Acts 28:30
And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
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(30) And Paul dwelt two whole years . . .—On the probable incidents of this period, see Excursus on the Later Years of St. Paul’s Life. The word translated “hired house” (the exact equivalent for the Latin meritorium, or conductum) means rather a lodging (as in Acts 28:23) or apartment, and does not imply that he occupied a whole house. The words that follow exactly describe his position. He was a prisoner, and therefore was not allowed to go out to preach in the synagogues, or the “churches” in the houses of this or that disciple, or the open places of the city, but his friends were allowed free access to him, and in this way there was probably a wider and more effectual opening for his personal influence than if he had spoken publicly, and so exposed himself to the risk of an organised antagonism. What seemed at first a hindrance to his work was so ordered, as he afterwards acknowledged, that it fell out “rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).





Acts 28:30 - Acts 28:31

So ends this book. It stops rather than ends. Many reasons might be suggested for closing here. Probably the simplest is the best, that nothing more is said for nothing more had yet been done. Probably the book was written during these two years. This abrupt close suggests several noteworthy thoughts.

I. The true theme of the book.

How convenient if Luke had told us a little more! But Paul’s history is unfinished, like Peter’s and John’s. This book’s treatment of all the Apostles teaches, as we have often had to remark, that Christ and His acts are its true subject.

We are wise if we learn the lesson of keeping all human teachers, even a Paul, in their inferior place, and if we say of each of them: ‘He was not the Light, but came that he might bear witness of the Light.’

II. God’s unexpected and unwelcome ways of fulfilling our desires, and His purposes.

It had long been Paul’s dream to ‘see Rome.’ How little he knew the steps by which his dream was to be fulfilled! He told the Ephesian elders that he was going up to Jerusalem under compulsion of the Spirit, and ‘not knowing the things that should befall him there,’ except that he was certain of ‘bonds and imprisonment.’ He did not know that these were God’s way of bringing him to Rome. Jewish fury, Roman statecraft and law-abidingness, two years of a prison, a stormy voyage, a shipwreck, led him to his long-wished-for goal. God uses even man’s malice and opposition to the Gospel to advance the progress of the Gospel. Men, like coral insects, build their little bit, all unaware of the whole of which it is a part, but the reef rises above the waves and ocean breaks against it in vain.

So we may gather lessons of submission, of patient acceptance of apparently adverse circumstances, and of quiet faith that He who ‘makes stormy winds to fulfil His word and flaming fires His ministers,’ will bend to the carrying out of His designs all things, be they seemingly friendly or hostile, and will realise our dreams, if in accordance with His will, even through events which seem to shatter them. Let us trust and be patient till we see the issues of events.

III. The world’s mistaken estimate of greatness.

Who was the greatest man in Rome at that hour? Not the Caesar but the poor Jewish prisoner. How astonished both would have been if they had been told the truth! The two kingdoms were, so to speak, set face to face in these two, their representatives, and neither of them knew his own relative importance. The Caesar was all unaware that, for all his legions and his power, he was but ‘a noise’; Paul was as unconscious that he was incomparably the most powerful of the influences that were then at work in the world. The haughty and stolid eyes of Romans saw in him nothing but a prisoner, sent up from a turbulent subject land on some obscure charge, a mere nobody. The crowds in forum and amphitheatre would have laughed at any one who had pointed to that humble ‘hired house,’ and said, ‘There lodges a man who bears a word that will shatter and remould the city, the Empire, the world.’

Let us have confidence in the greatness of the word, though the world may be deaf to its music and blind to its power, and let us never fear to ally ourselves with a cause which we know to be God’s, however it may be unpopular and made light of by the ‘leaders of opinion.’

IV. The true relation between the Church and the State.

‘None forbidding him’ marks a great step forward. Paul’s unhindered freedom of speech in Rome itself marks ‘the victory of the word, the apex of the Gospel.’ The neutral attitude of the imperial power was, indeed, broken by subsequent persecutions, but we may say that on the whole Rome let Christianity alone. That is the best service that the State can render to the Church. Anything more is help which encumbers and is harmful to the true spiritual power of the Gospel. The real requirement which it makes on the civil power is simply what the Greek philosopher asked of the king who was proffering his good offices, ‘Stand out of the sunshine!’

