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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - ACTS 20
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    CHAPTER 20

    Ac 20:1-12. PAUL FULFILS HIS PURPOSE OF PROCEEDING AGAIN TO MACEDONIA AND GREECE--RETURNING THENCE, ON HIS ROUTE FOR JERUSALEM, HE REVISITS PHILIPPI AND TROAS--HIS MINISTRATIONS AT TROAS.

    This section of the apostle's life, though peculiarly rich in material, is related with great brevity in the History. Its details must be culled from his own Epistles.

    1, 2. departed--after Pentecost (1Co 16:8).
    - to go into Macedonia--in pursuance of the first part of his plan (Ac 19:21). From his Epistles we learn; (1) That, as might have been expected from its position on the coast, he revisited Troas (2Co 2:12; see on Ac 16:8). (2) That while on his former visit he appears to have done no missionary work there, he now went expressly "to preach Christ's Gospel," and found "a door opened unto him of the Lord" there, which he entered so effectually as to lay the foundation of a church there (Ac 20:6, 7). (3) That he would have remained longer there but for his uneasiness at the non-arrival of Titus, whom he had despatched to Corinth to finish the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem (1Co 16:1, 2; 2Co 8:6), but still more, that he might bring him word what effect his first Epistle to that church had produced. (He had probably arranged that they should meet at Troas). (4) That in this state of mind, afraid of something wrong, he "took leave" of the brethren at Troas, and went from thence into Macedonia.

          It was, no doubt, the city of PHILIPPI that he came to (landing at Nicopolis, its seaport, see on Ac 16:11, 12), as appears by comparing 2Co 11:9, where "Macedonia" is named, with Php 4:15, where it appears that Philippi is meant. Here he found the brethren, whom he had left on his former visit in circumstances of such deep interest, a consolidated and thriving church, generous and warmly attached to their father in Christ; under the superintendence, probably, of our historian, "the beloved physician" (see on Ac 16:40). All that is said by our historian of this Macedonian visit is that "he went over those parts and gave them much exhortation." (5) Titus not having reached Philippi as soon as the apostle, "his flesh had no rest, but he was troubled on every side: without were fightings, within were fears" (2Co 7:5). (6) At length Titus arrived, to the joy of the apostle, the bearer of better tidings from Corinth than he had dared to expect (2Co 7:6, 7, 13), but checkered by painful intelligence of the efforts of a hostile party to undermine his apostolic reputation there (2Co 10:1-18). (7) Under the mixed feelings which this produced, he wrote--from Macedonia, and probably Philippi--his SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS (see Introduction to Second Corinthians); despatching Titus with it, and along with him two other unnamed deputies, expressly chosen to take up and bring their collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, and to whom he bears the beautiful testimony, that they were "the glory of Christ" (2Co 8:22, 23). (8) It must have been at this time that he penetrated as far as to the confines of "Illyricum," lying along the shores of the Adriatic (Ro 15:19). He would naturally wish that his second Letter to the Corinthians should have some time to produce its proper effect ere he revisited them, and this would appear a convenient opportunity for a northwestern circuit, which would enable him to pay a passing visit to the churches at Thessalonica and Berea, though of this we have no record. On his way southward to Greece, he would preach the Gospel in the intermediate regions of Epirus, Thessaly, and Boeotia (see Ro 15:19), though of this we have no record.

    2. he came into Greece--or Achaia, in pursuance of the second part of his plan (Ac 19:21).

    3. And there abode three months--Though the province only is here mentioned, it is the city of CORINTH that is meant, as the province of "Macedonia" (Ac 20:1) meant the city of Philippi. Some rough work he anticipated on his arrival at Corinth (2Co 10:1-8, 11; 13:1-10) though he had reason to expect satisfaction on the whole; and as we know there were other churches in Achaia besides that at Corinth (2Co 1:1; 11:10), he would have time enough to pay them all a brief visit during the three months of his stay there. This period was rendered further memorable by the despatch of the EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, written during his stay at Corinth and sent by "Phœbe, a servant [deaconess] of the Church at Cenchrea" (see on Ac 18:3), a lady apparently of some standing and substance, who was going thither on private business. (See on Ro 16:1 and see Introduction to Romans).
    - And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria--He had intended to embark, probably at Cenchrea, the eastern harbor of the city, for Palestine, on his route to Jerusalem, the third part of his plan (Ac 19:21). But having detected some conspiracy against his life by his bitter Jewish enemies as at Damascus (Ac 9:22-25) and Jerusalem (Ac 9:29, 30), he changed his plan and determined "to return" as he had come, "through Macedonia." As he was never more to return to Corinth, so this route would bring him, for the last time, face to face with the attached disciples of Berea, Thessalonica, and Philippi.

