and necessary.

Ø      Their share in the general service of the Church is important.

Ø      Such services may exert a gracious influence apart from the actual

mental comprehension of what is said and done.

Ø      Such services need not be unduly limited or too easily altered in

character for the sake of the young.

Ø      Such services should take into due account, and deal considerately with,

the physical infirmities of the young. It is possible, by securing variety

in forms of worship, changing attitudes, and efficient illustration in

preaching, to successfully resist the infirmities of the children. If we

find our public services uninteresting, we may question whether we

are not, like the apostle, ourselves to blame.



MISUNDERSTOOD. Too easily the company would take up the notion

that this was a judgment on inattention, and such an idea must be at once

and fully corrected. In such a case as that of Ananias and Sapphira, no

apostle would feel impelled to put forth miraculous power; the judgment of

God on sin must stand. But the case of Eutychus belonged to what may

fairly be called “accidents.” A conjunction of circumstances brought it

about — heat, sleepiness, the position in which Eutychus sat, the open

window, etc.; and this Paul may deal with in a way of miracle, just as

Elijah and Elisha had done in cases of sudden death from disease (see

I Kings 17:21; II Kings 4:34). It is quite true that Christianity makes

great demands on self-control and self-denial. It expects the spirit to master

the body; but it makes its demands of the full-grown “man in Christ;” and,

only in appropriate measures and degrees, on those who are young in years

and young in the faith. The restoration of Eutychus may be regarded as a

prominent and interesting illustration of the “sweet reasonableness” of



11 “When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten,

and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.”  And when he

was gone up for when he therefore was come up again, Authorized Version; the

bread for bread, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; had talked with them for

talked, Authorized Version.  Had broken the bread; i.e. the bread already prepared,

and spoken of in v. 7 (where see note), but which had not yet been broken in

consequence of Paul's long discourse. And eaten. Γευσάμενος – Geusamenos –

tasting - does not seem to mean "having eaten of the bread broken," for the word

is never used of the sacramental eating of bread. That word is always φάγειν  -

phagein – to be eating (I Corinthians 11:20, 24) or ἐσθίειν – esthiein – to be eating

(ibid. vs. 26-29). But γευσάμενος [γεύσασθαι]– geusasthai - seems rather to be taken

absolutely, as in ch.10:10, "having eaten," meaning "having partaken" of the meal,

the agape, which followed the Eucharist. Talked with them (ὁμιλήσας – homilaesas –

conversing). Of familiar converse (Luke 24:14-15; ch. 24:26). Compare the use of

ὁμιλία – homilia -  communications; conversations, translated manners in

I Corinthians 15:33; from whence, of course, comes the word "homily."   (If the

reader is unaware, this section is considered exposition and the ones added in

outline style are homiletics, or preaching material.  CY – 2018)




Earnestness in Preaching and Hearing (vs. 9-11)


The subject is suggested by the conversation, or the address, being

lengthened out by the mutual affection of Paul and his audience. They

were unwilling for him to cease; he was unwilling to keep back anything

that might be a help and a blessing to them. That night there were just the

conditions that made “long preaching” advisable, and prevented its being

thought a weariness. The impulse of the preacher is such an audience; the

joy of the audience is such a preacher. Tell of the associations of Paul

with Troas, and give illustrative instances of his singular power to draw out

towards himself the affection of those whom he served for Christ’s sake. A

feeling of oppression and anxiety at this time rested on the apostle — he

felt that his missionary labors were almost done, and this gave a peculiar

urgency and tenderness and pathos to his preachings. They had the

characteristics of “last utterances” andfarewells.




mere truth is concerned, a stranger with competent knowledge can instruct

us; but truth, in its personal relations with us, can only be taught by those

who know us; and our ability to receive such influence depends largely on

our love for those who give it. Press the importance of settled ministries, of

regular attendance at the same worship, and of coming into such relations

with our “pastors and teachers” as may bring on us the power of their

personal characters. Apply the principle, “Faithful are the wounds of a

friend(Proverbs 27:6); and our pastors should be felt such friends that

we can receive both reproof and comfort and instruction from them.



OUR TEACHERS. These people would not let Paul go; they kept him

talking all night. He was compelled to respond to such love, and to pour

forth his best treasures of knowledge and experience for their help. Trust

and love still make the highest demands on our teachers, demands

sometimes so great that ministers feel overwhelmed with the tremendous

responsibility. Nothing draws out the best in a man like trusting him and

loving him. Money can never buy a man’s best; duty can never compel a

man’s best; love can always win a man’s best, just as a pure love makes a

man noble, and a babe’s love calls a mother to sublime self-denials. The

one condition of receiving the best spiritual blessings from a Christian

teacher is that you must trust and love him as his disciples did Paul. His

relations with his disciples are models, and happy are they who can give a

like joy to their teacher and can win like blessings from him. In conclusion,

deal practically with those things which constitute fitting preparation of

hearers for receiving the best spiritual blessings through their teachers.


12  “And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.”

Lad for young man,  Authorized Version.   This section tells of a solemn

association with a great and important occasion.  Eutyehus could scarcely be

without blame. The people would never forget that it was the Lord’s Supper, and

that those who partake in such a service should watch against human infirmities.

The wonderful recovery of the lad seemed to shed a new light on the whole service.

What glorious power was set forth in that little society! They were comforted for

Eutychus and for themselves and for the whole Church. Jesus is life from the dead.




In Labors More Abundant (vs. 1-12)


The rapid succession and the unbroken continuance of Paul’s labors is

truly marvelous. Rest or recreation seem to be things unknown to him. The

tension of spirit caused by imminent and pressing danger seems not to have

produced in him, as it does in most men, the need of breathing-time to

recover their usual tone. His one idea of the use of life, and of the various

faculties of mind and body with which his life was equipped, was

apparently to preach Jesus Christ to those who knew Him not, and to

confirm and establish those who knew Him in the faith of the gospel. His

energy never flagged and his courage never quailed. Most men’s nerves

would have been shaken by the terrible riot at Ephesus, when he had been

“pressed out of measure, above strength” (II Corinthians 1:8) and had

despaired of life. But no sooner was the uproar ceased than Paul started upon a

new course of labor and danger. He went back to Philippi, where he had been

before shamefully entreated, stripped, scourged, cast into a dungeon, and made

fast in the stocks; to the other cities of Macedonia, from whence he had

been forced to escape by night for fear of the violence of the Jews; to

Corinth, where he had been dragged before the judgment-seat of Gallio,

and where the bigotry of the Jews was ready to commence fresh plots

against his life. And wherever he went, heart and mind, tongue and pen,

were kept at full stretch in preaching and teaching the things concerning

Jesus Christ. Such activity of mind and body is indeed wonderful. We see

the same untiring spirit, the same inexhaustible love for souls, in the

midnight preaching at Troas. Other men, on the eve of a long journey,

would have sought repose. Not so Paul. The comfort and stability of

the Church at Troas, the growth in grace and knowledge of the disciples

there, were his one consideration, Here was an opportunity of preaching

Christ to them, of advancing their spiritual life, of imparting to them more

of the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ — an opportunity that

might never recur, and so he would make the most of it. Hence the whole

night given to prayer and preaching and breaking of bread, to communion

with God and fellowship with His saints. Such an example ought to be

studied by every minister of the Word of God, with a view to following the

apostle as he followed Christ. Indolence, self-indulgence, and indifference

to the growth of the Church of God, must surely be put to shame in the

presence of such abundance of labor. And every man’s faith must be

strengthened, and his love for Christ and for souls kindled into a flame, as

he catches the warmth of the glowing love of this mighty worker in the

kingdom of God.




Human Life: Lights and Shadows (vs. 1-12)


In these verses we are reminded of:


  • THE SCANTY RECORD OF HUMAN LIFE. We have six verses of

this valuable chronicle given to the unimportant incident of the accident

which befell Eutychus (vs. 7-12), and only three to Paul’s visit to

Macedonia and Greece. We do not understand why Luke should thus

apportion his space, but the fact that he did so reminds us how often most

interesting and instructive scenes, or even precious and influential periods,

of our life are left unreported. We should have liked to read a full

description, in copious detail, of the apostle’s visit to the Churches of

Macedonia, and especially of his interview with the Church at Corinth. But

we are not gratified. Doubtless some of the most heroic deeds have been

wrought in secret, and no tongue has told the story; doubtless some of the

most saintly sufferings have been endured unseen by mortal eye, and no

pen has described the scene.


“If singing breath or echoing chord

To every hidden pang were given,

What endless melodies were poured,

As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven!”


Let it be enough that one eye sees and one heart enters into our struggles

and our sorrows, and that “our record is on high.”



uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them”

(v. 1). After the storm was over, it was an intense relief to pour out their

agitated hearts in mutual sympathy, congratulation, devotion. We know

(II Corinthians 2:13) that Paul found no rest in his spirit because he

found not Titus his brother at Troas, and accordingly went on to

Macedonia to seek him, and that he was greatly comforted by finding him

there (ibid. ch. 7:6-7). We read of the friends who “accompanied

him into Asia(v. 4), and throughout we feel how precious beyond all

reckoning was the sympathy and succor which came to the wearied and

buffeted apostle from true human hearts. Loyal Christian fellowship is one

of those beneficent gifts from God which we should count among our chief

treasures, for which we should render heartiest thanksgiving; it is also one

of those ways in which we can render invaluable service to faithful men,

and thus an appreciated service to Christ, the Lord.



was about to return to Syria, he found the enmity of his countrymen ready

to waylay him. “The Jews laid wait for him” (v. 3). He could not but

speak as Christ, by His Spirit, taught him; and his preaching became more

clear and distinct as to the non-necessity of the Law of Moses; his doctrine

became less exclusive, more liberal, i.e. increasingly repugnant to the

narrow-minded Jews; and the fierceness of their hostility found vent in

plots against his life. Whoso will follow Christ in “bearing witness to the

truth” must be ready to “take up his cross and follow Him” along the path

of the persecuted. To be quite true to our convictions, to be fearlessly

faithful to the Lord who reveals to us His will, is to bear the penalty of the

dislike, the hatred, the intrigues of men.



schemed, but God thwarted their schemes; he “turned aside,” and their

murderous designs were defeated. Christ had more work for him to do, and

the uplifted hand of the enemy must be arrested.


“Though destruction walk around us,

Though the arrows past us fly,

Angel-guards from thee surround us,

We are safe, if thou art nigh.”


  • THE OVERFLOW OF SACRED ZEAL. Paul desired to use his

opportunity at Troas, and “on the first day of the week” he preached,

“ready to depart on the morrow” (v. 7). In the “multitude of his thoughts

within him(Psalm 94:19), or conscious that he was soon to leave and feeling

that he might never return to them, disregarding the lateness of the hour and

the condition of the chamber, he still preached on. He “continued his speech

until midnight.” That which would be unwise as a rule is allowable as an

exception. If “anger hath a privilege,” much more so has zeal. We admire

the man whose fullness of soul makes him oblivious of all attendant

circumstances. It is well to have a capacity for devotedness which will

sometimes lift us far above the level of ordinary moods, and make us forget

everything but our subject and our cause, or rather everything but the truth

of God and the cause and kingdom of Jesus Christ.