Acts 28:30-31. And Paul dwelt two whole years at Rome, in his own hired house — Before he was heard by Cesar, or his deputy, upon his appeal; and received all that came to him — Whether Jews or Gentiles. Preaching the kingdom of God — As established in the person of his beloved Son; and teaching those things which concerned the Lord Jesus — And the religion he had instituted in the world; with all confidence — All freedom of speech; no man forbidding him — Neither emperor, nor senate, nor magistrate, nor soldier, nor priest, nor people, though in a heathen city, devoted to idolatry, in the least hindering or forbidding him. It appears, from this passage, that the persecution against the Christians at Rome was not then begun: the Romans had not yet made any laws against the disciples of Jesus; for what is here related happened within the first ten years of the reign of Nero, before his cruelty against Christians broke out. Observe, reader, that Rome heathen of old was far less cruel, and much more courteous to the preachers of the gospel, than Rome antichristian has since been. Then an apostle might preach two years together, without molestation, in his own hired house, to all comers: but now a minister of God must there have no public or private place of meeting to worship God according to his word and will, without danger of an inquisition! As the apostle’s house was open to every comer, it is not to be doubted that many resorted to him daily; some out of curiosity to hear and see the chief of a sect which was now become so numerous, and was said to be endued with extraordinary powers, and others from an honest inclination seriously to inquire into the strange things which he spake concerning Jesus of Nazareth, and to examine the evidence which he offered in support of them. Now to all these the apostle willingly preached, bearing witness to Christ at Rome, even as formerly in Jerusalem. And though Luke has not mentioned it, Paul himself hath told us, that his testimony concerning Jesus was well received, and that he made many converts in Rome, among whom were some even of the emperor’s domestics, whose salutation he sent to the Php 4:22. Further, he says, that the brethren in Rome, encouraged by his example, perhaps also strengthened by the gift of the Spirit, which he imparted to them, according to his promise, (Romans 1:11,) preached the gospel more openly and boldly than they would otherwise have done, Php 1:14-15. Such was the victory of the word of God, and such progress had the gospel made by the end of these two years, in the parts of the world which lay west of Jerusalem, by the ministry of Paul among the Gentiles. How far eastward the other apostles had carried it, in the same time, history does not inform us. As Luke concludes his history with Paul’s abode at Rome before his journey into Spain, we may infer that he wrote both his gospel and the Acts while the apostle was still living, of whose actions he was himself an eye-witness, and by whom, it is very probable, this book was revised, as the ancients also say his gospel was. During this, his first confinement at Rome, the apostle wrote four epistles, which still remain; namely, one to the Ephesians, another to the Philippians, a third to the Colossians, and a fourth to Philemon: and after his release, he wrote his epistle to the Hebrews. In the epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Timothy joined Paul. But he is not mentioned in the inscription of the epistle to the Ephesians, though it was written about the same time with the others, and sent along with the epistle to the Colossians. From this circumstance we may infer, that the letters to the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon, were written a little before the letter to the Ephesians, and while Timothy was at Rome; but that after they were finished, and before the letter to the Ephesians was begun, he left the city to go to Philippi, agreeably to the apostle’s promise to the Philippians to send Timothy to them soon, (chap. Acts 2:19,) and to what he tells the Hebrews, that Timothy was actually sent away, chap. Acts 13:23. The letter to the Ephesians, being written soon after that to the Colossians, and while the matter, and form, and very expressions of that letter were fresh in the apostle’s mind, the two resemble each other so much, that they have been termed twin epistles, and throw light on each other. For which reason the apostle very properly ordered the Colossians to cause their epistle to be read in the church of the Laodiceans, to which it is supposed the Ephesians, agreeably to the directions given them by Tychicus, sent a copy of their epistle. If this conjecture be right, the epistle to the Ephesians is the letter from Laodicea, which the Colossians were ordered to read in their church, Colossians 4:16.

