Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 14 September 2020; Revised 15 November 2020
Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament. Scripture quotations may be taken from different versions. Click here for abbreviations of Bible versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.
Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important Jewish sources include the following:
● DSS: Citations marked as "DSS" are from the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish manuscripts of Scripture and sectarian documents found in the Qumran caves. Most of the Qumran MSS belong to the last three centuries BC and the first century AD. Online DSS Bible.
● LXX: The abbreviation "LXX" ("70") stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which was in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Online.
● Josephus: Citations for Josephus, the first century Jewish historian (Yosef ben Matityahu), are from The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.) trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
● MT: The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. Work on developing a uniform Hebrew Bible began in the 2nd century under Rabbi Akiva, but completed by Jewish scholars known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. The oldest extant manuscripts date from around the 9th century A.D. Online.
● Talmud: Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Halakhah.com. The Jerusalem Talmud, identified with "TJ," may be found here. Click here for Talmud abbreviations.
● Targums: The targums are early Aramaic translations of the Hebrew text with commentary: Targum Jerusalem (1st c. AD), Targum Neofiti (1st c. AD), Targum Onkelos (c. 35–120 AD) and Targum Jonathan (2nd c. AD). See an index of targum texts here.
Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations and pronunciation of Greek words. Parsing data for Greek words is from Anthony J. Fisher, Greek New Testament. The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms ADONAI (for 'LORD' when quoting a Tanakh source), Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament).
See the article Witnesses of the Good News for background information on Acts. For a suggested timeline of Acts see the dating chart of George Edmundson. All dates given for the narrative of Acts are estimates.
Third Diaspora Journey (cont.)
Chapter Twenty continues Luke's narrative of Paul's third trip into the Diaspora, proclaiming the good news and strengthening disciples (Acts 18:23). Paul departed Ephesus in the summer of 56 after Pentecost (cf. 1Cor 16:8), which occurred on June 6th. He could have departed as early as Monday, June 7th, and since his destination was Macedonia, he traveled north to Troas as he did on his second journey. This time at Troas he found an open door for ministry, and he spent time proclaiming the good news and planting a congregation, probably at least three weeks (2Cor 2:12). Then early in July he sailed to Macedonia and ministered for the rest of the year in the three congregations he had previously planted.
Early in 57 Paul continued his journey to Achaia where he ministered in Corinth for three months. As a parenthetical comment Luke lists the names of seven men on Paul's ministry team, but omits the name of Titus who must have been with them. Learning of a plot against his life Paul changed his plan to sail to Syrian Antioch and returned to Philippi where he observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread (April 7-13). The Chapter also marks the return of Luke whom Paul had left at Philippi. Paul, Luke and Titus departed from Philippi after the festival and returned to Troas where Paul reunited with the rest of his ministry team and met with the local congregation.
On Saturday evening, the first of the week, Paul gave a lengthy discourse that lasted until midnight. A young man named Eutychus was overcome with sleep and fell from the third floor window. The disciples believed he was dead, but Paul resuscitated him. The next day Paul and his party went to Assos and then on to Miletus where he met with the elders of the Ephesian congregation. He did not go into Ephesus, because he wanted to leave right away to sail to Jerusalem in order to be there by Shavuot. Paul reviewed his ministry in Ephesus with the elders and then shared revelations he had received about his future and the future of the congregation.
Paul exhorted the elders at length in their responsibilities to care for the congregation. He then prayed with them and bade them farewell. The elders wept over him and were sorrowful believing they would not see him again. They then escorted him back to the ship for his departure.
Ministry in Macedonia and Achaia, 20:1-6
Miracle in Troas, 20:7-12
Troas to Miletus, 20:13-16
Farewell Speech: Ministry Review, 20:17-21
Farewell Speech: Travel Plan, 20:22-27
Farewell Speech: Warning, 20:28-31
Farewell Speech: Final Words, 20:32-35
Departure from Miletus, 20:36-38
Rome: Caesar Nero (AD 54-68)
Procurator of Judaea: Marcus Antonius Felix (AD 52-60)
High Priest in Jerusalem: Ananias, son of Nebedaius (AD 46-58)
Travel in Macedonia and Greece, 20:1-6
1 Now after the uproar had ceased, Paul, having summoned the disciples, having exhorted them, and having said farewell, he departed to go into Macedonia.
Now: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement; (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter; or (3) a continuation of thought, sometimes with emphasis. The second meaning applies here. after: Grk. meta, prep., may be used (1) as a marker of association; with, among; or (2) as a sequential marker; after, behind. The second usage is intended here. the uproar: Grk. ho thorubos, noisy disruptive activity, uproar, clamor or tumult. The noun refers to the rage of the mob that responded negatively to the rhetoric of Demetrius who slandered Paul for persuading people to abandon idolatry (19:23-41). had ceased: Grk. pauō, aor. inf., engage in cessation of an activity or state; stop, cease. The verb alludes to the state of the city following the reasoned appeal of the town clerk to the mob that had gathered in the theater.
Paul: Grk. ho Paulos from the Latin Paulus, meaning small or humble. With the definite article ho Paulos probably signifies "the one called Paul." Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia (Acts 9:11; 21:39) of a Jewish family belonging to the tribe of Benjamin (Php 3:5). His Hebrew name was Sha'ul (Acts 7:58). Paul was consecrated at birth for a sacred life (Gal 1:15) and received advanced education under Gamaliel the Elder (Acts 5:34; 22:3). He was a devout Pharisee all his life (Acts 23:6; 26:5). Paul was called personally by Yeshua while traveling to Damascus to persecute disciples. From that time he was an apostle to Israel and the nations. For a biography of Paul see my article The Apostle from Tarsus.
Of special interest among Bible versions is that the Complete Jewish Bible and Orthodox Jewish Bible consistently translate Paulos with the Hebrew Sha'ul. Stern explains his persistence in using "Sha'ul" as "to highlight the Jewishness of the New Testament and its major figures" (267). In contrast Paul apparently did not feel any loss of Jewish identity by using his Roman name, which is the only name by which the apostle refers to himself in his letters, and the only name Luke uses from Acts 13:13 to the end of the book. In addition, the OJB adds the title "Rav" to Sha'ul in direct violation of Yeshua's instruction (Matt 23:8). Paul never used the honorific of himself and no one ever addressed Paul as "Rabbi."
having summoned: Grk. metapempō, aor. part., dispatch for someone's presence; send after, send for, summon. the disciples: pl. of Grk. ho mathētēs, one who learns through instruction from a teacher; adherent, learner, pupil, disciple. In the Besekh the noun occurs only in the apostolic narratives and corresponds to the Heb. talmid (SH-8527), a student of a Jewish Sage or Torah scholar (Heb. rabbi). The term is used for members of the Pharisee party (Matt 22:15-16; John 9:28) and disciples of Yochanan the Immerser (Matt 9:14; John 3:25), but especially of followers of Yeshua, those who not only believed in Yeshua but sought to obey his instructions (Matt 28:20). See my article Disciples of Yeshua.
having encouraged them: Grk. parakaleō, aor. part., lit. "call alongside," here to encourage performance; urge, exhort, encourage. In the LXX parakaleō is chiefly used for Heb. nacham (SH-5152), be moved to pity, console, comfort, have compassion (first in Gen 24:67). The verb could be translated as "exhorted" as found in a few versions (NASB, RSV), but the distinction between exhorting and encouraging is very subjective. Since Paul was leaving his speech was not intended to be corrective, but motivational so that they would continue to be faithful to Yeshua and to strive for moral excellence.
and: Grk. kai, conj. with three basic uses: (1) continuative, and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, verily. The first use applies here. having said farewell: Grk. aspazomai, aor. part., to address with some form of special recognition or expression of affection; used here of saying goodbye to. he departed: Grk. exerchomai, aor., to move away from a place or position, to go or come out. The verb signals leaving the presence of the disciples in their meeting place, probably the house of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9).
to go: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. inf., to move from one area to another; go, journey, make one's way, transport, travel. In the LXX poreuomai renders mainly Heb. halak (SH-1980), to go, come, walk (DNTT 3:946). The verb marks the movement from the house of Tyrannus to departing the city. Considering the destination the apostolic team may have headed for Troas as they did on the second journey (Acts 16:11). into: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to direction and limit, here complementing the verb to indicate the destination of movement; among, into, to, toward.
Macedonia: Grk. Makedonia, a Roman province north of Achaia. See the map here. Prior to Roman occupation Macedonia was the strongest military power in the region and under Alexander the Great the Macedonians conquered the Persians and spread Hellenistic culture throughout the world. Macedonia fought several wars against the Romans, beginning in 214 BC, but was finally conquered by Rome in 168 BC. Principal cities of the province included Neapolis, Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, and Berea, with Thessalonica as the capital and Berea as the seat of the provincial assembly. For a history of Macedonia see the article in Smith. Paul had previously planted congregations in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea (Acts 16). Considering the next verse Luke probably uses Macedonia to refer to the pre-Roman territory of Alexander.
In his first letter to the congregation in Corinth a few months before Paul had expressed his intention to visit Macedonia and Corinth, spending the winter in those areas, but he would not depart Ephesus before the Jewish festival of Shavuot (1Cor 6:5-8), which occurs 50 days after Passover (May to June). Bruce assumes departure took place in AD 55, but Polhill says the next year of 56 was more likely (80), to which I concur. Shavuot in AD 56 would have fallen on June 6.
2 And having passed through those districts and had exhorted them with much speaking, he came into Hellas.
And: Grk. de, conj., used here to indicate continuation of thought. having passed through: Grk. dierchomai, aor. part., to go through, go about, journey, travel through. those: pl. of Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pronoun typically used to refer to a noun (person or thing) immediately preceding in the Greek text; that, that one there. districts: pl. of Grk. ho meros, a piece or segment of a whole, used here in a geographical sense. The plural noun alludes to the fact that the Romans had divided Macedonia into four districts (Titus Livius, History of Rome, 45:29). To arrive at his ultimate destination meant traveling through three of the four districts of Macedonia. Paul no doubt took the great military road, the Via Egnatia, which traversed Macedonia.
and: Grk. kai, conj. had exhorted: Grk. parakaleō, aor. See the previous verse. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun used to distinguish a person or thing from or contrast it with another, or to give him (it) emphatic prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The second meaning applies here. with much: Grk. polus, adj., extensive in scope, used here to indicate a high number of occasions for teaching. speaking: Grk. logos, vocalized expression, word, discourse, statement, message or speech. In the LXX logos stands principally for Heb. dabar, which has a range of meaning, including 'speech, word, report, thing, matter' (Gen 29:13; BDB 182) (DNTT 3:1087).
Paul spent about five to six months in Macedonia, visiting the congregations in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Paul's goal was both spiritual and charitable. He no doubt wanted to assure himself of the spiritual health of the congregations as well as offer discipleship training to new believers. There was also concern for the disciples in Judea and he wanted to raise funds for their welfare (2Cor 8:1-5; cf. Rom 15:26).
he came: Grk. erchomai, aor., 'to come or arrive' with focus on a position from which action or movement takes place. into: Grk. eis, prep. See the previous verse. The preposition supports the idea that Paul traveled by land rather than by sea. Luke does not record Paul's specific destination, but he had informed the congregation in Corinth in advance that he intended to visit them in order to collect a special offering to help disciples in Judea (1Cor 16:1-3; cf. Rom 16:26), as well as raise personal support for his return to Judea (2Cor 1:16). While the other two congregations in the province of Achaia (Athens and Cenchrea) are not mentioned, Paul would naturally include those locations in his itinerary.
Hellas: Grk. ho Hellas. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. Almost all versions translate the noun as "Greece," although the GNB has "Achaia." The English word "Greece" is derived from the Latin Graecia, which was coined by the Romans for Hellas, but Graecia was not used in official language of the time. See Smith's article on Graecia. In addition, Graikos, the Greek word for Greece, does not occur in New Testament MSS at all. Translating "Hellas" as "Greece" is geographically inaccurate for the first century, since the modern country of Greece includes territory that was part of the Roman province of Macedonia.
In ancient Greek literature Hellas could refer to six different locations (LSJ), including (1) Dodona in Epirus; (2) a city of Thessaly founded by the legendary Hellen; (3) Phthiotis in central Greece; (4) the territory of Thessaly (southern Macedonia), (5) the territory combining Epirus, Thessaly and Peloponnese (Achaia), and (6) all the lands of the Hellenes including Ionia. Hellas occurs twice in the LXX (Isa 66:19; Ezek 27:13) to translate Heb. Yavan (SH-3120), which originally referred to a son of Japheth and his descendants, and later to the people of Ionia (BDB 402).
Luke's choice of Hellas is noteworthy. Luke may have intended Hellas in the limited sense of Thessaly and the mention of Hellas is only a topographical reference through which Paul traveled to reach his destination of Corinth. Most commentators interpret Hellas as a substitute for Achaia as Paul later uses the provincial name in reference to his fundraising in Corinth (Rom 15:26). Another consideration is that Luke used "Hellas" as a subtle criticism of the congregations in Achaia, especially in Corinth. The very name Hellas stood for Hellenistic culture and the Greek language. In Paul's first letter to the congregation in Corinth he identifies 16 different faults, making this group of believers too much like the Hellenistic world. See my article Paul's Letters to Corinth.
3 Also having spent three months, and a plot against him having been made by unbelieving Jewish leaders, being about to sail to Syria, he made a decision to return through Macedonia.
Also: Grk. te, conj. used to connect an idea closely to another in a manner that is tighter than with kai; also, both. having spent: Grk. poieō, aor. part., a verb of physical action, "to do," here meaning to be active in bringing about a state of condition; do, act, perform, work. Since the verb is connected to a time period the meaning is "passed" or "spent" (Thayer). three: Grk. treis, adj., the cardinal number three. months: pl. of Grk. mēn, a period of thirty days based on the lunar calendar. The time reference alludes to the winter months of 56–57 (Bruce), which passed for Paul without incident. Most of that time was probably spent in Corinth, but he could also have visited the congregations in Athens and Cenchrea.
and a plot against: Grk. epiboulē, a design or plan against someone; conspiracy, plot or scheme. The noun refers to a conspiracy to do harm. The noun occurs only four times in the Besekh, all in Acts and all in reference to plots of unbelieving Jewish leaders against Paul. In the LXX epiboulē occurs three times: of a conspiracy by King Hoshea of Israel against the king of Assyria (2Kgs 17:4), of a plot discovered by Mordecai against King Ahasuerus of Persia (Esth 2:22), and the plots against the rebuilding of the temple (1Esdras 5:73). A conspiracy requires at least two people, but in this case more could have been involved.
him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. having been made: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. part., to transfer from one state or condition to another, which may be expressed as: (1) come into being birth or natural process; (2) exist through application of will or effort by a person; or (3) undergo a state of existence, change or development. The second meaning applies here. by: Grk. hupo, prep., may be used to indicate (1) agency or cause; by; (2) a position that is relatively lower; below, under; (3) time, equivalent to 'about;' or (4) being subject to the power or authority of someone, under. The first meaning applies here.
unbelieving: "Unbelieving" is not in the Greek text, but is added in the CJB and OJB as appropriate to the context. In 14:2 Luke uses the verb apeitheō ("refuse belief, disobey, rebel") to describe the Jews who opposed Paul and his message of the Messiah. Jewish leaders: pl. of Grk. Ioudaios, Jew, Jewish, Jewess or Judean (BAG). Ioudaios designates a person by belief and practice (cf. John 4:9). In the first century Ioudaios was used to distinguish Torah/tradition-observant Jews from non-observant Jews (Acts 2:5). The tenets of orthodox Judaism were governed by the Great Sanhedrin and the Pharisees, whose traditions defined Jewish life (cf. Matt 23:2-3; Mark 7:3; Acts 10:28; Gal 1:14).
Since these unbelieving traditional Jews are presented in a negative light they were most likely the leaders of the Jewish community. This designation is found in a few versions (CEV, TLV, WE). Luke records a number of incidents of active opposition of unbelieving Jews to the good news: in Jerusalem (Acts 4:1-3; 5:17-19; 6:11–14; 7:54–8:3; 9:29; 12:3–4), in Damascus (9:23-24), in Pisidian Antioch (13:45, 50; 14:19), in Iconium (14:2, 5, 19), in Thessalonica (17:5–8, 13), in Corinth (18:6, 12–13), in Ephesus (19:19) and now here in Hellas.
The last time Paul was in Corinth the Jewish leaders brought him before the proconsul, attempting to have him charged with violating Roman law (Acts 18:12-16). That effort was a colossal failure and resulted in their humiliation. This time the Jewish leaders likely planned something sinister that would result with Paul being dead. Previous attempts were made on Paul's life but God delivered him each time (Acts 9:23-24, 29; 14:19).
being about: Grk. mellō, pres. part., a future oriented verb with a pending aspect, being in the offing, be about to, be going to, intending. to sail: Grk. anagō, pres. mid. inf., to conduct from a lower place to a higher, to lead or bring up. The verb is used here as a technical nautical term; put to sea, set sail. to Syria: Grk. ho Suria, the Roman imperial province north of Galilee, united with Cilicia, with its capital at Antioch. Syria is mentioned as Paul's ultimate destination. See the map here. Apparently the plot to kill Paul was discovered before he was scheduled to take a boat from Cenchrea.
he made: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. a decision: Grk. gnōmē, a personal opinion or judgment formed in (by) an active relationship, the result of "first-hand" knowledge (HELPS). to return: Grk. hupostrephō, pres. inf., to go back to a position, to return or turn back. through: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The first usage applies here. Macedonia: See verse 1 above. To avoid the conspirators Paul reversed direction.
4 Now he was accompanied by Sopater the son of Pyrrhus, a Berean, also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius, a Derbean, and Timothy, and the Asians Tychicus and Trophimus.
