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Acts Twenty

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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.

Acts 20:2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,

Acts 20:3 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.

Acts 20:4 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.

Acts 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.

Acts 20:6 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.

Acts 20:7 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.

first day of the week. This is the first mention of the disciples meeting on the first day of the week, but this seems to have soon become a regular practice (see 1 Corinthians 16:2). For a considerable time, as long as he was welcome, Paul (presumably the others also) continued to meet and preach in the synagogues on the Sabbath day. However, as Jewish opposition became more virulent, this soon became impracticable. The last reference to this practice of meeting each sabbath day with the Jews in the synagogue is in reference to Ephesus (Acts 19:8). Paul was finally forced to move this synagogue next door to the school of Tyrannus (an odd name for a schoolmaster, unless it was a nickname given him by his students), where he preached every day. It seems likely that, during the period while the Jews and Christians would meet together each Sabbath day, the Christians would then want to meet by themselves the next day for fellowship and study (although there is no specific reference teaching this). However, this would normally be a workday, so they would probably have to wait until early evening to do so. This practice of meeting on the evening of the first day with the other disciples presumably then continued after they could no longer worship in the synagogue. This would also explain why Paul was preaching at Troas until midnight and why Eutychus fell asleep (Acts 20:9). The first day of the week then eventually became known as “the Lord's day” (Revelation 1:10). By worshiping and resting on that day, the Christians were still keeping the sabbath (“sabbath” means “rest,” not “seventh” or “Saturday”) and also honoring the Lord Jesus, who rose from the dead on the first day of the week. He is both Creator and Redeemer, and now that He has completed both great works (Genesis 2:1-3; John 19:30), it is appropriate that we remember both together this way.

Acts 20:8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

Acts 20:9 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.

Acts 20:10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.

Acts 20:11 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.

Acts 20:12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

young man alive. Only one other example of miraculous restoration to life through an apostle is cited, that of Tabitha through Peter (Acts 9:41). This is the last such instance recorded in Scripture before the second coming of Christ.

Acts 20:13 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.

Acts 20:14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.

Acts 20:15 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.

Acts 20:16 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.

Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Acts 20:18 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,

Acts 20:19 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:

Acts 20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Both repentance and faith were essential components of the message of Paul to non-Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles, and so should they be of our witness today. Repentance toward God and faith in Christ are like two sides of the same coin. They are distinct, yet neither true repentance nor true faith exists without the other.

Acts 20:22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Acts 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

Acts 20:24 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.

Acts 20:25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

Acts 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

pure from the blood. Paul is probably referring here to the principle in Ezekiel 3:17-21.

Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

counsel of God. Jesus had commissioned the apostles to teach the disciples to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20), and Paul endeavored to do just that in all the churches for which he felt responsible. It is important that each church, especially its leaders, seek to teach its members the whole Word of God, not to concentrate on a few pet doctrines.

Acts 20:28 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.

overseers. The word “overseers” is the same as “bishops.” Since these men were the “elders of the church” (Acts 20:17), it follows that the offices of “elder” and “bishop” were the same in the early church. In the Greek, “elder” is presbuteros (from which, of course, we get our ecclesiastical term “presbyter”) and “bishop” is episkopos (from which “episcopal” is derived), meaning simply “overseer.” The two terms are again equated in Titus 1:5, 7. The word “pastor” is the same as “shepherd” (Greek poimen), and the elders (or bishops) have the duty of “feeding” the “flock” for which they are responsible. See also 1 Peter 5:1-5.

Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

your own selves. It is sad indeed that the ordained leaders of the church throughout church history have all too often been responsible for leading the flock astray after some “wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14), instead of feeding the flock with the whole counsel of God.

Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Acts 20:32 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.

Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.

Acts 20:34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

Acts 20:35 I have showed you all things, how that so labouring 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.

how he said. This particular statement is not recorded in any of the four gospels, though it is certainly consistent with the teachings and actions of Christ (note, e.g., Luke 14:12). Probably Paul had learned of this statement directly by way of his contacts with Peter or one of the other apostles. In any case, its inclusion in Scripture marks it as of divine truth and authority.

Acts 20:36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

Acts 20:37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,

Acts 20:38 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.