The Seven Days’ Halt at the Gateway between Europe and Asia

(vs. 6-12)


This seven days’ stay at Troas may be safely presumed to have had points

of special interest about it. The seven (v. 4) who accompanied Paul into

Asia were here found awaiting him and Silas and the historian. These ten,

beside any others possibly with them, must have been the welcomed

visitors of the disciples at Troas. Memory dwelt upon Troas, for it was the

place where, in the vision of the night (ch. 16:9), Paul had received

his call into Europe by the man of Macedonia. And after this visit how

many fresh memories would cluster around the place and the people and

that seven days’ halt! We may, amid the exceeding brevity of record here,

be nevertheless reminded:




REFRESHMENT. No life is more wearing than that which men live who

think for nothing, care for nothing, but making wealth. This life often kills

the best of the heart, the best of the mind, and the best of even the bodily

constitution. In this sense, men work themselves harder and more

mercilessly than ever God works them. God never works us mercilessly.

But in the hardest work He gives, He mingles much mercy. Yet His work in

a healthy sense is hard, will match any for hardness, nor probably did the

hardest-worked slave of self or Satan ever work harder than Paul did. But

now, so far as we can see, the seven days at Troas, undisturbed by

persecution from without or dissuasion from within, must have been days

of happy converse and of peaceful rest. How much this party of ten would

have to say to one another, to hear of the people at Troas and to tell to






interruption on this occasion probably infers a very minimum of blame to

Eutychus. Some one has spoken to this effect — that hours of sleep are

rarely broken by devotion, often enough for light causes. But it may be

added that hours of sleep are rarely forfeited, indeed, for hours of

devotion, but hours of professed devotion are often broken by sleep, or by

what in the long run is even more disastrous — by sleepiness. But as we

are told more than once that Eutychus was “overpowered” by sleepiness,

and that there were even physical reasons separate from his individual self

to increase the tendency, it is not necessary to fix any blame on him. Nor

on Paul. Who did not wish him to prolong last words? What a spirit moved

him! What a message he had, and how much for years to come, for the

souls of not a few, and for the collected disciples there, might depend on

his not omitting to say, and to say at leisure, and to say touchingly, the

word given him! Yes; we would think nothing of the small hours being

reached, and the many lights in the upper chamber fading before the return

of the sun, were it the converse of merely human affection that detained us

— men and women anti families together. The people at Troas had learned

the superior power and “o’er mastering attraction” of Divine affection and

Divine discourse.




MEMORIALS. The calamity no doubt seemed inopportune. The disciples

had already learned, of their own grateful will, to come together for

religious exercises on “the first day of the week,” and to “break bread”

together. Paul and probably some of his companions, if not all of them

(v. 13), had desired to stay with the believers for the service of praise and

prayer, of exhortation and of the communion, and perhaps had strained a

point to stay over that “first day of the week.” And hearts were full that

evening. There was not any general weariness. And Paul was speaking that

same hour what the Spirit gave him to speak. Had he spoken less, it would

have been “the Spirit’s course” that he was restraining, not his own vanity,

not his own inconsiderateness. The confusion in that natural but solemn

assembly, the disturbance to thought, and the pain of mind especially to

some, — these were quite enough to unhinge the occasion. The peaceful

stream of holy thought and of deep-flowing joy was checked. Yes; but not

long. The Master is again present, and “by the hands” of Paul works, all

things considered, a “special miracle.” And the service goes on. Thought

sinks deeper, faith triumphs more proudly, and in many a glowing heart

great was the joy. The meeting gathers impulse from its pause, and, a

bright morning dawning upon it, offered a dim type of the morning,

brightest of the bright, when the calamity of the present life and the broken

service of the lower Church, and even the deepest, fullest, purest joy of the

now redeemed heart shall give way to a safety which no foe can surprise, a

service that shall ask no rest, and a joy that shall be supreme.


13 “And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take

in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.”  But for and,

Authorized Version; going for went, Authorized Version; the ship for ship,

Authorized Version; set sail for and sailed, Authorized Version; for for unto,

Authorized Version; intending for minding, Authorized Version; by land for afoot,

Authorized Version.  Assos. A seaport on the coast of Troas, twenty-four Roman

miles from Troas. The town was built on a high and precipitous cliff. Luke does

not tell us why on this occasion he was separated from Paul. Had he appointed.

The passive διατεταγμένος ῆνdiatetagmenos aen – it was having been prescribed –

is here used in an active sense, as in Died. Sic. (quoted by Kuinoel) and other Greek

writers (see Steph., 'Thesaur.'). But some consider it as the middle voice (Meyer).


14 “And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.”

Met for met with, Authorized Version.  Mitylene. The capital of the island of Lesbos,

called by Horace "pulchra Mitylene" ('Epist.,' 1. 11:17). The harbor on the northeastern

coast is described by Strabo as "spacious and deep, and sheltered by a breakwater"

(13. 2).


15 “And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the

next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we

came to Miletus.”  Sailing from for we sailed, Authorized Version; we came for

and came, Authorized Version; following for next, Authorized Version; touched

for arrived, Authorized Version; and the day after for and tarried at Trogyllium;

and the next day, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. Over against Chios.

Their course would lie through the narrow strait between Chios on the west and

the mainland on the east. Samos. The large island opposite Ephesus. There they

touched, or put in (παρεβάλομεν – parebalomen – we put in). If the clause in the

Textus Receptus is genuine, they did not pass the night at Samos, but "made a short

run from thence in the evening to Trogyllium (Alford), "the rocky extremity of the

ridge of Mycale, on the Ionian coast, between which and the southern extremity of

Samos the channel is barely a mile wide" ('Speaker's Commentary'). We came to

Miletus. Anciently the chief city of Ionia, and a most powerful maritime and commercial

place, about twenty-eight miles south of Ephesus; though in the time of Homer it was

a Carian city. In Paul's time it was situated on the southwest coast of the Latmian

gulf, just opposite the mouth of the Meander on the east. But since his time the

whole gulf of Latmos has been filled up with soil brought down by the river, so

that Miletus is no longer on the seacoast, and the new mouth of the Meander

is to the west instead of to the east of Miletus, which lies about eight miles inland

(Lewin, vol. it. p. 90; Smith's 'Dict. of Geog.'). Miletus was the seat of a bishopric

in after times. As regards this visit to Miletus, some identify it with that mentioned

in II Timothy 4:20. And it is certainly remarkable that so many of the same persons

in connection with the same places are mentioned in both passages and in the

pastoral Epistles generally. The identical persons are Paul, Timothy, Luke,

Trophimus, Tychicus, and Apollos (vs. 4-5, compared with II Timothy 4:11-12, 20);

and the identical places are Corinth, Thessalonica, Troas, Ephesus, Miletus, and Crete.

But the other circumstances do not agree well with the events of this journey, but

seem to belong to a later period of Paul's life (see below, V. 25, note).


The long voyages made in those days in sailing-vessels of only moderate

speed would afford time for conversation with Luke and others, for a

narrative of the past labor to be at least laid up in Luke’s memory, possibly

prepared under the apostle’s direction.


16 “For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend

the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem

the day of Pentecost.”  Past for by, Authorized Version; that he might not have to

for because he would not, Authorized Version; time for the time, Authorized Version;

was hastening for hasted, Authorized Version. To spend time; χρονοτριβῆσαι –

chronotribaesai – to linger, found only here in the New Testament, but used by

Aristotle and others. It has rather the sense of wasting time, spending it needlessly.

The day of Pentecost. The time of year is thus very distinctly marked. Paul was at

Philippi at the time of the Passover, and hoped to reach Jerusalem by Pentecost.



      Scenes by the Way (vs. 1-16)


  • FUGITIVE SERVICE. When they persecute you in one city, flee into

another,” had said the Lord. But not as a hireling who sees the wolf

coming; rather as a brave warrior who retreats fighting. The brave retreat

may reflect more honor than the hopeless prolongation of warfare. We

must know when to give way. There is a “wise passiveness” and a

“masterly inactivity.” If we can but gain our Christian point, we should

suffer no scruple of vanity to stand in our way. And how much good may

be done in this furtive way! The runner drops the seed as he goes. The

greatest works have been done for God and the world by sufferers and in

the midst of suffering. In the world the faithful apostle has tribulation, but

peace in his heart; and it distils from his lips upon his brethren as he goes.

Perfect ease is not to be coveted by the true servant of Christ. The pulpit is

not an easy-chair. Men are goaded to their best by pain. They are perfected

for teaching in the school of suffering. Sympathy and love are deepened by

common experiences. Courage is truly learned; they that kill the body are

not feared, but only they that injure the soul.




Ø      Exhibited in the feast of love and the common hearing of the Word. The

one prepares for the other; together they explain each other and enrich

each other. Here is the first trace of the Sunday observance in the history

of the Church. Christian associations are engrafted upon old customs.


Ø      As disturbed by grief, and restored. Eutychus sleeps during the

preaching, and falls down. He was taken up dead, or “for dead,” as some

expositors would interpret. Paul falls upon him, like Elisha in the case of

the Shunammite’s son (II Kings 4:34), and Elijah with the widow’s son

at Sarepta (I Kings 17:21); so that by vital warmth he may restore him

to life. This striking coincidence of death in the midst of life, of life in the

midst of death, must have powerfully reminded the disciples of Him who is

the Resurrection and the Life, of His promise; and so must have

strengthened faith, and drawn the bonds of love closer together. “He that

brought him back is here.” Not small was the consolation of the brethren as

the young man was restored.




Ø      The apostle. He is on his last mission journey. He “works while it is

day” (John  9:4), preaching the Word with power; sealing his

testimony with miracle, pursuing with constancy the end set before him.


Ø      The sleeper. A warning against weakness and idleness. I say unto all,

Watch!” (Mark 13:37)  The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.”

(Matthew 26:41)


Ø      The unsleeping Divine watchfulness and providence. We have a God

who helps, and the Lord God who saves from death!


Ø      The energy of the apostolic personality. He goes down in

compassionate pity, falls upon Eutychus with earnest prayer,

embraces him with urgent love.


Ø      The hush of the Divine presence. “Make no noise!” A lesson here for

the chamber of the dead. God is here; His “finger touched him and he

slept.” Bow before His power and decree; collect the heart from

distraction, in recollection of its consolations. “They are not dead,

but sleep,” may be said of our Christian friends. Amidst such humble

and resigned silence angels pass through the house, with errands of




17 “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.”