Now: Grk. de, conj., used here for transition of subject matter. he: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., Paul. was accompanied by: Grk. sunepomai, impf., accompany, follow with. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. Luke then lists the names of seven men, all Jews, who were members of Paul's ministry team. Some of the seven no doubt came with Paul from Ephesus and others joined his team during his travels on the Balkan peninsula. The verb implies that when Paul left Achaia for Macedonia these seven men traveled with him. The reason for the group of seven in part may have been to provide an escort for the charitable funds raised on behalf of Judean disciples.
Sopater: Grk. Sōpatros ("safe father"). The name occurs only here in the Besekh. the son of Pyrrhus: Grk. Purrhos, adj., blood-red or flame-colored. The genitive case indicates that Pyrrhus was the father of Sopater. a Berean: Grk. Beroiaios, adj., belonging to Berea, a native of Berea, located in the third district of Macedonia. The adjective occurs only here in the Besekh. Sopater is thought to be the same as "Sosipater," later mentioned by Paul (Rom 16:21) as his kinsman, meaning they shared either tribal or national ancestry. Both Hippolytus and Dorotheus named Sosipater as one of Yeshua's seventy disciples and eventually he became overseer of Iconium. Paul came to Berea on his second journey (Acts 17:10).
also: Grk. de, conj., used here for continuation of thought. Aristarchus: Grk. Aristarchos, "best leader." Aristarchus was previously a fellow worker with Paul in Ephesus where he was persecuted (19:29). His name appears five times in the Besekh (Acts 19:29; 27:2; Col 4:10; Phm 1:24). Aristarchus was identified by Hippolytus and Dorotheus as one of Yeshua's seventy disciples. According to these church fathers Aristarchus eventually served as overseer of Apamea in Syria.
and: Grk. kai, conj. Secundus: Grk. Sekoundos ("second"). The name occurs only here in the Besekh. Ellicott offers the interesting theory that the name Secundus may be compared with Tertius ("third") in Romans 16:22, and Quartus ("fourth") in Romans 16:23, with the probability that all three were sons of a disciple who had adopted this plan of naming his children. of the Thessalonians: pl. of Grk. Thessalonikeus, an inhabitant of Thessalonica, the capital of the second district of Macedonia. Paul came to Thessalonica on his second journey (Acts 17:1).
and: Grk. kai. Gaius: Grk. Gaios, the same as the Roman Caius, a common Latin name. The name appears five times in the Besekh (Acts 19:29; Rom 16:23; 1Cor 1:14; 3Jn 1:1). Nothing further is known of this Gaius than what is stated here. a Derbean: Grk. Derbaios, adj., an inhabitant or native of Derbe, a city in Lycaonia. The adjective occurs only here in the Besekh. The adjective could be intended to indicate where Gaius was born and raised or the location where he was living when he met Paul. Luke no doubt mentions his place of origin since there was a Gaius in Corinth who was immersed under Paul's ministry and served as his host (1Cor 1:14; Rom 16:23). Paul came to Derbe on his first journey (Acts 14:6).
and: Grk. kai. Timothy: Grk. Timotheos ("one who honors God"). Timothy was from Lystra, the son of a Jewish family. See the note on Acts 16:1. Paul regarded Timothy as a spiritual son (1Tim 1:18; 2Tim 1:2; 2:1) and entrusted important ministry assignments to him (1Cor 4:17; Php 2:19; 1Th 3:2; 1Tim 1:3). Paul came to Lystra on his first Diaspora journey (Acts 14:6), but recruited Timothy on his second journey (16:1). and: Grk de. the Asians: pl. of Grk. Asainos, adj., an inhabitant of the Roman province of Asia. The adjective occurs only here in the Besekh. Paul ministered briefly in "Asia" (Ephesus) toward the end of his second journey (Acts 18:19) and then for an extended time in Ephesus on his third journey (19:1, 10).
Tychicus: Grk. Tuchikos ("fortuitous"). The proper name occurs five times in the Besekh (Eph 6:21; Col 4:7; 2Tm 4:12; Titus 3:12). He was likely from Ephesus. Paul regarded him as a beloved brother and faithful minister. Hippolytus and Dorotheus named Tychicus as belonging to Yeshua's seventy disciples and eventually he served as overseer of Chalcedon in Bithynia. and: Grk. kai. Trophimus: Grk. Trophimos. The proper name occurs three times in the Besekh (Acts 21:29; 2Tim 4:20). In the next chapter Luke says he was an Ephesian. Hippolytus and Dorotheus named Trophimus as one of Yeshua's seventy disciples. According to these church fathers Trophimus was martyred along with Paul in Rome.
Additional Note: The Presence of Titus
Before arriving in Macedonia Paul had sent the letter known as "First Corinthians" from Ephesus by the hand of Titus (cf. 2Cor 2:13; 7:6, 13-15; 8:6). After the dispatch of that letter Paul was anxious to know how it was received. He had an arrangement with Titus to meet him at Troas, Paul's destination after leaving Ephesus (cf. 1Cor 16:5-8; 2Cor 2:12-13). After arriving in Troas he did not find Titus. Sometime after arriving in Macedonia, probably in Philippi, Titus finally came (2Cor 7:5-7). Titus gave a report with a mixture of good and bad news. While in Philippi Paul wrote the letter known as "Second Corinthians," and Paul had Titus deliver it, accompanied by an unnamed "brother" (2Cor 8:16-22; 12:18), whom most scholars believe to be Luke.
Scholars have long puzzled over the lack of any mention of Titus in the whole record of Acts, since he was a devoted fellow-worker with Paul. Sir William M. Ramsay suggested that Titus was a relative of Luke (221). Apparently there was an early church tradition that Paul's reference to the "brother" in 2Corinthians 8:16-23 and 12:18 in connection with the mention of Titus indicates they were siblings. The decision to omit the name of Titus in Acts was made on the same basis as Luke omitting his own name. Thus, when Luke resumes his personal narrative in the next verse Titus would be tacitly included.
5 But these having gone ahead were waiting for us at Troas.
But: Grk. de, conj. these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this. The pronoun refers to the seven men mentioned in the previous verse. having gone ahead: Grk. proerchomai, aor. part., to take an advanced position in the course of going, to go forward or go before. The verb indicates the seven departed Philippi before Paul. were waiting for: Grk. menō, impf., to be in a situation for a length of time; abide, remain, stay or wait for. us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The first person plural pronoun marks the return of Luke as the eyewitness narrator, and likely includes Titus. Paul had left Luke at Philippi when he departed the city on the previous Diaspora journey (Acts 16:40).
at: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, and may be translated as "at, among, by, in, or within" as the context requires. Troas: Grk. Trōas, "Alexandria Troas," a harbor city of Mysia on the Aegean Sea. Troas was founded at the end of the fourth century BC and remained a free city until Caesar Augustus gave it the status of a Roman colony. It was a regular port of call for vessels journeying between proconsular Asia and Macedonia, and an important center in the Roman system of communication. Paul traveled from Asia to Macedonia on his second journey via Troas (Acts 16:8-11). See the map here.
6 Then we sailed from Philippi after the Days of Matzah, and we came to them into Troas within five days; where we stayed seven days.
Date: April 14–24, 57
Then: Grk. de, conj. we sailed: Grk. ekpleō, aor., 1p-pl., to sail away. Luke includes himself in the subject of the verb. Departure would have taken place at a time with favorable weather. Ancient merchant ships could be propelled by both oars and sails. There were no passenger vessels, only freighters. So Paul and his team had to scout out a willing captain, strike a deal for passage, and bring enough food for the trip, as well as bedding for resting on the deck. See the article Roman Empire Sailing for more information. Merchant ships traveled in open sea at a speed of about 4–6 knots (Casson). Ramsay puts the departure from Philippi on the morning of Friday, April 15. (166).
from: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation, here denoting the point of departure; from, away from. Philippi: Grk. Philippoi, a prominent city of Macedonia. Situated between the rivers Strymon and Nestus, the city was near the cities of Neapolis and Amphipolis. The city was named for Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. Paul conducted a successful ministry there on his second journey and established a strong congregation (Acts 16:12-40). It was also there where Paul and Silas were imprisoned, and then miraculously freed by an earthquake, which led to the conversion of the jailer and his household.
after: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. the Days: pl. of Grk. ho hēmera may refer to (1) the daylight hours from sunrise to sunset, (2) the civil or legal day that included the night, (3) an appointed day for a special purpose or (4) a longer or imprecise period (BAG). The third meaning applies here. The noun refers to Nisan 15-21. In AD 57 these days would be 7-13 April on the Julian calendar. of Matzah: pl. of Grk. azumos, adj. (formed from alpha "neg. prefix" and zumē, "leaven"), unfermented, free from leaven. The plural form emphasizes the seven days in which unleavened bread was consumed. In the LXX azumos translates Heb. matzah (SH-4682), unleavened bread or cake, first in Genesis 19:3 of the bread that Lot prepared for the two angelic visitors.
Thereafter matzah/azumos is used of the bread prescribed for Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. These days are so called because leaven [Heb. seor] and anything leavened [Heb. chametz] were removed from dwelling places on Nisan 14, the day of Passover (Lev 23:5; Num 28:16). Beginning Nisan 15 and lasting seven days nothing leavened was to be eaten (Lev 23:6-8; Num 28:17). By the apostolic era the entire festival had come to be referred to as "Passover" (Josephus, Ant. II, 15:1; BAG 639). In fact, Luke emphasizes this very point in the beginning of his narrative of Yeshua's last Passover observance, "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover" (Luke 22:1).
Marshall affirms that the mention of the festival was not just a note about the Jewish calendar, but makes a faux pas by saying Paul probably celebrated the "Christian Passover, i.e., Easter" with the congregation. The English term "Easter" did not come into vogue until Medieval times and there is no "Christian Passover" in the Besekh. The celebration of Easter bears no resemblance to the observance of Passover by Paul and his fellow Messianic Jews. However, Gill rejects the notion that Paul observed the Jewish festival saying,
"the Passover was only kept at Jerusalem, and besides was now abolished, and not to be observed by Christians."
This statement by Gill is blatantly false. First, while Passover is one of the pilgrim festivals to be celebrated at Jerusalem (Deut 16:1-2), the Torah also provided that the festival could be celebrated the next month by someone unable to celebrate at the scheduled time because of a distant journey (Num 9:10-11). We should note, also, that Luke does not use the term "Passover" but "Unleavened Bread." The week of matzah did not require individual Israelites to perform a Temple ritual. Second, there is no statement anywhere in the apostolic writings that observance of any of God's Appointed Times by Jewish disciples had been abolished. Paul was a devout Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 26:5; Php 3:5) and faithful to observe the prescribed holy days (Acts 13:14, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4; 20:16).
Third, Paul exhorted the disciples in Corinth to keep the feast of Passover (1Cor 5:7-8). To say that Paul would not keep Jewish traditions mandated in the Torah is tantamount to defamation (cf. 1Cor 9:20; 10:32). In contrast to Marshall and Gill, other commentators, such as Barnes, Ellicott, Liberman, Longenecker, Lumby, Meyer, Nicoll and Stern, affirm that Paul faithfully observed the festival of his people. Fourth, the edict prohibiting Christians from observing Passover came from the Second Council of Nicea in 787, not the apostles. The Church had no authority to take such an action.
Ramsay interprets Paul's departure from Philippi after the festival of unleavened bread as Friday, April 15th (166). Luke does not specify the day of departure, but "after" likely means immediately after the festival, and given Paul's sense of travel urgency (verse 16 below), he probably set sail on Thursday, April 14th. However, given the time required for the journey it begs the question whether Paul as an observant Pharisee would travel on the Sabbath. The author of Jubilees strongly condemned traveling by ship on the sea on the Sabbath and deemed it as worthy of death (50:12). However, the Pharisees actually allowed travel by ship on the Sabbath under certain conditions:
"Our Rabbis taught: One may not set out in a ship less than three days before the Sabbath. This was said only [if it is] for a voluntary purpose, but [if] for a good deed, it is well; and he stipulates with him that it is on condition that he will rest [on the Sabbath], yet he does not rest: this is Rabbi's view. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: It is unnecessary. But from Tyre to Sidon it is permitted even on the eve of Sabbath." (Shabbath 19a)
Indeed the Mishnah has an anecdote about Paul's mentor Gamaliel traveling by ship on the Sabbath (Eruvin 4:1). Paul might have reasoned that Moses had stipulated in the wilderness that on the Sabbath people were to remain in their "place" (Heb. maqom, 'a standing place') (cf. Ex 16:29). This rule was Moses' own interpretation of Sabbath rest, and it is not repeated elsewhere in the Tanakh. All other injunctions concerning the Sabbath focus on the rest from work, not the location (e.g., Ex 20:8-11; 31:13-16; Deut 5:12-15). In Paul's situation the "place of rest" could be the boat and as long as he did no work on the Sabbath, he would not be in violation.
and: Grk. kai, conj. we came: Grk. erchomai, aor., 1p-pl. See verse 2 above. It's not clear whether Luke rejoined Paul's ministry team upon his arrival in Macedonia or upon his return from Achaia. In any event Luke was on the boat with Paul bound for Troas. to: Grk. pros, prep., lit. "near or facing" and conveys motion toward; to, toward, with. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. into: Grk. eis, prep. Troas: See the previous verse. within: Grk. achri, prep., a function word signifying an interval between two points with focus on continuity, here of an extension in time; until, within. five: Grk. pente, the cardinal number five. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera. When Paul traveled the 156 miles from Troas to Neapolis on his second journey the trip took two days (Acts 16:11-12). So, Paul arrived in Troas on the fifth day after leaving Philippi, April 18.
where: Grk. hopou, adv., in what place, where. we stayed: Grk. diatribō, aor., to spend time, to continue or stay in a place. seven: Grk. hepta, the number seven. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera. Luke's rule is to state first the whole period of residence, and then some details of the residence (Ramsay 166). Ramsay suggests that Paul and his team arrived in Troas on Tuesday, April 19, and departed on Monday, April 25. However, the departure date for Ramsay is based on the assumption that the congregational gathering described in the next verse occurred on Sunday evening. The seven-day period is much more likely to be 18-24 April.
7 Then on the first of the week, we having gathered to break bread, Paul was addressing them, intending to depart the next day; so he prolonged his message until midnight.
Date: April 23-24, 57.
Then: Grk. de, conj. on: Grk. en, prep. the first: Grk. ho mia, fem. of heis (for Heb. echad), the cardinal number one. A great number of versions insert "day" even though the Greek word is not in the text. The omission of hēmera in the Greek text is significant. of the week: pl. of Grk. ho sabbaton, a transliteration of Heb. shabbath (SH-4521), first in Exodus 16:23. The noun is derived from the verb shabath, "cease, desist, pause, rest," (DNTT 3:405). Sabbaton occurs 68 times in the Besekh, generally of the seventh day Sabbath. However, the plural form used here, denotes seven days or a week. The meaning "week" would derive from the interval between Sabbath and Sabbath.
The designation of "first day of the week" originated in the Genesis narrative when God spoke the universe and light into existence (Gen 1:1-5). The seventh day was the day God rested from creating (Gen 2:2-3), establishing the seven-day week as normative for humanity. Although the biblical week has no astronomical basis it is imprinted into human society by the Creator. The commandment of remembering the Sabbath includes the centrality of the Sabbath to the whole week. See my article Remember the Sabbath.
The temporal reference here corresponds to the designation of days of the week in first century Jewish culture, which are numbered from the Sabbath as (1) echad Shabbat, first day of the week; (2) teren Shabbat, second day of the week; (3) shelishi Shabbat, third day of the week; (4) b'rebii Shabbat, fourth day of the week; (5) chamishi shabbat, fifth day of the week; (6) erev Shabbat, the eve of the Sabbath (Lightfoot 2:375-376). Also, in Jewish culture days began and ended with sunset.
The first day of the week is noteworthy in the apostolic narratives as the day Yeshua rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as Messianic King (John 12:1, 12) and the day he was resurrected from death (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). Also, Yeshua's first two appearances to the disciples after resurrection were on the first day of the week (John 20:19, 26). Gathering of disciples at the first of the week could have started shortly after the Ascension, not only in celebration of the resurrection but also in memory of Yeshua's post-resurrection appearance to the disciples.
A few versions translate the Greek time reference with "Sunday" (EHV, GW, TLB, MSG, NOG, TPT, VOICE), but names for the days of the week were not officially assigned until the fourth century A.D. The translation of "Sunday" is misleading to modern readers because the reader might assume it corresponds to Sunday morning services in modern Christian churches. Of interest is that no version has "Lord's Day," a name apparently coined by John the Apostle (Rev 1:10).
Matthew Poole treats this verse as confirmation that when Yeshua ascended to heaven the first day of the week was appointed for the Christians to meet in. Thus, the mention of meeting on the first day of the week here and in 1Corinthians 16:2,
"must necessarily infer the abrogation of the Saturday, or Jewish sabbath: for it being part of the command, 'Six days shalt thou labor,' they could not in ordinary have rested the last day of the week and the first day too, without sinning against the law of God."
Poole misrepresents the narrative because Luke does not say that disciples "rested" on the first day of the week instead of working. The point of the fourth commandment given to Israel is not mandating six days of labor, which would make the five-day work week a sin. The fourth commandment is to observe the Sabbath. The point is that the Israelites had six days to do all the work they needed to do rather than work all seven days as in pagan cultures.