    4, 5. there accompanied him into Asia--the province of Asia.
    - Sopater of Berea--The true reading, beyond doubt, is, "Sopater [the son] of Pyrrhus of Berea." Some think this mention of his father was to distinguish him from Sosipater (the same name in fuller form), mentioned in Ro 16:21. But that they were the same person seems more probable.
    - of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus--(See on Ac 19:29).
    - and Secundus--of whom nothing else is known.
    - Gaius of Derbe--Though the Gaius of Ac 19:29 is said to be of "Macedonia," and this one "of Derbe," there is no sufficient reason for supposing them different persons; on the contrary, Ro 16:23 (compare with 3Jo 1, where there is hardly any reason to doubt that the same Gaius is addressed) seems to show that though he spent an important part of his Christian life away from his native Derbe, he had latterly retired to some place not very far from it.
    - and Timotheus--not probably of Derbe, as one might suppose from this verse, but of Lystra (see on Ac 16:1); both being so associated in his early connection with the apostle that the mention of the one in the previous clause would recall the other on the mention of his name.
    - and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus--The latter was an Ephesian, and probably the former also. They seem to have put themselves, from this time forward, at the apostle's disposal, and to the very last been a great comfort to him (Eph 6:21, 22; Col 4:7, 8; Ac 21:29; 2Ti 4:12, 20). From the mention of the places to which each of these companions belonged, and still more the order in which they occur, we are left to conclude that they were deputies from their respective churches, charged with taking up and bringing on the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, first at Berea, next at Thessalonica, then at Philippi [HOWSON], where we gather that our historian himself rejoined the party (from the resumption at Ac 20:5 of the "us," dropped at Ac 16:17), by whom the Philippian collection would naturally be brought on.

    5, 6. These going before--perhaps to announce and prepare for the apostle's coming.
    - tarried for us at Troas.

    6. And we sailed . . . from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread--(that is, the Passover). This, compared with 1Co 16:8, shows that the three months spent at Corinth (Ac 20:3) were the winter months.
    - came . . . to Troas--for the third and last time. (See on Ac 16:8 and Ac 20:1).
    - in the five days--As it might have been done in two days, the wind must have been adverse. The vivid style of one now present will be here again observed.
    - where we abode seven days--that is, arriving on a Monday, they stayed over the Jewish sabbath and the Lord's Day following; Paul occupying himself, doubtless, in refreshing and strengthening fellowship with the brethren during the interval.

    7. upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together--This, compared with 1Co 16:2, and other similar allusions, plainly indicates that the Christian observance of the day afterwards distinctly called "the Lord's Day," was already a fixed practice of the churches.
    - Paul preached--discoursed. The tense implies continued action--"kept discoursing."

    8. there were many lights in the upper chamber--not a mere piece of graphic detail by an eye-witness [HACKETT, HOWSON], but mentioned, probably, as increasing the heat and contributing to drowsiness [WEBSTER and WILKINSON], as the next clause seems to show.

    9. in a--"the."
    - window--or window seat, or recess.
    - fell down from the third loft--"story."
    - and was taken up dead--"The window projected (according to the side of the room where it was situated) either over the street or over the interior court; so that in either case he fell on the hard earth or pavement below."

    10-12. Paul . . . fell on him--like Elisha (2Ki 4:34).
    - his life is in him--now restored; compare Mr 5:39.

    11. broken bread and eaten--with what a mixture of awe and joy after such an occurrence! "And eaten"--denoting a common repast, as distinguished from the breaking of the eucharistic bread.
          and talked a long while, even till break of day--How lifelike this record of dear Christian fellowship, as free and gladsome as it was solemn! (See Ec 9:7).

    Ac 20:13-38. CONTINUING HIS ROUTE TO JERUSALEM HE REACHES MILETUS, WHENCE HE SENDS FOR THE ELDERS OF EPHESUS--HIS FAREWELL ADDRESS TO THEM.

    13, 14. we . . . sailed--from Troas.
    - unto Assos; there . . . to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot--"to go by land." (See on Mr 6:33). In sailing southward from Troas to Assos, one has to round Cape Lecture, and keeping due east to run along the northern shore of the Gulf of Adramyttium, on which it lies. This is a sail of nearly forty miles; whereas by land, cutting right across, in a southeasterly direction, from sea to sea, by that excellent Roman road which then existed, the distance was scarcely more than half. The one way Paul wished his companions to take, while he himself, longing perhaps to enjoy a period of solitude, took the other, joining the ship, by appointment, at Assos.

    14. came to Mitylene--the capital of the beautiful and classical island of Lesbos, which lies opposite the eastern shore of the Ægean Sea, about thirty miles south of Assos; in whose harbor they seem to have lain for the night.

    15, 16. came the next day over against Chios--now Scio: one of the most beautiful of those islands between which and the coast the sail is so charming. They appear not to have touched at it.
    - next day we arrived--"touched" or "put in."
    - at Samos--another island coming quite close to the mainland, and about as far south of Chios as it is south of Lesbos.
    - tarried--for the night.
    - at Trogyllium--an anchorage on the projecting mainland, not more than a mile from the southern extremity of the island of Samos.
    - next day we came to Miletus--on the mainland; the ancient capital of Ionia, near the mouth of the Meander.

    16. For Paul had determined to sail by--or "sail past."
    - Ephesus--He was right opposite to it when approaching Chios.
    - because he would not spend time in Asia--the Asian province of which Ephesus was the chief city.
    - for he hasted, if . . . possible . . . to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost--as a suitable season for giving in the great collection from all the western churches, for keeping the feast, and clearing his apostolic position with the Church, then represented in large number at Jerusalem. The words imply that there was considerable ground to doubt if he would attain this object--for more than three of the seven weeks from Passover to Pentecost had already expired--and they are inserted evidently to explain why he did not once more visit Ephesus.

    17. from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church--As he was now some forty miles south of Ephesus, we might think that more time would be lost by sending thus far for the elders to come to him, than by going at once to Ephesus itself, when so near it. But if unfavorable winds and stormy weather had overtaken them, his object could not have been attained, and perhaps he was unwilling to run the risk of detention at Ephesus by the state of the church and other causes. Those here called "elders" or "presbyters," are in Ac 20:28 called "bishops%%%%

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