Acts 21:18
And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
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(18) The day following Paul went in with us unto James . . .—Looking to Acts 20:16, it seems natural to infer that this was on or near the Day of Pentecost. The city would be crowded with pilgrims. The Church would be holding its solemn festival, not without memories of the great gifts of the Spirit, and prayers for their renewal. The Bishop of Jerusalem—to give him the title which, though apparently not then borne by him, expressed his functions, and was afterwards attached to his name—was there with the elders of the Church. St. Luke is careful to add that they were all there. On their part there was no reluctance to receive the Apostle of the Gentiles into full fellowship.

21:8-18 Paul had express warning of his troubles, that when they came, they might be no surprise or terror to him. The general notice given us, that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God, should be of the same use to us. Their weeping began to weaken and slacken his resolution Has not our Master told us to take up our cross? It was a trouble to him, that they should so earnestly press him to do that in which he could not gratify them without wronging his conscience. When we see trouble coming, it becomes us to say, not only, The will of the Lord must be done, and there is no remedy; but, Let the will of the Lord be done; for his will is his wisdom, and he doeth all according to the counsel of it. When a trouble is come, this must allay our griefs, that the will of the Lord is done; when we see it coming, this must silence our fears, that the will of the Lord shall be done; and we ought to say, Amen, let it be done. It is honourable to be an old disciple of Jesus Christ, to have been enabled by the grace of God to continue long in a course of duty, stedfast in the faith, growing more and more experienced, to a good old age. And with these old disciples one would choose to lodge; for the multitude of their years shall teach wisdom. Many brethren at Jerusalem received Paul gladly. We think, perhaps, that if we had him among us, we should gladly receive him; but we should not, if, having his doctrine, we do not gladly receive that.Unto James - James the Less. See the notes on Acts 15:13. He resided at Jerusalem. Compare Galatians 1:19. It is not improbable that he was the only one of the apostles then at Jerusalem; and there is reason to believe that the church at Jerusalem was left under his particular care. It was natural, therefore, that Paul and his companions should take an early opportunity to see him. James was the cousin of our Lord, and in Galatians 1:19 he is called the Lord's brother. On all accounts, therefore, he was entitled to, and would receive, particular respect from the early disciples. 18. Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present—to "report himself" formally to the acknowledged head of the church at Jerusalem, and his associates in office. See on [2084]Ac 15:13. Had any other of the apostles been in Jerusalem on that occasion, it could hardly fail to have been noted. James, one of the apostles, though some think that he was a kinsman of our Saviour’s, and at this time bishop of Jerusalem.

Elders; as in Acts 15:6,23, not so called for their age, but dignity or place in the church.

And the day following,.... After they were come into Jerusalem:

Paul went in with us to James; not the son of Zebedee and brother of John, for he was killed by Herod some years ago; but James the son of Alphaeus, and brother of our Lord, who presided over this church; it seems there were no other apostles now at Jerusalem, but they were all dispersed abroad that were living, preaching the Gospel in the several parts of the world: Paul took the first opportunity Of paying a visit to James, very likely at his own house, to give him an account of his success among the Gentiles, and to know the state of the church at Jerusalem, and confer with him about what might be most proper and serviceable to promote the interest of Christ; and he took with him those who had been companions with him in his travels, partly to show respect to James, and partly to be witnesses of what he should relate unto him:

and all the elders were present: by whom are meant, not the ancient private members of the church, but the ministers of the word in this church: who hearing of the coming of the apostle, and of his visit to James, assembled together to see him, and converse with him.

And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
Acts 21:18. τῇ ἐπιούσῃ, three times in “We” sections, twice in rest of Acts; nowhere else in N.T. (in Acts 7:26 with ἡμέρᾳ), Hawkins, u. s.σὺν ἡμῖν: the writer thus again claims to be an eyewitness of what passed; it may well have been the occasion for the reception of the alms collected from the Churches.—Ἰάκωβον: on the authoritative position of St. James as further shown here see Hort, Ecclesia, p. 105, and Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood, p. 147. Nothing is said of the Apostles, and they may have been absent from Jerusalem on missionary work, or at least the chief of them. They would scarcely have been included under the term πρεσβ. as Wendt supposes.

18. And the day following … James] This was the Church’s reception of the returned missionaries. Notice of their arrival would soon be given, and the authorities who were at the time resident in Jerusalem were gathered together. There was not any Apostle there or St Luke would hardly have failed to mention the fact, as he was one of those present. Paul took with him to this interview all who had shared in his labours, that their work, as well as his own might receive the recognition of the mother church of Christ. The James here mentioned is the same who appears recognised as the head of the congregation in Jerusalem (Acts 12:17, Acts 15:13). He was most probably one of our Lord’s brethren. See note on Acts 12:17.

and … present] These men, with James, formed the government of the Church, and were the persons to whom the Apostle would naturally desire to give an account of his labours. In the proceedings which follow, the narrative does not, as in the council at Jerusalem, represent James as taking the lead, or being spokesman; he is only mentioned as the person to whom the missionaries specially went. The advice given to St Paul is couched in the plural number, as if the elders had jointly tendered it.

And … saluted them] The verb is used both of the greetings at parting and arrival, and these in the East were of a much more formal character than is common in Western countries.

he declared particularly what things] More literally (with Rev. Ver.), “he rehearsed one by one the things which.” Such a narrative must have consumed a long time, though St Luke, having previously given a sketch of what the Apostle had done, omits any speech of St Paul here.

God … by his ministry] We cannot doubt, from what remains to us of St Paul’s writings, that this was the tone of all that he would say. God had been pleased to use him, and for His own glory had made St Paul’s weakness effective.

Acts 21:18. Ἐπιούσῃ, on the following day) without delay.—σὺν ἡμῖν, with us) so that the fact of our consent (accordance with him) might be certain: Galatians 1:2.

Verse 18. - Went in with us unto James. Nothing can mark more distinctly the position of James as Bishop of Jerusalem than this visit of Paul to him, and the finding him surrounded with all the elders of Jerusalem. It is a most distinct evidence of the apostolic origin of the episcopal office. Acts 21:18
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