It must now be observed, that Paul, during his two years’ confinement at Rome, having preached the gospel with great success, and edified the churches of Greece and Asia by the divinely-inspired letters which he wrote during that period, was at length released, probably in the spring of A.D. 65, answering to the ninth year of Nero. Luke, indeed, has not directly mentioned Paul’s release; but by limiting his confinement to two years, he has intimated that he was then set at liberty. His confinement at Rome issued thus favourably through the goodness of his cause, and through the intercession of some powerful friends in Cesar’s family, who had embraced the Christian faith, and who were greatly interested in the fortune of one who was so strong a pillar of the new religion which they had espoused.

Some have questioned whether he ever returned into the east again, which yet, from Philemon 1:22, and Hebrews 13:23, he seems to have expected. Clemens Romanus (ad Corinthians epist, 1. cap. 5) expressly tells us, that he preached in the west, and that to its utmost bounds, which must at least include Spain, whither he intended to go, Romans 15:24-25. Theodoret adds, that he went to the islands of the sea, and numbers Gaul (that is, France) and Britain among the disciples of the tent-maker. But in what order he took these places, or how tong he remained in any of them, cannot be determined. We are told, however, that about A.D. 65, or 67, (for chronologers differs) he returned to Rome, where, some say he met with Peter, who was thrown into a prison, with other Christians, on pretence of being concerned in the burning of the city. Chrysostom tells us, that he here converted one of Nero’s concubines, which so incensed that cruel prince, that he put him to death; probably after an imprisonment, in which the second epistle to Timothy was written. How long Paul continued in prison, at this time, we know not; but from his being twice brought before the emperor, or his prefect, it may be presumed that he was imprisoned a year or more before he was condemned.

The danger to which Paul was exposed, by this second imprisonment, appeared so great to his assistants, that most of them fled from the city. Luke alone remained with him: and even he was so intimidated, that he durst not stand by him when he made his first answer, 2 Timothy 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:16. From this epistle we learn, also, that although the apostle’s assistants, terrified with the danger that threatened him, forsook him and fled, he was not altogether without consolation. For the brethren of Rome came to him privately, and ministered to him, as we learn from his salutation to Timothy, 2 Timothy 4:21. It is universally agreed, among all ancient writers, who mention his death, that he was beheaded at Aquæ Salviæ, three miles from Rome; for, being free of that city, he could not be crucified, as Peter was, according to the tradition of the Latin Church, on the very same day. It is said, and there is great reason to believe it, that this glorious confessor gave his head to the fatal stroke with the greatest cheerfulness, and also that he was buried in the Via Ostiensis, two miles from Rome, where Constantine the Great erected a church to his memory, A.D. 318, which was successively repaired and beautified by Theodosius the Great, and the Empress Placidia. But his most glorious monument remains in his immortal writings, which come next under our consideration: and the author of this work will esteem it one of the greatest honours which can be conferred upon him, and the most important service his pen can perform for the church of Christ, to be, in any measure, instrumental in illustrating them, and rendering them more edifying than they had been before to the reader.

