Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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ACTS - Chapter 20

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Acts 20

Supplemental Commentary:

THE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS OF ST. PAUL  13, 1 -- 28, 31 (continued)

3.  Third Missionary Journey  18, 23 -- 21, 16 (continued)

20, 1-6:  Macedonia and Greece.  As the first person plural "we" is again introduced here, it is natural to suppose that St. Luke had remained at Philippi after the events of 16, 17 ff and had been employed there in guiding the church.

20, 7-16:  Troas.  St. Luke had just asserted that the boy was dead.  In embracing him St. Paul recalled him to life and after the miracle assured them that he was alive.    11.  Ate: of the Eucharist.  Had it been ordinary food, it would have been eaten before the celebration of the Eucharist according to the custom of that time.  13.  Perhaps the twenty-mile journey by land was quicker and permitted him to stay longer with the disciples at Troas.

20, 17-38:  Discourse at Miletus.  St. Paul speaks with personal feeling like a father to his children; this is the only example of a discourse to his disciples.  He recalls how strenuously he had worked among them and foresees danger for himself at Jerusalem (17-24); he warns them to have great care of their flock, especially guarding it against false teachers (25-31); and in farewell exhorts them to labor unselfishly as he had done, not only in teaching, but also in manual work so as to have the means for helping the poor and sick (32-35).

Confraternity Bible:

Macedonia and Greece  1 Now when the tumult had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples and encouraged them; then he took leave of them and started for Macedonia.  2 After travelling through those parts and giving them much encouragement, he came to Greece.  3 When he had spent three months there and was about to sail for Syria, a plot was laid against him by the Jews; so he resolved to return through Macedonia.  4 And there accompanied him Sopater of Beroea, the son of Pyrrhus; and of the Thessalonians, Aristrchus and Secundus, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and of the province of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.  5 These, having gone in advance, waited for us at Troas; 6 but we ourselves sailed from Philippi after the days of the Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined them at Troas, and there we stayed seven days.

Troas  7* And on the first day of the week, when we had met for the breaking of bread, Paul addressed them, as he was to leave the next morning, and he prolonged his address until midnight.  8 Now there were many lamps in the upper room where we had assembled.  9 And a young man named Eutychus, who was sitting at the window, was overcome with drowsiness and, as Paul addressed them at great length, he went fast asleep and fell down from the third story to the ground and was picked up dead.  10 Paul went down to him and laid himself upon him, and embracing him, said, "Do not be alarmed, life is still in him."  11 Then he went up and broke bread and ate, and having spoken to them a good while, even till daybreak, he departed.  12 And they took away the boy alive and were not a little comforted.

13 But we went on board the ship and sailed for Assos, intending to take Paul on board there.  That was the arrangement he had made, as he intended to travel there by land.  14 So when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene.  15 Sailing from there, we arrived on the following day off Chios; the next day we made Samos, and the day after we reached Miletus.  16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, lest he should be delayed in the province of Asia; for he was hastening to be in Jerusalem, if it were possible for him, by the day of Pentecost.

Discourse at Miletus  17 From Miletus, however, he sent to Ephesus for the presbyters of the church; 18 and when they had come to him and were assembled, he said to them: "You know in what manner I have lived with you all the time since the first day that I came into the province of Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and in trials that befell me because of the plots of the Jews; 20 how I have kept back nothing that was for your good, but have declared it to you and taught you in public and from house to house, 21 urging Jews and Gentiles to turn to God in repentance and to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.  22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, compelled by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there; 23 except that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me, saying that imprisonment and persecution are awaiting me.  24 But I fear none of these, nor do I count my life more precious than myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry that I have received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of the grace of God.

25 "And now, behold, I know that you all among whom I went about preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no longer.  26 Therefore I call you to witness this day that I am innocent of the blood of all; 27 for I have not shrunk from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.  28 Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops, to rule the Church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.  29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will get in among you, and will not spare the flock.  30 And from among your own selves men will rise speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.  31 Watch, therefore, and remember that for three years night and day I did not cease with tears to admonish every one of you.

32 "And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, who is able to build up and to give the inheritance among all the sanctified.  33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.  34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have provided for my needs and those of my companions.  35 In all things I have shown you that by so toiling you ought to help the weak and remember the word of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

36 Having said this, he knelt down and prayed with them all.  37 And there was much weeping among them all and they fell on Paul's neck and kissed him, 38 being grieved most of all that his saying that they would no longer see his face.  And they escorted him to the ship.


7: Sunday had replaced the Sabbath (Saturday) as the day of worship.  Breaking of bread: the Holy Eucharist, celebrated in the evening.