Acts 20

Acts 20:1

After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia.

He left. Perhaps no one faced more persecution than the Apostle Paul and his standard response was to walk away, keep moving, and keep preaching. See entry for Acts 14:20.

Acts 20:16

For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

Jerusalem. Years earlier the Lord had told Paul to leave Jerusalem and go far away to the Gentiles (Acts 22:18, 21). Now Paul sensed the Lord telling him to return (Acts 19:21). He did not know what would happen to him when he got back to that hostile city (Acts 20:22).

Acts 20:21

solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

(a) Repentance toward God. In the new covenant, repentance is typically described as a return or turning to God (see entry for Acts 26:20).

(b) Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin. Repentance is what happens when we first change our minds about the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4); faith is being persuaded that God is good and trustworthy.

Acts 20:22

“And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there,

(a) Bound by the Spirit. In the natural, a visit to the world’s most religious city might not have seemed like a good idea for the apostle of grace, yet Paul felt compelled in his spirit to go to Jerusalem.

(b) What will happen to me there. Paul did not know what would happen to him when he got back to that hostile city, but the Holy Spirit showed him (Acts 21:11).

Acts 20:24

“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

(a) The gospel revealed in the Bible goes by several names. There is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1) or the gospel of Christ (Rom. 15:19, 1 Cor. 9:12, 2 Cor. 2:12, 9:13, 10:14, Gal. 1:7, Php. 1:27, 1 Th. 3:2). There is the gospel of God (Mark 1:14, Rom 1:1, 15:16, 2 Cor. 11:7, 1 Th. 2:2, 8, 9, 1 Pet. 4:17), gospel of the blessed God (1 Tim. 1:11), and the gospel of his Son (Rom 1:9). There is the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, Luke 16:16), and the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). These are different labels for the one and only gospel of the grace of God. See entry for The Gospel.

(b) The gospel of the grace of God. It’s the grace of God that makes the good news, good news.

The gospel of grace or the word of grace (Acts 20:32) is synonymous with the gospel of Jesus (2 Th. 1:8) or the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17) for Jesus is the embodiment of the Father’s grace (see entry for 1 Cor. 1:4).

Further reading: “What is the Gospel of Grace?

Acts 20:29

“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;

People can be led astray by false teachers. Sadly, Paul’s warning came true with the likes of Hymeneus and Philetus who upset the faith of some (2 Tim 2:17-18).

Acts 20:32

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

(a) The word of His grace is synonymous with the gospel of grace; see entry for Acts 20:24.

(b) Those who are sanctified. Christians, in other words. See entry for Acts 26:18.

Acts 20:33

“I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes.

Silver or gold. When Paul preached the gospel in Ephesus, he put idol-makers out of work (see Acts 19:24–27). If he had accepted support from the new Ephesian Christians, it might have appeared that he had preached for profit. For this reason he chose to forego his rights as a minister (see entry for 1 Cor. 9:14) and support himself through manual labor (see next verse).

Acts 20:34

“You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me.

These hands made tents. Paul was a tent-maker by trade. On at least three occasions he supported himself by making tents (see entry for Acts 18:3).

Acts 20:37

And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him,

Kissed him. Like the Jews before them (Gen. 27:26, Luke 7:45), the early Christians greeted one another with a kiss of friendship. Paul called this greeting a holy kiss (1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12, 1 Thess. 5:26); Peter called it a kiss of love (1 Pet. 5:14).

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