And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.Acts 20:1. After the uproar, Paul called unto him the disciples — To comfort and encourage them; and departed — From Ephesus, after the long abode he had made there; to go into Macedonia — To visit the churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. This, however, does not necessarily imply his immediate departure: he may have remained in Ephesus and its neighbourhood some months after the riot, to comfort the disciples, and establish the churches of Asia, whose salutation he sent in the conclusion of his first letter to the Corinthians. Besides, from Paul’s own account, it appears that he remained in the neighbourhood of Ephesus, waiting for the coming of Titus from Corinth. But Titus not arriving within the time appointed him, the apostle became impatient, and went forward to Troas, in the hope of meeting with him there. But being disappointed in that expectation also, he passed over into Macedonia, where at length Titus came to him.
And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,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.
And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.Acts 20:3. And there — Namely, in Greece; he abode three months — Meeting, it seems, with business there as he often did in other places, which detained him longer than he expected. During this time, he received from the churches of Achaia the money which they had collected for the saints in Judea, agreeably to his direction to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 16:1-3. At this time also he wrote his epistle to the Romans, of whose affairs he had heard by Aquila and Priscilla. For, it plainly appears, that epistle was written before his imprisonment at Rome; and in it he speaks of a collection made by the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, with which he was hastening to Jerusalem, Romans 15:25-27; a circumstance which fixes it to this time. It appears, also, from Romans 16:21, that Timothy and Sosipater (or Sopater, one of the noble Bereans) were with him when that epistle was written, which agrees with verse four of this chapter, by which we find they both attended him into Asia. And when the Jews had laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he — Upon this account; purposed — Εγενετο γνωμη, the thought, or design, occurred, or he conceived the intention; to return through Macedonia — The fact seems to be, that having finished all his matters in Greece, he had proposed to sail directly into Syria. But the Jews, who had heard of the money he was carrying to Jerusalem; and who, besides, hated him as an enemy to their religion, lying in wait for him in Cenchrea, the eastern port of Corinth, where he was to embark, he changed his resolution. So that avoiding that port, which was about nine miles from Corinth, he returned by land, through Macedonia, in such time that he left Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and so began his voyage into Syria.
And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.Acts 20:4-6. And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea, &c. — The several persons mentioned in this verse are thought by some to have been joined with Paul as messengers of the churches, in carrying their contributions to the poor brethren at Jerusalem. We know but few particulars of most of them. Sopater is thought to be the same with Sosipater, mentioned by Paul as his kinsman, Romans 16:21. Aristarchus and Secundus are the Macedonians of whom he speaks, 2 Corinthians 9:4; and Gaius of Derbe, the person who, with Aristarchus, was hurried into the theatre at Ephesus during the riot; he was baptized by Paul at Corinth, 1 Corinthians 1:14; and entertained him as his host, while he abode there, Romans 16:23; and afterward John directs his third epistle to him. Of Timothy, see Acts 16:1, &c. Tychicus of Asia, was often sent on messages by Paul, 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12; and more than once is recommended by him to the churches, as a beloved brother, and fellow-servant in the Lord, whom he employed, not only to acquaint them with his own affairs, but that he might know their state, and comfort their hearts, Ephesians 6:21-22; Colossians 4:7-8. Trophimus, who was of Ephesus, appears to have been a Gentile convert, whom we find afterward with Paul at Jerusalem, Acts 21:29; and who attended him in other journeys, till he left him at Miletum sick, 2 Timothy 4:20. These two last, being distinguished here from Timothy and Gaius, who were of Lystra and Derbe, which lay in Asia Minor; and yet being said to be Asiatics, must have been so called, because they were natives of the proconsular Asia. These, going before, tarried for us at Troas — It appears from the construction of the original, that this refers not to all the persons mentioned in the preceding verse, but only to the two last named, Tychicus and Trophimus. And we sailed from Philippi —
Some time after the forementioned persons left us; (Luke was now with Paul again, as we learn from his manner of expressing himself;) after the days of unleavened bread — That is, after the passover week was ended; and came to Troas in five days — Paul, in his former progress, crossed over from Troas to Philippi in two days; where we abode seven days — Conversing with the Christians there. This Paul might choose to do so much the rather as he had declined such great views of service as were here opened to him, when he passed through it before, in his way to Macedonia. See 2 Corinthians 2:12-13.