Called to him for called, Authorized Version. The Revised Version gives the force

of the middle voice μετεκαλέσατο – metekalesato – he calls for. The elders of the

Church; viz. of Ephesus. These are manifestly the same as are called ἐπισκόπους

episkopous - in v. 28, overseers, or bishops. The distinctive names and functions

of Church officers were not yet fixed; and the apostles themselves, aided by

degrees by such as Timothy and Titus, were what we now call bishops,

exercising oversight over the elders themselves as well as over the whole flock

(see I Timothy 3:1). The diocesan episcopate came in gradually as the apostles

died off, and the necessity for a regular episcopate arose (see ch. 6:1-6; ch.14:23).


18 “And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the

first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at

all seasons,”  Ye yourselves for ye, Authorized Version; set foot in for came into,

Authorized Version; was for have been, Authorized Version; all the time for at

all seasons, Authorized Version.


19 “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and

temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:”

Lowliness for humility, Authorized Version; tears for many tears, Authorized

Version and Textus Receptus; with trials for temptations, Authorized Version;

plots for lying in wait, Authorized Version. Plots (ἐπιβουλαῖς - epiboulais);

compare v. 3, and note. There is no special account of Jewish plots in Luke's

narrative of Paul's sojourn at Ephesus. But from ch. 19:9,13, and probably 33,

we may gather how hostile the unbelieving Jews were to him.


20 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have

shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,”

How that I shrank not from declaring unto you anything for and how I kept

back nothing, Authorized Version; profitable for profitable unto you, Authorized

Version; and teaching for but have showed you and have taught, Authorized Version.

I shrank not from declaring, etc. The Revised Version seems to construe the phrase

as if it were Ὡς ὑπεσταιλάμην τοῦ μὴ ἀναγγεῖλαι ὑμῖν οὐδὲν τῶν συμφερόντων

Hos hupestailamaen tou mae anaggeilai humin ouden ton sumpheronton –

How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable,

which is a very labored construction,  of which the only advantage is that it

gives exactly the same sense to ὑπεστειλάμην  (I shrunk) as it has in v. 27.

But it is much simpler to take οὐδὲν (nothing) here as governed by ὑπεστειλάμην,

and to take the verb in its very common sense of "keeping back," or "dissembling"

(see the very similar passages quoted by Kuinoel from Demosthenes, Plato, Socrates,

etc., Οὐδὲν ὑποστειλάμενος, μηδὲν ὑποστείλαμεμος κ.τ.λ.), and to take the τοῦ μὴ

ἀναγγεῖλαι ὑμῖν καὶ διδάξαι -  tou mae anaggeilai humin kai didaxai – not held

back the message expedient for you but have taught it – CY translation best as

I could make out) as expressing what would have been the effect of such "keeping

back," or "dissembling," the μὴ (no) extending to both infinitives (Meyer), "so as

not to declare and teach," etc. In v. 27 the verb ὑπεστειλάμην must be taken in the

equally common sense of "holding back," or "shrinking," under the influence of fear,

or indolence, or what not. The difference of rendering is required by the fact that

here you have οὐδὲν ὑπεστειλάμην (I kept back nothing), whereas in v. 27 you

have οὐ ὑπεστειλάμην – ouk hupesteilamaen – I have not shunned. In several of

the classical passages quoted above, and others in Schleusner, ὑποστέλλεσθαι

(holding back – my inept translation – the idea being opposed to παρρησίαζεσθαι,

or, μετὰ παρρησίας διαλεχθῆναι (once again my limited knowledge – I get the

impression of they being able to freely, confidently, boldly speak, i.e. God’s

message – CY – 2018)  (compare therefore for the sentiment, ch. 2:29;  4:13, 29, 31;

 9:27;  13:46;  14:3; 28:31, etc.; Ephesians 6:19-20).


21 “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God,

and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”  To Jews and to Greeks for both to the

Jews, and also to the Greeks, Authorized Version (see ch.19:10, 17). Repentance, etc.

The two cardinal points of gospel teaching, as they are the two necessary qualities for

every Christian man. "Repentance whereby we forsake sin, and faith whereby we

steadfastly believe the promises of God." (whether Jew or Gentile (see ch. 2:38;

3:19; 5:31, etc.; Mark 1:15, etc.).



Paul at Miletus: The Substance of Christian Doctrine (v. 21)


Surely we have here an excellent summary of distinctive Christian doctrine.

These two things are the essentials of Christian truth. Without repentance

there can be no living faith; without faith there can be no real spiritual life;

with both of these, a man is a recognized citizen of the kingdom of God, an

inheritor of eternal life. There must be:



what constitutes repentance. Repentance may include, but is not

constituted by:


Ø      Strong feelings of sorrow and shame in view of past sin. It is possible

and even common to produce very pungent and powerful feelings by

means of energetic oratory; but these, if they are not real, profound

convictions, will be temporary, if not even momentary; they are not the

essential thing. Repentance will, at some time, include strong feeling of

abhorrence of sin, but it may not commence with vivid and convulsive

emotions, and is not to be identified with these.


Ø      Change of outward behavior. It is indeed true that, when really penitent,

the idolater will abandon his idolatry, the thief his dishonesty, the drunkard

his intemperance, the liar his falsehoods, the truculent man his violence,

etc.; but it must be remembered that men sometimes change their habits for

other reasons than those of religious conviction. Amendment in outward

behavior, valuable and desirable as it is, does not constitute repentance

unto God;” it has also to be considered that there may be, and often is, the

truest repentance where there is no alteration of conduct observable by

man. The essence of repentance is the turning of the heart to God, and

therefore of the life; it is that “change of mind” which consists in the soul

turning from forgetfulness of God to thoughtfulness about him, from

indifference to his claims to earnest consideration of them, from

unwillingness to own his sway to a perfect readiness to yield everything to

him, from the guilty retention of our powers for ourselves to a cheerful

surrender of ourselves and our days to the living God, our Father and our

Redeemer. Thence will follow all the compunction for sin and all the

change of conduct which the past career of the soul will demand. Of this

“Greek and Jew” alike have need: the Greek (the Gentile) has need to

change his thought of God, and the Jew his also; whether from

superstition, or from indifference, or from formality, all have to come into

a different relation to God — that of humble subjection to his will and

surrender to his service.



“And faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” The faith of which Paul testified

to Greek and Jew was, we are sure, a living power. It was not a mere

passive assent to a form of sound words. It was more than an intellectual

acceptance of certain propositions. It was the cordial, hearty acceptance by

the soul of A DIVINE SAVIOUR AND LORD;  it was the soul in all its need

welcoming a Redeemer in all His strength to save and bless. It meant that

acceptance of Jesus Christ in which the soul, conscious of sin and

condemnation, flees to Him as to the Rock in which it can hide; in which

the heart, recognizing its rightful Lord, goes to Him in glad self-surrender,

and yields itself to Him that he may:


Ø      guide it in His own paths,

Ø      use it for His own glory, and

Ø      conduct it to His own kingdom.


22 “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the

things that shall befall me there:”  Bound in the spirit. Τῷ πνεύματιto pneumati –

- may either mean "in my spirit" or "by the Spirit," i.e. the Holy Ghost. If

the former, which the most probable sense (as τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον – to Pneuma to

hagion – the Holy Ghost - follows in the next verse), is taken, the sense will be that

Paul felt himself constrained to go to Jerusalem. A sense of absolute necessity

was upon him, and he did not feel himself a free agent to go anywhere else.

If the latter sense be taken, the meaning will be that the Holy Ghost was

constraining him to go to Jerusalem.


23 “Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and

afflictions abide me.”  Testifieth unto me for witnesseth, Authorized Version and

Textus Receptus. The Holy Ghost, speaking by the prophets in the different Church

assemblies, as the apostle journeyed from city to city. We have one instance of such

prophesying recorded in ch. 21:10-11. The instances to which Paul here alluded

were not mentioned in Luke's brief narrative.


24 “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself,

so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received

of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”  I hold not my life of

any account, as dear for none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear,

Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; may accomplish my course for might finish

 my course with joy, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; received for have

received, Authorized Version; from for of, Authorized Version. I hold not my life, etc.

It is inconceivable that Paul should have uttered, or Luke have reported, such an

unintelligible sentence as that of the Received Text, when it was perfectly easy to

express the meaning clearly. Neither does the mention of his life, in the first

instance, tally with that of "bonds and afflictions." The Textus Receptus,

which has considerable support, seems to be far preferable. The first clause,

Οὐδενὸς λόγον ποιοῦμαι – Oudenos logon poioumai -  means quite naturally,

I take no account of anything; I value nothing, neither liberty, nor ease, nor

comfort. I am ready to suffer the loss of all things, and I do count them as dung

(Philippians 3:7-9); and then he adds yet further, "Neither do I count my own

life as precious, so as to accomplish my course," etc. This metaphor of running

a race is a favorite one with Paul (I Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 5:7;

Philippians 3:13-14; II Timothy 4:7).  To testify the gospel of the grace of God.

An invaluable epitome of the Christian ministry. The essential feature of the gospel

is its DECLARATION OF GOD’S FREE GRACE to a guilty world, forgiving

sins, and imputing righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. The distinctive

work of the ministry is TO DECLARE THAT GRACE!  So Paul describes his

own ministry, and the record of his ministry in the Acts and in his Epistles exactly

agrees with this description. In the spirit of a witness, simply declaring the gospel;

recognizing that “the gospel of the grace of God” is “the power of God” to men’s





Paul’s Testimony (vs. 21-24)


“Testifying… repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus

Christ.” “To testify the gospel of the grace of God.” The main lines of the

apostle’s work are nowhere given more simply or more clearly than in

these sentences. Dean Plumptre suggestively says, “These,” viz. repentance

and faith, “under all varieties of form, formed the substance of the apostle’s

teaching. It is obvious, however, that out of these might be developed a

whole system of theology; why repentance was needed, and what it was,

and how it should show itself; what was involved in the statement that

Jesus was the Christ, and why men should believe in Him, and what works

were the proper fruit of faith. All these were questions which had to be

answered before even the most elementary truths could be rightly

apprehended.   Paul’s ministry consisted in this, bearing witness,

especially as a living example of its power (I Timothy 1:12-16), of the

good tidings that God was not a harsh Judge, but a gracious Father, willing

all men to be saved (ibid. ch. 2:4), that was the truth to the proclamation of

which his life was to be devoted.  As the subjects are familiar, only an outline

of treatment is necessary. We take the latter expression first, as being the more

general one.


  • GOD’S GRACE UNTO FORGIVENESS. The gospel is precisely a

message concerning God. It is:


Ø      A corrective message. God is not as men have thought.

Ø      A revealing message, bringing to light the fact that, by a sublime

act of self-sacrifice, He has declared Himself to be love, and has

shown His grace.

Ø      A practical message, bearing directly on our sins, and giving

assurance of forgiveness.



GRACE UNTO FORGIVENESS. Without conditions we should set no

value on the grace, the gift, or the forgiveness. The conditions are

reasonable and necessary. They are:


Ø      Repentance. If we are not troubled about our sin, we shall not care

about forgiveness.

Ø      Faith. If we do not open our hearts to God, He cannot work His good

work in us. These are gospel foundations; but how much we have to

build thereon!



