Acts 20:2
And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,
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(2) And when he had gone over those parts.—Here also we can fill up the outline of the narrative from the Epistles. We may take for granted that St. Paul would revisit the churches which he had himself founded at Thessalonica and Beræa, as well as at Philippi. The names in Acts 20:4 indicate that delegates were chosen, probably by his direction, for the great journey to Jerusalem, which he now began to contemplate. Romans 15:19 indicates a yet wider range of activity. He had taken the great Roman road across Macedonia, and going westward to the shores of the Adriatic, had preached the gospel in Illyricum, where as yet it had not been heard.

He came into Greece.—The word Hellas, or Greece, seems used as synonymous with Achaia, the southern province. This may have led to an unrecorded visit to Athens. It certainly brought him to Corinth and Cenchreæ. There, we may hope, he found all his hopes fulfilled. Gaius was there to receive him as a guest, and Erastus was still a faithful friend. There, if not before, he found Timotheus, and he had with him Jason of Thessalonica and Sosipater of Berœa (Romans 16:21-23). In one respect, however, he found a great change, and missed many friends. The decree of Claudius had either been revoked or was no longer acted on. Aquila and Priscilla had gone straight from Ephesus to Rome on hearing that they could do so with safety, and with them the many friends, male and female, most of them of the libertini class, whom he had known in Corinth, and whose names fill so large a space in Romans 16. The desire which he had felt before (Acts 19:21) to see Rome was naturally strengthened by their absence. His work in Greece was done, and he felt an impulse, not merely human, drawing him to the further west. A rapid journey to Jerusalem, a short visit there, to show how generous were the gifts which the Gentile Churches sent to the Churches of the Circumcision, and then the desire of his life might be gratified. To preach the gospel in Rome, to pass on from Rome to the Jews at Cordova and other cities in Spain (Romans 15:24-28),—that was what he now proposed to himself. How different a path was actually marked out for him the sequel of the story shows.

Acts 20:2. And when he had gone over those parts — Zealously pursuing everywhere the work in which he was engaged; and had given much exhortation — To the Christians whom he found there, or had exhorted them with much discourse; he came into Greece — That part of it which lay between Macedonia and Achaia. In going through Macedonia, the apostle had those outward fightings and inward fears, of which he speaks, 2 Corinthians 7:5. But, after great anxiety in his mind, he was at length comforted by the coming of Titus, who brought him a pleasing account of the state of affairs at Corinth. And in particular, what he said of their liberal disposition gave the apostle reason to glory in them, and to excite the Macedonians to imitate their generosity in assisting the contribution he was now raising for the poor Christians in Judea, which was one part of his business in this journey, 2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-14. The second epistle to the Corinthians was therefore written from Macedonia at this time, as these passages manifest, and was sent by Titus, who, on this occasion, returned to get the collection in still greater forwardness. This journey through the different towns of Macedonia, in which churches were established, of course took up several months; and no doubt many circumstances occurred, at most of these places, which made his presence with them for a while highly expedient. Perhaps also it was at this time that he preached the gospel on the confines of Illyricum, as mentioned, Romans 15:19.

20:1-6 Tumults or opposition may constrain a Christian to remove from his station or alter his purpose, but his work and his pleasure will be the same, wherever he goes. Paul thought it worth while to bestow five days in going to Troas, though it was but for seven days' stay there; but he knew, and so should we, how to redeem even journeying time, and to make it turn to some good account.Over those parts - The parts of country in and near Macedonia. He probably went to Macedonia by Troas, where he expected to find Titus 2 1 Corinthians 2:12; but, not finding him there, he went by himself to Philippi, Thessalonica, etc., and then returned to Greece proper.

Into Greece - Into Greece proper, of which Athens was the capital. While in Macedonia he had great anxiety and trouble, but was at length comforted by the coming of Titus, who brought him intelligence of the liberal disposition of the churches of Greece in regard to the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, 2 Corinthians 7:5-7. It is probable that the Second Epistle to the Corinthians was written during this time in Macedonia, and sent to them by Titus.

2. he came into Greece—or Achaia, in pursuance of the second part of his plan (Ac 19:21). Much exhortation; which after so great a stir and opposition against them, the disciples could not but stand in great need of, that they might not be offended at the cross of Christ: and also mingling consolations with his exhortations, as the word indifferently signifies, as the case would well bear, there being a special blessing promised unto such as are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, Matthew 5:10 1 Peter 3:14.

Came into Greece; Attica, in which province Athens was: otherwise Macedonia was in Greece largely taken.

And when he had gone over those parts,.... Of Macedonia, and the cities in it before mentioned;

and had given them much exhortation; to abide by the doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel, and to walk worthy of it in their lives and conversations; and this exhortation he was frequently giving, as often as he had opportunity, improving his time much this way, and continued long at it: and, having pursued it to a sufficient length,

he came into Greece; or Hellas; which, according to Ptolomy (e) and Solinus, (f), is properly true Greece; the former makes it to be the same with Achaia, where Corinth was; and the latter says it was in his time called Attica, where Athens was; so Pliny (g), who also says, that Thessaly was so called: this Hellas included Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly, Achaia, which is properly Greece, Peloponnesus, and the adjacent islands.

