|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:17-27 The elders knew that Paul was no designing, self-seeking man. Those who would in any office serve the Lord acceptably, and profitably to others, must do it with humility. He was a plain preacher, one that spoke his message so as to be understood. He was a powerful preacher; he preached the gospel as a testimony to them if they received it; but as a testimony against them if they rejected it. He was a profitable preacher; one that aimed to inform their judgments, and reform their hearts and lives. He was a painful preacher, very industrious in his work. He was a faithful preacher; he did not keep back reproofs when necessary, nor keep back the preaching of the cross. He was a truly Christian, evangelical preacher; he did not preach notions or doubtful matters; nor affairs of state or the civil government; but he preached faith and repentance. A better summary of these things, without which there is no salvation, cannot be given: even repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, with their fruits and effects. Without these no sinner can escape, and with these none will come short of eternal life. Let them not think that Paul left Asia for fear of persecution; he was in full expectation of trouble, yet resolved to go on, well assured that it was by Divine direction. Thanks be to God that we know not the things which shall befall us during the year, the week, the day which has begun. It is enough for the child of God to know that his strength shall be equal to his day. He knows not, he would not know, what the day before him shall bring forth. The powerful influences of the Holy Spirit bind the true Christian to his duty. Even when he expects persecution and affliction, the love of Christ constrains him to proceed. None of these things moved Paul from his work; they did not deprive him of his comfort. It is the business of our life to provide for a joyful death. Believing that this was the last time they should see him, he appeals concerning his integrity. He had preached to them the whole counsel of God. As he had preached to them the gospel purely, so he had preached it to them entire; he faithfully did his work, whether men would bear or forbear.
Verse 25. - Went about for have gone, A.V.; kingdom for kingdom of God, A.V. and T.R. I know that ye all, etc. It is a very perplexing question whether St. 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 St. Luke's narrative, prior to St. 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 St. Paul's imprisonment at Rome. But this involves the supposition that St. Paul returned to Ephesus after his release from his Roman imprisonment (1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:15, 18; 2 Timothy 4:9-14, 19; Titus 1:5), and consequently that St. Paul's anticipation, that he was in Asia for the last lime, was not realized. The question is well discussed by Alford, in the 'Prolegomena to the Pastoral Epistles,' and in Paley's 'Horae Paulinae,' Acts 11. But it can hardly be said to be definitively settled (see above, note to ver. 15). Bengel thinks the explanation may be that most of those present were dead or dispersed when Paul returned some years later.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And now behold,.... This is not only a note of asseveration, but of attention, stirring up to observe what is here asserted:
I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more; the sense is, that none of them should ever see him again, none of the churches of Asia, or the members of them; among whom he had been some years preaching the Gospel, the things concerning the Messiah, his kingdom and glory, and the meetness of the saints for, and their right unto the heavenly inheritance, prepared by God, and given by him to all that love him: Beza's ancient copy reads, "the kingdom of Jesus": this the apostle knew by divine revelation, by the same spirit in which he was going bound to Jerusalem, though he knew not whether he should die there or elsewhere; however, he knew, and was persuaded, he should visit these parts no more.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25-27. I know that ye all … shall see my face no more—not an inspired prediction of what was certainly to be, but what the apostle, in his peculiar circumstances, fully expected. Whether, therefore, he ever did see them again, is a question to be decided purely on its own evidence.
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