The Cheerful Acceptance of a Hard Lot (vs. 22-24)


Give illustrations showing how severe, trying, and anxious Paul’s missionary life

had been and was likely to be to the end, taking as a basis his own account given

in II Corinthians 11:23-28. Additional “hardness” came out of Paul’s peculiarly

nervous and sensitive temperament. He felt both joys and sorrows so keenly.

With the apostle’s life compare that of our Lord Jesus Christ. Both were divided

into two parts:


(1) a working part, in which God was served by active labors;

(2) a suffering part, in which God was served by bearing and enduring

afflictions, persecutions, and troubles.


By both doing and bearing God may still be served; and in both ways God tests

the faithfulness of His people in our times. Paul was taught “how great things he

must suffer for Christ’s Name’s sake”  (ch. 9:16); and in the passage before us

we see him learning this lesson, and giving some expression to his feeling in

regard to it. The Spirit said in Paul that the time was now near when a special

testimony for Christ amid scenes of suffering would be required of him; and the

apostle received the revelation, not only calmly, but cheerfully, like the older

apostles, counting it all joy that he was thought worthy to suffer for his Master’s




Spirit was only pleased to give general indications. Complete knowledge

of what is about to happen can never be good for man, because:


Ø      it takes away the simplicity and naturalness of his conduct;

Ø      it prevents the proper exercise of his will upon due consideration of

circumstances that arise;

Ø      it stops the process of moral and spiritual culture; and

Ø      it takes from him the call to a living, daily trust in God.


The feeling that all is settled and known tends to prevent faith from keeping

up a daily dependence. We cannot too thankfully rejoice that our future is

wholly unknown to us, and that we are cast entirely upon the promise of

“grace for the day,” and upon the assurance that the “Lord will provide.”

“I’d rather walk in the dark with God than go alone in the light.” We

know nothing. Nay, we know everything if we know our ever-present Guide!




Recall the previous scene at (ch. 16.), when the man of Macedonia called

the apostle to begin missionary labors’ in Europe. He had no doubt then

that he was following the Divine lead; and he had no more doubt now that

he was called to Jerusalem to suffer. We might think that God gave him

notice of coming troubles only to warn him and guard him against them;

but we must understand that God may in this way test faithfulness. A plain

path of duty may be before us, but we may come to know that suffering

lies that way; then we are tested whether we will do the duty or shrink

back on account of the suffering. The apostle clearly knew his duty, so

matters of personal suffering could be no serious concern to him.




Christ, under the inspiration of His love, was Paul’s simple and sublime

idea. “To him to live was Christ.” (Philippians 1:21)  The place, or time,

or way of service it was for his Master to settle; and what had to be borne

in rendering the service he was willing to let his Master wholly arrange.

He set before himself this aim, that he “might finish his course with joy.”

(v. 24)  “It is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”

(I Corinthians 4:2)  Apply to some of the suffering lots now given to

God’s people. They are spheres of service for Christ, and

they lose all their “hardness” when they can be thus regarded.



AFFLICTIONS AN EASY THING. So much depends on the spirit in

which our lot in life is taken up. The apostle is a beautiful example of

cheerfulness and hopefulness. He will not let circumstances crush him, or

opposition and adversity overwhelm him. He will not lose heart or hope.

He sings in his own soul the song with which he has cheered thousands of

the saints through the long Christian ages. “All things work together for

good to them that love God.” So the trials cannot hurt him. He is more than

conqueror. He even finds how to look upon a “hard lot” as an opportunity

for rendering fuller and heartier witness for the Lord whom he serves.


25 “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching

the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.”  Went about for have gone,

Authorized Version; kingdom for kingdom of God, Authorized Version and Textus

Receptus. I know that ye all, etc. It is a very perplexing question whether Paul in

this statement spake with prophetic, and therefore infallible, foreknowledge, or

whether he merely expressed the strong present conviction of his own mind,

that he should never return to Asia again. The question is an important one,

as the authenticity of the pastoral Epistles is in a great measure bound up with it.

For, in the apparent failure of all hypotheses to bring the writing of them within

the time of Luke's narrative, prior to Paul's journey to Rome, we are driven to

the theory which places the writing of them, and the circumstances to which

they allude, to a time subsequent to Paul's imprisonment at Rome. But this involves

the supposition that Paul returned to Ephesus after his release from his Roman

imprisonment (I Timothy 1:3; II Timothy 1:15,18;  4:9-14, 19; Titus 1:5),

and consequently that Paul's anticipation, that he was in Asia for the last lime,

was not realized..


26 “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood

of all men.”  Testify unto you for take you to record, Authorized Version. The

solemnity of this address is dependent upon the speaker's conviction that he

was speaking to his hearers for the last time. Hence the force of the words,

"this day" (ἐν τῇ σήμερον ἡμέρᾳ - en tae saemeron haemera – the today day );

"my last opportunity." I am pure, etc. (compare Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:2-9;

Hebrews 13:17). Note the peril of hiding or watering down GOD’S TRUTH!.


27 “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”

Shrank not from declaring for have not shunned to declare, Authorized Version;

(see v. 20, note); the whole for all the, Authorized Version. Counsel of God.

His revealed will and purpose concerning man's salvation (ch. 2:23; ch. 4:28;

Ephesians 1:11).




God’s Whole Counsel (v. 27)


Paul is stating a fact which:


(1) was to the honor of the Ephesian elders, for they must have been

receptive and willing hearers if the apostle found that he might even teach

them the mysteries of the gospel; and which:


(2) was to the honor of Paul as a teacher, who was so skilful in dividing

the Word of truth that he could make the very mysteries plain. Compare his

language in Ephesians 3:4, where he speaks of their ‘being’ “able to

understand his knowledge, in the mystery of Christ.” It is right to declare

the whole counsel of God; but it is wise only to declare it to those who are

prepared to receive it. Compare Peter’s counsel and reference to Paul in

II Peter 3:15-16. The “whole counsel of God” may be regarded

as including:




(1) the Divine revelations made in different ages;

(2) in different forms;

(3) to different individuals.


While the complete circle may be regarded as contained in the Old and

New Testament Scriptures, we may not absolutely limit Divine revelation

to the written Word. The Spirit of God has full and free access to the

minds and hearts of men, and can reveal His will directly to them if it shall

please Him so to do. To this circle there is a center, but the repetition of

this cannot be the Divine idea of “preaching the gospel.” Every truth within

the circle must be held by, and filled with the spirit of, the central truth.

Everything within the circle is the gospel. Ministers may not, and they need

not, shun to declare to men the very “mysteries” of revelation, since by the

consideration of such the higher culture of the soul is gained. Infants take

the milk of first principles; strong men need to feed upon strong meat of

difficult and ADVANCED TRUTH!



truth may not be left untouched by any teacher, but its treatment calls for

much care and wisdom. There are times when we are required to show

how truth opposes error; but usually it is far better to preach the positive

truth, and let it by its own force gradually root out and destroy error.

Three points may here be illustrated.


Ø      Christ’s truth seemed opposed to Judaism. It was not really opposed to

the system as given by God to Moses. It was the natural and necessary

outgrowth and completion of it. (“For verily I say unto you, Till

heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass

from the law, till all be fulfilled.”  Matthew 5:18)  It was opposed to

the corrupt Judaism of the rabbis — a formal and ceremonial system

out of which all spiritual life had gone.

Ø      Christ’s truth was opposed to paganism, both in its theories, principles,

and practices.

Ø      Christ’s truth is made to appear opposed to science, but only by the

undue assumptions and prejudiced bias of some who really misrepresent

science.  (Science and the Word will never conflict!  CY – 2018)

Ø      Christ’s truth is always opposed to worldly maxims, because it demands

the whole soul for God, while the world wants the whole soul for self.


  • THE TRUTH IN ITS PRACTICAL PHASES. Illustrate from the

Epistles how directly it bears:


Ø      On individual habits; teaching us how to possess the vessels of our

bodies in sanctification and honor.

Ø      On family relations; culturing good fatherhood and motherhood, and

requiring honorable obedience from children, and service from dependents.

Ø      On social fellowships; binding man to man in a gracious brotherhood of

common helpfulness.



uttered with the force of a man’s own experience, persuasion, and

conviction, the truth gains a new power; but we must also recognize that it

comes under limitations by getting apprehension and expression only

through limited minds — limited by capacity and limited by education.

Individuality is on one side power, but on the other side weakness.

Conclude by fully unfolding what now may be thought of as included in the

“whole counsel of God,” especially pointing out that, while the field of

revelation is the same that Paul had, the field of speculation has

marvelously grown and enlarged. But still, what men have to preach to

their fellow-men is not their speculation, but GOD’S REVELATION!


28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the

which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God,

which He hath purchased with His own blood.”  Take heed for take heed

 therefore, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; in for over, Authorized

Version; bishops for overseers, Authorized Version; purchased for hath

purchased, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. Take heed, etc.;

προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖςprosechete heautois – be ye heeding to yourselves –

peculiar to Luke (Luke 12:1; 17:3; 21:34).  Now follows the weighty

charge of this great bishop to the clergy assembled at his visitation. With the true

feeling of a chief pastor, he thinks of the whole flock, but deals with them

chiefly through the under-shepherds. If he can awaken in these individually a

deep concern for the souls committed to their charge, he will have done the best

that can be done for the flock at large. The first step to such concern for the flock

is that each be thoroughly alive to the worth and the wants of his own soul.

"Take heed unto yourselves." He that is careless about his own salvation will

never be careful about the souls of others (compare I Timothy 4:16). In the

which the Holy Ghost, etc. Ἐν ῷ - En ho – in which - no doubt, does not strictly

contain the idea of "over which;" but the idea of authoritative oversight is

contained in the word ἐπίσκοπος – episkopos – bishop; overseer, and therefore

the rendering of the Authorized Version is substantially correct. Perhaps the exact

force of the ἐν ῷ is "among which," like ἐν ἡμῖν – en humin – in us; among us;

 (ch.2:29, and elsewhere). The call and appointment to the ministry is the special

function of the Holy Ghost (John 20:22-23; ch. 12:2; Ordination Service). To feed;

ποιμαίνειν – poimainein – to be shepherding, the proper word for "tending" in

relation to τὸ ποίμνιον, the flock, as ποιμήν – poimaen - the pastor, or shepherd,

is for him who so feeds the flock of Christ (see John 10:11, 16;  21:17;

Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 5:2-3). Peter applies the titles of "Shepherd and Bishop

of souls" to the Lord Jesus (I Peter 2:25).  Paul does not use the metaphor

elsewhere, except indirectly, and in a different aspect (I Corinthians 9:7).