Moreover, disciples of Yeshua had certainly not replaced Sabbath observance with gathering together during the day on Sunday at this time. At the beginning of the second century Ignatius (30-107) notes the dual observance of the Sabbath and the Lord's Day when he said,
"But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner…. And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord's Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days. Looking forward to this, the prophet declared, 'To the end, for the eighth day,' on which our life both sprang up again, and the victory over death was obtained in Christ." (Epistle to the Magnesians IX)
The reference by Ignatius to the "eighth day" is drawn from the superscription in Psalm 2 and 12 in the LXX, "to the end for the eighth day." In the Torah the eighth day was a day for a holy convocation and complete rest after the seven-day Festival of Booths (Lev 23:36, 39; Num 25:39). During the festival seventy bulls were sacrificed as burnt offerings (Num 29:12-34). A rabbinic interpretation of the requirement for seventy bulls is that since the number of the Gentile nations is seventy (Jubilees 44:34; Genesis 10), then the seventy bulls provided atonement for the nations (Sukkah 55b). The eighth day was the day of rest after completing the great work of atonement. Thus, Resurrection Sunday is the eighth day!
Stern's Complete Jewish Bible translates mia sabbatōn with Motza'ei-Shabbat (the "going-out of Sabbath"), that is, Saturday evening, when Shabbat was over. Stern affirms that the use of Motza'ei-Shabbat is in reaction to "the Christian Church's tendency to expunge Jewish influences" from the apostolic writings. The Orthodox Jewish Bible adds this note: "it was Motzoei Shabbos when there was a Melaveh Malkeh communal meal." Noteworthy is that two Christian versions, the Good News Bible and New English Bible, concur with the Messianic translation with "Saturday evening." The Expanded Bible also supports this interpretation with the marginal note that the first of the week perhaps means "Saturday night since the Jewish day began in the evening and Greeks reckoned from the morning."
Luke's narrative clearly describes an evening gathering (see the next verse). The temporal reference "first of the week" would favor Saturday evening, since "Sunday evening" would no longer be the first day of the week by Jewish reckoning. Ellicott concurs and offers this analysis:
"It seems probable that in churches which were so largely organized on the framework of the Jewish synagogue, and contained so many Jews and proselytes who had been familiar with its usages, the Jewish mode of reckoning would still be kept, and that, as the Sabbath ended at sunset, the first day of the week would begin at sunset on what was then or soon afterwards known as Saturday. In this case, the meeting of which we read would be held on what we should call the Saturday evening, and the feast would present some analogies to the prevalent Jewish custom of eating bread and drinking wine at that time in honor of the departed Sabbath."
we: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The first person plural includes Luke. gathered: Grk. sunagō, pl. aor. part., to bring together in a collective manner; assemble, gather together. The meeting likely took place in the home of a prominent member of the congregation. The core group of disciples had been established the previous summer after Paul left Ephesus to go to Macedonia (2Cor 2:12). How much time Paul had spent in Troas proclaiming the good news and discipling new believers is not revealed, but he found a readiness to hear the message of the Messiah and stayed long enough to form a congregation.
to break: Grk. klaō, aor. inf., to break, and in the LXX, other Jewish literature (Josephus and Philo) and the Besekh, the verb is only used of breaking off pieces of bread. In the LXX klaō occurs one time and renders Heb. paras (SH-6536), break in two, divide, in reference to bread (Jer 16:7). bread: Grk. artos (for Heb. lechem, SH-3899, bread or food), which refers to a baked product made from cereal grain. Bread would be made with yeast, except for Passover. Since bread was eaten at every meal in biblical lands, it was often used as a synonym for food and the support of life in general quite apart from its literal meaning (DNTT 1:250). Some versions interpret the phrase "to break bread" as a reference to the Christian Communion or the Lord's Supper (AMP, AMPC, ERV, EXB, TLB, MSG, NLV, NLT, TPT). See the additional note below.
"Breaking bread" is a Jewish idiomatic expression for the ritual that began a meal in which the head of the household offered the blessing (Heb. b'rakhah). The b'rakhah is a sentence or paragraph of praise and thanksgiving to God for something He has provided, in this case bread: Barukh attah Adonai ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz, "Blessed are you, O LORD, who brings forth bread from the earth" (Berachot 1:4; 6:1). Then those gathered for the meal would break off a piece of the loaf and eat it, so that the blessing of God specifically for his provision of bread to eat will not have been said in vain (Stern).
The sharing of bread together in the meal or "breaking bread" denotes close fellowship (cf. Acts 2:42, 46). Fellowship meals (Heb. haburah) were common among Jewish parties or societies of like-minded people as the Pharisees and Essenes. Bruce supposes that "breaking bread" was a fellowship meal during which the Lord's Supper was celebrated and the breaking of bread points back to Yeshua breaking bread in his last supper. Paul had previously written about the inclusion of the Lord's Supper (Heb. S'udat Adonai) in such an occasion (1Cor 11:20-34; cf. Jude 1:12). Christian scholars concur with this interpretation, but Luke's narrative here offers no confirmation of that assumption.
Paul: Grk. ho Paulos. See verse 1 above. was addressing: Grk. dialegomai, impf. mid., presenting a reasoned position in public, getting a conclusion across by exchanging thoughts. The verb describes the typical way in which rabbis taught their talmidim (disciples), which involved giving and receiving information to reach deeper understanding. In advanced Jewish study of Scripture a rabbi would engage a student by asking a question; the student would respond in kind with a related question, showing he understood what the rabbi was asking and thereby advancing the discussion (Pryor 25).
them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Luke offers no information on the size of the congregation in Troas. The mention of apostolic teaching in concert with the meal is also typical of Jewish practice that included Torah study with eating, as stated in the Mishnah epigram "Where there is no meal there is no [study of] Torah, and where there is no [study of] Torah there is no meal (Avot 3:17). intending: Grk. mellō, pres. part. See verse 3 above. The verb alludes to a predetermined plan. to depart: Grk. exeimi, aor. inf., to go forth, to go out. the next day: Grk. ho epaurion, adv., lit. 'on the morrow,' the next or following day. The time reference is from the point of reference of the Sabbath when Paul began speaking or the daytime hours of the first day of the week.
so: Grk. te, conj. See verse 3 above. The conjunction is used here to introduce the reason for what followed. he prolonged: Grk. parateinō, impf., to extend along or stretch out; continue, prolong. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. his message: Grk. logos. See verse 2 above. until: Grk. mechri, adv. expressing a limit, here temporal; as far as, until, even to. midnight: Grk. mesonuktion, the mid point of the night between sunset and sunrise. The term is not intended to be an exact time measurement, since there were no clocks. By Jewish reckoning midnight was the end-point of the second watch at the Temple in Jerusalem, which lasted about 9 pm to midnight.
Additional Note: Breaking Bread
Most Christian interpreters have assumed that "the breaking of bread" refers to partaking of the sacrament of communion, even if it was part of an ordinary meal. This was certainly the interpretation in the patristic era since the root verb klaō is used of breaking bread at the Last Supper of Yeshua (Luke 22:19; 1Cor 11:24). In addition, the Syriac version (3rd-7th cent.) substituted Grk. eucharist for "breaking of bread." Catholic tradition found justification for distributing bread alone to the congregation in this verse. However, there is no sound textual reason for interpreting the breaking of bread here to mean partaking of the Lord's Supper. (NOTE: We should consider that the apostolic writings say nothing about "sacraments;" this theological viewpoint was developed by the later church fathers.)
First, the verb klaō is used of Yeshua "breaking bread" in the feeding of the 5,000 (Matt 14:19), in the feeding of the 4,000 (Matt 15:36), and in the meal he shared with the disciples in Emmaus (Luke 24:30, 35). Second, while the "breaking bread" might be considered a "love feast," a term preserved by Judah, the half-brother of Yeshua (Jude 1:12), the narrative here has none of the elements Paul describes in his instruction on the Lord's Supper (1Cor 11:20-34). Third, we should consider that the origin of the Lord's Supper (Grk. kuriakon deipnon; Heb. S'udat Adonai; 1Cor 11:20), as distinct from the Passover festival, began with Paul's ministry. Luke does not use Paul's technical terminology anywhere in Acts. See my commentary on 1Corinthians 11:20-34.
8 Now there were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered.
Now: Grk. de, conj. there were: Grk. eimi, impf., 3p-pl., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). many: pl. of Grk. hikanos, adj., a quality or extent that is quite enough. When used of a quantity of things or persons hikanos indicates a number that is "rather large" (Danker). lamps: pl. of Grk. lampas, a device for illumination; used in reference to a torch or a lamp with wick and oil, probably the latter in this case. Ancient lamps usually burned olive oil or fat. The presence of "many lamps" indicates the occasion was night and the number provided sufficient lighting for a large group, rather than a few that a single family would use.
in: Grk. en, prep. the upper room: Grk. ho huperōon, the upper story section of a house. The noun occurs only four times in the Besekh, all in Acts (1:13; 9:37, 39). The next verse indicates the upper room was the third floor. The upper room would have been accessed by a stairway on the outside wall of the building. where: Grk. hou, adv. used to introduce information about a location; where, in what place. we were: Grk. eimi, impf., 1p-pl. gathered: Grk. sunagō, perf. mid. part. See the previous verse. The description of the gathering-place suggests the home of a wealthy patron.
9 And a certain young man named Eutychus was sitting on the window sill, being overcome by a deep sleep, as Paul talked on longer. Having been overcome from the sleep he fell from the third story down and was picked up dead.
And: Grk. de, conj. a certain: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun, a certain one, someone, anyone, anything. The pronoun is often used to distinguish someone in a class or in contrast to others. Many versions leave the pronoun untranslated. young man: Grk. neanias, a young man, youth; used of one who is in the prime of life (Mounce). Thayer says the term was used of men between twenty-four and forty years of age, in this case probably his 20's. named: Grk. onoma, name, used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name. Eutychus: Grk. Eutuchos, "well-fated" or "good fortune." The name occurs only here in the Besekh. Ellicott says the name was common among the freed-man class. There is no hint that he was a servant (Nicoll). Luke then says four things about Eutychus.
was sitting: Grk. kathezomai, pres. mid. part., to sit down, be seated. on: Grk. epi, prep. expressing the idea of hovering, used primarily as a marker of position or location, here emphasizing physical contact; on, upon (DM 106). the window sill: Grk. thuris, a small opening, a window. At this time window openings were included in building construction for ventilation, but did not incorporate glass. Windows might be covered with cloth, animal hide or wooden lattice or shutter. In other words, he was sitting inside the window opening in the wall on the bottom ledge. Nicoll comments that the lattice or door was open probably on account of the heat from the lamps, and from the number present. The fact that Eutychus sat in the window opening points to the crowded nature of the assembly.
being overcome: Grk. katapherō, pres. mid. part., to bear down or bring down, here with the sense of being overcome or weighed down. The verb occurs four times in the Besekh, all in Acts. Nicoll notes that the verb was used in ancient medical writings. by a deep: Grk. bathus, as a physical measurement reaching to a point relatively far down from the top; deep. The noun offers a graphic figurative meaning of sinking from full alertness into a state of suspended consciousness. sleep: Grk. hupnos, sleep, occurring in its central sense and also of drowsiness. The condition of "deep sleep" is noted in ancient medical writings (Nicoll).
as Paul: See verse 1 above. talked: Grk. dialegomai, pres. mid. part. See verse 7 above. on: Grk. epi, prep. longer: Grk. pleiōn, adj., the comparative form of polus (verse 2 above), greater in length of time, perhaps longer than was really proper. Congregational meetings in apostolic times were not regulated by the clock, as indeed there were no clocks. Paul could speak as long as he wanted. Such a gathering would only be dismissed by the congregational leader. The fact that Eutychus was falling asleep as Paul continued speaking does not mean he was the only one dozing, but his location in the room put him in danger.
Having been overcome: Grk. katapherō, aor. pass. part. Gill suggests that Satan may have afflicted Eutychus with such a deep sleep, but Luke offers no corroboration of the involvement of supernatural power. from: Grk. apo, prep. sleep: Grk. ho hupnos. he fell: Grk. piptō, aor., to drop from a relatively high position to a lower position. from: Grk. apo, prep. the third story: Grk. ho tristegon, the third story of a building including the ground level. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. Some versions have "third floor." down: Grk. katō, adv., of a position that is relatively lower in position or perceived as such, down, downward, or below. The adverb signifies that Eutychus fell to the ground or pavement at street level.
and: Grk. kai, conj. was picked up: Grk. airō, aor. pass., to cause to move upward; raise up, lift. The verb intends the sense of being raised up from the ground. The verb does not necessarily imply that Eutychus was carried to another location. Someone from the congregation had witnessed the fall and rushed down to check on Eutychus. The motion described was probably lifting the head to check for signs of life.
dead: Grk. nekros may be used as (1) a noun, corpse or (2) adj., without life in the physical sense, being dead. The second usage is intended here. Ramsay suggests that Luke as a physician had satisfied himself to this point (167). Whether Eutychus was clinically dead is impossible to determine, and Luke's pronouncement must be weighed against Paul's later reassurance (Bruce).
10 But having descended Paul pressed upon him, and having embraced him, he said, "Do not be troubled, for his life is in him."
But: Grk. de, conj. having descended: Grk. katabainō, aor. part., to proceed in a direction that is down; go down, come down, descend. The verb vividly depicts the change of elevation from the third floor to the first floor. Paul: Grk. ho Paulos. See verse 1 above. laid on: Grk. epipiptō, aor., come upon with sudden movement; fall upon, press upon, lie upon, come over. Many versions have "fell upon," which implies too violent of an action for the situation. Some versions have "bent/bended over" (CSB, ESV, NLT, NRSV, RSV). A few versions have "laid upon" (DRA, WE), which Thayer favors. The MSG has "stretched himself on," which Barnes favors. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Commentators note that Paul's action is similar to the action of Elijah (1Kgs 17:21), and Elisha (2Kgs 4:34), both of whom lay on a child to revive him. Neither of those passages uses a verb that means "fall upon."
and: Grk. kai, conj. having embraced: Grk. sumperilambanō, aor. part., to enclose or embrace completely. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. him: Grk. autos. Paul put his arms around the young man and probably squeezed, which was tantamount to artificial respiration. he said: Grk. epō, aor., to say, call or name (LSJ). Do not: Grk. mē, adv., a particle of qualified negation. The negative particle is subjective, involving will and thought. be troubled: Grk. thorubeō, impf., make a noisy upheaval or show agitation of mind. The admonition to be at peace implies an attitude of affection that others held for the young man.
for: Grk. gar, conj., a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that; for." The conjunction has four uses: (1) explanatory, (2) expressive of astonishment, (3) causal and, (4) inferential. The first use is intended here. his: Grk. autos. life: Grk. psuchē may mean breath, life or soul. In the LXX psuchē corresponds to the Heb. nephesh (SH-53-15), that which "breathes" air (Gen 1:20). is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 8 above. in: Grk. en, prep. him: Grk. autos. Apparently the impact of the fall knocked the breath out of the young man and people not detecting any breath pronounced him dead. Paul's decisive action had restored breath and life. Gill notes that Paul's reassurance is similar to that of Yeshua regarding the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:52).
11 Then having gone up and having broken the bread and having eaten, also having talked for a long while until dawn, thus he departed.
Then: Grk. de, conj. having gone up: Grk. anabainō, aor. part., to proceed in a direction that is up, go up. The singular participle depicts Paul returning to the upper room. and: Grk. kai, conj. having broken: Grk. klaō, aor. part. See verse 7 above. the bread: Grk. ho artos. See verse 7 above. Some commentators interpret the breaking of bread as indicative of the Lord's Supper (e.g. Ellicott, Gill), but Barnes noting the singular form of the participle applies the action only to Paul. and: Grk. kai. having eaten: Grk. geuomai, aor. part., partake of something by mouth, whether liquid or solid, and in this case the latter. The singular form of the participle also points to Paul as the one eating the bread he had just "broken."
also: Grk. te, conj. See verse 3 above. having talked: Grk. homileō, aor. part., spending time with someone with a focus on verbal exchange; converse, talk. Paul resumed his teaching and dialog with the disciples. for: Grk. eis, prep. a long while: Grk. hikanos, adj., used here of time. See verse 8 above. until: Grk. achri, prep. See verse 6 above. dawn: Grk. augē, shaft of light; sunrise, daylight, dawn. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. thus: Grk. houtōs, adv. used to introduce the manner or way in which something has been done or to be done; thus, in this manner, way or fashion, so. he departed: Grk. exerchomai, aor. See verse 1 above. The singular verb depicts Paul leaving the house where he had been teaching, but also points to leaving the city.
12 And they lead away the youth alive, and were comforted not a little.
And: Grk. de, conj. they lead away: Grk. agō, aor., 3p-pl., to cause movement by taking the lead; lead, bring, carry, take. the youth: Grk. ho pais, one in a dependent capacity. Bible versions are about evenly divided in translating the noun as "boy," or "young man." The former choice contradicts his identification in verse 9 above as a young man. The dependent capacity likely meant that he had not yet married and was still living in the house of his parents. alive: Grk. zaō, pres. part., be in the state of being physically alive; living.
and: Grk. kai, conj. were comforted: Grk. parakaleō, aor. pass., 3p-pl. See verse 1 above. not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle used in an unqualified denial or negation; not. a little: Grk. metriōs, adv., serving due measure, moderately. The adverb occurs only here in the Besekh. The phrase "mē metriōs" is idiomatic for "this is no exaggeration." The disciples in the congregation were immensely relieved and encouraged over the restoration of the young man's life.
Troas to Miletus, 20:13-16
13 Now we, having gone ahead upon the ship, put out to sea for Assos, there intending to pick up Paul; for so he had arranged, he was intending to go on foot.
Date: Sunday, April 24, 57.