These going before tarried for us at Troas.
And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.Acts 20:7-10. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples — As was usual with them on that day; came together — From different parts; to break bread — That is, to celebrate the Lord’s supper. It is well known the primitive Christians administered the eucharist every Lord’s day, and as that was the most solemn and appropriate, as well as the concluding act of their worship, it is no wonder that it should be mentioned as the end of their assembling. Paul preached unto them — With great fervency, being now to take his leave of them, and depart on the morrow — And his heart was so enlarged in love to his hearers, and concern for their salvation, that he continued his speech until midnight — Through uncommon fervour of spirit. And there were many lights — Or lamps; in the upper chamber where they were assembled — For, whatever the malice of their enemies might insinuate, the Christians held not their assemblies in darkness, but took all prudent precautions to avoid every circumstance that might incur censure, or even suspicion. And there sat in a window — Kept open to prevent heat, both from the lamps and the number of people; a young man, named Eutychus, who, having fallen into a deep sleep, as Paul was long preaching, fell down from the third loft — And no wonder, if, like the eastern windows, described by Chardin, this was very large, and even with the floor; and was taken up dead — Really and properly so; and (the whole assembly, doubtless, being thrown into disorder) Paul — Breaking off his discourse; went down and fell on him — It is observable, our Lord never used this gesture, but Elijah and Elisha did, as well as Paul; and embracing high — In his arms; said, Trouble not yourselves — Be not in any disorder about it; for his life is in him — He is come to life again. Paul, doubtless, restored him to life by a miracle. When he therefore was come up again — Into the chamber where the assembly met; (for, having composed and quieted their minds, he returned to his work;) and had broken bread — And conversed a considerable time; even till break of day, he departed — From Troas, without taking any rest at all. And they brought the young man alive — And well into the room; and were not a little comforted — At so happy an event; and the rather, as they might apprehend that some reproach would have been occasioned by his death, if he had not been so recovered, because it happened in a Christian assembly, which had been protracted so long beyond the usual bounds of time, on this extraordinary occasion. But, alas! how many of those that have allowed themselves to sleep under sermons, or, as it were, to dream awake, have perished for ever, with the neglected sound of the gospel in their ears; have slept the sleep of eternal death, and are fallen to rise no more!
And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.Acts 20:13-16. And we went before to ship — Namely, those that were to go with Paul; and sailed unto Assos — A city to the south of Troas; there intending to take in Paul — Who went thither on foot — The place being much nearer by land than by sea; and in order that, being alone for a while, he might employ himself in meditation and prayer, his public work allowing him little time for retirement and private devotion: or, perhaps, he might intend to call on some friends by the way. And when he met us — At Assos, according to his own appointment; we took him in, and came to Mitylene — The chief city of the island of Lesbos, about seven miles distant from the Asiatic coast; and came the next day over against Chios — The island so famous for producing some of the best Grecian wines. The day following they touched at Samos, and, making a short stay at Trogyllium, came the next day to Miletus — A city of Caria, south of Trogyllium. For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus — Which lay on the other side of the bay, without calling there; because he would not spend the time in Asia — Having now no time to spare; for he hasted to be at Jerusalem, by the day of pentecost — Knowing that a great concourse of people from all parts of Judea, and from distant provinces, would be there, as usual, (Acts 2:1-5,) to celebrate that festival, and that he should thus have an opportunity of testifying the gospel of the grace of God to many, both Jews and proselytes, and of thereby enlarging the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. Besides, the feast of pentecost had been rendered particularly famous among the Christians, by the extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit at that time.
And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.
And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.