The Church of God; margin, Church of the Lord. There is, perhaps, no single

passage in Scripture which has caused more controversy and evoked more

difference of opinion than this. The Textus Receptus has τοῦ Θεοῦ - tou Theou –

of God, but most uncials have τοῦ Κυρίου – tou Kuriou – of the Lord. Kuinoel

asserts that the reading τοῦ Κυρίου rests on the authority, besides that of the

oldest manuscripts, of the old versions, and of many of the most ancient Fathers,

and says that it is undoubtedly the true reading. Meyer, too, thinks that the external

evidence for τοῦ Κυρίου is decisive, and that the internal evidence from the fact that

ἐκκλησία τοῦ Κυρίου ekklaesia tou Kuriou – Church of the Lord occurs nowhere

else in Paul's writings, is decisive also. But on the other hand, both the Codex

Vaticanus (B) and the Codex Sinaitieus (א), the two oldest manuscripts, have

Θεοῦ (Θυ) – Theou (Thu) - God. The Vulgate, too, and the Syriac have it; and

such early Fathers as Ignatius (in his Epistle to the Ephesians) and Tertullian use

the phrase, "the blood of God," which seems to have been derived from this

passage. And Alford reasons powerfully in favor of Θεοῦ, dwelling upon the

fact that the phrase ἐκκλησία τοῦ Θεοῦ occurs ten times in  Paul's writings,

that of ἐκκλησία τοῦ Κυρίου not once. The chief authorities on each side of

the question are:

(1) in favor of τοῦ Κυρίου, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Bornemann, Lunge,

Olshausen, Davidson, Meyer, Hackett, as also Grotius, Griesbaeh (doubtfully),

Wetstein, Le Clerc, and others;

(2) in favor of τοῦ Θεοῦ, Bengel, Mill, Whitby, Wolf, Scholz, Knapp, Alford,

Wordsworth, etc., and the Received Text. It should be added that the evidence

for τοῦ Θεοῦ has been much strengthened by the publication by Tischendorf,

in 1563, of rite Codex Sinaiticus, and in 1867 of the Codex Vaticanus, from

his own collation. The result is that τοῦ Θεοῦ seems to be the true reading

(see the first of the two collects for the Ember weeks in the Book of Common

Prayer. With regard to the difficulty that this reading seems to imply the

unscriptural phrase, "the blood of God," and to savor of the Monophysite

heresy, it is obvious to reply that there is a wide difference between the phrase

as it stands and such a one as the direct "blood of God," which Athanasius and

others objected to. The mental insertion of "the Lord" or "Christ," as the subject

of the verb "purchased," is very easy, the transition from God the Father to God

incarnate being one that might be made almost imperceptibly. Others (including

the Received Text) take the reading of several good manuscripts, Διὰ τοῦ αἵματος

τοῦ ἰδίου – Dia tou haimatos tou idiou, and understand τοῦ ἰδίου to be an ellipse

for τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ, the phrase used in Romans 8:32; and so render it "which He

purchased by the blood of His own Son." Οἱ ἰδίοιHoi idioi - His own, is used

without a substantive in John 1:11. This clause is added to enhance the

preciousness of the flock, and the responsibility of those who have the

oversight of it.




Blood Purchased (v. 28)


This figure of speech is directly connected with a reference to the Church

as a flock; to the officers as overseers, or shepherds; and to their duty as

feeding the flock. It is important to inquire how far the shepherd and sheep

figure will explain the scriptural allusions to redemption, or salvation by

blood. The figure as used by our Lord in John 10. should be compared

with the expression in our text, “which he hath purchased with his own

blood.” The question which we have to consider is — How does a

shepherd purchase his sheep with his blood? The answer takes two possible




SHEEP. This is the characteristic feature of the good shepherd as opposed

to the hireling. The good shepherd purchases their safety every day by his

willingness to shed his blood in their defense. So a mother may be said to

purchase the health of a sick child by her willingness to give her life for his,

imperiling her own life by her anxious watching and care.



FIGHTING AND KILLING THE WOLVES. If he kills the wolves he

saves the sheep, though he may himself die of his wounds; and then he

plainly purchases the safety of the flock with his blood. These figures may

be applied to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He imperiled His life for

our defense. He met our great foe in conflict. He overcame sin and death,

and plucked death’s sting away. He died indeed in the struggle, but He set

us free; and so He has purchased us BY HIS OWN BLOOD!  He has won,

by HIS GREAT ACT OF SELF-SACRIFICE, our love and life forever.

Compare the figure as employed by Peter (“Forasmuch as ye know that ye

were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your

vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the

precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot!”

I Peter 1:18-19).


29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in

among you, not sparing the flock.”  I know for, for I know this, Authorized

Version and Textus Receptus; grievous wolves shall for shall grievous wolves,

Authorized Version. After my departure (ἄφιξιν – aphixin – departure; out of

reach, not ἀναλύσεως – analuseos - dissolution, as II Timothy 4:6). The word,

which is only found here in the New Testament, usually means "arrival" in

classical Greek, but it also means, as here, "departure." It is not to be taken in

the sense of "departure from this life," but refers to that separation, which he

thought was forever, which was about to take place. Grievous wolves; still

keeping up the metaphor of the flock. The wolves denote the false teachers,

principally Judaizers. See II Timothy 3:1-12, and 13, "But evil men and

seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."

These came from Judaea.


30 “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things,

to draw away disciples after them.”  And from among for also of, Authorized

Version; the disciples for disciples, Authorized Version. From among your own

selves; as opposed to the strangers from Judaea in the preceding verse. So

II Timothy 4:3, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;

but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching

ears" (see, as instances,  Ibid. ch. 2:17-18;  4:14). Speaking perverse things.

(Ibid. ch. 4:4, "They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be

turned unto fables." To draw away the disciples, etc.; i.e. to induce Christians

to leave the communion and doctrine of the Church, and join their heresy.

The Authorized Version, "to draw away disciples," is manifestly wrong;

τοὺς μαθητὰςtous mathaetas - are Christ's disciples. For the general statement,

see II Timothy 3:6, "They which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women;"

and compare Romans 16:17-18, which, according to Renan, was addressed to the

Ephesians. For the rise of false teachers in Asia, see I Timothy 1:3, 20;  4:1-7;

6:20-21; II Timothy 1:15; I John 2:26;  4:1, 3, 5; and through the whole Epistle;

Revelation 2:1-7.


31 “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years

I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”

Wherefore watch ye for therefore watch, Authorized Version; remembering

for and remember, Authorized Version; admonish for warn, Authorized Version.

By the space of three years (τριετίαν – trietian – for three years). The word is only

found here in the New Testament; but it is used in the Septuagint of Isaiah 15:5

and II Chronicles 31:16, and in classical Greek. We have here one of the few

chronological data in the Acts. Three years includes the whole of his sojourn

at Ephesus as his headquarters. There were first the three months during which

he preached in the synagogue; then the two years which he spent in preaching

in the school of Tyrannus, and which terminated with the incident of burning

the books of magic (ch. 19:8, 10, 19). Then there was an indefinite time

described in Ibid. v. 22 as "for a while" (αὐτὸς ἐπέσχε χρόνον), during which

he was busy making plans, probably writing letters, sending off Timothy and

Erastus to Macedonia, and perhaps making missionary expeditions in the

neighborhood. This may have occupied three or four months longer, and made

up a term of two years and six, seven, or eight months, which would quite justify

the term τριετία. Every one. Each one separately, not merely the whole flock

together. A weighty lesson for every one who has the cure of souls (compare

John 10:3). Night and day. The night is mentioned first, in accordance with

Hebrew usage (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, etc.; compare the word νυχθήμερον

nuchthaemeron – a night and a day in II Corinthians 11:25) Paul enforces

the word "Watch," so appropriate to shepherds who watch over their flocks

by night (Luke 2:8), by his own example of admonishing by night as well as day.




Paul at Miletus: The Prospect Which Pains (vs. 28-31)



Paul, pursuing his path of self-sacrificing devotion, going on to he knew

not what dangers ahead, looking a violent death in the face, was calm,

tranquil, even joyful. But the apostle, looking forward to a distracted and

injured Church, torn by false doctrine, laid waste by sinful men, was

grieved at heart, and he uses the language of solemn adjuration and entreaty.


  • HUMAN APPREHENSION. We often go forward with painful

apprehension that some ill is about to befall us; therefore with hesitating

step, with trembling heart.


Ø      It has been that men had an intimation from God that evil was in store

for them. This was not uncommon in Old Testament times, when the

purpose of God was frequently revealed. It was the case with Paul now; it

was revealed to him that dark days were ahead in the experience of the

Church at Ephesus.


Ø      It may be the action of individual insight. By the use of a keen and

penetrating judgment, a man can often perceive that events are leading up

to a disaster.


Ø      It may be a simple and sound conclusion from the common heritage of

man. It is certain that dark shadows must be across the path we tread, and

that we shall be entering them before long.





Ø      Attack from without: “Grievous wolves entering in… not sparing the

flock” (v. 29).


Ø      Mischief from within: “Of your own selves shall men arise, etc. (v. 30).

This is what the Church of Christ has now to fear:


o        the attacks of infidelity,

o        the invitation to immorality,


Ø       Mischief from without; and:


Ø      the subtler and more perilous dangers:


o        of spiritual decline,

o        of the decay of faith,

o        of injurious doctrines,

o        of the breath of worldliness, within.



solemnly charged these elders, as those to whose care was committed the

Church of God — that sacred body which the Lord had redeemed by His

own blood — to do these three things.


Ø      To keep diligently their own hearts: “Take heed to yourselves” (see

Proverbs 4:23).


Ø      To watch carefully the spirit and course of their people: “And to all the



Ø      To sustain the life of the members by providing spiritual nourishment:

“Feed the Church of God.” If we would do what the Divine Head of the

Church demands of us, and if we would follow in the footsteps of the most

devoted of his servants (see v. 31), we must:


o        cultivate a deep sense of our responsibility;

o        exercise unremitting vigilance over ourselves and our charge;

o        supply that kind and measure of sacred truth which is fitted to

strengthen and to purify those whom we undertake to teach.


32 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace,

which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them

which are sanctified.”  Now for now brethren, Authorized Version and Textus

Receptus; the inheritance for an inheritance, Authorized Version and Textus

Receptus; that for which, Authorized Version.  I commend you to God

(παρατίθεμαι ὑμᾶς – paratithemai humas – I am committing). A most beautiful

and significant phrase! The apostle is leaving for ever the flock which he had fed

with such devoted care and loved with such a fervent love. He was leaving them

with a strong impression of the dangers to which they would be exposed.

To whom could he entrust them? to what loving hands could he consign them?

He gives them to God, to take watchful custody of them. He brings them to Him

in the prayer of faith. He commits to Him the precious deposit (παραθήκη –

parathaekae – commend; entrust; commit), to be preserved safe unto

the day of Christ. So the Savior of the world, when dying on the cross, said,

"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit "(Luke 23:46), and then trustingly

gave up the ghost (see too here, ch. 14:23). No less beautiful are the words which

follow: And to the word of His grace. He was thinking of the grievous wolves,

and of their pernicious doctrine; of the deceivers that should arise, and

their soul-destroying heresies; and so he turns to the one source of safety

"the Word of God's grace in Jesus Christ." If they are kept in that Word of truth,

if they nourish their souls with that sincere milk, they will be safe. The gospel

which he had preached would be their safety unto the end. It would build

them up on the one Foundation which never can be moved; it would preserve

them holy to take possession of the inheritance of the saints in light. The inheritance

(τὴν κληρονομίαν – taen klaeronomian – the inheritance; the tendancy; enjoyment

of the allotment); compare Ephesians 1:14, 18;  5:5; and 1:11, ἐκληρώθημεν –

eklaerothaemen - the inheritance; the tendancy; enjoyment of the allotment.