Now: Grk. de, conj. we: Grk. hemeis, pl. pronoun of the first person, which includes Luke the narrator. having gone ahead: Grk. proerchomai, aor. part. See verse 5 above. upon: Grk. epi, prep., used here of motion to a place whose surface is occupied or touched (Thayer). The preposition denotes having boarded. the ship: Grk. ploion in biblical times denoted any vessel that could go out on a body of water, whether lake, inland sea or ocean; used frequently of the fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee. In modern times "ships" are vessels that can traverse oceans, whereas "boats" cannot, and it is this distinction that has probably guided translation of the word in modern Bible versions. Most merchant ships in the first century ranged in size from 20 to 50 meters in length and could carry about 100 to 500 tons of cargo. (See the article Merchant Ships.)
put out to sea: Grk. anagō, aor. pass., 1p-pl., to conduct from a lower place to a higher, to lead or bring up. The verb is used here as a technical nautical term; launch out, put to sea, set sail. Casson says that with a wind from the right direction, a speed of between 4½ and 6 knots could be realized. Leaving at dawn (verse 11 above) was very important for sailing. In the Aegean during the summer the wind generally blows from the north, beginning at a very early hour in the morning and dies away in the late afternoon. At sunset there is a dead calm. The ship would thus stop every evening. The start would be made before sunrise; and it would be necessary for all passengers to go on board soon after midnight in order to be ready to sail with the first breath from the north (Ramsay 168).
for: Grk. epi, prep. Assos: Grk. ho Assos, a port of Mysia, in the Roman province Asia, which lay about 20 miles south of Troas and opposite the island of Lesbos. Assos was also known as Apollonia (Pliny 5:30). No mention is made of the message of the Messiah being proclaimed there. there: Grk. ekeithen, adv., from there, from that place. intending: Grk. mellō, pres. part. See verse 3 above. to pick up: Grk. analambanō, lit. "take or receive up," used here to refer to taking on board the ship. Paul: Grk. ho Paulos. See verse 1 above. for: Grk. gar, conj. so: Grk. houtōs, adv.
he had arranged: Grk. diatassō, perf. mid. part., to make appropriate arrangement for securing an objective; give orders to, prescribe, arrange, take care of. he was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 8 above. intending: Grk mellō, pres. part. to go on foot: Grk. pezeuō, pres. inf., to travel on foot, by land, that is, not on horseback or in a carriage, and here in contrast to traveling by sea. A Roman road connected Assos with Troas, of which Paul must have known. Ramsay comments, "The ship, having to round the projecting Cape Lectum, would take longer time to reach Assos than the land journey required; and Paul stayed on to the last moment, perhaps to be assured of Eutychus' recovery, while the other delegates went on ahead in the ship" (167).
14 And when he encountered us toward Assos, having received him on board, we came to Mitylene.
Date: Sunday, April 24, 57.
And: Grk. de, conj. when: Grk. hōs, adv. used to express comparison, time, purpose, and consequence; here of time. he encountered: Grk. sumballō (from sún, "with," and ballō, "to bring together"), impf., with the basic idea of "fall in with." Danker translates the verb here as "encounter." Most versions have "met" or "met with." us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person, which includes Luke the narrator. toward: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 1 above. Assos: See the previous verse. Ramsay suggests that the imperfect tense of "encountered" implies that Paul did not actually enter Assos, but was seen from the boat and taken aboard as he was nearing the city (168).
having received him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e. Paul. on board: Grk. analambanō, aor. part. See the previous verse. we came: Grk. erchomai, aor., 1p-pl. See verse 2 above. to: Grk. eis, prep. Mitylene: Grk. Mitulēnē, ("mit-oo-lay'-nay"), the capital and chief city of the island of Lesbos in the northern Aegean sea. The Roman general Pompey had made Mitylene a free city. Mitylene was about seven miles from the coast of Asia and 40 miles from Assos. See the map here. Ramsay suggests the boat arrived at Mitylene on Monday, April 25, before the wind fell (168). However, the grammar of verses 13 and 14 describe arrival in Mitylene as occurring the same day they departed from Ephesus, Sunday, April 24.
15 And from there having sailed away, we arrived the following day opposite Chios; and the next day we came alongside at Samos [and having stayed at Trogyllium]; and the day following we came to Miletus.
Date: Monday, April 25, 57.
And from there: Grk. kakeithen, conj. (derived from kai, "and," and ekeithen "from there, from that place"), a marker of movement from a place or time, here of the former. The place was Mitylene. having sailed away: Grk. apopleō, pl. aor. part., depart by ship, sail away, set sail (Thayer). we arrived: Grk. katantaō, aor., 1p-pl., used of coming or arriving at a destination in the course of travel; come to, arrive at, reach. the following day: Grk. ho epiousa, pres. part. (fem. part. of epeimi, "next"), following, next, used in reference to the next day. opposite: Grk. antikrus, adv., over against, opposite, off, used here in a nautical sense. The adverb occurs only here in the Besekh.
Chios: Grk. Chios, an important island in the Aegean Sea, five miles off the west central coast of Asia Minor and 70 miles south of Mitylene. The name occurs only here in the Besekh. Gill, citing Pliny the Elder, says that Chios has its name from the nymph Chione, so called from the exceeding whiteness of her skin, as snow: it was famous for marble; from hence came the best mastic, and good figs, and the wine called malmsey wine. The island was separated from the Asian coast by a channel which at its narrowest was only five miles across. According to Greek tradition Chios was the birthplace of Homer (Nicoll).
Date: Tuesday, April 26, 57.
and: Grk. de, conj. the next day: Grk. ho heteros, adj., expresses dissimilarity of one item relative to another, here in relation to days of the week; the next day, the day after. we came alongside: Grk. paraballō, aor., 1p-pl., a nautical term, arrive, to bring to, come alongside without docking. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. The verb indicates entering the narrow strait on the east side of the island. at: Grk. eis, prep. Samos: Grk. Samos, an island located in the Aegean Sea about a mile off the coast of Asia Minor and 70 miles south of Chios. In the strait between Samos and the mainland, the Greeks defeated the Persian fleet about 479 BC and turned the tide of power in the Ancient Near East (HBD). The name, meaning "height," occurs only here in the Besekh. Samos is reputed to be the birthplace of Pythagoras (Gill).
[and: Grk. kai, conj. having stayed: Grk. menō, aor. part. See verse 5 above. at: Grk. en, prep. Trogyllium: Grk. Trōgulliō, a promontory formed by the western termination of Mount Mycale, exactly opposite Samos.]
This clause is found in the Western and Byzantine texts (Bruce 386), and the majority of MSS (GNT 498). A number of Bible versions include the clause (BRG, DARBY, ISV, JUB, KJV, LITV, MEV, MW, Moffatt, NEB, NJB, NKJV, NMB, TPT, WEB, Wesley, YLT). Most modern versions omit the clause since it is not found in the three earliest MSS: Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus. Of interest is that the committee for the NA-25 Greek New Testament (1963) gave the verse without the clause a "C" rating, indicating is considerable degree of doubt whether the text contains the superior reading. The committee for the UBS4 Greek New Testament (1993) gave the text minus the clause a "B" rating, indicating some degree of doubt.
Metzger (quoting William Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, 155) believes the added clause is highly probable, "for the promontory of Trogyllion or Trogylia projects far out between Samos and Miletus, and the little coasting vessel would naturally touch there, perhaps becalmed, or for some other reason" (423f). A little to the east of the extreme point there is an anchorage, which is still called St. Paul's port (SDB). Bruce says an overnight stay at Trogyllium could have been dictated by the difficulty of navigating the strait in the dark.
Date: Wednesday, April 27, 57.
and: Grk. de, conj. the following day: Grk. echō, pl. pres. mid. part., to lay hold of, used here of time, so "the following day" (Thayer). we came: Grk. erchomai, aor., 1p-pl. See verse 2 above. to: Grk. eis, prep. Miletus: Grk. Milētos, a city on the coast of the Roman province of Asia, the ancient capital of Ionia. The city stood on the south shore of the Latmian Gulf, 50 miles south of Samos, but about 25 miles from Trogyllium. See the map here. The city was about 30 miles south of Ephesus as the vulture flies. Miletus had been a most famous sea-port in the earlier Greek history, but in the days of Paul its prominence was eclipsed by Ephesus (Lumby). It was distinguished for a magnificent temple dedicated to Apollo (Barnes). The presence of a Jewish community in the city in Roman times in attested by an inscription found in the theater, allocating a block of seats to "Jews who are also called God-fearers" (Bruce).
Luke does not mention any evangelistic ministry in Miletus, but the church father Eusebius records that in the fifth century a church was there, a bishop of this place being in the Chalcedon council; in the seventh century a bishop of this church assisted at the sixth council at Constantinople, whose name is said to be George; and in the eighth century Epiphanius, bishop of Miletus, was present in the Nicene council (Gill).
16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that it might not happen to him to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying, if were possible for him to be in Jerusalem on the day of Shavuot.
For: Grk. gar, conj. See verse 10 above. The conjunction has an explanatory function here. Paul: Grk. ho Paulos. See verse 1 above. had decided: Grk. krinō, plperf., to judge or decide, here the latter. The pluperfect tense denotes action in the past that is complete and the results of the action in existence at some point in past time as indicated by the context. Thus Paul's trip itinerary was not made on the spur of the moment, but determined at least when he was in Troas, perhaps as far back as Philippi. to sail past: Grk. parapleō, aor. inf., to sail by or past without stopping there. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. The infinitive expresses purpose.
Ephesus: Grk. ho Ephesos, the seat of administration for the Roman province of Asia. Ephesus was a free city with its own senate (Josephus, Ant. XIV, 10:13). The coastal city with a population of about 300,000 had the most favorable seaport in the province, serving as a center of commerce. The business prosperity of the city was rivaled by its cultural attractions, including a 25,000-seat stadium, baths, gymnasiums and impressive buildings. The principal attraction of Ephesus was the Temple of Artemis (Acts 19:27), which was ranked as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Ephesus had a sizable Jewish population with a prominent synagogue. Previous Roman administrations had granted citizenship rights to the Jewish residents of Ephesus and made allowances for their religious scruples, including exemption from serving in the Roman army (Josephus, Ant. XIV, 10:13, 16, 19; XVI, 6:7). Paul had proclaimed the good news in this synagogue toward the end of his second journey and gained a sympathetic hearing (Acts 18:19-20). On his third journey Paul had ministered in Ephesus for about three years in which the congregation experienced considerable growth (Acts 19:8-20).
so that: Grk. hopōs, conj. used to indicate purpose, objective or an end in view; in order that, so that. it might not: Grk. mē, adv. See verse 10 above. happen: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. subj. See verse 3 above. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 2 above. to spend time: Grk. chronotribeō, aor. inf., waste time, spend time, delay. in: Grk. en, prep. Asia: Grk. ho Asia, the Roman province bordered on the west by the Aegean Sea and on the east by the province of Galatia and its capital at Ephesus. The important province also included the well-known cities of Colossae, Hierapolis, Laodicea, Miletus, Pergamum, Philadelphia, Sardis, Smyrna, Thyatira and Troas. All of these cities had Jewish populations. See the Bible map of Asia here.
for: Grk. gar, conj. he was hurrying: Grk. speudō, impf., may mean (1) proceed with haste, of persons in rapid movement; or (2) cause to arrive earlier; hurry up. The first meaning applies here. if: Grk. ei, conj., a contingency marker, generally used to express a condition thought of as real. it were: Grk. eimi, pres. opt. See verse 8 above. The optative mood denotes strong contingency or possibility without a definite anticipation of realization, but sees what is conceivable. possible: Grk. dunatos may mean (1) having power, competence or ability, able, powerful; or (2) capable of being realized, possible, realizable. The second meaning applies here, "doable." The relative nature of the phrase "if it were possible" indicates Paul's submission to the sovereign will of God (cf. Jas 4:15).
for him: Grk. autos. to be: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. inf., to be present in order to fulfill Torah obligations. in: Grk. eis, prep. Jerusalem: Grk. Hierosoluma, a rough transliteration of the Heb. Yerushalayim (SH-3389), which means "possession" or "foundation of peace" (BDB 436). Hierosoluma is one of two forms of "Jerusalem" in Greek, which was used in the secular writings of Strabo and Dio Cassius and the Jewish writings of Philo and Josephus for the city in the Roman province of Judaea (BAG). Being the center of Jewish worship Jerusalem represented all that was dear to the faithful Jew. Jerusalem is the city God favors above all other cities of the earth and the focus of His covenantal faithfulness. It is noteworthy that Paul did not express an intention to return to Antioch.
on the day: Grk. ho hēmera. See verse 6 above. of Shavuot: Grk. ho Pentēkostē, properly "fiftieth," corresponding to the seven weeks and fifty days following Passover, Sivan 7 (May-June), and referring to the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot (SH-7620), a one day festival to bring the first fruits of the wheat harvest (Ex 23:16; 34:22; Num 28:26). Besides the farmers bringing first fruits other Israelites were expected to bring a free-will offering (Deut 16:10, 16). The pilgrim festivals were also the times Israelites presented offerings to redeem the first born (Ex 34:20) and fulfill vows (Deut 23:21-23; 1Sam 1:21). For a description of Israelite observance of Shavuot in biblical times see the pictorial article The Festival of Shavuot on the Temple Institute website.
The name pentēkostē occurs three times in the Besekh (Acts 2:1; 1Cor 16:8). In the LXX pentēkostē translates Heb. chamishshim (SH-2572), fifty or fiftieth, and used first for the Jubilee year (Lev 25:10-11). The Greek term is then used for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot in Tobit 2:1 and 2Maccabees 12:32, and in the later writings of Philo and Josephus (BAG). The name "fiftieth" derives from the fact that Shavuot is 50 days after Passover. In between these two days, Israelites were expected to "count the days" (Lev 23:15-16). See the Additional Note below on Pentecost.
In the year 57 Shavuot occurred on May 29. Luke does not explain why arriving in Jerusalem in time for Shavuot was important. Shavuot was a temple-centered celebration. For individual Jews Shavuot was a sabbath devoted to thanksgiving. In the synagogue the scroll of Ruth would be read (Soferim 14:18). Paul had previously mentioned in two letters that returning to Jerusalem had the practical goal of conveying funds he had collected for poor Judean disciples (cf. Rom 15:25; 1Cor 16:1). Ellicott comments that since Paul was contemplating a journey to Rome after the conclusion of this journey, it would hardly have been feasible had he waited for the Feast of the Booths (Tishri 15, September-October).
Gill and Poole make the egregious error of assuming Shavuot would not be of importance to Paul because it had been abrogated and done away by being fulfilled. On the contrary the apostolic writings contain no such assertion. Paul was a devoted Pharisee (Acts 26:5; Php 3:5). He observed Pesach (Passover) at Philippi and he would observe the pilgrim festival of Shavuot as the Torah required. Shavuot would be an opportunity to meet with the other Jewish leaders in the Body of Messiah, who would be in attendance. It might also be an opportunity for declaring the good news to hundreds of unbelieving Jewish pilgrims.
As stated in the comment on verse 6 above, God has not canceled any of the appointed times (cf. Matt 5:17-19). Certainly the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 would later make it impossible to conduct certain rituals associated with observance of the appointed times. However, applying a New Covenant interpretation each of the appointed times has special meaning and can still be observed, both at home and in the congregation.
Additional Note: Pentecost
Christianity adopted the name "Pentecost" from the Greek word for this holy day and generally treats Pentecost as the birthday of the Church. I contend that the Church was birthed by the church fathers, who reshaped the Yeshua movement into a religion cut off from its Jewish roots. The core values of Christianity were defined by the seven ecumenical councils, beginning with the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. The seventh council, the second council of Nicea in 787, prohibited Christians from Jewish practices and observance of Jewish holy days. The foundation of this prejudice was the adoption of a revisionist view of history in which Paul had rejected Judaism and authored replacement theology. The Great Lie of Christianity fueled antisemitic attitudes and persecution of Jews for centuries to come.
The biblical truth is that Shavuot was instituted by God at Mt. Sinai for observance by Israelites (Ex 23:16; 34:22; Lev 23:15-22). Of special significance is that according to Jewish tradition the tablets with the Ten Commandments were given to Israel on Shavuot (Shabbath 86b). After occupation of the land the festival would occur at the time of the wheat harvest and be a time to rejoice in the fullness of God's provision. Shavuot was one of three pilgrim festivals that all Jewish males were required to attend (Deut 16:16). At the temple a joyous celebration was held. The firstfruits of the wheat harvest were presented to ADONAI and an offering made of two loaves of bread baked with leavened flour (Leviticus 23:17). Among Jews Shavuot was a celebration of the giving the commandments to Israel.
Yet Israel had failed to live up to God's expectations in keeping His commandments, laws and statutes given on Shavuot (Jdg 2:17; 2Kgs 17:13-19; Neh 1:7; 9:34; Jer 44:10). God then promised through Jeremiah a New Covenant in which the Spirit would write God's commandments on the hearts of His people (Jer 31:33; cf. Ezek 11:19-20; 36:26-27). On Shavuot of AD 30 God fulfilled His promise of heart cleansing and transformation so that the followers of Yeshua were wholly devoted to live by God's expectations and empowered to be effective witnesses for Yeshua (Acts 1:8; 15:8-9).
Gentiles grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel (Rom 11:17) are privileged to receive the same New Covenant benefits of Shavuot. In observing this day Christians should ask themselves: "Have I received the Holy Spirit?" "Is my heart's desire to live by God's commandments and everything Yeshua commanded?"
Farewell Speech: Ministry Review, 20:17-21
17 Then from Miletus, having sent to Ephesus, he summoned the elders of the congregation.
Date: Wednesday, April 27, 57.