(e) Geograph. l. 3. c. 15. (f) Polyhist, c. 12. (g) Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 7.

And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them {a} much exhortation, he came into Greece,

(a) For after so great trouble, there was need of much exhortation.

Acts 20:2. διελθὼν δὲ, see above on Acts 13:6, “and when he had gone through,” in a missionary progress τὰ μέρη ἐκεῖνα, i.e., of Macedonia, the places where he had founded Churches, Thessalonica, Berœa, Philippi. From Romans 15:19 it would appear that his work continued some time, and that round about even unto Illyricum he fully preached the Gospel. On the connection of 2 Cor. with this part of Acts, see “II. Corinthians” (Robertson), Hastings’ B.D., i., pp. 493, 495; Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 286; and on the coincidence between Acts and Romans, l. c., see Paley, Horæ Paulinæ, ii., 4.—τὴν Ἑλλάδα, i.e., Achaia in its Roman sense (approximately at all events); the stay might have included a visit to Athens, but at all events Corinth was visited. A wider sense of the epithet “Greek” would comprise Macedonia also, and Macedonia and Achaia are thus spoken of in close connection as forming the Greek lands in Europe, cf. Acts 19:21, and Romans 15:26, 2 Corinthians 9:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:8, “Achaia” (Ramsay), Hastings’ B.D.

2. And when he had gone over those parts] Visiting specially, of course, the churches of Philippi, Thessalonica and Berœa, among which St Luke may have been left from the former visit, and have laboured to carry on the work which St Paul had begun. Some have judged this to be very probable, and that in this Macedonian residence St Luke’s Gospel may have been written. It was also, as it seems, at this time that St Paul made the journey into Illyricum alluded to in Romans 15:19.

and had given them much exhortation] We may form some idea of the topics which would be embraced by such exhortation, if we read the two Epistles to the Thessalonians which had been written to that Church since St Paul’s former visit to Macedonia. The most marked language in the first Epistle is against sorrowing immoderately for the dead. By the words of St Paul on this subject the Christian congregation had been much troubled concerning the nearness of the coming of the Son of Man, and the second letter is written to bring them to a calm and thoughtful mind. The Apostle’s much exhortation would be an echo of what he had said in his letters, “Watch and be sober,” “Abstain from every form of evil,” “Be at peace among yourselves.”

he came into Greece] There is nothing said of the places which St Paul visited in this journey, but as he was always anxious to strengthen any work which he had before begun we may feel sure that Athens and Corinth, on this account, as well as for their importance as centres of intellectual and commercial life, were the places in which he spent the greater part of his three months’ stay. In the latter Church especially there were many things to be set in order. He had already written to the Corinthians his two Epistles. In the first, sent from Ephesus, he had found it necessary to rebuke them for the party-spirit in the Church, some calling themselves by the name of Peter, some of Apollos and some of Paul himself, instead of finding true unity in Christ; he had also censured the disorders in the Eucharistic feast, had given his judgment on a notorious offender, and on many topics raised by the difficulties of a Christian Church rising up amid heathen surroundings. These matters, and the guidance into a right channel of the exercise of those special gifts of preaching and speaking with tongues with which God endowed the Church in Corinth, would give the Apostle little rest during his brief stay even if he bestowed his whole time on Corinth alone.

Acts 20:2. Ἐκεῖνα, those) parts of Macedonia.—λόγῳ πολλῷ, with much exhortation) Paul was especially abounding (overflowing with edifying speech; at this time, Acts 20:7; Acts 20:9; Acts 20:11; wherefore also he at that time wrote several epistles.—Ἑλλάδα, Greece) that part of Greece which was between Macedonia and Achaia.

Verse 2. - Through for over, A.V. When he had gone through (διελθών); see above, Acts 8:4, 40; Acts 10:38; Acts 13:6; Acts 18:23, note, etc.; Luke 9:6. Those parts; μέρη, a word especially used of geographical districts: τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας: τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος (Matthew 2:22; Matthew 15:21; see too Acts 2:10; Acts 19:1). Greece (Ἑλλάδα, not Ἀχαι'αν, as Acts 19:21; Acts 18:12, and elsewhere). Macedonia and Achaia are always coupled together (see Tacit., 'Ann..' 1:76). as in Romans 15:26; 1 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, written from Macedonia, it is always Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1, etc.). In fact, Ἑλλάς is found nowhere else in the New Testament, Achaia being the name of the Roman province. Bengel and others understand Hellas here of the country between Macedonia and the Peloponnesus, especially Attica; which would make it probable that St. Paul revisited Athens. But Meyer, Kuinoel, Alford, 'Speaker's Commentary,' etc., think it is synonymous with Achaia. There must, however, be some reason for this unusual use of Hellas instead of Achaia. None seems so likely as that it was meant to cover wider ground than Achaia would naturally indicate, namely Attica. Acts 20:2Greece

The Roman province of Achaia, comprehending Greece proper and the Peloponnesus. Luke uses Achaia (Acts 19:21) and Greece synonymously, as distinguished from Macedonia.

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