Acts 18:20
When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) When they desired him to tarry longer time with them.—This was, obviously, a hopeful sign, the earnest of the fruitful labours that followed. Nowhere, among the churches that he founded, does St. Paul seem to have found so great a receptivity for spiritual truth. While he looked on the Corinthians as being children requiring to be fed with milk (1Corinthians 3:2), he saw in the Ephesians those to whom he did not shun to declare “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), to whom he could, at a later date, appeal as able to measure his knowledge of the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 3:4).

18:18-23 While Paul found he laboured not in vain, he continued labouring. Our times are in God's hand; we purpose, but he disposes; therefore we must make all promises with submission to the will of God; not only if providence permits, but if God does not otherwise direct our motions. A very good refreshment it is to a faithful minister, to have for awhile the society of his brethren. Disciples are compassed about with infirmity; ministers must do what they can to strengthen them, by directing them to Christ, who is their Strength. Let us earnestly seek, in our several places, to promote the cause of Christ, forming plans that appear to us most proper, but relying on the Lord to bring them to pass if he sees good.And he came to Ephesus - See the notes on Revelation 2:1-5. This was a celebrated city in Ionia, in Asia Minor, about 40 miles south of Smyrna. It was chiefly famous for the Temple of Diana, usually reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world. Pliny styles this city the ornament of Asia. In the times of the Romans it was the metropolis of the province of Asia. This city is now under the dominion of the Turks, and is almost in a state of ruin. Dr. Chandler, in his Travels in Asia Mirror, says: "The inhabitants are a few Greek peasants, living in extreme wretchedness, dependence, and insensibility; the representatives of an illustrious people, and inhabiting the wreck of their greatness; some in the substructions of the glorious edifices which they raised; some beneath the vaults of the stadium, once the crowded scene of their diversions; and some in the sepulchres which received their ashes" (Travels, p. 131, Oxford, 1775). The Jews, according to Josephus, were very numerous in Ephesus, and had obtained the privilege of citizenship.

Left them there - That is, Aquila and Priscilla, Acts 18:24-26.

Reasoned with the Jews - See the notes on Acts 17:2.

20. when they desired him to tarry—The Jews seldom rose against the Gospel till the successful preaching of it stirred them up, and there was no time for that here. They desired; that is, Aquila and Priscilla, whom Paul would not yield unto.

He consented not; by God’s wonderful providence, which overrules all our inclinations; Paul having greater things to do and suffer for the glory of God elsewhere. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them,.... Either Aquila and Priscilla, whom he left here, for here they were, as is certain from

Acts 18:24,26 or rather the Jews with whom he reasoned, who might be desirous of further conference with him, upon the subject they had disputed about; either in order to gain more knowledge, or in hopes of baffling and confounding him:

he consented not; for a reason afterwards given.

{7} When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;

(7) The apostles were carried about not by the will of man, but by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 18:20. ἐπένευσεν: only here in N.T., but cf. 2Ma 4:10; 2Ma 11:15; 2Ma 14:20, frequent in classical Greek. St. Paul must have had some very pressing reason for refusing such an invitation from his own countrymen.20. And when they desired (asked) him to tarry a longer time with them] The oldest texts omit the last two words. The verb is one most frequently rendered “to ask.” We need not suppose that more impression had been produced on this occasion than made the Jews willing to give him a patient hearing.Acts 18:20. Ἐρωτώντων, when they desired him) It is not always that there is a Divine call present under the plausible invitation of men.Verse 20. - And when they asked for when they desired, A.V.; abide a for tarry, A.V.; time for time with them, A.V. He consented not; οὐκ ἐπένευσεν, only here in the New Testament, but found in Proverbs 26:20; 2 Macc. 4:10, etc., and frequently in medical writers; literally, to bend the head forward by the proper muscles (Hobart).
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