Then: Grk. de, conj. from: Grk. apo, prep. Miletus: See verse 15 above. See the map here. having sent: Grk. pempō, aor. part., to dispatch someone as an agent, usually to convey a message or complete a task; send. Luke does not identify who Paul sent, but it would have been any one of the seven assistants mentioned in verse 4 above. It's not likely he would engage a stranger for this important task. to: Grk. eis, prep. Ephesus: See the previous verse. Ephesus lay north of Miletus about 50 miles as the vulture flies. Having arrived at Miletus during the morning of April 27th, the messenger dispatched by Paul could not have reached Ephesus that day since the land road round the gulf made a vast circuit, so that the total highway distance to reach Ephesus was well over 60 miles.
Sailing across the gulf from Miletus to Priene would significantly shorten the distance. In the early afternoon there would arise a sea-breeze blowing up the gulf, which would permit the messenger to sail to the north side of the gulf. After landing at Priene, the messenger would cross the hills, and thereafter take the Roman coast road to Ephesus, which he might reach during the night (Ramsay 168).
Date: Thursday, April 28, 57.
he summoned: Grk. metakaleō, aor., call from one place to another; call for, send for, summon. the elders: pl. of Grk. ho presbuteros, adj., may mean (1) ranked as superior in age, older, older one; or (2) ranked in terms of official responsibility, elder. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX presbuteros translates Heb. zaqen ("zaw-kane", SH-2205), old, advanced in days (Gen 18:11), as well as a technical term for a man with official authority (Ex 17:5). The term is taken from a word meaning to have a growing beard. In the Tanakh elders as a group are found in tribes, communities and in the body of seventy appointed by Moses. In the Besekh the term was used for the Jewish Sages (Matt 15:2), for members of the ruling council in Jerusalem (Matt 16:21), and for officers in a synagogue (Luke 7:3).
The Jewish synagogue typically had seven elders: the nasi (President) with two assistants, chazan (pulpit minister), three parnasin (receivers of alms) (Moseley 9). Messianic congregations naturally imitated synagogue organization. The apostles appointed elders over Messianic congregations wherever they were formed (cf. Acts 11:30; 14:23; 15:2, 4, 6, 22; 20:17; 21:18). Elders were chosen to give oversight to the administration and ministries of the congregation. The number of elders was variable in proportion to the size of the congregation. The quantity could have been based on the historic formula of appointing leaders of thousands, hundreds and possibly fifties (Ex 18:21).
of the congregation: Grk. ho ekklēsia (for Heb. qahal, SH-6951), assembly, gathering, meeting, or congregation, used here to denote a grouping of Yeshua's disciples in a community. Christian Bibles almost unanimously translate ekklēsia in this verse as "church." The word "church" is clearly an ecclesiastical term of Christianity. (See my background note on this subject here.) A few versions have "assembly" (DARBY, WEB, YLT). Three versions have "congregation" (JUB, MSG, NMB). The CJB has "Messianic community," but the MW and TLV have "community." It's important to remember that in the first century there were no theological divisions as today, so the congregation included all the believers in the city.
18 And when they came to him, he said to them, "You know from the first day from which I arrived in Asia, how I was with you the whole time,
Date: Friday, April 29, 57.
And: Grk. de, conj. when: Grk. hōs, adv. See verse 14 above. they came: Grk. paraginomai, aor. mid., 3p-pl., to make one's way so as to be present; come, arrive, be present. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 6 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 2 above. Some time would be required to summon the elders; and they could not travel so fast as a group as the messenger who summoned them. They would show good speed if they reached Priene in the evening and were ready to sail to Miletus with the morning wind. The fourth day of Paul’s stay at Miletus, April 30, the Sabbath, was then devoted to the elders (Ramsay 169).
Date: Saturday, April 30, 57.
he said: Grk. legō, aor., to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or in written form; say, tell, declare. In the LXX legō renders Heb. amar (SH-559), to utter, say, command or think. The subject of the verb is Paul. to them: pl. of Grk. autos. Bruce notes that the following speech occurs in the context of the "we" section of Luke's narrative and thus he was an eyewitness who reproduced the gist of the speech from Spirit-aided memory. The speech is mainly hortatory, but also in part apologetic. Since Paul was addressing Jews he may have spoken in Hebrew, which Luke translated. In places the Greek syntax is a little disjointed, perhaps owing to the challenge of translation.
You: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person, which takes in all the elders. Some versions have "you yourselves" to emphasize the plurality of the pronoun. know: Grk. epistamai, pres. mid., 2p-pl., may mean (1) grasp mentally, know, understand; or (2) acquire information about something, know of, know about. The second meaning applies here. Paul proceeds to list seven things the elders knew. from: Grk. apo, prep. the first: Grk. prōtos, adj., having to do with beforeness, whether (1) indicating primary position in sequence; first, earlier; (2) standing out in significance, or (3) adverbially denoting first of all, at the first. The first meaning applies here. day: Grk. hēmera. See verse 6 above.
from: Grk. apo, prep. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. I arrived: Grk. epibainō, aor., 1p-sing., move so as to arrive at or be in an area; arrive, enter, set foot in/on. in: Grk. eis, prep. Asia: See verse 16 above. The first time Paul arrived in Asia, meaning Ephesus. After initially being forbidden by the Spirit to proclaim the Word in Asia (16:6), he came to Ephesus toward the end of his second journey in the year 52 after sailing from Cenchrea (Acts 18:19). He stayed for only a brief time and left Aquila and Priscilla there. The time reference more likely refers to his arrival in Ephesus in the Autumn of the year 53.
how: Grk. pōs, adv. I was: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 3 above. with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The plural "you" refers to the elders, but could be interpreted as the entire congregation. the whole: Grk. ho pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every, the whole. time: Grk. chronos may mean (1) a span or period of time, or (2) a point or definite moment in time. The first meaning applies here. Paul ministered for three months in the synagogue (Acts 19:8) and then over two years in the hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:10). The first thing the elders knew was the devotion Paul exhibited toward new believers and disciples to ensure their spiritual growth, as well as those in need of healing. He did not take a vacation or any days off, so he was always accessible to the congregation.
19 serving the Lord with all humility and tears, and trials having happened to me by the plots of the traditional Jews;
This verse continues the thought of the previous verse with Paul listing two more things the elders knew of how he spent the whole time at Ephesus. serving: Grk. douleuō, pres. part., to function in total obedience to a master, but here the verb has a spiritual meaning. the Lord: Grk. ho kurios may mean either (1) 'one in control through possession,' owner, master; or (2) 'one esteemed for authority or high status,' thus lord or master. Both meanings can apply here. In the LXX kurios primarily substitutes for Heb. YHVH (DNTT 2:511). Kurios is the principal title by which disciples and members of the public addressed Yeshua during his earthly ministry. Yeshua is the owner-master of his disciples who esteem him as possessing all authority in heaven and earth.
with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. all: Grk. pas, adj. See the previous verse. humility: Grk. tapeinophrosunē, moderation as regulated by inner perspective, lowliness of mind, modesty, humility. This character trait is the opposite of projecting self-importance. Rienecker says the noun denotes recognition of ones own weakness as well as the recognition of God's power. Nicoll says the noun may be justly considered Pauline, because of the seven times it appears in the Besekh, five are in his letters (Eph 4:2; Php 2:3; Col 2:18, 23; 3:12) and once in this address. The seventh use is in 1Peter 5:5, which was penned by Silas (1Pet 5:12), a former companion of Paul.
and: Grk. kai, conj. tears: pl. of Grk. dakruon, a teardrop, pl. "tears." Paul was not afraid to express his emotions and at times he could have been called the "weeping apostle" (cf. verse 31 below; Rom 12:15; 2Cor 2:4; 12:21; Php 3:18). The tears were the outflow of his humility. Ellicott says that the tears are "characteristic of the Apostle, whose intense sensitiveness and sympathy had not been hardened into a Stoic apathy, and therefore found vent in a form which the Stoic would have scorned as unmanly." and: Grk. kai, conj. trials: pl. of Grk. peirasmos may mean either (1) a means to determine quality or performance, test, trial; or (2) enticement to wrongdoing, temptation. The first meaning is intended here. See the Translation Note below.
having happened: Grk. sumbainō, pl. aor. part., take place as an event; happen, come to pass. The plural participle refers to the trials. to me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. by: Grk. en, prep. See verse 5 above. The preposition is used here to denote means. the plots: pl. of Grk. ho epiboulē. See verse 3 above. of the unbelieving Jewish leaders: pl. of Grk. ho Ioudaios. See verse 3 above. The organized opposition to which Paul refers began after he spent three months in the synagogue proclaiming the good news and the synagogue leaders began speaking evil of the Way (Acts 19:9). Then in the riot instigated by Demetrius and kidnapping of two of Paul's ministry workers, the Jewish leaders sought an opportunity to join the Gentile opposition to Paul (19:33), which utterly failed.
Translation Note: Peirasmos
Almost all modern versions translate the noun peirasmos as "trials." However, the KJV (1769), has "temptations," as well as a few other versions (KJ21, BRG, DARBY, DRA, JUB, RGT, and YLT). All the early English versions preceding the KJV of 1611 also have "temptations." In contrast Daniel Mace's New Testament of 1729 and John Wesley's New Testament of 1755, have "trials." The context of the noun in this verse is clearly on trials and not on temptation to sin.
20 how I held back nothing of that being profitable, not to declare to you, and to teach you publicly and among your houses,
This verse continues the thought of the previous verse with Paul listing two more things the elders knew of how he spent the whole time at Ephesus. how: Grk. hōs, adv. See verse 14 above. The adverb is used here to stress the extent and quality of the activity described. I held back: Grk. hupostellō, aor. mid., 1p-sing., (1) to haul down, lower, referring to a sail, to contract, furl; (2) to draw oneself back, out of sight for shelter; (3) to avoid, shun or suppress (Zodhiates). The third meaning is intended here. Ellicott suggests that Paul uses the nautical meaning of the verb in a metaphorical sense. Nicoll concurs with this view and adds that the sails of the ship may have been before his eyes in speaking, and the word had become familiar to him day by day on the voyage.
nothing: Grk. oudeis, adj. used to indicate negation of a person or thing as actually existing at a given place or moment; no one, none, nothing. Paul seems to say of his devotion to ministry that he had used no reticence or reserve, but had gone straight ahead on his course, as it were, before the wind, with all his canvas spread. of that: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. being profitable: Grk. sumpherō, pl. pres. part., bring together to result in a benefit to others. Paul considered the maturity level of his disciples and also the needs of building community. His statement here may be contrasted with the limited range of teaching imparted to the Corinthians (1Cor 3:1-2). "Being profitable" may have excluded religious controversies not relevant to proclaiming the good news and discipling new believers.
not: Grk. mē, adv. See verse 10 above. to declare: Grk. anangellō, aor. inf., may mean (1) report or relay, of persons returning from a place; or (2) provide information, announce, declare, disclose, proclaim, teach. The second meaning applies here. The verb depicts a full disclosure of the truth. to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The plural pronoun would include the entire congregation. Paul describes the thoroughness of his proclamation of the "Jewish gospel," just as he did in his lengthy sermon in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13). He left nothing out that was important for them to know and understand.
and: Grk. kai, conj. to teach: Grk. didaskō, aor. inf., to impart instruction. In the LXX didaskō is used primarily to translate Heb. lamad (SH-3925), exercise in, learn, teach (Deut 4:1; Ps 119:99). In its LXX usage the verb means chiefly instruction in how to live (e.g., Deut 11:19; 20:18) (DNTT 3:760). Paul fulfilled the requirement of the Great Commission to make disciples, that is, teach them to obey all that Yeshua commanded (Matt 28:19-20). you: Grk. humeis. publicly: Grk. dēmosios, in view of all, in public places, publicly. Paul's public teaching would include the three months in the synagogue (Acts 19:8) and over two years in the hall of Tyrannus (19:10).
and: Grk. kai, conj. among: Grk. kata, prep., with the root meaning of "down," expresses something associated with something else in terms of direction, position, or relation and in composition is generally translated as "down," "against," "according to," "among," or "by way of." The majority of versions translate the preposition as "from" to emphasize a distributive sense. your houses: pl. of Grk. oikos, a structure for habitation; house, home and by extension the household of that dwelling.
In the LXX oikos translates Heb. bayit (SH-1004) with the same range of meaning. The majority of versions translate the plural noun as "house to house" to indicate a succession of visitation. The phrase kat oikous, lit. "according to the houses," could have the relative meaning "according to the number of houses in which members of the congregation dwelled." Paul may have implied that he visited every single household in the congregation, which would in part demonstrate his devotion to ministry that took his whole time (verse 18 above).
21 thoroughly testifying to both traditional Jews and Hellenistic Jews of repentance toward God and faithfulness toward our Lord Yeshua.
This verse continues the thought of the previous verses with Paul listing the two final things the elders knew of how he spent the whole time at Ephesus. thoroughly testifying: Grk. diamarturomai, pres. mid. part., an emphatic declaration establishing the importance of what is stated, giving full, clear testimony. The middle voice emphasizes witnessing done with a high level of strong personal interest motivating it (HELPS). The syntax of the verse suggests that Paul did not limit himself to the Sabbath for his proclaiming the good news.
to both: Grk. te, conj. traditional Jews: pl. of Grk. Ioudaios. See verse 3 above. and: Grk. kai, conj. Hellenistic Jews: pl. of Grk. Hellēn, lit., "Hellenist," may mean (1) a person who speaks the Greek language; or (2) in the broader sense, all persons who came under the influence of Greek culture (BAG). Almost all Bible versions translate the plural noun as "Greeks," although a few versions have "Gentiles" (CEV, DRA, GNB, JUB and TLB). My translation of 'Hellenistic Jews' is based on history. After Alexander the Great (356−323 BC) conquered the world he and his successors sought to educate and assimilate people in the Greek way of life. All who spoke and understood the Greek language and adopted or accommodated Greek culture in varying degrees were counted as Hellenist (DNTT 2:124).
All the lexicons recognize that Hellēn is a cultural term as well as an ethnic term. Jewish culture was not exempt from the Hellenistic influence resulting from Alexander's conquest and the imposition of Hellenism on the world. One only needs to read First and Second Maccabees to understand the seriousness of the culture war among Jews. By the first century thousands of Jews in the Diaspora were Hellenistic. In spite of the fact that Hellēn is not a term restricted to Greece, ethnic Greeks or Gentiles in general, all the lexicons inexplicably exclude Jews from this definition. This omission reflects a major blind spot in Christian scholarship.
The fact remains that a Hellenist might be a Gentile or he might be a Jew. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible states that in the New Testament the term Hellenist refers to "a Jew by birth or religion that spoke Greek and used chiefly of foreign Jews and proselytes in contrast with the Hebrews speaking the vernacular Hebrew or Aramaic." Justin Martyr (110-165), a Gentile born in Samaria and later a Christian teacher in Rome, in his Dialogue with Trypho lists seven Jewish groups, among whom he includes Hellenists (Chap. LXXX).
Hellenistic Jews could be completely secular and assimilated into Gentile culture, or they could be ascetic like the Essenes, or they could be devout worshippers as the Greek-speaking Jews that John describes in John 12:20 and Luke describes in Acts 6:1 and 9:29. Indeed every occurrence of the plural form of Hellēn in Acts is found in Jewish settings (14:1; 17:4; 18:4; 19:9-10, 17; 20:20-21; 21:28). For the rationale to interpret Hellēn as "Hellenistic Jew" see my article Hellenism and the Jews.
of repentance: Grk. ho metanoia, a serious change of mind and heart about a previous point of view or course of behavior. The noun occurs 22 times in the Besekh, of which six occur in Paul's letters (Rom 2:4; 2Cor 7:9; 2Tim 2:25; Heb 6:1, 6; 12:17). In the LXX metanoia occurs only one time and without Hebrew equivalent in Proverbs 14:15, "The guileless believe every word, but the astute one comes to repentance" (ABP). Thayer points out that the noun occurs in Josephus to represent especially the change of mind of those who have begun to abhor their errors and misdeeds, and have determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty amendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds (Ant. XIII, 11:3).
Metanoia also occurs in Sirach 44:16 where it says "Enoch pleased the Lord, and was taken up; he was an example of repentance to all generations." Metanoia represents the beginning point of the underlying Hebrew concept of t’shuvah. As a word for repentance t’shuvah means to turn away from evil in the sense of renouncing sin, and to turn toward God in obedience to his will as expressed in the commandments (TWOT 2:909). True repentance requires honest self-evaluation, and any serious consideration of the divine virtues should lead the honest disciple to identify any number of faults for which confession is necessary. Repentance should be part of the disciple's lifestyle as implied in the Lord's Prayer.
No one becomes so holy or so perfect that he can stop being open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and repenting of behaviors that fail to please God. Stern shares this exhortation from the Talmud:
"Rabbi Eliezer (c.40-c. 120 AD) said, 'Repent one day before you die.' His disciples asked him, '[How can we do that?] Who knows on what day he will die?' He answered them, 'All the more reason to repent today, because you might be dead tomorrow!'" (Shabbat 153a)
toward: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 1 above. God: Grk. theos, God or god, as determined from the context. In the LXX theos overwhelmingly renders the name of the Creator God Elohim (2568 times) (DNTT 2:67-70). Given the plural nature of Elohim the full triunity of God must be represented in theos. The only God in existence is the God who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing (Gen 1:1) and who chose Israel out of all the nations on the earth for a covenantal relationship (Ex 19:5; Isa 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9). In the Besekh theos is used overwhelmingly for the God of Israel. Paul makes an important distinction here. Repentance is directed to the triune God (Father, Son and Spirit) because sin is an offense against all three.
and: Grk. kai, conj. faithfulness: Grk. pistis incorporates two primary facets of meaning, (1) that which causes trust and faith, i.e., faithfulness or reliability, and (2) trust or confidence in an active sense (BAG). The great majority of versions apply the second meaning and translate the noun as "faith." A few versions have "trust" (CJB, MSG, NLV, TLV). In the LXX pistis translates Hebrew words that mean firmness, steadfastness, fidelity, or faithfulness: e.g., emun, emunah, and emet (Deut 32:20; 1Sam 26:23; 2Kgs 12:15; Ps 33:4; Prov 13:17; 14:22; Jer 5:1, 3; 7:28; 9:3; 28:9; 33:6). The LXX usage emphasizes that the intended meaning of pistis is faithfulness. An appropriate modern metaphor is "steady as a rock."
toward: Grk. eis, prep. The preposition is repeated and emphasizes entry into a relationship. Almost all versions have "in" for the phrase "faith in," but if Paul had intended "in" he would have used the Greek word with that meaning (Grk. en). our: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. Lord: Grk. ho kurios. See verse x above. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH is salvation" (BDB 221). For more information on the meaning our Lord's name see my web article Who is Yeshua? Faithfulness toward Yeshua implies obeying everything he commanded (Matt 28:20).