In ch. 26:18 it is κλῆρον – klaeron – inheritance; allotment  (as in

Colossians 1:12), and the ἡγιασμένοι – haegtiasmenoi -  the sanctified are further

defined by the addition of πίστει τῇ εἰς ἐμέ - pistei tae eis eme - by the faith

 which is in me (for the use of ἀγιάζεσθαι – hagiazesthai – having been hallowed;

sanctified, compare Hebrews 10:10,14;  I Corinthians 1:2; 6:11, etc.).


Notice the character of primitive Christianity as exemplified in the words of

the apostle and in the elders of Ephesus.


1. Simplicity of the faith.

2. Confidence in the final victory of the truth as it is in Jesus,

notwithstanding the inroads of error.

3. Dependence on the Holy Spirit.

4. Brotherhood; helping the weak and ministering to the needy. The love

felt towards the apostle an example of the kind of feeling prevailing at

Ephesus and in the early Church, so different from the formal and

conventional Church life now seen, which is content with a very superficial

recognition of brotherly sympathy. The heroism of Paul was a fruit of the Spirit.



Paul at Miletus: The Forecast Which Exalts (vs. 22-32)


Paul had received intimations “in every city” (v. 23) that “bonds and

afflictions” were in store for him; he looked forward with absolute

certainty to personal suffering of some kind; but this assurance was so far

from daunting or depressing him that his spirit rose on strong and eager

wing to the full height of such apostolic opportunity (Matthew 5:10-12).

The anticipated future, with its bonds and its sufferings and possibly

death itself, raised the soul of the man, exalted him; and he stands before us

in the noblest stature to which even he ever attained. Loftier words never

came from human lips than these (vs. 22-24). His spiritual exaltation




bound in the spirit,” etc. He felt as one who already wore the bonds and

was happy in the bondage. He was already “the prisoner of the Lord,” and

was proud thus to esteem himself. So far from casting about to see whether

there was any open door of escape, he gladly went forth to meet the trials

that were in front.



things move me” (v. 24). He was not affected by considerations which

are everything to most men; they did not make him wince; he could be

poor or rich, hungry or full, confined or at liberty, — it mattered not to him

so long as he was following and serving Christ. And here is the explanation

of his nobility; it sprang from:


  • ABSORPTION IN THE SAVIOR’S WORK. “Neither count I my life

dear unto myself, so that I might finish,” etc. (v. 24). “To testify the

gospel of the grace of God “ — this was the commanding, all-controlling,

all-consuming passion of his soul. It impressed everything else into the

service; it burnt up everything that stood in the way. It was the dominating

force under which every other power ranged itself obediently,


  • CONFIDING PRAYER. “I commend you to God,” etc. (v. 32).

Leaving these converts and, as he surely believed (v. 25), to see their

face no more, he left them in THE HANDS OF GOD;  he trustfully

committed them to almighty love, to Divine wisdom, to the “faithful

Creator” A blessed thing it is for the departing minister, for the dying

parent, to leave his people or his family to the tender care of Him who

wilt make good the kindest and fullest of His promises.


  • EXALTED HOPE. “An inheritance among all them which are

sanctified” (v. 32). Paul continually looked forward to the time when he

and his converts should meet in the heavenly kingdom; this helped to

sustain him under persecution and disappointment. He turned from the

shame which was put upon him by man to the glory which waited to be

revealed, and his heart was more than satisfied. This should be the result of

our contemplation of the future; it should lead to inward exaltation. It

should lead to


Ø      such devotedness to the work we are doing for our Master that we

shall rise above the fear of man, and even welcome the losses we endure

for Christ’s sake;


Ø      the devout committing of ourselves and of our charge to the love and

faithfulness of Him who is unfailingly gracious and true;


Ø      a sustaining, animating hope, in whose blessed radiance all earthly

experiences are lighted up. But in order to this there is presupposed in us

what there was in Paul


Ø      an entire surrender of ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.


33 “I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.”  Coveted for have coveted,

Authorized Version. Apparel. One of the items of an Oriental's treasure for the purpose

of gifts (II Kings 5:5, 22-23, 26; Genesis 45:22; Matthew 6:19-20). Paul contrasts his

own example in not seeking such gifts with the conduct of the false apostles who

draw away disciples after them for gain (I Timothy 6:5-10; Romans 16:17-18;

compare I Corinthians 9.).


34 “Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my

necessities, and to them that were with me.”  Ye for yea ye, Authorized Version

and Textus Receptus; ministered for have ministered, Authorized Version.

These hands (see I Corinthians 4:12, written from Ephesus a few months before).


35 “I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the

weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more

blessed to give than to receive.”  In all things I gave you an example for I have

showed you all things, Authorized Version; help for support, Authorized Version;

He Himself for He, A.V. In all things (πάντα - panta for κατὰ πάντα – kata panta ,

1.q. πάντως – pantos - ); altogether, in all respects. Gave you an example. The

common use of ὑποδείκνυμι – hupodeiknumi - is, as rendered in the Authorized

Version, "to show," "to teach," as in ch. 9:16; Luke 6:47; and repeatedly in the

Septuagint.   But perhaps its force here is equivalent to the phrase in John 13:15,

ὑπόδειγμα γὰρ δωκα ὑμῖν – hupodigma gar doka humin, "I have given you an

example that ye should do as I have done to you," as the Revised Version takes it.

So laboring; viz. as ye have seen me do. To help the weak. Meyer, following

Bengel and others, understands this to mean the weak in faith," like ἀσθενής

asthenaes – weak in 1 Corinthians 9:22. They say that Paul's self-denial in refusing

the help he had a right to claim as an apostle, and supporting himself by his labor,

was a great argument to convince the weak in faith of his disinterestedness and of

the truth of his gospel, and so he recommends the elders of the Church to follow

his example. But the word here is ἀσθενούντων – asthenounton – one being infirm,

and ἀσθενεῖν – asthenein - and ἀσθενεία – astheneia - rather suggest the idea of

bodily weakness (Matthew 25:36;  10:8, etc.; Luke 5:15, etc.), and the words of

the Lord Jesus which follow suggest almsgiving to the needy. So that it is better

to understand the word of the weakly and poor, those unable to work for themselves.

Doubtless Paul, out of his scanty earnings, found something to give to the sick and

needy. The sentiment in our text is thus exactly analogous to the precept in

Ephesians  4:28, The very word there used, χερσίν – chersin –  hands, recalls

the αἱ χεῖρες αὕται – hai cheires autai – the these hands of v. 34. To remember

the words of the Lord Jesus. This is a solitary instance of a saying of our Lord's,

not recorded in the Gospels, being referred to in Scripture. There are many

alleged sayings of Christ recorded in apocryphal Gospels or in the writings of

Fathers as Papias and others (Routh, 'Reliq. Sac.,' 1:9, 10, 12), some of which

may be authentic; but this alone is warranted by Scripture. How it came to Paul's

knowledge, and that of the Ephesian elders to whom he seems to have taken for

granted that it was familiar, it is impossible to say. But it seems likely that, in those

very early days, some of the Lord's unwritten words may have floated in the

memory of men, and been preserved by word of mouth. Clement (1 Corinthians 2.)

seems to refer to the saying when he writes in praise of the former character of the

Corinthians, that they were then ἥδιον διδόντες η} λομβάνοντες. But he probably

had it from the Acts of the Apostles, as had the author of the 'Apostol. Constitut.'

(4. 3, 1). Similar apophthegms are quoted from heathen writers, as those cited by

Kuinoel: Δωρεῖσθαι καὶ διδόναι κρεῖττον η} λαμβάνειν (Artemidor., 'Onirocr.,' 4, 3);

Μᾶλλόν ἐστὶ τοῦ ἐλευθέρου τὸ διδόναι οι{ς δεῖ ἠ λαμβάνειν ὕθεν δεῖ (Arist.,

'Nieom.,' 4, 1), "It is more becoming to a free man to give to whom he ought to

give, than to receive from whom he ought to receive."



The Blessedness of Giving (v. 35)


We have no other record of these words as uttered by Christ. They must

have been treasured in the memory of the apostles, and have been often

mentioned by them, but never written down. There must be a great deal of

Christ’s teaching not preserved for us; but we may be assured that the

unrecorded was like the recorded, and we may gratefully receive what the

Divine Spirit has been pleased to preserve for us. (“And there are also

many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written

every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the

books that should be written.  Amen”  (John 21:25)  The truth of this

statement that it is “more blessed to give than to receive,” is affirmed and

illustrated by:


1. Paul’s own life.

2. Christ’s teaching.

3. Christ’s own life of giving.

4. All human experience.


One of the best things said by the late George Peabody is this, spoken at a

reunion at his native town: “It is sometimes hard for one who has devoted

the best part of his life to the accumulation of money to spend it for others;

but practice it, and keep on practicing it, and I assure you it comes to be a

pleasure.” It was a saying of Julius Caesar that no music was so charming

in his ears as the requests of his friends, and the supplications of those in

want of his assistance. Our Lord did not say that there was no blessedness

in receiving, only that it is more blessed to give. We may feel how true are

his words in relation to:


  • GIVING PRESENTS. These not only win and keep our friends, but

they greatly increase our love for them by finding it expression.


  • GIVING SYMPATHY. This so greatly blesses us, because we have to

fetch up the very best in us if we are to sympathize with sufferers and

sinners. We want our holiest power.


  • GIVING KNOWLEDGE. We cannot clear and complete our own

knowledge better than by making the effort to impart it to others.


  • GIVING LOVE. It is very precious to be loved, but it is surely more

precious to love, to give our love to another; it is so ennobling and

inspiring that we give our love to Christ.


  • GIVING PRAYERS. Intercessory prayers are the holiest kind, and the

most directly and abundantly fruitful in blessings to ourselves.


Let us bear in mind that the blessedness of giving we all can win. All of us can

give, and we all can give in the various possible ways of giving above referred

to. Those even that seem to have nothing yet can give, if a comprehensive

view of giving be taken. A poor widow who had only two mites could

give. (Mark 12:41-44)  Our Lord Himself, though He had nothing, could give.

Peter and John could say, “Silver and gold have we none, but such as we have

we give thee:  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  

(ch. 3:6)  There are better things to give away than money; and it is in such

things that we find the best blessedness of giving.



Paul at Miletus: The Review which Gratifies. 

vs. 17, 20, 27, 31, 33-35.