28:23-31 Paul persuaded the Jews concerning Jesus. Some were wrought upon by the word, and others hardened; some received the light, and others shut their eyes against it. And the same has always been the effect of the gospel. Paul parted with them, observing that the Holy Ghost had well described their state. Let all that hear the gospel, and do not heed it, tremble at their doom; for who shall heal them, if God does not? The Jews had afterwards much reasoning among themselves. Many have great reasoning, who do not reason aright. They find fault with one another's opinions, yet will not yield to truth. Nor will men's reasoning among themselves convince them, without the grace of God to open their understandings. While we mourn on account of such despisers, we should rejoice that the salvation of God is sent to others, who will receive it; and if we are of that number, we should be thankful to Him who hath made us to differ. The apostle kept to his principle, to know and preach nothing but Christ and him crucified. Christians, when tempted from their main business, should bring themselves back with this question, What does this concern the Lord Jesus? What tendency has it to bring us to him, and to keep us walking in him? The apostle preached not himself, but Christ, and he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Though Paul was placed in a very narrow opportunity for being useful, he was not disturbed in it. Though it was not a wide door that was opened to him, yet no man was suffered to shut it; and to many it was an effectual door, so that there were saints even in Nero's household, Php 4:22. We learn also from Php 1:13, how God overruled Paul's imprisonment for the furtherance of the gospel. And not the residents at Rome only, but all the church of Christ, to the present day, and in the most remote corner of the globe, have abundant reason to bless God, that during the most mature period of his Christian life and experience, he was detained a prisoner. It was from his prison, probably chained hand to hand to the soldier who kept him, that the apostle wrote the epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Hebrews; epistles showing, perhaps more than any others, the Christian love with which his heart overflowed, and the Christian experience with which his soul was filled. The believer of the present time may have less of triumph, and less of heavenly joy, than the apostle, but every follower of the same Saviour, is equally sure of safety and peace at the last. Let us seek to live more and more in the love of the Saviour; to labour to glorify Him by every action of our lives; and we shall assuredly, by his strength, be among the number of those who now overcome our enemies; and by his free grace and mercy, be hereafter among the blessed company who shall sit with Him upon his throne, even as He also has overcome, and is sitting on his Father's throne, at God's right hand for evermore.Paul dwelt two whole years - Doubtless in the custody of the soldiers. Why he was not prosecuted before the emperor during this time is not known. It is evident, however Acts 28:21, that the Jews were not disposed to carry the case before Nero, and the matter, during this time, was suffered quietly to sleep. There is great probability that the Jews did not dare to prosecute him before the emperor. It is clear that they had never been in favor of the appeal to Rome, and that they had no hope of gaining their cause. Probably they might remember the former treatment of their people by the emperor (see the notes on Acts 18:2); they might remember that they were despised at the Roman capital, and not choose to encounter the scorn and indignation of the Roman court; and as there was no prosecution, Paul was suffered to live in quietness and safety. Lardner, however, supposed (vol. v. p. 528, 529, ed. 8vo, London, 1829) that the case of Paul was soon brought before Nero and decided, and that the method of confinement was ordered by the emperor himself. Lightfoot also supposes that Paul's "accusers, who had come from Judea to lay their charge against him, would be urgent to get their business despatched, that they might be returning to their own home again, and so would bring him to trial as soon as they could." But nothing certainly is known on the subject. It is evident, indeed, from 2 Timothy 4:16, that he was at some time arraigned before the emperor; but when it was, or what was the decision or why he was at last set at liberty, are all involved in impenetrable obscurity.

In his own hired house - In a house which he was permitted to hire and occupy as his own. Probably in this he was assisted by the kindness of his Roman friends.

And received all ... - Received all hospitably and kindly who came to him to listen to his instructions. It is evident from this that he was still a prisoner, and was not permitted to go at large.

30. in his own hired house—(See on [2149]Ac 28:23), yet still in custody, for he only "received all that came to him"; and it is not said that he went to the synagogue or anywhere else. Of what nation or quality soever they were, Paul preached salvation to them upon the gospel condition of faith and holiness; and in that imitated God and our Saviour, who refuse none that thus come unto him. And though Paul might have had greater security from trouble by the Jews if he would have desisted, yet a necessity was laid upon him, and a woe unto him if he did not preach the gospel, as 1 Corinthians 9:16, which may abundantly excuse and justify him.