Farewell Speech: Travel Plan, 20:22-27
22 And now, behold, I have been bound by the Spirit, going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me in it,
And: Grk. kai, conj. now: Grk. nun, adv., marker of time in the present; now or just now. behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp., demonstrative interjection (derived from eidon, "to see"), that arouses the attention of hearers or readers. The Greek verb, like its corresponding Heb. word hinneh (SH-2009, e.g., Gen 1:29), serves to enliven divine monologues and narratives, particularly as a call to closer consideration and contemplation of something; (you) see, look, behold (BAG). I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. have been bound: Grk. deō, perf. pass. part., to bind, tie or fasten, normally used of physical restraint, but used here figuratively of being under an obligation.
by the Spirit: Grk. ho pneuma (for Heb. ruach, Resh-Vav-Chet), wind, breath or spirit; here referring to the Holy Spirit. Pneuma is used for the human spirit and transcendent beings (Matt 8:16; Heb 1:14), particularly the Spirit as God's self-expression (Gen 1:2; Mark 1:10). The great majority of versions capitalize the noun to make it a reference to the Holy Spirit, whereas a few versions treat pneuma as referring to Paul's own spirit (= heart, mind) and offer the translation of Paul making his own decision. The presence of the definite article favors the Holy Spirit and the next verse confirms Paul's intention. Paul was attuned to and submissive to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
going: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. See verse 1 above. to: Grk. eis, prep. Jerusalem: See verse 16 above, where Paul expresses his intention. not: Grk. mē, adv. knowing: Grk. eidō, perf. part., derived from oida, to know and denotes experiential knowledge. what: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. will happen: Grk. sunantaō, pl. fut. pass. part., to meet or encounter, here with the focus on that which one encounters or experiences at an event or location. to me: Grk. egō. in: Grk. en, prep. it: Grk. autos, personal pronoun, used to denote the city of Jerusalem. Many versions translate the location reference en autē as "there." Paul had yet to receive a full revelation as to what he should expect in Jerusalem.
23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.
except: Grk. plēn, adv. introducing a modifying or incremental clause in a statement or narrative; except. that: Grk. hoti, conj., 'that,' 'since' or 'because,' here introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of the preceding clause, "not knowing what will happen to me." the Holy: Grk. Ho Hagios has two distinctive uses in Scripture: (1) as an adj., meaning set apart for dedication to the interests or expectations of deity; and (2) as a pure substantive to refer to that which has been set apart (BAG). The term is used of sacred things, places, people, angels and God. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh (SH-6918), which means separate, sacred, holy, and first used of God in Leviticus 11:44.
Spirit: Grk. Ho Pneuma, here referring to the Holy Spirit. See the previous verse. In Scripture "holy" is only used as an adjective of "spirit" to refer to the Holy Spirit, a name or face of God. "Holy Spirit" is not the title of a separate being, because God is Spirit (John 4:24), just as God is the Word (John 1:1). The Greek word order here demonstrates the Hebraic nature of the text, because it corresponds to the Hebrew word order of Ruach Qodesh, which occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11). All of the passages indicate that the Holy Spirit is divine, not less or other than God.
testifies: Grk. diamarturomai, pres. mid., an emphatic declaration establishing the importance of what is stated, giving full, clear testimony. The middle voice emphasizes declaring done with a high level of strong personal interest motivating it (HELPS). to me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. in every: Grk. kata, prep., lit. "according to," but in reference to a place, the preposition is used in a distributive sense, indicating a succession of things following one another. city: Grk. polis, a population center whose size or number of inhabitants could range broadly, a city or town. The reference "every city" is probably of cities visited during the third journey. It could be that the testimony of the Spirit was delivered through an anointed prophet as later happened in Caesarea (Acts 21:10-11).
saying: Grk. legō, pres. part. See verse 18 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj., used here to introduce a quotation of the Spirit's message. bonds: pl. of Grk. desmos, a medium or device used for restraining someone, bond or fetter. A bond could be of rope, leather or metal to bind the hands and/or feet, or even stocks. A number of versions offer the literal translation of "bonds" or "chains" (ASV, CSB, EHV, KJV, LITV, Moffatt, LEB, NASB, NKJV, WEB, Wesley, YLT). Many versions have "imprisonment," "jail" or "prison" (e.g., CEB, CEV, CJB, ESV, GW, TLB, MSG, NABRE, NEB, NET, NIV, NJB, NLT, NRSV, Phillips, RSV), which is interpretation rather than translation. N.T. Wright has "captivity," which is more accurate.
While Paul became a prisoner of Roman authorities (Acts 23:18; 27:1; 28:17; Eph 3:1, 4:1; Col 4:10; Phm 1:1) he was not placed in a prison as happened in Philippi (Acts 16:23). Luke faithfully records that Paul was initially bound with two chains (21:33), and later of a single chain (28:29; cf. Eph 6:20). As for location, in Jerusalem Paul was held in the army barracks (Acts 21:34), and in Caesarea he was held in Herod’s Praetorium (Acts 23:35), where he was granted some freedom (Acts 24:23). In Rome Paul was confined for two years in rented quarters (Acts 28:30), essentially "house arrest."
and: Grk. kai, conj. afflictions: pl. of Grk. thlipsis, distress that is the result of outward circumstances; distress, affliction, persecution, suffering, trouble, tribulation. In the LXX thlipsis translates several Hebrew words that denote need, distress, affliction, or trouble, from personal hostility to war and exile (e.g., Gen 35:3; Ex 4:31; Ps 4:1; 9:9; Isa 10:3) (DNTT 2:807). Thlipsis refers not only to the negative outward circumstances, but also the personal anguish because of the circumstances. Yeshua warned his disciples that they would experience persecution and tribulation (Matt 24:9; Mark 10:30). The plural form of the noun emphasizes that affliction can come in a variety of forms, such as pressure to conform, slander, legal strictures, economic deprivation, physical abuse, and murder.
In the letters Paul wrote during his third journey he mentions afflictions he had already endured (Rom 5:3; 2Cor 1:4, 8; 2:4; 4:17; 6:4; 7:4; 1Th 3:7). Then in his letters written while a prisoner he make references to the afflictions he suffered after his arrest (Php 4:4; Col 1:24). await: Grk. menō, pres. See verse 5 above. The verb is used here in the sense of staying in a place for the presence or arrival of someone. me: Grk. egō. The "bonds and afflictions" function almost as personifications; they are agents of Satan waiting for Paul.
24 But I regard life of no account, as dear to myself, so as to finish my course and the ministry that I received in the presence of the Lord Yeshua, to testify to the good news of the grace of God.
But: Grk. alla, conj., adversative particle used adverbially to convey a different viewpoint for consideration; but, on the other hand. I regard: Grk. poieō, pres. mid. See verse 3 above. life: Grk. ho psuchē. See verse 10 above. With the definite article the noun could refer to "the life I live in the flesh" (Gal 2:20). of no: Grk. oudeis, adj., a powerful negating particle that rules out by definition and leaves no exceptions; no, no one, none, nothing. account: Grk. logos. See verse 2 above. Paul uses the noun in a special sense as respecting the mind as far as how one thinks about something. In Greek culture logos meant computation, consideration or a value placed on something (LSJ). The choice of the noun may reflect Luke's interpretation. Paul contemplated the value of living vs. dying (cf. 2Cor 5:1-8).
as dear: Grk. timios, adj., highly valued or esteemed in the eye of the beholder; especially dear, honored, precious, valued. to myself: Grk. emautou, reflexive pronoun, of myself. The pronoun gives a subtle meaning of "me, as I am." so as: Grk. hōs, adv. See verse 14 above. The adverb is used here to convey "in order that, in order to" (Thayer). to finish: Grk. teleioō, aor. inf., bring to a point at which nothing is missing, here of carrying out a responsibility; complete, finish. The verb is inspired by an athletic setting. my: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. course: Grk. ho dromos, properly, a race-course (track), where foot-runners competed in the ancient Greek games (HELPS). The term is only used by Paul (also Acts 13:25; 2Tim 4:7). Paul likened the mission calling of God as a course to be run with a set distance and point of completion.
and: Grk. kai, conj. the ministry: Grk. ho diakonia, service or ministration, especially in meeting the needs of others. Here the term is used of dedication to a specific divine assignment. that: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. I received: Grk. lambanō, aor., to lay hold of by actively accepting what is offered (HELPS), to take or receive. in the presence of: Grk. para, prep., with the root meaning of beside (DM 108), conveys association between persons, things, or circumstances, and used here to denote a close association or proximity, with, beside, in the presence of. The preposition is generally translated as "from" or "of," which may obscure Paul's point. The receipt of Paul's ministry assignment occurred in a very personal and direct communication (cf. Acts 9:3-6, 15; 26:12-19; Gal 1:15-16).
the Lord: Grk. ho kurios. See verse 19 above. Yeshua: See verse 21 above. to testify: Grk. diamarturomai, aor. mid. inf. See verse 21 above. to the good news: Grk. ho euangelion, good news and more specifically the good news of the Messiah and His kingdom. Christian versions translate the term as "gospel," which many Jews regard as a distinctive term of Christianity. In the LXX euangelion renders besorah, which may mean either a reward for good news (2Sam 4:10) or glad tidings (2Sam 18:20, 22). The noun typically refers to the message of the deeds, death and resurrection of Yeshua.
of the grace: Grk. ho charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity, frequently unmotivated by the worth of the recipient; thus, grace, gracefulness, graciousness, favor, thanks or gratitude. In the LXX charis translates Heb. hên (SH-2580), favor, first in Gen 6:8 in regards to Noah receiving the favor of God (DNTT 2:116). of God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 21 above. Paul continually marveled at being a recipient of the grace of God after his persecution of disciples (Rom 1:1, 5; 12:3; 1Cor 3:10; 15:10; Gal 2:9; Eph 3:2, 8). Moreover, Paul realized that the grace of God was for all people, Gentiles as well as Jews (Rom 5:15; Eph 3:3-8; Titus 2:11; Heb 2:9).
25 And now, behold, I know that you all among whom I went about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face no more.
And: Grk. kai, conj. now: Grk. nun, adv. See verse 22 above. behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. See verse 22 above. I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. know: Grk. oida, perf., to have seen or perceived, hence to know. The verb is used for various kinds of knowledge and here probably refers to knowledge by divine revelation. In the LXX oida occurs frequently to render Heb. yada (SH-3045), to know, (e.g., Gen 3:5; Num 11:16; Deut 1:39), which has a wide range of meaning, but in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons or knowing by experience, as well as knowing by learning (DNTT 2:395). To the Hebrew mind "knowing" is not philosophical or theoretical, but based in reality.
that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 23 above. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 18 above. among: Grk. en, prep. whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. I went about: Grk. dierchomai, aor. See verse 2 above. The verb alludes to the statement in verse 20 above of teaching in public and private settings. proclaiming: Grk. kērussō, pres. part., to make a public announcement in the manner of a herald, to proclaim. the kingdom: Grk. ho basileia, may mean kingship, royal power, or territory ruled over by a king. For the use of the title the size of the territory was immaterial, ranging from a city to a country to an empire.
In the LXX basileia renders Heb. mamlakh (SH-4467; BDB 575), kingdom, sovereignty, dominion, reign, first in Genesis 10:10; and Heb. malkuth (SH-4438; BDB 574), royalty, royal power, reign, kingdom, first in Numbers 24:7. In the Tanakh the Hebrew words are used primarily for the reign of earthly rulers and secondarily of God's kingship. According to the Book of Jubilees (12:19), Abraham set the example for his descendants by declaring God to be his king (cf. Gen 14:22). Israel first sang the praise of God's reign after crossing the Red Sea (Ex 15:18). In the covenant with Israel God expressed his will for a kingdom, "you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex 19:6). Then, God promised David,
"When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." (2Sam 7:12-13 NASB)
The hope that God would establish his reign as King over all the earth, with all idolatry banished, is expressed frequently in Scripture (e.g., Ex 15:18; Ps 22:28; 29:10; 93:1; 99:2; 103:19; 145:10-13; Isa 52:7; Dan 2:44; 4:3; 7:27; Micah 4:7; Obad 1:21; and Zech 14:9). The theme of God's kingdom is also found in intertestamental Jewish literature: Tobit 13:1; Sibylline Oracles 3:47-48, 767; Psalms of Solomon 17:3; Wisdom of Solomon 10:10; Assumption of Moses 10:1; Prayer of Azariah and the Three Men 33; and Enoch 84:2. Ancient Jewish prayers, such as Aleinu and Kaddish, include the phrase that "God may establish His Kingdom speedily" It was even laid down by the Sages that no benediction would be effective without reference to the Kingdom (Ber. 12a).
So, in the Tanakh and Jewish literature there are two kinds of kingdom: a priestly kingdom and a Davidic kingdom. Yochanan the Immerser spoke of both kingdoms, but he saw them occurring simultaneously (cf. Matt 3:7-12). The immersion of Spirit would be the inauguration of the priestly kingdom and the immersion of fire would be the judgment on the wicked and victory of the Davidic kingdom. It is important to note that in Scripture the doctrine of the Kingdom relates to the expectation and fulfillment of promises made to Israel. When Yeshua began his ministry he made the public announcement, "the kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1:15) and then he taught his disciples to pray, "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done" (Matt 6:10).
Paul's proclamation of the good news and discipleship instruction included explaining the Kingdom of God from the Messianic viewpoint (Acts 14:22; 19:8; 28:23, 31). The Kingdom of God functions in the present age by God's reign in the hearts of Yeshua's followers who seek righteousness, peace and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit according to the King's will (Rom 14:17; cf. 1Cor 4:20; Col 1:13; 1Th 2:12; Heb 12:28). However, Paul also spoke of the Kingdom in connection with the age to come when Yeshua returns to earth and begins to reign (1Cor 6:9-10; 15:24, 50; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:5; 2Th 1:5; 2Tim 4:1, 18). In these passages Paul speaks of God's standards for inclusion in the future Kingdom.
will see: Grk. horaō, fut. mid., 2p-pl., to perceive physically with the eye, or in a fig. sense to experience something or to have extraordinary mental or inward perception. my: Grk. egō. face: Grk. prosōpon may mean (1) the face, by which someone is identified; (2) the countenance or visage projected by someone; and (3) a personal presence or the act of appearing before someone. The first meaning is intended here. no more: Grk. ouketi, adv. of cessation of an activity or condition; no further, no longer, no more. This declaration was no doubt said with a heavy heart. The prediction is not an anticipation of dying, but of the Lord leading him to new fields.
26 Therefore, I testify to you in this day that I am innocent of the blood of all.
Therefore: Grk. dioti, conj. that generally introduces a rationale or motive for the affirmation that precedes ("on the very account that, because, inasmuch as"), but also in a related vein as an inference, which is the intention here; therefore, hence. I testify: Grk. martureō, pres. mid., to attest or testify to a fact or truth, often in a legal context. The verb designates the affirmation of objective truth. to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person; the elders. Paul means "Since I faithfully proclaimed the kingdom, I can say that…." in: Grk. en, prep. this: Grk. sēmeron, adv., today, this day, now. day: Grk. ho hēmera. See verse 6 above.
that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 23 above. The conjunction is used here to introduce a quotation, a self-affirmation in which Paul identifies himself with Ezekiel. I am: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 8 above. innocent: Grk. katharos, adj., may mean (1) free from contamination, clean, cleansed; or (2) free from guilt or blame or moral impurity. The second meaning applies here. of: Grk. apo, prep. See verse 6 above. the blood: Grk. haima, blood, whether of humans or vertebrate animals. The noun also has figurative uses, such as bloodshed of a sacrificial animal or shedding blood by violence. In the LXX haima translates Heb. dam (SH-1818), with the same range of meaning. Paul draws on the word picture of "blood-guilt" found in the Torah, i.e., responsibility for causing someone's death (Ex 22:2-3; Lev 17:4; Deut 19:10; 21:18; Ps 51:14).
of all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 18 above. Some versions add "men" since the adjective is masculine. However, Paul's use of the adjective would certainly include women. Paul does not use "all" in a global sense, but of those to whom God sent him to proclaim the good news. The declaration "I am innocent of the blood of all" alludes to the instruction God gave Ezekiel:
17 "Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me. 18 When I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak to warn the wicked of his wicked way, to save his life, that wicked person will die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood from your hand. 19 Yet you, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul." (Ezek 3:17-19 TLV)
An important point in the Ezekiel passage is that the sinner who has not heard the good news cannot use this as an excuse when standing before God in the judgment of the last day. Yeshua himself made it clear that anyone who does not believe in him will die in their sins (John 8:21, 24). To die in one's sins is to die unrepentant and therefore unprepared to meet God. According to Scripture God has provided universal atonement (Rom 5:15; 6:10; 2Cor 5:14-15; 1Tim 1:15; 2:6; Heb 10:10), but not universal salvation (1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5; Rev 20:15; 21:8, 27; 22:14-15). Mankind is without excuse, because God has given knowledge of Himself to the world (John 1:9; Rom 1:18-20). This is a hard truth, but a compelling reason to continue calling the world to repentance by whatever means possible.
