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Bible Study: Acts 20

Chapter 20: Acts 20: 1-38, raising a dead man to life

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, Son of God, Son of Man, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, we come before You in humility, brokenness, and contrite hearts, casting all our anxieties upon You because You cared and loved us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-6, 1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. 2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, 3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. 4 And there accompanied him into Asia, Sopater of Berea, and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These going before tarried for us at Troas. 6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

After the dust of the silversmith riot had settled, Paul left Ephesus and traveled to by sea Macedonia. From there he traveled to Greece or Achaia. After 3 months, he wanted to sail to Syria but when the Jews plotted to harm him, he traveled back to Macedonia. Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus, and Trophimus accompanied Paul but they went ahead and waited for Paul at Troas. Luke rejoined Paul in Acts 20:6 because he started to use the plural pronouns “we” and “us” again, instead of “they” and “them”. After the feast of unleavened bread, Paul, Luke, and others sailed from Philippi to Troas for 5 days and stayed there for 7 days.

VV 7-12, 7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued his speech until midnight.8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep, and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. 10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, trouble not yourselves, for his life is in him. 11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. 12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

The first day of the week is Sunday. In Troas, Paul preached to the disciples on Sunday during worship and Holy communion. Paul preached a very long sermon until past midnight. A young man called, Eutychus, sitting near a window fell asleep, dropped from the third floor, and died. Paul raised him from the dead, gave him bread to eat, and continued preaching until morning as though nothing had happened! Paul left Troas. Eutychus means fortunate. True to his name, he was indeed fortunate to be alive after such a great fall!

VV 13-16, 13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul, for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. 14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. 15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium, and the next day we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia, for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.

Luke and others traveled by sea to Assos but Paul traveled on foot by land. They reunited in Assos and sailed to Mitylene, Chios, Samos, Trogyllium, and Miletus. You can follow Paul’s journey on maps available on the internet.

V 17-21, 17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews. 20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul sent words to the Ephesian elders to meet him in Miletus and they came there to meet him. In his address, Paul reminded them of his humility, sufferings, persecutions, integrity, honesty, transparency, private and public teachings, evangelistic mission to the Jews and the Gentiles.

VV 22-24, 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there. 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul faced an uncertain future after Jerusalem. He sensed through the Holy Spirit, that he might not be able to see the Ephesian elders again. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he had to suffer for Jesus’ sake but he was not afraid. His life was less important than completing the spiritual race and preaching the gospel of Christ with joy.

VV 25-28, 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Paul was very emotional when it was time to say farewell. Paul had a clear conscience because he was pure in words and deeds. Paul warned them to be careful. As overseers of the church of Christ, they must feed and shepherd the flock of Christ, whom Christ redeemed by His own blood.

Greek for overseer is ‘’episcopal’’, which means bishop. Greek for shepherd is ‘’poiminoi’’, which means pastor. A shepherd protects the sheep.

John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

VV 29-31, 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Paul knew that after his departure, false teachers, Gnostics, and Judaizers, would come to deceive, harass, attack, and persecute the flock. He warned them to be watchful and vigilant and know that Paul interceded for them day and night for 3 years.

VV 32-35, 32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Paul committed the elders to God’s Grace. Paul reiterated on his integrity, honesty, and transparency in all his dealings. He had self-supported himself through tent-making. He encouraged them to support the weak and to remember that giving is more blessed than receiving.

VV 36-38, 36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. 37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him. 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

Paul prayed for the elders, and vice versa. The elders kissed Paul’s neck, and everyone wept sorrowfully. The elders accompanied Paul to the ship.

Paul sailed from Miletus passing through many cities, landing at Caesarea, and traveling by foot to Jerusalem to conclude his third missionary journey. Paul’s third missionary journey lasted 4 years from 54-58 AD. Scholars estimated that Paul could have traveled close to 10,000 miles in his three missionary journeys. You can follow Paul’s missionary journeys on maps available on the internet.

Application:

Paul was an apostle, evangelist, missionary, preacher, and bible teacher par excellence. Paul was a great role model for all of us. We should imitate Paul just as he imitated Christ.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for highlighting the marks of effective ministry for our benefit through the life of Paul. Help us to imitate Paul just as Paul imitated Jesus. Help us to be humble, honest, transparent, and above reproach in all our dealings with others, in Jesus’ name, Amen.