And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house,.... In a house which he hired with his own money; in which his friends Luke, Aristarchus, and others, dwelt with him; where he was guarded by a soldier: whether at the expiration of these two years he was set at liberty, and for ten years afterwards travelled into Italy, France, and Spain, preaching the Gospel, as some think; or whether he then suffered martyrdom, is not certain; the latter is most probable:

and received all that came in unto him; there, as the Syriac version reads, that is, into his lodging, as the Ethiopic version expresses it; which is not to be understood of his hospitality, for it cannot be thought that he should provide food and lodging for all that came unto him; but that be admitted all that would to come and hear him, and freely preached the Gospel to them: it should seem by this, as well as by what is said Acts 28:23; that many of the Jews came into his lodging, and heard him expound, that it was a large house he had hired and dwelt in; and such an one Jerom (y) thinks it was, like that he supposes he would have Philemon provide for him, which he desires in his epistle to him, ; namely, a house in the most noted place in the city, for the conveniency of those that came to him; large enough to hold many; free from noise and disturbance; and not situated in a scandalous neighbourhood, nor near to shows and plays; and that the lodging should rather be on the floor than in an upper room: and such a house, with all the conditions that Jerom mentions, the Papists pretend to show at Rome to this day; where, as their tradition is, Luke composed, or however finished this his history; which, as the above writer observes (z), reaches to the two years of Paul's stay at Rome; that is, until the fourth year of Nero; from whence, adds he, we learn that in the same city this book was composed: and it is certain, that Luke was with him, when the apostle wrote his second epistle to Timothy from Rome, and when the time of his martyrdom seemed to himself to be at hand, 2 Timothy 4:7.

(y) Comment in Philemon v. 22. Tom. 9. fol. 116. I.((z) Catalog. Script. Eccl. sect. 17. fol. 91. C.

{17} And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

(17) The word of God cannot be bound.

Acts 28:30. ἔμεινε δὲ: Blass (so also Hackett, Lekebusch) makes the important remark that the aorist shows that Paul’s condition was changed after the two years, cf. ἐκάθισε, Acts 18:11 (see also Burton, pp. 19, 20). When, therefore, Luke wrote his history, the inference is that the Apostle had been liberated either from prison or by death. Blass indicates another change, viz., that he may have been removed into the prætorium, and that his trial was just coming on.—ἰδίῳ μισθ., see above on Acts 28:23. That the Apostle should have been able to hire a house at his own expense receives confirmation from the coincidence with Php 4:10; Php 4:14; Php 4:18; others have suggested (Wendt, 1899, Knabenbauer) that he may have gained the means of hiring it by his own work. See in this connection Rendel Harris, Four Lectures, etc., pp. 50, 51, and the extract from the Armenian Version of Ephrem’s Commentary on the Acts. It would seem that Ephrem imagined that the rent of the lodging was paid by the proceeds of the cloak and books (2 Timothy 4:13). Lightfoot, Philippians, p. 9, holds that ἰδίῳ certainly distinguishes the μίσθωμα here from the ξενία above, see his note, and Grimm-Thayer, in loco. It is quite true that μίσθωμα is not used in this sense of a hired house elsewhere (indeed it is used especially of the wages of hire in a bad sense, Deuteronomy 23:18, Micah 1:7, Ezekiel 16:31), but Lightfoot admits that it may be used here exceptionally as a translation of the Latin conductum, meaning here a suite of apartments only, not the whole house (Lewin), the Latin meritoria (sc. loca) seems to be used very much in this same double sense of μίσθωμα.—διετίαν ὅλην, cf. Acts 24:27, only in Luke, not in classical Greek, but in Philo (see also Grimm-Thayer, and Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 86), so too τριετίαν only in Luke; see on Acts 20:31 The two years were spent not only in preaching, but in writing, as we may fairly believe, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians.—ἀπεδέχετο, see above, Acts 15:4, Acts 21:7, apparently greater freedom than in Cæsarea, Acts 24:23; if it was not for the notice in Php 1:13; Php 1:17, we might almost suppose that the Apostle was liberated on security or on bail; cf. the account of the imprisonment of Agrippa I. in Rome; see p. 486.—πάντας: all, both Jews and Gentiles; not only the latter, as Bengel thought: “neminem excludebat Dei exemplo,” Grotius.—εἰσπορ., see on Acts 9:28, most frequent in Luke, Friedrich, p. 7; see critical note.