27 For I did not draw back so as not to declare to you the whole plan of God.
For: Grk. gar, conj. I did not: Grk. ou, adv. draw back: Grk. hupostellō, aor. mid. See verse 20 above. so as not: Grk. mē, adv. to declare: Grk. anangellō, aor. inf. See verse 20 above. to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. the whole: Grk. pas, adj. See verse 18 above. plan: Grk. boulē (derived from boulomai, "to will, wish or want"), may refer to (1) the process of thinking as prelude to decision; deliberation, motive; or (2) the product of deliberation, decision, resolve, used frequently of a divine plan or purpose. The second usage fits here. Bible versions are divided in translating the noun as "counsel," "plan," "purpose" or "will."
In the LXX boulē occurs over 100 times and translates mainly Heb. etsah (SH-6098), counsel, advice (74 times), which denotes the weighty consideration which precedes the effecting of the will (DNTT 3:1016). The Hebrew term is often used of men or nations and bears the sense of advice, counsel or wisdom (Prov 2:11; 8:12; Isa 11:2). Above all the term is used as a divine attribute (Job 12:13; Prov 8:14; Isa 28:29; Jer 32:19) and of the immutable purpose of God (Ps 33:11). God's purpose is particularly to bless Israel and judge the wicked of the nations (Isa 14:26; 25:1; 46:10-11; Jer 49:20; 50:45).
of God: See verse 21 above. HELPS expands on the definition of "plan of God."
"The boulē of God" properly means a resolved plan, used particularly of the immutable aspect of God's plan, purposefully arranging all physical circumstances, which guarantees every scene of life works to His eternal purpose."
Paul's phrase "whole plan of God" summarizes what Walter Kaiser calls the "purpose-plan of God" (19). The plan was actually conceived before creation (1Cor 2:7-8; Heb 9:26; Rev 13:8), because God knew that sin would be introduced into His perfect creation. The initial promise was made to Chavah ("Eve"), "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel." The promise of a Seed-Savior or Messiah who would bring God's remedy for sin is then found throughout the Tanakh. The plan involved making irrevocable covenants with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Israel and David, through whom the Messiah would be born into the world.
God's plan demonstrates that He is the Lord of history, or more specifically "salvation history," God's plan to redeem Israel and the nations. Peter gave an overview of the plan of God in his early ministry in Jerusalem (Acts 2:27-36; 4:24-28). Paul also reviewed the salvation plan of God in his sermon in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:16-40), and then the purpose-plan of God became a major theme in his letters (Rom 1:1-3; 4:1-13; 9:4, 8-9; 15:8-9; Gal 3:14-29; Eph 1:3-11; 2:12; 3:3-6; Titus 1:2; Heb 6:13-17; 11:39-40).
Farewell Speech: Warning, 20:28-31
28 Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God which He acquired through His own blood.
Take heed: Grk. prosechō, pres. imp., be on the alert, which may be used of (1) putting up one's guard; beware, take heed; or (2) of giving attention to personal obligation; take care, pay attention to. The first usage applies here. The imperative mood depicts an entreaty in the sense of the Hebrew word shamar (SH-8104), to keep, watch, guard oneself (Gen 24:6; Ex 10:28; Deut 4:9; 6:12; Tobit 4:12). to yourselves: pl. of Grk. heautou, reflexive pronoun of the third person to denote that the agent and the person acted on are the same. The admonition is important because Satan's tactic is to "strike the shepherd so that the sheep would be scattered" (Zech 13:7; Matt 26:31). Yeshua offered a similar warning to his disciples on the night before his death (John 15:18-21; 16:1-2).
and: Grk. kai, conj. to all: Grk. pas, adj. See verse 18 above. the flock: Grk. ho poimnion, a flock, especially of sheep. The people of God are often likened to a flock of sheep in Scripture (Ps 77:20; 78:52; 100:3; Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:2; Mic 7:14; Zech 9:16; Luke 12:32; John 10:16; 1Pet 5:2-3). in: Grk. en, prep. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. the Holy Spirit: See verse 23 above. has appointed: Grk. tithēmi, aor. mid., may mean (1) to arrange for association with a site; place, put; or (2) to arrange for creation of role or status, make, appoint. The second meaning is intended here. Paul appointed elders for the congregations he planted but he relied on the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit to guide him in that process of evaluation and selection. The appointment was confirmed by the reception of spiritual gifts (cf. Acts 8:17).
you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person; used of the elders. as overseers: pl. of Grk. episkopos, one who engages in oversight or one who exercises a supervising function; overseer, supervisor. In the LXX episkopos first occurs in Numbers 4:16 to translate Heb. pequddah (SH-6486), oversight, to describe the responsibility given to Eleazer the son of Aaron, but mainly to translate Heb. paqid (SH-6496), commissioner, deputy, overseer, which could be a military, political or religious office (Jdg 9:28; 2Kgs 11:15; Neh 11:9, 22; 12:42).
The majority of versions have "overseers," but some versions have "guardians" (NJB, NTE, PHILLIPS, RSVCE) or "leaders" (CJB, NIRV, NLV, NLT, WE). A few versions commit a faux pas by ignoring the Jewish setting to translate the word as "bishops" (ASV, AMPC, DRA, GW, JUB, NOG), a title associated with the patristic organization of Christianity. Bruce considers the use of "bishops" an anachronism.
to shepherd: Grk. poimainō, pres. inf., to act as a shepherd, hence to rule or govern. In the LXX poimainō occurs 50 times (ABP), and translates Heb. ra'ah (SH-7462), graze, pasture, rule, shepherd, or tend, first in Genesis 30:31 (DNTT 3:564). The use of poimainō for ra'ah occurs first in instances of shepherding or tending flocks of sheep, including in reference to notable figures, such as Jacob (Gen 30:36), Moses (Ex 3:1) and David (1Sam 16:11). Then, the verb is used figuratively of a ruler or teacher and the people of Israel regarded as a flock (2Sam 5:2; 7:7; 1Chr 11:2; 17:6; Ps 78:71-72; Jer 3:15; 23:2, 4; Ezek 34:2, 3, 8, 10, 23; Zech 11:4, 7; 11:9; cf. John 21:16; 1Cor 9:7; 1Pet 5:2).
the congregation: Grk. ho ekklēsia. See verse 17 above. of God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 21 above. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. He acquired: Grk. peripoieō, aor. mid., to secure for oneself. HELPS adds make one's own, or reserve for oneself, with deep personal interest; acquire, obtain. The verb occurs only three times in the Besekh (Luke 17:33; 1Tim 3:13). Those two passages should be considered for defining the verb in this verse. In the LXX peripoieō translates Heb. chayah (SH-2421), to live or preserve life (Gen 12:12; Ex 1:16), as well as Heb. rakash (SH-7408), to collect or gather, used of property (Gen 31:18; 36:6), and Heb. yatsar (SH-3335), to form or fashion, used of forming the people of God (Isa 43:21).
Many versions translate the verb with "bought" (CEV, NCV, NIRV, NIV, NLV) or "purchased" (CSB, KJV, TLB, NASB, NKJV, NLT), but neither is the meaning of peripoieō. The verb peripoieō was used in secular Greek literature to mean getting for oneself by purchase. However, Paul does not intend to allude to a commercial transaction as implied by the translation of "bought" or "purchased." Some versions do convey the Hebraic meaning with "acquired" (GW, ISV, NOG, NABRE, YLT) or "obtained" (CEB, DLNT, ESV, LEB, NET, NRSV, RSV, TLV) or "made his own" (GNB, VOICE).
through: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 3 above. His own: Grk. ho idios, adj., belonging to oneself, what is one's own as opposed to belonging to another. blood: Grk. ho haima. See verse 26 above. The noun as used here refers to the shedding of blood by Yeshua in his crucifixion (cf. John 19:34; Col 1:20; Heb 13:12). The blood of Yeshua brought spiritual life to Israel by cleansing sin (Heb 9:14, 22; 1Jn 1:7). Thus, Paul asserts that those who have received the merit of Yeshua's atoning blood are now his property and rightly call him Lord or Master.
29 I know that after my departure oppressive wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. know: Grk. oida, perf. See verse 25 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj. after: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. my: Grk. egō. departure: Grk. aphixis, with focus on the point from which one proceeds, departure. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. The noun does not refer to his immediate departure from Asia, but could point to a time when he was no longer actively superintending ministry in the province or to the time of his death. When Paul wrote his "prison" letter within two years to the congregation he complimented them on their faithfulness to Yeshua (Eph 1:15). Yet, in the last period of his life before his martyrdom he wrote Timothy that "all in Asia" turned away from him (2Tim 1:15).
oppressive: pl. of Grk. barus, adj., lit. "heavy, weighty," figuratively pressing down on a person with oppressive force (HELPS). Such a grievous burden makes a person unable to enjoy freedom. wolves: pl. of Grk. lukos, a wolf, a predatory carnivore. The wolf of the Middle East is large, light colored, and does not seem to hunt in packs. Like other wolves it is nocturnal. In Israel the wolf was the special enemy of sheep and goats (John 10:12). In the Tanakh the wolf appears in a figurative sense of corrupt and oppressive judges (Ezek 22:27; Zeph 3:3). Yeshua used the figure of the wolf to describe false prophets (Matt 7:15) and enemies of his disciples (Matt 10:16; Luke 10:13).
will come in: Grk. eiserchomai, fut. mid., 3p-pl., to go or enter into a geographical area, manufactured structure or other place defined in the context. among: Grk. eis, prep. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The plural pronoun would likely include the entire congregation. not: Grk. mē, adv. sparing: Grk. pheidomai, pres. mid. part., to have hesitation about doing something that affects adversely, to spare. the flock: Grk. ho poimnion. See the previous verse.
Paul's prophecy was effectively fulfilled as recorded in the letter John penned to the congregation at the end of the century (Rev 2:2-4). The leadership lost their first evangelistic love to reach the lost and replaced it with a Pharisaic-style orthodoxy to test everyone by their rigorous standards (Rev 2:2). The Ephesian leaders fell away from truly spiritual works to emphasize religious deeds. Thus, the leaders became oppressive in their control of the congregation as the Pharisees did during the days of Yeshua's ministry.
30 and from you yourselves will arise men, speaking things having been perverted, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
and: Grk. kai, conj from: Grk. ek, prep. used to denote exit or separation from something with which there has been a close association, lit. "out of, from within" (Thayer). The preposition is used here to indicate point of origin. Many versions have "from among." you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. yourselves: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 2 above. Paul could mean either "you yourselves of the elders" or "you yourselves of the congregation," probably the latter. The identification contrasts with the previous verse which depicts adversaries coming from outside the congregation.
will arise: Grk. anistēmi, fut. mid., 3p-pl., to rise, stand up or get up and in its ordinary use refers to the physical motion of transition from a sitting or prone position or simply standing. The verb does have an idiomatic use in describing a personal elevation in status (Mark 3:26; Acts 5:36; 6:9; 7:18, 37; Heb 7:11, 15). men: pl. of Grk. anēr, an adult man without regard to marital status. Paul probably would not have mentioned "men" if he had meant "you yourselves" to be the elders. speaking: Grk. laleō, pl. pres. part., to make an oral statement and to exercise the faculty of speech; assert, proclaim, report, say, speak, talk about, utter.
things having been perverted: Grk. diastrephō, pl. perf. mid. part., may mean (1) to distort or turn aside, such as oppose or plot against the saving purposes and plans of God; or (2) to turn aside from the right path, to pervert, corrupt. The second meaning applies here. HELPS gives the literal meaning as "turned thoroughly into a new shape which is distorted, twisted, or perverted, the opposite from the shape it should be. The perverse things would include strange doctrines, as well as myths and endless genealogies, which Paul mentions in his first letter to Timothy (1Tim 1:3-4).
Among the guilty parties were Hymenaeus, Alexander and Philetus, who proclaimed that the resurrection had already occurred (1Tim 1:20; 2Tim 2:17-18). Paul regarded these men as adversaries and turned them over to Satan for their blasphemous teaching. Ellicott suggests that it adds to the pathos of this parting to think that men such as Hymenaeus and Philetus may have been actually present, listening to the apostle's warning, and warned by him in vain.
to draw away: Grk. apospaō, pres. inf., cause to move from a position or point of view, attract or draw away/off. The infinitive is used to express purpose. the disciples: pl. of Grk. ho mathētēs. See verse 1 above. Paul means the devoted followers of Yeshua. after: Grk. opisō, adv., in a state, condition or situation that is subsequent, here with the focus on association or allegiance. themselves: pl. of Grk. heautou, reflexive pronoun. In other words these false teachers will seek the status of the Sages who had their own schools of talmidim (disciples). Paul's warning echoes Yeshua's prohibition of disciples giving themselves the titles of Rabbi, Father or Teacher (Matt 23:8-10). Paul never sought such social status. Morris comments,
"It is sad, indeed, that the ordained leaders of the church have all too often in church history been responsible for leading the flock astray after some 'wind of doctrine' (Eph 4:14), instead of feeding the flock with the whole counsel of God."
Sects develop when men and women begin declaring some doctrine contrary to the teaching of Yeshua and the apostles. In modern times these advocates of heresy have included Charles Russell (Jehovah's Witnesses), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), Joseph Smith, Jr. (Mormons), Charles Fillmore (Unity School of Christianity), Herbert W. Armstrong (Worldwide Church of God), and Sun Myung Moon (Unification Church). For a definitive historical explanation of these sects see Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, 1985.
31 Therefore keep alert, remembering that for three years, night and day, I did not cease admonishing each one with tears.
Therefore: Grk. dio, inferential conj., therefore, for this reason, on account of which, wherefore. The conjunction introduces instruction based on the previous warning. keep alert: Grk. grēgoreō, pres. imp., 2p-pl., be fully awake, to be on he alert, be watchful. In the LXX it renders Heb. amad ("to take one's stand," "stand" BDB 763) in Nehemiah 7:3 and shaqad ("watch," "wake" BDB 1052) in Jeremiah 5:6 (DNTT 2:136). The Greek verb simply means to be awake as a sentry who keeps his eyes open while he is on duty. The verbal command recognizes the reality of spiritual warfare and could have two meanings, first to watch for the adverse developments of which Paul warned, and second, to pray faithfully for the flock based on the example of Yeshua's instruction to his disciples in the garden (Matt 26:38, 41).
remembering: Grk. mnēmoneuō, pl. pres. part., to recall, frequently with focus on thoughtful recollection. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 23 above. for three years: Grk. trietia (from treis, "three" and etos, "year"), a period of three years. The time period does not mean necessarily 36 complete months. The Jewish method of reckoning time would include the part of a year. Paul arrived in Ephesus in the Autumn of 53 and departed in the early summer of 56 (cf. 1Cor 16:8). Luke records that Paul spent three months in the synagogue of Ephesus (Acts 19:8), and then two years in the hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:10). There is also an undefined period immediately before and after the uproar caused by Demetrius. According to Jewish reckoning a part of a year counts as a whole, so that "three years" could mean "well into the third year."
night: Grk. nux, night as a chronological period, sunset to sunrise. Night is mentioned first in accordance with Hebrew usage (Exell). and: Grk. kai, conj. day: Grk. hēmera. See verse 6 above. The term intends the daylight hours to contrast with the night. Taken together "night and day" does not mean 24 hours in a literalistic sense, but "in the night" and "in the day." I did not: Grk. ou, adv. See verse 12 above. cease: Grk. pauō, aor. mid., engage in cessation of an activity or state; stop, cease. This clause expresses Paul's total devotion to ministry as he expressed in verse 18 above.
admonishing: Grk. noutheteō, pres. part., offer counsel and instruction for avoidance or cessation of inappropriate conduct. The verb frequently occurs in contexts reflecting consideration and concern. It does not imply browbeating someone or rebuking in anger, but rather employing Scripture and Spirit-inspired persuasion to motivate faithful discipleship. In contrast with modern models of counseling noutheteō focuses on behavior rather than feelings.
each: Grk. hekastos, adj. used in reference to an individual person or thing; each, every, every one. one: Grk. heis, the primary number one. To say that Paul admonished each one would certainly include all the elders, functioning as a mentor to train these men in leadership and administrative skills, as well as guide their spiritual development. with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. tears: pl. of Grk. dakruon. See verse 19 above. The mention of tears reflects Paul's deep personal interest in their welfare. Gill suggests that "tears" alludes to shedding tears at the thought of what mischief would be done in the future, and how many souls would be ruined by false teachers. The "tears" could have occurred in the context of intercessory prayer for the elders and the congregation (cf. Ps 39:12; Isa 38:5; Heb 5:7).
Farewell Speech: Final Words, 20:32-35
32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, being able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those having been sanctified.
And: Grk. kai, conj. now: Grk. nun, adv. See verse 22 above. I commend: Grk. paratithēmi, pres. mid., may mean (1) to place something beside, set before; or (2) assign for security or safekeeping, entrust, commend. The second meaning applies here. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. to God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 13 above. Paul in effect releases his responsibility for the congregation, especially the elders, into the sovereign care of God. He can no longer be their watchman, except in prayer (Eph 1:15-18; 6:18).
and: Grk. kai, conj. to the word: Grk. ho logos. See verse 11 above. of His: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. grace: Grk. ho charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity, frequently unmotivated by the worth of the recipient; thus, grace, gracefulness, graciousness, favor, thanks or gratitude. In the LXX charis translates Heb. hên (SH-2580), favor, first in Gen 6:8 in regards to Noah receiving the favor of God (DNTT 2:116).
