Acts 20:30
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
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(30) Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things.—The Pastoral Epistles, 2 Peter and Jude, supply but too abundant evidence of the clearness of the Apostle’s prevision. Hymenæus and Alexander and Philetus, saying that the resurrection was past already (1Timothy 1:20; 2Timothy 2:17); evil men and seducers becoming worse and worse (2Timothy 3:13); resisting the faith, as Jannes and Jambres had resisted Moses (2Timothy 3:8); false prophets, bringing in damnable heresies and denying the Lord that bought them (2Peter 2:1); these were part of the rank aftergrowth of the apostolic age, of which St. Paul saw even now the germs. It adds to the pathos of this parting to think that men such as Hymenæus and Philetus may have been actually present, listening to the Apostle’s warnings, and warned by him in vain.

To draw away disciples after them.—Better, to draw away the disciples—those who had previously been disciples of Christ and His Apostles. This was at once the motive and the result of the work of the false teachers. The note of heresy was that it was essentially self-asserting and schismatical.

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.Also of your own selves - From your own church; from those who profess to. be Christians.

Speaking perverse things - Crooked, perverted, distracting doctrines διεστραμμένα diestrammena. Compare the notes on Acts 13:10. They would proclaim doctrines tending to distract and divide the church. The most dangerous enemies which the church has had have been nurtured in its own bosom, and have consisted of those who have perverted the true doctrines of the gospel. Among the Ephesians, as among the 1 Corinthians 1 1 Corinthians 1:11-13, there might be parties formed; there might be people influenced by ambition, like Diotrephes 3 John 1:9, or like Phygellus or Hermogenes 2 Timothy 1:15, or like Hymeneus and Alexander, 1 Timothy 1:20. Men under the influence of ambition, or from the love of power or popularity, form parties in the church, produce divisions and distractions, and greatly retard its internal prosperity, and mar its peace. The church of Christ would have little to fear from external enemies if it nurtured no foes in its own bosom; and all the power of persecutors is not so much to be dreaded as the plans, the parties, the strifes, the heart burnings, and the contentions which are produced by those who love and seek power, among the professed friends of Christ.

29, 30. after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you—Two classes of coming enemies are here announced, the one more external to themselves, the other bred in the bosom of their own community; both were to be teachers, but the one, "grievous wolves," not sparing, that is, making a prey of the flock; the other (Ac 20:30), simply sectarian "perverters" of the truth, with the view of drawing a party after them. Perhaps the one pointed to that subtle poison of Oriental Gnosticism which we know to have very early infected the Asiatic churches; the other to such Judaizing tendencies as we know to have troubled nearly all the early churches. See the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, and Timothy, also those to the seven churches of Asia (Re 2:1-3:22). But watchfulness against all that tends to injure and corrupt the Church is the duty of its pastors in every age. Of your own selves shall men arise; whilst Paul yet lived, and was only departed from that place. Several seducers may be reckoned up, as Nicolas the deacon, (from whom it is thought the sect of the Nicolaitanes came, Revelation 2:6), Hymenaeus, Alexander, Phygellus, and Hermogenes, 1 Timothy 1:20 2 Timothy 1:15.

Speaking perverse things; perverting Scripture; establishing their false doctrines by Scripture, which they wrest to their purpose.

To draw away disciples; as members are forcibly plucked from their body; which speak the cruelty and violence of these heretics, and the tenderness of the church towards her members, being loth to part from them.

After them; thus false teachers gain indeed disciples to themselves, but not unto the Lord. Also of your own selves shall men arise,.... Not only false teachers from abroad should come and enter among them, but some would spring up out of their own communities, such as had been admitted members of them, and of whom they had hoped well; such were Hymenseus, Philetus, Alexander, Hertoogenes, and Phygellus;

speaking perverse things; concerning God, and Christ, and the Gospel; distorted things, wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction, and that of others; things that are disagreeable to the word of God, and pernicious to the souls of men:

to draw away disciples after them; to rend away members from the churches, make schisms and divisions, form parties, set themselves at the head of them, and establish new sects, called after their own names; see 1 John 2:19.

Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to {k} draw away disciples after them.

(k) This is great misery, to want the presence of such a shepherd, but it is a greater misery to have wolves enter in.

Acts 20:30. καὶ ἐξ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν αὐτῶς: αὐτῶν adds emphasis, “from your own selves”. The Pastoral Epistles afford abundant evidence of the fulfilment of the words, cf. 1 Timothy 1:20, 2 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:8; 2 Timothy 3:13. To some extent the Apostolic warning was effectual at all events in Ephesus itself, cf. Revelation 2:2; Ignat., Ephes., vi., 2.—ἀναστήσονται: common word in Acts, see on Acts 20:17, used here perhaps as in Acts 5:36.—διεστραμμένα, cf. LXX, Deuteronomy 32:5. The verb is found twice in Luke 9:41 (Matthew 17:17), Acts 23:2, three times in Acts 13:8; Acts 13:10, and once again by St. Paul, Php 2:15, in a similar sense, cf. Arist., Pol., iii., 16, 5, viii., 7, 7; Arrian, Epict., iii., 6, 8.—ἀποσπᾷν τοὺς μαθητὰς: “the disciples,” R.V. with art[344] meaning that they would try and draw away those that were already Christians, μαθ. always so used in Acts. ἀποσ. to tear away from that to which one is already attached; used by St.Matthew 26:51, and elsewhere only by St.Luke 22:41, Acts 21:1; compare with the genitive of purpose after ἀνίστημι, 2 Chronicles 20:23.—ὀπίσω αὑτῶν, “after themselves,” cf. Acts 5:37, not after Christ, Matthew 4:19.

[344] grammatical article.30. Also of your own selves, &c.] Better (with Rev. Ver.) “And from among your own selves.” This gives an idea of the greater nearness of the apostasy which the Apostle predicts. Not some who may come of those to whom he speaks, but even out of the present existing Christian body. We know from St Paul’s own experience that he had learnt how out of the professedly Christian body some would go back like Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) through love of this world’s good things, and some would err concerning the truth, like Hymenæus and Philetus, and that their word would eat like a canker, and they would overthrow the faith of some. These are the speakers of perverse things, things which should twist even the Apostle’s own words into a wrong sense.

shall men arise … draw away disciples after them] Better, “the disciples,” i.e. other members of the Christian body. It is not that these men will desire and endeavour to gain disciples, but they will do their best, after their own falling-away, to drag others likewise from the true faith. This is expressed also by the verb which implies the tearing away from that to which they are already attached, and this more literal translation of the verb expresses the labour and exertion which these false teachers will spend to achieve their object.Acts 20:30. Ἀποσπᾷν) to draw away, from their simplicity towards Christ, and from the unity of the body. This is the characteristic of a false teacher, to wish that the disciples should depend (hang) on himself alone.Verse 30. - And from among for also of, A.V.; the disciples for disciples, A.V. From among your own selves; as opposed to the strangers from Judaea in the preceding verse. So 2 Timothy 4:3, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (see, as instances, 2 Timothy 2:17, 18; 2 Timothy 4:14). Speaking perverse things. So 2 Timothy 4:4, "They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." To draw away the disciples, etc.; i.e. to induce Christians to leave the communion and doctrine of the Church, and join their heresy. The A.V., "to draw away disciples," is manifestly wrong; τοὺς μαθητὰς are Christ's disciples. For the general statement, see 2 Timothy 3:6, "They which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women;" and comp. Romans 16:17, 18, which, according to Renan, was addressed to the Ephesians. For the rise of false teachers in Asia, see 1 Timothy 1:3, 20; 1 Timothy 4:1-7; 1 Timothy 6:20, 21; 2 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 2:26; 1 John 4:1, 3, 5; and through the whole Epistle; Revelation 2:1-7.
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