For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.Acts 20:17. And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus — Though Paul’s concern to be at Jerusalem by the feast of pentecost, prevented his going in person to visit the Christians at Ephesus, yet, as he was now only about ten miles distant from that city, and was desirous to know the state of the church there, and to contribute all in his power to its prosperity, he called the elders of it to come to him, that he might receive from them such information as he wished to obtain, and might give them such instructions and admonitions as he judged to be needful, and calculated to encourage and excite them to zeal and diligence, in the execution of their important office. And, on this occasion, he spake to them one of the most pathetic and edifying discourses which was ever delivered to a company of ministers; a discourse which the sacred historian has accurately recorded, and which, like the precepts of Moses, deserves to be written on the door- posts of the houses of all ministers, that, in going out and in, they may have it continually in their view, and adjust their conduct by it, as in a looking- glass.
And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,Acts 20:18-19. And he said, Ye know, &c. — Happy is that minister who can thus appeal to the consciences of his hearers; from the first day that I came into Asia — From the first time of my appearing among you; after what manner I have been with you — How I have conducted myself toward God, toward you, and toward all men; at all seasons — Τον παντα χρονον, the whole time; every day and hour, in private and public; serving the Lord — Not only instructing men in the principles of divine truth, but in the whole tenor of my conduct serving the Lord Jesus Christ; seeking, not my own honour, interest, or pleasure, but his honour, the interest of his kingdom, and the pleasing of him; making his will my rule, and his glory my end, in all my actions; with all humility of mind — In all instances of condescension, modesty, and self-abasement; conscious that I am unworthy to be permitted to serve him, that he does me a great and undeserved honour to employ me in his service, and that my best services are utterly unworthy of his acceptance; and with many tears — Of tender affection and deep concern for your present and eternal salvation; and in sympathy with you under your trials and troubles. Though Paul’s acquaintance with them was of late standing, yet, so near did they lie to his heart, that he wept with them that wept, and mingled his tears with theirs upon every occasion; and temptations — Πειρασμων, trials; namely, of his faith, patience, and courage; such trials as, perhaps, were sometimes temptations to him, if not to desist from, yet to abate of his zeal and diligence in the work of the Lord; which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews — Who were still plotting some mischief or other against him. These three things, humility, tears, and trials, are the concomitants of the true and faithful service of Christ in the ministry of the gospel. The service itself is described more particularly in the two following verses. The humility here spoken of, he recommends to the Ephesians themselves, Ephesians 4:2. His tears are mentioned again, Acts 20:31; as also, 2 Corinthians 2:4, and Php 3:18. These passages laid together supply us with the genuine character of Paul. Holy tears, from those who seldom weep on account of natural occurrences, are no mean specimen of the efficacy, and proof of the truth of Christianity; yet joy is well consistent therewith, (Acts 20:24,) for the same person may be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.
Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,Acts 20:20-21. How I kept back nothing that was profitable — Nothing that was calculated to instruct, renew, or comfort you — to render you wise and good, holy and happy; Greek, ουδεν υπεστειλαμην των συμφεροντων, του μη αναγγειλαι υμιν και διδαξαι, I have withheld nothing, or none, of the things advantageous to you; that is, which could be of any service to your edification; so as not to declare to you the whole gospel of Christ, and teach you all its truths, duties, privileges, and blessings; publicly — In worshipping assemblies; and from house to house — As God gave me opportunity; inculcating, in visits and in private meetings, the same great doctrines which I declared in the synagogue and other places of concourse and resort. Testifying — In the most serious and solemn manner, and with the greatest earnestness and affection; both to the Jews and also to the Greeks — To all descriptions of persons, the great importance and absolute necessity of repentance toward God — To be evidenced by fruits worthy of repentance, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ — As the only Saviour of lost sinners, the infallible Teacher, prevalent Mediator, and righteous Governor of his church and people, and the final Judge of all mankind; a faith living, cordial, and powerful. Observe, reader, if the apostle had neglected thus to act, if he had not taught from house to house, as well as publicly, he would not have been pure from the blood of these people. Even he, though an apostle, could not discharge his duty by public preaching only; how much less can an ordinary pastor!