The phrase "the word of His grace" occurs previously as the teaching of Paul in Iconium (Acts 14:3) and is equivalent to the "word of God" in verse 11 above. The message of grace comprehends the favor God extends toward those who confess and repent of their sins and trust in God's willingness to extend forgiveness and mercy on the ground of Yeshua's atoning blood shed on the cross. The message of God's grace in no way implies any toleration of sin or allowance for continuing a sinful life. Conversely, the message of grace eliminates the need for legalism that Paul once practiced, as he forthrightly declared in his letter to the congregations in Galatia (Gal 1:6, 13-15; 2:9, 21; 5:4).
being able: Grk. dunamai, pres. mid. part., to be capable of doing or achieving; be able. to build you up: Grk. oikodomeō, aor. inf., to erect a structure, which can be new construction, restoration of a structure or adding on to an existing structure. The verb is used here in a figurative sense of developing and maturing the disciples in spiritual graces. and: Grk. kai, conj. to give you: Grk. didōmi, aor. inf., generally to give something to someone, often with the focus on generosity, but may be used to mean bestow, hand over, impart, entrust, yield, put, or sacrifice (BAG). In the LXX didōmi generally renders Heb. natan (SH-5414, first in Gen 1:29), to give, put or set, with the same range of meaning (DNTT 2:41).
the inheritance: Grk. ho klēronomia, a share in what is passed on by a testator, inheritance. In the LXX klēronomia translates Heb. nachalah (SH-5159), possession, property, inheritance. In the Torah the term "inheritance" has two primary uses. First, inheritance was God's covenant promise to give the land of Canaan to the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, making God the testator (Ex 32:13; Deut 4:38). The land was always seen as a possession and heritage given by God. The second use introduced in the Torah is the concept of the covenant people being a personal possession or inheritance for God Himself (Ex 15:17; Deut 4:20; 9:26; 32:9), a theme echoed in the Psalms (Pss 28:9; 33:12; 68:10; 74:2; 78:62, 71; 79:1; 94:5, 14; 106:5, 40) and the Prophets (Isa 19:25; 47:6;63:17; Jer 2:7; 10:16; 12:7-9; 16:18; 50:11; 51:19; Micah 7:14, 18; Joel 2:17; 4:2).
In this context Paul emphasizes the second use of inheritance without denying the first use as Christianity has historically done. among: Grk. en, prep. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 18 above. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. having been sanctified: Grk. hagiazō, perf. pass. part., to set apart into the realm of the sacred; set apart, dedicate, purify. In the LXX the hagiazō translates Heb. qadash (SH-6942; BDB 872), to be set apart or consecrated, first used in Genesis 2:3 of the seventh day. The Hebrew verb is used of calendar events, persons, places, and objects. The point of the verb is that what has been sanctified belongs to God and no use can be contemplated that violates His will.
Most versions translate the verb as "sanctify," but some offer a more colloquial interpretation with "set apart" (AMP, CJB, TLB, NLV, NLT, VOICE), "made holy" (CEB, TLV), and "dedicate" (GNB). Stern says he avoided the word "sanctify" in the CJB because it seems archaic and removed from people's reality today. There is a separateness envisioned in the Torah use of the word. In Exodus 31:13, YHVH says to Israel, "I, YHVH, sanctify you," and this was in the context of commanding Israel to keep all His sabbaths throughout their generations. God calls His people to live by a code or standard that will set them apart from the nations of the world.
In the Besekh are other passages that make note of those having been sanctified (Acts 26:18; 1Cor 1:2; 6:11; Heb 2:11; 10:14). The act of sanctifying is a work of grace by the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:16; 1Cor 6:11; Heb 10:29), in which the Spirit cleanses the heart (Acts 15:8-9), and empowers for service (Acts 1:8).
33 I coveted the silver or gold or clothing of no one.
Paul then declares what he didn't do during his ministry in Ephesus. I coveted: Grk. epithumeō, aor., may mean (1) have a strong desire for, desire, long for; or (2) have inordinate desire, implying intent to acquire, covet, lust. The second meaning is intended here. the silver: Grk. argurion, (from arguros, silver as a metal) may mean (1) fig. of wealth; (2) money in general; or (3) specifically a silver coin. The second meaning applies here. or: Grk. ē, conj. used to denote (1) an alternative, 'or,' or (2) a comparative function, 'than.' The first usage applies here.
gold: Grk. chrusion (diminutive of chrusos, gold) may mean (1) the precious metal of gold, fig. of wealth; (2) precious things and ornaments made from gold; or (3) a coin minted with gold. The first meaning applies here. When the two metals are listed together in Scripture silver is normally mentioned before gold due to being considered more valuable. The combination of "silver and gold" also serves as an expression of significant wealth (Gen 24:35; Deut 8:13; 1Kgs 10:25; Eccl 2:8; Dan 5:23). or: Grk. ē, conj. clothing: Grk. himatismos, clothing or apparel. The term is a collective noun incorporating all of a person's clothing and accessories. of no one: Grk. oudeis. See verse 20 above.
Paul's statement is parallel to that of Samuel's appeal to the people (1Sam 12:3). Ellicott notes that in each case there was a special reason for what might otherwise seem an uncalled-for boast. Samuel's sons had been guilty of corrupt practices, taking bribes and the like (1Sam 8:3). Among the many slanders against Paul, one was that he used his apostolic ministry "as a cloak of covetousness" (cf. 2Cor 7:2; 12:14, 17-18; 1Th 2:5.). Barnes adds that Paul had power to demand support in the ministry as the reward of his labor (1Cor 9:13-14). Yet he did not choose to exercise it, lest it should bring the charge of avarice against the ministry (1Cor 9:12, 15).
34 You yourselves know that these hands served my needs and those being with me.
You yourselves: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 2 above. know: Grk. ginōskō, pres., 2p-pl., to know, used here in the sense of personal knowledge based on experience. In the LXX ginōskō renders Heb. yada, which in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons, or knowing by experience or by learning from a teacher (DNTT 2:395). that: Grk. hoti, conj. used here to introduce what the elders knew. these: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun, lit. "the same." hands: pl. of Grk. cheir, the anatomical limb of the hand. Referring to these hands is a dramatic way of referring to physical labor in producing something.
served: Grk. hupēreteō, aor., 3p-pl, render service in varying capacity. In Greek culture the verb originally meant to serve under direct authority as a rower on a ship (HELPS). The verb occurs only three times in the Besekh, all in Acts (also 13:36; 24:23). Paul seems to imply that he engaged in tent-making in Ephesus as he did in Corinth (Acts 18:32; cf. 1Th 2:9). my: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. needs: pl. of Grk. chreia, state or experience of necessity, need. and: Grk. kai, conj. to those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. being: Grk. eimi, pl. pres. part. See verse 8 above. with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. me: Grk. egō. Those "with me" refers to Paul's ministry team which included Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus, and Trophimus (verse 4 above), as well as Luke and Titus.
There is no implication that team members did not also work to earn money (cf. 2Th 3:7-10). Paul's description of his work serving the needs of his team members implies that his earnings were added to a team fund. Paul makes this point because of critics who claimed that he was only interested in "robbing" congregations (cf. 1Cor 9:3-14; 2Cor 11:7-9). In Jewish culture a teacher was expected not to charge for his services, but to earn his money at some occupation (cf. Avot 1:3; 2:2; 4:5; 6:9; Didache, 11:6). Conversely, it was also accepted that anyone who benefits from the ministry of a teacher has an obligation to return a financial blessing (Matt 10:10; 1Cor 9:11; Gal 6:6).
35 In everything I showed you that by thus working hard it is necessary to help those being weak, to remember also the words of the Lord Yeshua, that he said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
In everything: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 18 above. The plural adjective may point to both employment and ministry labors. I showed: Grk. hupodeiknumi, aor., to show or indicate something to someone in a literal sense, but also fig. of give direction, prove or set forth. The verb often pertains to showing by words and arguments, but in this instance by example The verb occurs 6 times in the Besekh, five times in Luke-Acts. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The pronoun could refer to both elders and congregation. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 23 above. by thus: Grk. houtōs, adv. See verse 11 above. working hard: Grk. kopiaō, pres. part., may mean (1) experience fatigue as a result of exertion, become weary or tired; or (2) engage in fatiguing activity, working hard, toil. The second meaning is intended here. Paul refers to working to support himself in ministry.
it is necessary: Grk. dei, pres., impersonal verb from deō ('lack, stand in need of') and thus conveys the idea of something that's necessary, something that must or needs to happen. to help: Grk. antilambanō, pres. mid. part., to take the part of, help, come to the aid of. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. being weak: Grk. astheneō, pres. part., may mean (1) experience weakness in body, be sick; or (2) lack necessities, be in need. The context favors the second meaning. to remember: Grk. mnēmoneuō, pres. inf. See verse 31 above. also: Grk. te, conj. See verse 3 above. the words: pl. of Grk. ho logos. See verse 2 above. of the Lord: Grk. ho Kurios. See verse 19 above. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 21 above.
that: Grk. hoti, con. he: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 18 above. The words that follow are not found in any of the apostolic narratives. Paul could have heard these words spoken by Yeshua or he my have repeated Yeshua's declaration as an example of his teaching that had been widely disseminated. It is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 8 above. more: Grk. mallon, adv. of increase or additive to some aspect of activity, situation, or condition; (much). more. blessed: Grk. makarios, adj., which Danker defines as enjoying special advantage, blessed, privileged, fortunate or happy. In the LXX makarios translates Heb. esher, (SH-835; BDB 81), which means happiness, blessedness or well-being, first in Deut 33:29 (DNTT 1:215).
Esher comes from the root word ashar, which means to go (straight), or to walk. Zodhiates takes issue with the common lexicon definition of "happiness." He defines makarios as possessing the favor of God, that state of being marked by fullness from God. HELPS concurs with this view defining makarios as "blessed," a believer in an enviable or fortunate position from having received God's provisions or favor. Two versions translate the noun as "happiness" (CJB, GNB) and two versions as "happy" (NLV, WE). Zodhiates notes that makarios differs from the word "happy" in that the person is happy who has good luck (from the root hap meaning luck as a favorable condition.
However, the Hebrew viewpoint is that a "blessing" is a purposeful endowment (cf. Gen 1:28), ordinarily transmitted from the greater to the lesser. Blessedness can never be self-imposed nor come by accident. The only source of blessing is from God. Just as David began the Psalter with a blessing for the man who delights in Torah, so Yeshua began his Sermon on the Mount with blessings. to give: Grk. didōmi, pres. inf. See verse 31 above. than: Grk. ē, conj. used to denote an alternative, used here in a comparative sense. to receive: Grk. lambanō, pres. inf. See verse 24 above. The principle echoes the promise in the Sermon on the Mount that God rewards those who give to the poor (Matt 6:3:4; cf. Luke 6:38).
Departure from Miletus, 20:36-38
36 And having said these things, having bowed his knees, he prayed with them all.
And: Grk. kai, conj. having said: Grk. epō, aor. part. See verse 10 above. The verb refers to the oral discourse just completed. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 5 above. The plural pronoun refers to the content of the discourse, including his ministry review, travel plan, warning and final words. having bowed: Grk. tithēmi, aor. part. See verse 28 above. The verb describes Paul putting his body into a certain posture. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. knees: pl. of Grk. gonu, the anatomical joint of the knee. Standing was the typical posture for prayer (Matt 6:5; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11), but kneeling represented both urgency and humility in the presence of the holy God (Luke 22:41; Acts 9:40).
he prayed: Grk. proseuchomai, aor. mid., to petition deity for some personal desire. In the LXX proseuchomai renders Heb. palal (SH-6419), to intervene, mediate, intercede or pray. The verb refers to petitioning God for His help or answer with respect to an urgent need. with: Grk. sun, prep. used to denote association or connection, in this case the former. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 18 above. Presumptively the elders knelt also. There are many types of prayer and in this case intercession probably dominated with Paul finding inspiration from the warning in his discourse.
37 Then there was much weeping among all and having fallen upon the neck of Paul, they were kissing him,
Then: Grk. de, conj. there was: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 3 above. much: Grk. hikanos, adj. See verse 8 above. weeping: Grk. klauthmos, crying, lamentation, weeping. among all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 18 above. and: Grk. kai, conj. having fallen: Grk. epipiptō, pl. aor. part. See verse 10 above. upon: Grk. epi, prep. the neck: Grk. ho trachēlos, the anatomical part of the body that connects the head with the shoulders, neck. of Paul: See verse 1 above. they were kissing: Grk. kataphileō, impf., 3p-pl., to kiss. In this context the verb represents the expression of tender affection, as well as sorrow. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. This verse as others in Acts demonstrates a complete lack of suppression of human emotion (Ellicott).
38 grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that no more were they about to see his face. Then they were accompanying him to the ship.
grieving: Grk. odunaō, pl. pres. mid. part., to experience intense emotional pain, expressed by great mourning (HELPS). The verb occurs only four times in the Besekh, the other three all in Luke. especially: Grk. malista, adv., very much the case, particularly so. over: Grk. epi, prep. the word: Grk. logos. See verse 2 above. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. he had spoken: Grk. ereō, plperf., inform through verbal utterance, here denoting speech completed. that: Grk. hoti, conj. The conjunction refers back to the declaration in verse 25 as a direct quotation. no more: Grk. ouketi, adv. See verse 25 above. were they about: Grk. mellō, pres., 3p-pl. See verse 3 above. to see: Grk. theōreō, pres. inf., to see, here in the sense of personal experience. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. face: Grk. prosōpon. See verse 25 above.
Date: Sunday, May 1, 57.
Then: Grk. de, conj. they were accompanying: Grk. propempō, impf., 3p-pl., to send forward and in practical terms provide travel assistance, which here took the form of an escort and possibly arrangement for provision of supplies. him: Grk. autos. to: Grk. eis, prep. the ship: Grk. ho ploion. See verse 13 above. Bruce assumes Paul remained in Miletus for several days, but Luke's narrative makes no provision for a lengthy stay (cf. verse 16 above). Paul and his team would have boarded the ship before dawn to be ready to sail at first light. After spending the Sabbath with Paul the elders remained overnight in Miletus to bid goodbye at the dock. The harbor was some distance from the town (Nicoll). Ramsay comments, "we cannot suppose that the ship left Miletus before Sunday morning, May 1, while it is possible that the departure took place a day later (169).
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Barnes: Albert Barnes (1798-1870), Notes on the Whole Bible (1834). Baker Book House, 1949. Online.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981.
Bruce: F.F. Bruce, The Book of the Acts. Rev. ed. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1988. (New International Commentary on the New Testament)
Casson: Lionel Casson, "Speed under Sail of Ancient Ships," Transactions of the American Philological Association, Vol. 82, New York University, 1951. Online.
Danker: Frederick William Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vols., ed. Colin Brown. Zondervan Pub. House, 1975.
Dorotheus: Dorotheus (255-362), Bishop of Tyre, The Choosing of the Seventy Holy Apostles. Online.
Ellicott: Charles John Ellicott (1819–1905), Commentary for English Readers (1878). Online.
Exell: Joseph S. Exell, ed. (1849–1954), Acts, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 18. Hendrickson Pub., 1985. Online.
Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
GNT: The Greek New Testament, eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, & Allen Wiegren. American Bible Society, 1966. [NA25]
HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)
HBD: Trent C. Butler, ed., Holman Bible Dictionary. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1991. Online.
Hippolytus: Hippolytus of Rome (170-236), On the Seventy Apostles. Online.
Kaiser: Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments. Zondervan, 2008.
Liberman: Joel Liberman, The Acts of the Emissaries: Practical Sermons on the Spirit-filled Birth & Explosive Growth of Messianic Judaism. Tree of Life, Inc., 2014.
Lightfoot: John Lightfoot (1602–1675), A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (1859 ed.), 4 Vols. Hendrickson Pub., 1989. Online.
Longenecker: Richard D. Longenecker, The Acts of the Apostles, Vol. 9, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989-1999.
LSJ: Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (1889). rev. by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. Clarendon Press, 1940. Online
Lumby: J. Rawson Lumby, Acts, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge University Press, 1891. Online.
Marshall: I. Howard Marshall, Acts. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. InterVarsity Press, 1980.
Metzger: Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. United Bible Societies, 1994.
Meyer: Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer (1800-1873), Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (1859). 21 vols. T&T Clark, 1880. Online.
Morris: Henry M. Morris (1918-2006), Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing Co., 1995. [KJV with explanatory notes by Dr. Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, CA.]
Moseley: Ron Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Yeshua and the Original Church. Lederer Books, 1996.
Nicoll: W. Robertson Nicoll (1851–1923), The Expositor's Greek Testament (1897), 5 vols. Online.
Pliny: Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/24–79), known as "Pliny the Elder," The Natural History (AD 77). 15 vol. Online. Pliny was a Roman lawyer, author and naturalist.
Polhill: John B. Polhill, Paul and His Letters. B & H Academic, 1999.
Poole: Matthew Poole (1624–1679), A Commentary on the Holy Bible. Hendrickson Publishers, 1985. Online.
Pryor: Dwight A. Pryor, Behold the Man: Discovering our Hebrew Lord, the Historical Jesus of Nazareth. Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, 2005.
Ramsay: Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (1851-1939), St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen, 10th ed., Hodder & Stoughton, 1907. Online.
Rienecker: Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament. 2 Vol. Zondervan Pub. House, 1980.
SDB: William Smith (1813-1893), A Dictionary of the Bible (1884). 3 vols. Online.
Smith: William Smith (1813-1893), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854). Online.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper Brothers, 1889.
Zodhiates: Spiros Zodhiates (1922-2009), ed. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG Publishers, 1992, 1993.
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