Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) That the parting of ministers and people is a most solemn event, and should be one of much tenderness and affection.
(2) the effect of true religion is to make the heart more tender; to make friendship more affectionate and sacred; and to unite more closely the bonds of love.
(3) ministers of the gospel should be prepared to leave their people with the same consciousness of fidelity and the same kindness and love which Paul evinced. They should live such lives as to be able to look back upon their whole ministry as pure and disinterested, and as having been employed in guarding the flock, and in making known to them the whole counsel of God. So parting, they may separate in peace; and so living and acting, they will be prepared to give up their account with joy, and not with grief. May God grant to every minister the spirit which Paul evinced at Ephesus, and enable each one, when called to leave his people by death or otherwise, to do it with the same consciousness of fidelity which Paul evinced when he left his people to see their face no more.
They accompanied him unto the ship; enjoying him as long and as far as they could, and expressing their last and utmost kindness unto him. Acts 20:25 it filled them with sorrow to part with him; but this was increased, and made almost intolerable by what he said,
that they should see his face no more: could they have hoped to have seen him again, it would have made their parting with him more easy; but to be told they should never see him more in this world, it cut them to the heart; which shows what a share the apostle had in their hearts and affections, and not without good reason: however, that they might have a sight of him as long as they could, they went along with him to see him take shipping, and to see the last of him.Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 20:38. ὀδυνώμενοι: common in Luke and Acts, only three times elsewhere in N.T., Luke 2:48; Luke 16:24-25.—θεωρεῖν, Lucan, cf. Acts 17:16; Acts 17:22, “to behold,” R.V., to gaze with reverence upon his face.—μέλλουσι, see above p. 157.—προέπεμπον δὲ αὐτὸν: “and they brought him on his way,” R.V., cf. Acts 15:3 (see note), Acts 21:5; the harbour was some little distance from the town.38. sorrowing … the words which he spake] More literally “the word which he had spoken” (Rev. Ver.).
that they should see, &c.] The word in the original is not that which the Apostle uses in Acts 20:25, when he says he shall not come again. So the Rev. Ver. has well given “behold.” The Greek expresses the earnest reverent gaze, with which we can fancy those who knew the Apostle and his work would look upon him. His presence filled not only the eye, but the mind, they contemplated all which the sight of him would recall.
And they accompanied him unto the ship] Rev. Ver. “And they brought him on his way, &c.” thus making the rendering of the verb here agree with the language of Acts 15:3 and Acts 21:5. They would not lose one look or one word before they were forced to do so. We can see from these words that the harbour was at some distance from the town of Miletus. See on Acts 20:15; Acts 20:17.Verse 38. - The word which he had spoken for the words which he spake, A.V.; behold for see, A.V.; brought him on his way for accompanied him, A.V. Brought him on his way; προέπεμπον, as Acts 15:3; Acts 21:5. So too 1 Corinthians 16:6, 11; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13 3John 6. But the rendering accompanied gives the meaning of the two last passages in the Acts better than that of the R.V. It is impossible to part with this most touching narrative, of such exquisite simplicity and beauty, without a parting word of admiration and thankfulness to God for having preserved to his Church this record of apostolic wisdom and faithfulness on the one hand, and of loving devotion of the clergy to their great chief on the other. As long as the stones of the Church are bound together by such strong mortar, it can defy the attacks of its enemies from without.
See on Luke 10:18. The word for steadfast, earnest contemplation suggests the interest and affection with which they looked upon his countenance for the last time.
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