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:Acts 20:22-24. And behold I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem — Strongly impelled by the Spirit which intimates my duty to me in such a manner, that I can neither omit nor delay it. I am, therefore, fully resolved to proceed, being well assured that it is by a divine direction and influence that I am so, and not from any humour, fancy, or will of my own. Or, the expression may mean, “foreseeing by the Spirit that I shall be bound,” as it follows in the next verse. So Grotius and Whitby understand him. Not knowing — Particularly; the things that shall befall me there — What I shall suffer in that city, or what shall happen to me when I come thither; save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth — Namely, by other persons; (for it was God’s good pleasure to reveal these things to him, not immediately, but by the ministry of others;) in every city — Almost, through which I passed; saying — By the mouths of divinely-inspired prophets; that bonds and afflictions abide — Or await, me — This I know in the general, though the particulars of those sufferings I know not; such as, whence they shall spring, what shall be the occasion of them, what the circumstances, and to what degree they shall rise. These things God had not thought fit to reveal to him. Reader, it is for our good to be kept ignorant of future events, that we may be always waiting on God, and waiting for him. But none of these things more me — Greek, αλλ’ ουδενος λογον ποιουμαι, I make no account of any of those things; neither count I my life dear — Τιμιαν, precious; to myself — On such an occasion. It adds a great force to this, and all the other passages of Scripture, in which the apostles express their contempt of the world, that they were not uttered by persons like Seneca and Antoninus, who talked elegantly of despising the world in the full affluence of all its enjoyments; but by men who daily underwent the greatest calamities, and exposed their lives in proof of the truth of their assertions. So that I might finish my course — Of duty and of suffering, as a Christian and an apostle; with joy — Arising from the testimony of my own conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity I have had my conversation in the world; from evidences of my having pleased God, and been accounted faithful by him, and from a lively expectation of being approved of by him in the day of final accounts, and of enjoying felicity and glory with him for ever; and the ministry — The infinitely-important ministry; which I have received of the Lord Jesus — With which he has graciously intrusted me; to testify the gospel of the grace of God — To which grace, free and abundant as it is, I am myself obliged beyond all expression, and beyond all the returns I can ever make by any labour or sufferings I may undergo in its service.
Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.Acts 20:25-27. I know that ye all — Though you may have letters from me; shall see my face no more — He wisely observes this, that what follows might make the deeper impression. It is probable the apostle had received some particular revelation, that if he should ever return to these parts of Asia again, (as from Philem. Acts 20:22 it seems likely he might,) yet that he should not have an opportunity of calling at Ephesus, or of seeing the elders whom he now addressed. Wherefore — Seeing my ministry is at an end with you, it concerns both you and me to reflect on our past conduct respecting it; and I take you to record — Greek, μαρτυρομαι υμιν, I testify to you, and affirm, and I dare appeal to yourselves concerning it; that I am pure from the blood of all men — From the guilt of destroying men’s souls; if any of you, or of me people under your care, perish, it will not be through my default, having faithfully showed you and them the way of life, and earnestly persuaded you all to walk in it. See notes on Ezekiel 3:19-21. For I have not shunned — Declined, or omitted; to declare unto you all the counsel of God — Respecting your salvation; God’s purpose finally to save all that believe in Christ with their hearts unto righteousness; or, the whole doctrine of Christianity, relating to our redemption and salvation by Christ, and the way to eternal happiness through him; and this I have done in the most plain and faithful manner, whatever censure, contempt, or opposition I might incur by so doing.
