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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 20

Verse 1

Embraced [ασπασαμενος] . Better, as Rev., took leave. The word is used for a salutation either at meeting or parting. See ch. Acts 21:6, Acts 21:7.

Verse 2

Greece. The Roman province of Achaia, comprehending Greece proper and the Peloponnesus. Luke uses Achaia (ch. 29 21) and Greece synonymously, as distinguished from Macedonia.

Verse 3

Sail [αναγεσθαι] . Better, as Rev., set sail. See on Luke 8:22; and compare Luke 5:3.

Verse 4

So pater. The best texts add, the son of Pyrrhus. Compare Romans 16:21.

Aristarchus. Compare Acts 19:29.

Gaius. Not the one mentioned in ch. 19 29, who was a Macedonian.

Tychicus and Trophimus. See Colossians 4:7, Colossians 4:8; Ephesians 6:21, Ephesians 6:22; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:2; Acts 21:29; 2 Timothy 4:20.

Verse 5

Us. The first person resumed, indicating that Luke had joined Paul.

Verse 6

In five days [αχρις ημερων πεντε] . Lit., "up to five days," indicating the duration of the voyage from Philippi.

Verse 7

First [τη μια] . Lit., "the one day." The cardinal numeral here used for the ordinal.

Week [σαββατων] . The plural used for the singular, in imitation of the Hebrew form. The noun Sabbath is often used after numerals in the signification of a week. See Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; John 20:19. To break bread. The celebration of the eucharist, coupled with the Agape, or love - feast.

Preached [διελεγετο] . Better, as Rev., discoursed with them. It was a mingling of preaching and conference. Our word dialogue is derived from the verb.

Verse 8

Many lights. A detail showing the vivid impression of the scene upon an eye - witness. It has been remarked that the abundance of lights shows how little of secrecy or disorder attached to these meetings.

The upper chamber. See on ch. Acts 1:13.

Verse 9

The window. See on ch. Acts 9:25. The windows of an Eastern house are closed with lattice - work, and usually reach down to the floor, resembling a door rather than a window. They open, for the most part, to the court, and not to the street, and are usually kept open on account of the heat.

Fallen into a deep sleep [καταφερομενος υπνω βαθει] . Lit., born down by, etc. A common Greek phrase for being over come by sleep. In medical language the verb was more frequently used in this sense, absolutely, than with the addition of sleep. In this verse the word is used twice : in the first instance, in the present participle, denoting the corning on of drowsiness - falling asleep; and the second time, in the aorist participle, denoting his being completely overpowered by sleep. Mr. Hobart thinks that the mention of the causes of Eutychus' drowsiness - the heat and smell arising; from the numerous lamps, the length of the discourse, and the lateness of the hour - are characteristic of a physician 's narrative. Compare Luke 22:45.

Dead [νεκρος] . Actually dead. Not as dead, or for dead.

Verse 10

Fell on him. Compare 1 Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 4:34.

Trouble not yourselves [μη θορυβεισθε] . Rev., more correctly, make ye no ado. They were beginning to utter passionate outcries. See Matthew 9:23; Mark 5:39.

His life is in him. In the same sense in which Christ said, "The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth" (Luke 8:52).

Verse 11

Having gone up. From the court to the chamber above.

Talked [ομιλησας] . Rather, communed. It denotes a more familiar and confidential intercourse than discoursed, in verse 7.

Verse 13

To go afoot [πεζευειν] . Only here in New Testament. There is no good reason for changing this to by land, as Rev. The A. V. preserves the etymology of the Greek verb. The distance was twenty miles; less than half the distance by sea.

Verse 15

Arrived [παρεβαλομεν] . Only here and Mark 4:30, where it is used more nearly according to its original sense, to throw beside; to bring one thing beside another in comparison. Here, of bringing the vessel alongside the island. The narrative implies that they only touched (Rev.) there, but not necessarily the word.

Verse 16

To spend time [χρονοτριβησαι] . Only here in New Testament. The word carries the suggestion of a waste of time, being compounded with tribw, to rub; to wear out by rubbing. The sense is nearly equivalent to our expression, fritter away time.

Verse 17

Having sent to Ephesus. About thirty miles.

Elders. Called overseers or bishops in verse 28.

Verse 20

Kept back [υπεστειλαμην] . A picturesque word. Originally, to draw in or contract. Used of furling sails, and of closing the fingers; of drawing back for shelter; of keeping back one's real thoughts; by physicians, of withholding food from patients. It is rather straining a point to say, as Canon Farrar, that Paul is using a nautical metaphor suggested by his constantly hearing the word for furling sail used during his voyage. Paul 's metaphors lie mainly on the lines of military life, architecture, agriculture, and the Grecian games. The statement of Canon Farrar, that he "constantly draws his metaphors from the sights and circumstances immediately around him," is rather at variance with his remark that, with one exception, he "cannot find a single word which shows that Paul had even the smallest susceptibility for the works of nature" (" Paul, " 1, 19). Nautical metaphors are, to say the least, not common in Paul 's writings. I believe there are but three instances : Ephesians 4:14; 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 6:9. Paul means here that he suppressed nothing of the truth through fear of giving offense. Compare Galatians 2:12; Hebrews 10:38.