30. And Paul] The proper name is omitted in the oldest MSS., and this omission supports the rejection of Acts 28:29. It is only the insertion of that verse which rendered the word “Paul” here needful to the sense.

two whole years] Of these years we have no history, except such as we can gather from the four Epistles which were written from Rome during the time (see above on Acts 28:16). We know that from first to last the chain galled both his body and mind (Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; Php 1:13; Php 1:16; Colossians 4:18; Philem. Acts 28:1; Acts 28:9-10), and that his case was at times an object of much anxiety (Php 2:23-24). We also learn from the same letters that beside Luke and Aristarchus (Acts 27:27), he had also the fellowship, for some time at least, of Tychicus, who (Ephesians 6:21) was the bearer of his letter to Ephesus; of Timothy, whom (Php 1:1; Colossians 1:1; Philemon 1:1) he joins with himself in the greeting to the Churches of Philippi and Colossæ and also in that to Philemon. In the former of these Churches Timothy had been a fellow-labourer with the Apostle. Epaphroditus came with the Philippian contributions to the need of the imprisoned Apostle (Php 4:18). Onesimus found out St Paul when in flight from his master he made his way to Rome (Colossians 4:9; Philemon 1:10) Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, was also there, and another Jewish convert, Jesus, called Justus, of whom we only know that the Apostle considered him worthy to be called a fellow-worker unto the kingdom of God (Colossians 3:12). Epaphras, from the churches in Laodicea and Hierapolis, had come to visit Paul, and to bring him the greetings doubtless of the Christians there, and carry back some words of earnest counsel and advice from the Roman prisoner (Colossians 3:12). Last of all Demas was there, soon after to be mentioned as having forsaken the good way through love of this present world (Colossians 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:10). More than this and the few words in this verse we do not know of this first imprisonment.

in his own hired house] [R. V. dwelling] The means for such hiring were provided by the liberality of the Philippians and others, for the Apostle could no longer with his own hands minister even to his own wants.

all that came [R. V. went] in unto him] For the fulness of Gospel freedom had now been reached, and the word of God and the kingdom of God were open to all who sought unto them.

with all confidence, no man forbidding him] The word rendered “confidence” [R. V. “boldness”] implies that “freedom of speech” which was looked upon by the Athenians as the great mark of their liberty. For Englishmen there must arise the thought that perhaps from some of those Roman soldiers who heard Paul in his prison the message of the Gospel came first to our island.

The historian had now reached the end of his work, and does not even tell the manner of the Apostle’s release, though as he mentions the duration of the imprisonment, he must have known how he came to be liberated. But that concerned not the purpose of his record, and so he has no word more. “Victoria Verbi Dei. Paulus Romæ. Apex Evangelii. Actorum Finis” (Bengel).

Acts 28:30. Ἕμεινε δὲ, but Paul remained) whatever the Jews might think of his so doing.—διετίαν ὅλην) the very two years, after which had elapsed this book was written; having been published long before the martyrdom of Paul, and without doubt by the wish of Paul. Luke was with Paul also at the last time (in the prison at Rome just before Paul’s martyrdom), 2 Timothy 4:11. “Perhaps Luke was meditating a third book, in which he would repeat the acts of those two years: even as in Acts 1 he set forth some things which were not narrated in the last chapter of the Gospel.”—Estius.—πάντας, all) without distinction of nation.

Verse 30. - He abode for Paul dwelt, A.V. and T.R.; dwelling for house, A.V.; went for came. A.V. Two whole years. Διετία occurs also in Acts 24:27, and διετής in Matthew 2:16; τριετία in Acts 20:31. These forms are frequent in the LXX. His own hired dwelling; ἰδίῳ μισθώματι, only here. The word properly means "hire," the price paid for the use of anything, and then by metonymy "the thing which is hired." It occurs frequently in the LXX. in the sense of" hire" or" wages;" e.g. ties. 2:12; Deuteronomy 23:18, etc. This may be the ξενία spoken of in ver. 23, or he may have removed from thence into stone house more commodious for gathering Jews and Christians around him. Acts 28:30Hired house (μισθώματι)

Probably different from the ξενία, or lodging-place, where he resided for the first few days, perhaps as the guest of friends, though under custody, and where he received the Jews (Acts 28:23).

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