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.Acts 20:28. Take heed therefore — I now devolve my care upon you; first, to yourselves — That you thoroughly understand all the doctrines, experience all the graces, enjoy all the blessing, and practise all the duties of genuine Christianity; and that you fully understand and faithfully execute every part of your important office. And to all the flock — That they may possess the same Christian knowledge and experience, may enjoy the same blessings, and perform the same duties; may be wise unto salvation, holy and useful; not living unto themselves, but unto him that died for them and rose again. Over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers — Greek, επισκοπους, bishops, or inspectors. It seems evident from every part of the New Testament, that there was no distinction, when the Acts and the Epistles were written, between elders, or presbyters, and bishops in the Christian Church. All the elders were bishops, inspectors, or overseers. Thus, (1 Peter 5:1-2,) The elders which are among you I exhort, feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof, Greek, επισκοπουντες, acting the part of bishops, or inspectors. It is probable, however, that when, in any city or district, the elders became numerous, it was found expedient to appoint some to take the oversight of the rest, and see that they did their duty. The apostle’s expression here, The Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, implies that no man, or number of men, can constitute an overseer, bishop, or any Christian minister. To do this is the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost; to feed the church of God — That is, the believing, loving, obedient, holy children of God, only such being true members of the church of Christ; which he hath purchased with his own blood — How precious is it then in his sight! Here the blood of Christ, the only begotten of the Father, is termed the blood of God; for it is the blood of the WORD, who was in the beginning with God, and was God, John 1:1.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.Acts 20:29-30. For I know this — As if he had said, Wonder not that I give you this charge in so strict a manner; for, besides the weighty reasons for it which I have already intimated, I know, that after my departure — From the churches in these parts, or my removal out of this life, notwithstanding all I have done to preserve discipline and truth among you; grievous wolves shall enter in — From without, that is, seducing teachers, who shall endeavour to make a prey of you, and, by introducing false and heretical doctrines, shall divide and scatter you, as wolves make a prey of, divide, and scatter the sheep. He seems to mean those Judaizing and false teachers, who, though they had before this time done much mischief at Corinth and elsewhere, had not yet got any footing at Ephesus; not sparing the flock — Having no mercy on them, but, with voracious eagerness, and overbearing violence, making terrible havoc of God’s church, out of a mean and wicked regard to their own private and secular interests. Also of your own selves — From within; shall men arise — Proud and factious men; speaking perverse things — Broaching false and pernicious tenets, which they will endeavour to establish by perverting the Scriptures; to draw away disciples after them — From the purity of the gospel, and the unity of the body; or to make a party for themselves, that shall admire, be led by them, and contribute to their support and exaltation. By these, distinguished from those termed grievous wolves, in the foregoing verse, the apostle may mean such as Phygellus, Hermogenes, Hymeneus, and Philetus: as also those that afterward introduced the Nicolaitan principles and practices, of which Christ complains as prevailing here, (Revelation 2:6,) as well as in the neighbouring city Pergamus, Revelation 2:14-15.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.Acts 20:31. Therefore watch — With all diligence and care; take heed yourselves, and warn others to take heed; and remember, that by the space of three years, (for so long had he been preaching at Ephesus and the parts adjacent,) I ceased not to warn every one — To whom I had access; night and day with tears — This was watching indeed! Who copies after this example? Let it then, as if he had said, be your care, that a church planted by me with so much labour and solicitude, may not be ravaged and overthrown by the enemy, but that it may long continue to flourish. Observe here, reader, 1st, Paul, like a faithful watchman, had warned them publicly, by preaching, and by the warnings he thus gave them was instrumental in prevailing with them to receive the truth and turn to God. 2d, He warned every one. Besides the public warnings he gave to all in general that attended his ministry, he applied himself to particular persons, according as he saw their case called for it. 3d, He was constant in giving warning; he warned them night and day, his time was filled up with this work. 4th, He was indefatigable in it, he ceased not to warn; though some might be obstinate and persist in sin, disregarding his warnings, yet he persevered, hoping, that at length, by the grace of God, they would be reformed. And though others might appear to comply with his warnings, yet still he did not desist, fearing lest, although they were now righteous, they should, through the power of temptation, be overcome in some unguarded hour, and turn from their righteousness, Ezekiel 3:18 to Ezekiel 21:5 th, He addressed them, whether in public or private, with a great deal of affection and concern; he warned them with tears, namely, with tears of compassion; thereby showing how much he was himself affected with the danger an misery of those who were in a sinful state and false way; or with tears of love and gratitude to God in behalf of those who were savingly converted to him and adorned his gospel.