Verse 21

Repentance toward God. Repentance has the article : the repentance which is due to God. So, also, faith : the faith which is due toward Christ, as the advocate and mediator.

Acts 20:29Bound in the spirit. In his own spirit. Constrained by an invincible sense of duty. Not by the Holy Spirit, which is mentioned in the next verse and distinguished by the epithet the Holy.

Acts 20:23Testifieth [διαμαρτυρεται] . The compound verb signifies full, clear testimony. Not by internal intimations of the Spirit, but by prophetic declarations "in every city." Two of these are mentioned subsequently, at Tyre and Caesarea (ch Acts 21:4, Acts 21:11).

Verse 24

But none of these things move me, neither count I, etc. The best texts omit neither count I, and render, I esteem my life of no account, as if it were precious to myself.

Dear [τιμιαν] . Of value; precious.

Course [δρομον] . A favorite metaphor of Paul, from the race - course. See 1 Cor. ix. 24 - 27; Philippians 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:7.

Verse 25

I know. The I is emphatic : I know through these special revelations to myself (ver. 23).

Verse 26

This day [τη σημερον ημερα] . Very forcible. Lit., on today's day; this, our parting day.

Verse 27

Shunned. The same word as in verse 20 kept back.

Verse 28

To yourselves and to all the flock. To yourselves first, that you may duly care for the flock. Compare 1 Timothy 4:16.

Overseers [επισκοπους] . Denoting the official function of the elders, but not in the later ecclesiastical sense of bishops, as implying an order distinct from presbyters or elders. The two terms are synonymous. The elders, by virtue of their office, were overseers. 26 To feed [ποιμαινειν] . See on Matthew 2:6. The word embraces more than feeding; signifying all that is included in the office of a shepherd : tending, or shepherding.

Purchased [περιεποιησατο] . Only here and 1 Timothy 3:13. See on peculiar people, 1 Peter 2:9. The verb means, originally, to make [ποιεω] to remain over and above [περι] : hence to keep or save for one's self; to compass or acquire.

Verse 29

Grievous [βαρεις] . Lit., heavy : violent, rapacious.

Verse 31

Watch [γρηγορειτε] . See on Mark 8:35.

To warn [νουθετων] . From nouv, the mind, and tiqhmi, to put. Lit., to put in mind; admonish (so Rev., better than warn). "It's fundamental idea is the well - intentioned seriousness with which one would influence the mind and disposition of another by advice, admonition, warning, putting right, according to circumstances" [χρεμερ] .

Verse 32

I commend. See on 1 Peter 4:19.

Build you up. A metaphor in constant use by Paul, and preserved in the words edify, edification (Latin, aedes, "a house" and facere, "to make ") by which oijkodomew and its kindred words are frequently rendered. In old English the word edify was used in its original sense of build. Thus Wycliffe renders Genesis 2:22," The Lord God edified the rib which he took of Adam, into a woman. "

So, too, Spenser :

"a little wide There was a holy temple edified." Faerie Queene, 1, 1, 34.

Verse 33

Raiment. Mentioned along with gold and silver because it formed a large part of the wealth of orientals. They traded in costly garments, or kept them stored up for future use. See on purple, Luke 16:19; and compare Ezra 2:69; Nehemiah 7:70; Job 27:16. This fact accounts for the allusions to the destructive power of the moth (Matthew 6:19; James 5:2).

Verse 35

I have shewed you all things [παντα υπεδειξα υμιν] . The verb means to shew by example. Thus Luke 6:47, "I will shew you to whom he is like," is followed by the illustration of the man who built upon the rock. So Acts 9:16. God will shew Paul by practical experience how great things he must suffer. The kindred noun uJpodeigma is always rendered example or pattern. See John 13:15; James 5:10, etc.; and note on 2 Peter 2:6. Rev., correctly, In all things I gave you an example.

As I have done.

To help [αντιλαμβανεσθαι] . See on Luke 1:54.

He said [αυτος ειπε] . Rev., more strictly, "he himself said." This saying of Jesus is not recorded by the Evangelists, and was received by Paul from oral tradition.

The speech of Paul to the Ephesian elders "bears impressed on it the mark of Paul 's mind : its ideas, its idioms, and even its very words are Pauline; so much so as to lead Alford to observe that we have probably the literal report of the words spoken by Paul. 'It is, ' he remarks, 'a treasure - house of words, idioms, and sentences peculiar to the apostle himself" ' (Gloag).

Verse 37

Kissed [κατεφιλουν] . See on Matthew 26:49.

Verse 38

See [θεωρειν] . See on Luke 10:18. The word for steadfast, earnest contemplation suggests the interest and affection with which they looked upon his countenance for the last time.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 20". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/acts-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.