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The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 20

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1After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples; and after encouraging them and saying farewell, he left for Macedonia. 2When he had gone through those regions and had given the believers a Gk given them much encouragement, he came to Greece, 3where he stayed for three months. He was about to set sail for Syria when a plot was made against him by the Jews, and so he decided to return through Macedonia. 4He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, by Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, by Gaius from Derbe, and by Timothy, as well as by Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. 5They went ahead and were waiting for us in Troas; 6but we sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we joined them in Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

7On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight. 8There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. 9A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. 10But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. 12Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.

13We went ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul on board there; for he had made this arrangement, intending to go by land himself. 14When he met us in Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15We sailed from there, and on the following day we arrived opposite Chios. The next day we touched at Samos, and b Other ancient authorities add after remaining at Trogyllium the day after that we came to Miletus. 16For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia; he was eager to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

17From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. 18When they came to him, he said to them:

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. 20I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. 22And now, as a captive to the Spirit, a Or And now, bound in the spirit I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. 24But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God's grace.

25“And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. 26Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, 27for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God b Other ancient authorities read of the Lord that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. c Or with his own blood; Gk with the blood of his Own 29I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. 31Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears. 32And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. 33I coveted no one's silver or gold or clothing. 34You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. 35In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

36When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. 37There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship.

Notes:

a Gk given them

b Other ancient authorities add after remaining at Trogyllium

a Or And now, bound in the spirit

b Other ancient authorities read of the Lord

c Or with his own blood; Gk with the blood of his Own

Text Commentary view alone

20.1–6 : The last visit to Greece.

2 :

Through those regions, revisiting the churches of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Beroea (see 19.21 ).

3 :

Three months, at Corinth (see 2 Cor 12.14; 13.1 ; the problems evident in 2 Corinthians are passed over in silence). A plot … by the Jews, 9.24; 20.19; 23.12.

4 :

Paul's companions seem to be local representatives of churches that have contributed to the collection for Jerusalem organized by Paul (see 11.29n. ) who are traveling with him to deliver it (Rom 15.25–29; 1 Cor 16.3–4). Apart from 24.17 there is no hint of this major project of Paul's in Acts. Sopater, perhaps the Sosipater of Rom 16.21 . Aristarchus, 19.29; 27.2 (Col 4.10; Philem 24 ). A Gaius from Macedonia is mentioned in 19.29 , but Derbe is in the same region as Timothy's home (Lystra, see 16.1 ). Tychicus, Eph 6.21; Col 4.7; 2 Tim 4.12; Titus 3.12. Trophimus, 2 Tim 4.20 .

5 :

The “we” passages ( 16.10n. ) resume here at Philippi, the city where the previous passage ended ( 16.17 ).

6 :

Days of Unleavened Bread, 12.3 .

20.7–38 : The raising of Eutychus and the speech to the Ephesian elders.

7 :

The first day of the week, Sunday. Break bread, see 2.42n.; 27.36–37 .

9 :

Eutychus, a not uncommon name meaning “fortunate.” Three floors, a tenement‐style building is pictured.

10 :

An understated miraculous resurrection (cf. 14.19–20 ).

13 :

Assos, a port town on the coast, southwest of Troas, opposite the northern end of the island of Lesbos.

14 :

Mitylene, capital city of Lesbos.

15 :

Chios, an island south of Lesbos. Samos, an island southwest of Chios. Miletus, an important port on the western coast of Asia Minor at the mouth of the Meander. The “we” passages resume again at 21.1 .

16 :

Sail past Ephesus, while on route from Chios to Samos. Pentecost, see 2.1–41n.

17 :

Elders, 14.23n.

18–35 :

Paul's “farewell” address, the only speech in Acts explicitly addressed to Christians. It reviews Paul's accomplishments as depicted in Acts and looks forward to paint a picture of the church in Luke's day.

21 :

Paul's mission has been consistently portrayed as directed to both Jews and Greeks.

24–25 :

Finish my course … testify, a premonition of martyrdom (2 Tim 4.6 ).

27 :

Purpose of God, cf. 2.23; 4.28; 5.38–39; 13.36 .

28 :

Overseers (Gk “episkopoi”), used to designate officials in secular institutions; here it indicates those described as elders in v. 17 . Shepherd, an image for leadership both in the Hebrew Bible (Jer 3.15; 23.1–4; Ezek 34.1–24 ) and in the nonbiblical world that also appears in the New Testament (Jn 21.15–17; Eph 4.11 , “pastors”). At 1 Pet 5.1–4 elders are exhorted to “tend the flock of God.” With his own blood (note c), understanding Jesus as a representative of God. Elsewhere in Luke‐Acts, emphasis is placed on the resurrection, not the vicarious death of Christ.

29–30 :

Mt 7.15; Mk 13.22 ; the Pastoral epistles.

34 :

18.3; 1 Cor 9.1–18 .

35 :

A saying of Jesus not found in the Gospels.

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