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.Acts 20:32. And now, brethren — Since the providence of God is calling me away, and appointing me other scenes of labour or suffering; I commend you to God — To his watchful providence and grace, for guidance, protection, support, preservation, and the supply of all your wants, ghostly and bodily; and to the word of his grace — That word which is the grand channel of his grace to believers as well as unbelievers. He recommends them to attend to this in their public ministrations and private conversation, and that, not only as the foundation of their hope here and hereafter, and the source of their joy, but as the rule of their doctrine and practice; I commend you to God as the master you are to serve, and to the word of his grace, as the means by which you are to know your work, and to govern your conduct; which is able to build you up — To confirm and increase your faith, love, and holiness. God can thus build us up without the ministry of his word, or the instrumentality of any teachers. But he does in fact build us up by them, and we must beware of supposing that we have less need of human teachers after we know Christ, and are made partakers of his salvation, than before. As the apostle was speaking here to ministers, he must be considered as signifying that, in preaching the word of God’s grace, and in all their ministerial duties, they were to have a regard to their own edification, as well as to that of those to and for whom they ministered. And to give you an inheritance — Of eternal glory; among them that are sanctified — And so made meet for it. A large number of these Paul, doubtless, knew and remembered before God. It seems that the words τω δυναμενω, who is able, refer to God, the last person named, and not the word by which God works, but which, without him, can affect none of the things here mentioned.
I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.Acts 20:33-35. I have coveted no man’s silver, &c. — Here the apostle begins another branch of his farewell discourse, in terms like those of old Samuel, taking his leave of the children of Israel, 1 Samuel 12:8. As if he had said, I have a testimony in my own conscience and in yours, that I have not directed my ministry to any mercenary views of pleasing any, how distinguished soever their circumstances might be, nor sought by any methods to enrich myself among you. Yea, ye yourselves know, that — Far from having any secular or worldly designs in preaching the gospel; these hands — Callous as you see with labour; have ministered to my necessities — Have procured me food and raiment, and even have assisted in supporting them that were with me — Who is he that envies such a bishop or archbishop as this? I have showed you — Elders or bishops, by my example; all things — And this among the rest; that so labouring — So far as the labours of your office allow you time; ye ought to support the weak — Or to assist in supporting them, namely, those who are disabled by sickness, or any bodily infirmity, from maintaining themselves by their own labour. And to remember — Effectually, so as to follow them; the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said — When he conversed with his disciples; It is more blessed to give than to receive — To imitate God, and have him, as it were, indebted to us. This is a true and precious monument of apostolical tradition, which, by being written in this authentic memoir, is happily preserved. Without doubt, his disciples remembered many of his words which are not recorded.
Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.Acts 20:36-38. When he had thus spoken, he kneeled down — The posture generally used by the apostles and first Christians in prayer, as it had been also by our Lord himself, and by holy men of old; see the margin. And it is a posture peculiarly proper, as being expressive of humility before God, of reverence for him, and submission to him. And prayed with them all — Doubtless in the most fervent and affectionate manner. And they all wept sore — The old as well as the young, the men as well as the women. Anciently men, yea, the best and bravest of men, were easily melted into tears; a thousand instances of which might be produced, from profane as well as sacred writers. But now, notwithstanding the effeminacy which almost universally prevails, we leave those tears to women and children. Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more — In those parts where they had so long enjoyed the benefits of his ministry, inspection, and converse. Think, reader, what sorrow will be in the great day when God shall say to all who are found on the left hand, that they shall see his face no more! And they accompanied him unto the ship — Commending his person to the protection, and his labours to the blessing, of his great Master.
And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed 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.