|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:28-38 If the Holy Ghost has made ministers overseers of the flock, that is, shepherds, they must be true to their trust. Let them consider their Master's concern for the flock committed to their charge. It is the church He has purchased with his own blood. The blood was his as Man; yet so close is the union between the Divine and human nature, that it is there called the blood of God, for it was the blood of Him who is God. This put such dignity and worth into it, as to ransom believers from all evil, and purchase all good. Paul spake about their souls with affection and concern. They were full of care what would become of them. Paul directs them to look up to God with faith, and commends them to the word of God's grace, not only as the foundation of their hope and the fountain of their joy, but as the rule of their walking. The most advanced Christians are capable of growing, and will find the word of grace help their growth. As those cannot be welcome guests to the holy God who are unsanctified; so heaven would be no heaven to them; but to all who are born again, and on whom the image of God is renewed, it is sure, as almighty power and eternal truth make it so. He recommends himself to them as an example of not caring as to things of the present world; this they would find help forward their comfortable passage through it. It might seem a hard saying, therefore Paul adds to it a saying of their Master's, which he would have them always remember; It is more blessed to give than to receive: it seems they were words often used to his disciples. The opinion of the children of this world, is contrary to this; they are afraid of giving, unless in hope of getting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing that can be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent. It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receives from none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good. This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also. It is good for friends, when they part, to part with prayer. Those who exhort and pray for one another, may have many weeping seasons and painful separations, but they will meet before the throne of God, to part no more. It was a comfort to all, that the presence of Christ both went with him and stayed with them.
Verse 31. - Wherefore watch ye for therefore watch, A.V.; remembering for and remember, A.V.; admonish for warn, A.V. By the space of three years (τριετίαν). The word is only found here in the New Testament; but it is used in the LXX. of Isaiah 15:5 and 2 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 (Acts 19:8, 10, 19). Then there was an indefinite time described in Acts 19:22 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 (comp. John 10:3). Night and day. The night is mentioned first, in accordance with Hebrew usage (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, etc.; comp. the word νυχθήμερον in 2 Corinthians 11:25) St. 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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore watch,.... Meaning both over themselves, and the flock; to prevent, if possible, false teachers entering in, and to nip the buds of heresy and schism, as soon as they appear, and to preserve themselves, and the church, from being carried away with the error of the wicked.
And remember that by the space of three years; reckoning from his first coming to Ephesus, unto this time, that he now called at Miletus; see Acts 18:19 and
I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears; that is, he was constantly and continually cautioning them against false teachers, and their doctrines, in the most tender and affectionate manner; shedding tears at the thoughts of what mischief would be done, and how many souls would be ruined by them; which gives a lively idea of the apostle, and his ministry, of his affection, zeal, and diligence, very worthy of the imitation of all the preachers of the Gospel. Several copies, and all the Oriental versions, read, "everyone of you".
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
20:31 I ceased not to warn every one night and day - This was watching indeed! Who copies after this example?
Acts 20:31 Parallel Commentaries
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