It has been truly said that our whole life is divisible into the past and the

future. The present is a mere point which separates the two. And there is a

certain time which must come, if it have not already arrived, when, instead

of finding our satisfaction in looking forward to the earthly good which we

are to partake of, we shall seek our comfort and our joy in looking back on

the path we have trodden and the results we have achieved. Ill indeed will

it be for those who will then have no future for which to hope, and no past

which they can survey with grateful pleasure. It was well with Paul, for

when he had to turn his eye backward on a ministry which had been

fulfilled, he could regard it with pure and devout gratification. That we

may stand in that enviable position in which he now stood, we must be able

to remember:



“From the first day that I came in into Asia… I have been with you at all

seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind” (vs. 18-19). The

man who spends his days in spiritual pride, or godless unconcern, or

arrogant infidelity, will, if not in the later years of this life, from the other

side of the grave, look back on his earthly course with bitterest shame, with

fearful pangs of remorse. He who in old age can survey an entire life

yielded, with a deep sense of dependence and obligation, to the living God

and the loving Savior will have a cheering ray to light up his shaded path.

Well may youthful lips take up the strain-


“‘Twill please us to look back to see

That our whole lives were thine.”


  • FIDELITY IN OUR SPECIAL SPHERE. Paul could feel that, as a

minister of Jesus Christ, he had done his work thoroughly, conscientiously,

faithfully, as in the eye of Christ Himself.


Ø      “I kept back nothing,… I have taught you publicly, and from

house to house” (v. 20);

Ø      “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God”

(v. 27);

“I ceased not to warn every one… with tears” (v. 31).


He had thrown the utmost energy of his soul into his work; he had wrought

good “with both hands earnestly.” Whatever our vocation may be, it will

be a sorry thing to have to recall to our memory duties hardly and

punctiliously discharged, just gone through decently and creditably;

still worse to have to remember duty left undone or miserably mismanaged.

Pleasant and gratifying, on the other hand, to feel that we went to our work

with agile step and eager spirit, went through it with conscientious care, and

threw into it our utmost strength. Heartiness and zest today mean a harvest

of refreshing memories for tomorrow.  (Ecclesiastes 9:10-12)


  • ENDURANCE OF TRIAL. Paul reflected that he had served the Lord

“with many tears and temptations [trials]” (v. 19). These trials unto tears

were hard to bear patiently at the hour of endurance, but it was a comfort

and satisfaction to his spirit afterwards to think that they had never

withdrawn him from his confidence in Christ or from his post of active

service. The secure and strong position of manhood is all the more

satisfactory for the yoke that was borne in youth; the quietude of age is the

more acceptable and enjoyable for the struggle or burden of middle life; the

rest and rejoicing of the future will be the sweeter and the keener for the

toils and. the troubles of this present time. The evils that have been left

behind, when taken meekly and acquiesced in nobly, materially enhance the

blessedness of the hour of freedom and felicity.



INCLUDES BENEFICENCE. (vs. 33-35.) It is not only that


Ø      we should pay the debts which we have formally and deliberately

incurred; but that


Ø      in a world where we are daily receiving the benefit of the toils and

sufferings of past ages and of our contemporaries, we are bound, in all

honesty, to do something in return — something by which our fellows and,

if possible, the future shall be enriched;


Ø      where self-support is not positively demanded, it may be wisely

rendered, in order (as with Paul) that there may be no reason for injurious

suspicion; and


Ø      we should strive to gain enough that we may spare something for the

strengthless and dependent — so laboring that we “may support the

weak,” and know the greater blessedness of giving, according to the Word

of our Lord:


o        “It is more blessed to give than receive.” (v. 35);

o        “Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor,

working with his hands the thing which is good, that he

may have to give to him that needeth.”  (Ephesians 4:28);

o        “But to do good and communicate forget not:  for with

such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16).




Paul at Miletus: The Greater Blessedness (v. 35)


We may well be thankful that this one word of the Lord Jesus, unrecorded

in the “fourfold biography,” has been preserved to us. It may be said to be

Divine indeed. It gives the heavenly aspect of human life. It is the exact and

perfect contravention of that which is low, worldly, evil. It breathes the air

of the upper kingdom. It puts into language the very spirit of Jesus Christ.

It is the life of the Savior in a sentence. To receive is quite on a low level.

Any one and anything can do that; and the further we go down in the scale,

the more we find recipiency common and supreme. The selfish man, the

spoiled child, the ravenous animal, — these are remarkable for receiving.

And although it may be said that there are truths which only the educated

and inspired mind can receive, that there are inducements which only noble

souls can receive, yet the act of receiving is one which is common to lower

natures, and is one which ordinarily requires only the humbler, if not indeed

the baser, faculties. To give is on the higher level;


  • IT IS ESSENTIALLY DIVINE. God lives to bless His universe. His

Name is Love; in other words, that which is His distinguishing

characteristic, underlying, interpenetrating, crowning all others, is His

disposition to bless, His Divine habit of giving. He then most truly

expresses His own nature, reveals His essential spirit, when He is giving

light, love, truth, joy, life, unto His children. When we give forth of

ourselves to others, we are living the life which is intrinsically Divine.


  • IT IS CHRIST-LIKE. He “went about doing good.”  (ch. 10:38)  He lived

to enlighten, to comfort, to bestow, to redeem. It was little indeed that He

received; it was simply everything that He gave to mankind.


  • IT IS ANGELIC. “Are they not all ministering spirits?”  (Hebrews 1:14)


  • IT IS HEROIC. By living to expend ourselves for others, we take our

stand with the best and noblest of our race. As the world grows wiser it

has a diminishing regard for those “great” men who signalized their career

by splendid surroundings, or by brilliant exploits, or by displays of

muscular or intellectual strength; it is learning to reserve its admiration and

its honor for those who generously spent their faculties and their

possessions on behalf of others. These are our heroes and our heroines

now; and they will be so more and more. If we would take our place —

though it be a humble one — with the best and worthiest of our kind, we

must be giving rather than receiving.


  • IT IS HUMAN, in the higher sense of the word. It may be human, as

sin has unmade man, to be coveting, grasping, enjoying. But it is human,

as God first made man, and as Jesus Christ is renewing him, to think of

others, to care for others, to strive and suffer for others, to give freely and

self-denyingly to those who are in need.


  • IT IS ELEVATING. To be constantly receiving is to be in danger of

becoming selfish, of making our own poor self the central object of regard,

of depending on continually fresh supplies for satisfaction; in a word, of

moral and spiritual degeneracy. But to be giving to be spending time,

thought, sympathy, strength, money, on behalf of others, — is to be

sowing in the soil of our souls the seeds of all that is sweetest and noblest;

is to be building up in ourselves a character which our Divine Lord will

delight to look upon. To receive is to be superficially and momentarily

happy; to give is to be inwardly and abidingly blessed. It is far more

blessed to give than to receive.



Matthew 25:31-46.)


36 “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,

38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see

his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.” The word which

he had spoken for the words which he spake, Authorized Version

behold for see, Authorized Version; brought him on his way for accompanied him,

A.V. Brought him on his way; προέπεμπον – proepempon – they send

forward, as ch. 15:3; 21:5.  So too I Corinthians 16:6,11; II Corinthians 1:16;

Titus 3:13 III John 1:6. But the rendering accompanied gives the meaning of the

two last passages in the Acts better than that of the Revised Version. It is

impossible to part with this most touching narrative, of such exquisite simplicity

and beauty, without a parting word of admiration and thankfulness to God for

having preserved to His Church this record of apostolic wisdom and faithfulness

on the one hand, and of loving devotion of the clergy to their great chief on the other.

As long as the stones of the Church are bound together by such strong mortar, it can

defy the attacks of its enemies from without.




  Mingled Fidelity and Tenderness: An Example for Christian Ministers

(vs. 17-36)


Perhaps there is no other place in which we have so much of the nature of

personal detail respecting Paul from his own lips. For the most part in his

Epistles, there is a singular abstinence on his part from personal references.

They seem to abound here. Without doubting their bare justification, we

desiderate some other and higher account of them. May not this be found

in a twofold consideration?


(1) that Paul has designedly and probably also of Divine design treated

Ephesus as the center from which the light and truth of Christ and the

typical order of His Church were to spread throughout a very wide district;



(2) that Paul is divinely directed here to leave a forcible and a touching

example to later generations. He examples the extent to which the fidelity

and love of apostles, and of all spiritual successors of apostles, ought to be

on the look out, and the limits within which also they ought to be

restrained, in respect of those portions of the Church over which men may

have had the leading oversight. The modern Church surely cries out for

admonition, in these very senses supplied by this long passage — whether

on the part of its members or of its ministers. The most sacred, most

responsible love on earth is too often regarded as a relationship that may be

lightly entered upon, and is treated as one that may be, not only lightly

broken, but when broken perfunctorily forgotten. The study of this passage

must help to inspire very different views. From this farewell address of

Paul to those whom he had specially invited to meet him, lest it should be

the last time, the chief impressions left on us are these.



spoken personal to himself, and all that is spoken personal to the Ephesian

elders, is spoken for the honor and glory and prospects of the gospel of

Christ. The “ministry... of testifying the gospel of the grace of God” is his

steadfast supreme thought. It appears in and through all.



ITS EXACT OPERATION UPON MEN. If it is his last exposition of the

saving message of his “ministry,” it shall be thus summarized and thus

repeated: “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus

Christ.” These two articles constitute the Christian magna charta. They

clear the past, they give the key for the future and for all its hope and

unfolding promise. “Repentance toward God” clears the very sky of human

life, and with a glorious sky indeed over vaults the heart itself. While “faith

toward our Lord Jesus Christ” will secure all else that can be wanted till

the time comes for faith to turn to sight.



SPIRITUAL LOVE. He is not the man to feel he has done his work, and

may leave all the rest. He feels he cant leave all the rest. Care and anxiety

for the morrow, not of earthly good and personal gain, possess him, but for

the morrow of the spiritual career and the very souls of those he had called

and testified to and led by his example at Ephesus. That a people see this

and feel this genuinely present in their spiritual teacher and pastor, is an

influence of great effect upon them. And there is another way in which it

acts to great advantage. As time flows on, and the hour of trial and

temptation and darkness may come, men are wonderfully helped when they

can recall the voice and look and earnestness of one who “told them of

these things before they came to pass.”




LABORED. Pride and priestly superciliousness never give expression to

this side of the question. That the priest’s eye is on the people is their

haughty doctrine, and the so genuinely true other side of the matter, that

the people’s eyes are on the priest, to which Paul gives here such humble

and kindly expression, is pushed into coldest shade by them. Without

doubt, we are justified in thus regarding all that Paul here says of himself

that might seem to be said in a self-commendatory style; there is in very

truth nothing of this in his spirit. He does but speak facts, and can say “ye

know” (vs. 18, 34) about them. If the elders of Ephesus do not know

them, or know them to be not as Paul says, he has courted contradiction,

not hidden himself away from it. Of what incalculable consequence

example ever is! Of what thrilling consequence it is in the career of the

Christian minister and pastor! What quiet rebuke it is, free from bitterness

of tongue! What choicest stimulus and suggestion it is, full of life and

movement as it is! The leading items of conduct and example, in which the

Ephesian elders had been able to take witness of Paul, are interesting to



Ø      They had witnessed a long stretch of time and variety of state and


Ø      They had witnessed an humility of mind that bended itself to

circumstances, and endured aright what caused tears not idle and jeopardy

of life many a time.

Ø      They had witnessed frankness of relations, plainness of speech,

constancy of ministry, in public and in private.

Ø      They had witnessed a three years’ continued impartial “warning of every

one night and day with tears.”

Ø      They had not witnessed any self-seeking, any desire of “silver, or gold,

or apparel.”

Ø      They had, on the contrary, witnessed their chief pastor at manual labor,

to supply his own temporal needs and to help his companions. And in

reminding the Ephesian elders of these things, Paul has enshrined for all

generations one of the sweetest words of Jesus, unrecorded elsewhere

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Yes; and whatever might

come to be, there was no doubt that Paul had, by all these uncontradicted

methods, become unspeakably endeared to those whom he now addresses.


  • PAUL’S USE OF APPEAL. Direct practical appeal is evidently one of

the recognized gospel forces. The preacher is not to forget it (vs. 28, 31).


  • PAUL’S FINAL RESORT TO PRAYER. The particularity with

which even this testimony of Paul to prayer is recorded is worthy of

remark, “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with

them all.” Prayer is the renunciation of self-confidence. Prayer is the

authorized summons for higher help. Prayer is the sure signal of the

approach of strength to weakness, continuance to uncertainty, and power

to prevail in place of the temptation by which men should fall.



This tenderness and highly moved state of soul is betokened at every turn.

If Paul speak of the relations that had subsisted between the Ephesians and

himself (vs. 18-20); if he speak of his own future (vs. 22-25) or allude

to his own past (vs. 31-35); if he introduce the names of the Lord Jesus

(vs. 24, 35), of the Holy Ghost, and the Church (v. 28), of God (v.32);

— the touch is of the tenderest, the tone is of the warmest, and

softest, the suggestion is sure to be of the most solemn and pathetic in

equal proportions. And in every one of these respects it must be maintained

that Paul is an example for all Christian teachers and pastors, for all time.

Whatever can be obtained by human instrumentality out of the mysterious

mass of humanity will be best obtained thus. No force, no authority, no

policy, will obtain souls. Nor will care, and love, and tenderness, and

foresight, and faithful “warning” keep all that they shall seem to obtain.

The “grievous wolves will enter in;” “men out of” that very number who

listened and wept, and were both wept and prayed over, “will arise,

speaking perverse things,” and, drawn away themselves, “they will draw

away others after them.” “Offences will come!” (Matthew 18:7; Luke 17:1)

But it is to be said that when Paul and the successors of Paul have done and

said what Paul now did and said, and something in the same manner, the

solemn damning “woe,” wherever it fall, will not fall on one of them.

They have saved their souls, and they are “pure from the blood of all men.”




The Charge (vs. 13-38)


The previous section brought before us Paul’s labors as a missionary

and an evangelist. The present section sets him before us as the Christian

bishop, delivering his solemn charge to the presbyters of the Church. The

qualities brought out in the charge are a transparent integrity of character;

a noble ingenuousness, which enables him to speak of himself without a

particle of vanity; and a resoluteness of purpose to do what is right, which

no persuasion could weaken and no dangers turn aside. And then, besides,

there is the most tender care for the Church of God. We see a mind full of

anxious thought for the future of the Church which he loved, and loved

doubly because he knew that Christ loved it and had died for it. We see a

prescience and a wisdom which looked at things as they really were, and

not as he wished them to be; which took a true measure of cause and

effect; and did all that could be done to provide an antidote to the coming

evils which he foresaw. Foreseeing the rise of heresies and false teachers,

and the rapid growth of false doctrine, which would make havoc among

the flock, he threw the whole vigor of his intellect, and the whole warmth

of his affection, into the address by which he hoped to raise up in the

clergy before him an effectual barrier against the destruction which he

feared. And certainly, if words have any effect; if the eloquent speech of

one whose life is still more eloquent than his tongue, can move the hearts

and stir the spirits of other men, albeit they be men of inferior mold, to

virtue and energy of holy action; if prayer and blessing, bursting forth from

the full heart of a chosen vessel of God’s grace, have any influence and

bear any fruit; — it must be that this eloquent charge, so simple, so

forcible, so pathetic, so plainly stamped with the image of Paul’s inner

man, wrought powerfully upon the minds of the Ephesian presbyters. His

words must have brought back the memory of his self-denying and

superhuman labors; and many a resolution must have sprung up in their

hearts to live for Christ, and to be steadfast unto death in defense of His

precious truth. And when they rose up from that parting prayer, with

streaming eyes and sobbing voice, surely they must have gone back to the

oversight of their flocks with a devotion such as they had never felt before.

So great is the influence of burning words, glowing with love and enforced

by example, when they proceed from one whose office and whose

character alike command reverence and respect. God grant that His Church

may ever be “ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors, through

Jesus Christ our Lord!”




Paul’s Farewell to the Elders of Ephesus (vs. 17-38)



(vs. 17-21.)


Ø      The spirit and conduct of the preacher himself; for this is inseparable

from the preaching (vs. 18-20). He had lived with his flock. His life had

been devoted to their service. He had entered the sphere of their life as the

loving sharer in their joys and sorrows. He had presented to them a pattern

of humility. He had borne them on his heart. He had been like a sower

going forth weeping, to bear the precious seed. The life of the true pastor

is a life of many tears — tears of self-doubt and weakness; tears of

compassion and sorrow over others, like those of Jeremiah over

Jerusalem’s fall, of Jesus over her deeper fall. But this sowing of tears

prepares for a harvest of joy. Suggestive was the word of Monica,

Augustine’s mother, “The child of so many tears cannot be lost.” Good is

verbal preaching; better the preaching of the life; and, perhaps, most

impressive of all, the preaching of suffering and self-sacrifice for the truth.


Ø      The matter of his preaching. Repentance: a universal necessity. It

includes knowledge of sin; remorse; desire for salvation. Repentance has

been described as a ladder of sorrow by which we descend into the depths

of the heart. Faith: this, on the other hand, the celestial ladder, by which

we rise to God and to eternity. It includes the knowledge of a Savior; joy

in the reception of Him; and firm confidence in His reconciling, sanctifying,

and blessing grace.


Ø      The self-devotion of the preacher. (vs. 22-35.) He should be cast in

the heroic mold — that of the hero of the cross. The voice of the

Almighty, “Upward and onward!” sounds in his ears evermore. He must be

ready at any moment to say “Good-bye” to dearest friends, and uproot

himself from fondest associations. Past battles have only trained his faith

and courage for greater struggles. This heroic word:


“Theirs not to make reply; Theirs but to do or die”


— was essentially the motto of the apostle. He must fulfill himself —

cannot rest till he has striven to the end in the “noble contest,” finished the

race, attained the goal. In the heat of coming storm and darkness kindles

the core of light; the Divine love has given all for him, and for it he will

give all in return. Extremes meet in this suffering but triumphant man;

bound by the irresistible command of his Lord, yet free in the joyous

obedience of love.




Ø      Exhortation to faithfulness. They are solemnly adjured to this by the

recollection of his own faithfulness to them. He is clear from responsibility

in their regard; for he has not shunned to declare to them “the whole

counsel of God.” His ministry has been, not merely general, but particular,

individual — to each man’s heart and conscience. He has discharged

himself of his burden; they must bear their own. To whom much has been

given, of them much will be required. The duty of the faithful shepherd

comprises two things — the feeding and tendance of the sheep, and the

defense of the flock against its foes. The great word is “Watch”— over

self, the spirit, teaching, and conversation; over the flock, — its Divine

constitution does not exempt it from human weakness; and against the

wolves, who would glide in, under false clothing, to ravage and devour.


Ø      Solemn commendatory prayer. I commend you to God — the best

conclusion of every sermon, of every period of Christian labor. Prayer is

the expression of evangelical love; it throws the arms of care and affection

around the flock when one’s own time of personal labor is past. It is the

expression of lowliness: after all we have done, the issue must be left to

God. He alone can turn the feeble service into a means of power, He alone

give the increase to human sowing and watering. It is the expression of

faith: there need be no fear on the part of the under-shepherd in leaving the

flock in the hands of the almighty Shepherd Himself. “God and the Word of

his grace:” in these lies ENDLESS POWER, God and truth: in times of

persecution or of unsettled belief, these forces go on upbuilding,

reclaiming, converting, finishing, and fitting souls for eternal glory. We

need not be anxious about the “reconstruction of theology;” God is ever

reconstructing the new out of the old; and fulfilling Himself in many ways.

Our constructions break; but in Him is the unbroken continuity of life itself.


Ø      Farewell reminder. Of his own example, and of all the lessons condensed

into it. He had not been a seeker of personal gain; not of “theirs, but of

them” (II Corinthians 12:14). A mirror for all pastors. Happy for them

if they can practically prove their disinterestedness by supporting

themselves independently of the “altar” (I Corinthians 9:13). But this

may not always be desirable. At least they can show that they do not

“preach to live” so much as “live to preach.” To give is more blessed than

to receive. God is the eternal Giver, forth-pouring Himself in natural and

spiritual bounty evermore. And the nearer we come to Him, the happier we

are. The more we take from God, the more we have to give; and again, the

more we give, the more we have. To impart is to obtain release from self,

from self-seeking, from the burden of superfluity. It is to reap love and.

thanks, provided always that in imparting anything we truly impart



Ø      The parting scene. It is of mingled joy and sorrow. There is the

bitterness of orphanage and desolation of John 16:16; but the

brightness of the hoped-for reunion. Reproaches of conscience at missed

opportunities, but yet the sense that “now is the accepted time and the day

of salvation.” The pain of disruption; but the consciousness of abiding in

Christ, and of the final recovery of all we have loved and lostIN HIM!


Sure Springs of Affection (vs. 37-38)


The great regard of the Ephesian elders to Paul was genuinely spoken in

their great regret as now manifested. Farewells have a pathos all their own,

and share it with nothing else. They legitimately exhibit what has been long

years, perhaps, as legitimately concealed. They are often acts of pardon,

and ought always to be such. They bring out better qualities than have been

seen before or even suspected of existing. And sometimes they are the

inauguration of a far higher love than all that had been, when love of the

personal presence is superseded by the love of souls. The farewells of an

average human life, could their added effect be calculated, would in many

instances be found to have constituted some of its most potent and its

highest influences. Notice some of the leading causes of the deep affection

recorded in this place.












BEEN STAMPED WITH USEFULNESS. The behavior of the sabbath

and even of the Lord’s day is far more easily taught than the behavior of all

life’s “common days,” and to teach this it is abundantly plain Paul did not





CONDESCENSION. (I Thessalonians 2:7-8.)



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