Categories
bible study

Bible Study: Acts 23

Chapter 23: Acts 23: 1-35, trial before the Sanhedrin

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for protection, healing, blessing, salvation, justification, sanctification, and eternal life. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, revelation of truth, and personal spiritual revival, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-4, 1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. 3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? 4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?

Paul said in the trial before the Sanhedrin, that his conscience was clear before God. The high priest Ananias ordered one of his men to slap Paul. Paul rebuked the high priest for ordering him to be slapped without a valid reason. The council rebuked Paul for not honouring the high priest. Ananias had replaced Annas, the high priest of Acts 5.

VV 5-6, 5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. 6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

Paul apologised for not knowing that Ananias was a high priest. Paul realised that half of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection, and half were Pharisees, who believed in the resurrection. He cried out that he was a Pharisees and he was judged for testifying to the resurrection of Christ.

VV 7-10, 7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. 9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God. 10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.

Another dispute broke out in the court out between the Sadducees and the Pharisees over the issue of resurrection. The Pharisees believed in angels and resurrection but the Sadducees did not. The scribes and Pharisees found no wrongdoing with Paul but the Sadducees objected and another mob broke out! The Roman commander rearrested Paul and took him by force into the barrack to protect him.

V 11, And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

The next night, the Lord appeared to Paul again in a vision and commended him for testifying for him in Jerusalem. The Lord prophesied that he would testify for Him in Rome.

Jesus appeared to Paul at Damascus road, Acts 9, at Troas, Acts 16, at Corinth, Acts 18, at Jerusalem, Acts 23, and at Fair Havens, Acts 27.

VV 12-15, 12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. 14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. 15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.

More than 40 Jews took the law into their own hands. They took an oath, fasted, and plotted to assassinate Paul in cold blood. They approached the Jewish leaders and informed them of their conspiracy. They wanted the Jewish leaders to bring Paul into the court the following day so that they could assassinate him.

VV 16-10, 16 And when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him. 18 So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee. 19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?

Paul’s nephew overheard the assassin’s conversation with the Jewish leaders and reported to Paul. Paul instructed the centurion to take his nephew to the commander and he did so. The commander asked the young man in private what he wanted to tell him.

VV 20-22, 20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.21 But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee. 22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.

The young man told the commander about the conspiracy to assassinate Paul. The commander believed the young man and told him to keep everything secret.

VV 23-24, 23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; 24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.

At 9 pm, the commander ordered 2 centurions, 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen to send Paul in a convoy to governor Felix in Caesarea Maritima. The 3rd hour of the night is 9 pm. Caesarea Maritima is 65 miles northwest of Jerusalem, a Roman port, beside the Mediterranean Sea.

VV 25-30, 25 And he wrote a letter after this manner: 26 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting. 27 This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.28 And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council: 29 Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds. 30 And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.

The commander’s name was Claudius Lysias. He wrote a letter to governor Felix saying that he had rescued Paul, a Roman citizen, from the Jews, who wanted to kill him. He said that charges against Paul were religious issues that did not warrant the death penalty. He sent Paul to Felix to protect Paul from being assassinated by the Jews. He requested Felix to take over the case because he could not handle it anymore.

VV 31-35, 31 Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:33 Who, when they came to Caesarea and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him. 34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia; 35 I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall.

The soldiers took Paul to Antipatris by night. Antipatris was a military base halfway between Jerusalem and Caesarea. The next day, the convoy arrived at Caesarea. The leader gave the commander’s letter and handed Paul to Felix. When Felix read that letter and found out that Paul was from Cilicia, he kept Paul in Herod’s Praetorium. Felix was the successor of Pontius Pilate.

Application:

Paul was persecuted by the Jews in Damascus, Jerusalem, Phillipi, Thessalonica, Iconium, Lystra, Pisidia Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, and now in Jerusalem again. Christ appeared to Him in a vision five times to encourage him. He continued to teach, preach, and heal the sick until his death at the hands of Nero. Paul was our hero of the faith. He is the apostle and evangelist par excellence. We should imitate Paul just as he imitated Christ.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for the life of the great apostle, Paul. Thank you for preserving the book of Acts for our benefit and our enrichment. We pray for healing, guidance, protection, and providential care, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Categories
bible study

Bible Study: Acts 22

Chapter 22: Acts 22: 1-30, sharing testimony to a mob

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray that You will speak to us through the Word. We pray for insight, revelation, Word of knowledge, and Word of confirmation as we seek directions and guidance. We pray that You will bring the pandemic to an end, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-5, Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. 2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) 3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. 4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.

Paul addressed the mob in the Hebrews language by telling his conversion testimony. Greek for dense is “apologia” from which the English word apologetics is derived. The art and practice in defending the Christian faith are called apologetics. He introduced himself as a Jew, born in Tarsus, Cilicia. He was raised as a Jew, studied under Rabbi Gamaliel, was zealous of the law, and persecuted Christian men and women. Many years ago, he went on a witch hunt to Damascus to arrest Christians, armed with arrest warrants from the high priest.

VV 6-8, 6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

At noon, when he was very near to Damascus, a dazzling light shone into his eyes. He fell and heard a voice calling his name, twice, and asking why he was persecuting Him. Paul ask who He was and He answered, “Jesus of Nazareth”.

VV 9-11, 9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. 10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

Paul’s companions saw the light but did not hear any voice. Paul asked the Lord what he should do. The Lord commanded him to get up, go to Damascus, and await further instructions. Paul’s companion led him by the hand into Damascus because he could not see.

VV 12-16, 12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, 13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. 14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

At Damascus, Ananias, a faithful disciple, came to him, calling him brother Saul, prayed for him, and he received his sight. Ananias told Paul that Christ had chosen him to be His witness to all people. Ananias baptised him in the name of the Lord and he was saved.

VV 17-21, 17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; 18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.

Paul left Damascus and went to Jerusalem. Christ appeared to Paul in a trance and commanded him to leave the city immediately because the Jews were plotting to kill him. Paul was afraid that the Christians would not accept his testimony because he had persecuted Christians and had approved the martyrdom of Stephen. The Lord told him to leave, saying, He would send him to the Gentiles.

VV 22-25, 22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,

24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. 25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?

Paul could not finish his testimony. As soon as the Jews heard the word Gentiles, they were furious and turned into a frenzy. They removed their clothes, threw dust in the air, and shouted: “away with him”. The Roman commander took Paul into the barracks, chained him, and ordered the centurion to scourge Paul. Paul said he was a Roman citizen. Under Roman law, it was unlawful to scourge a Roman citizen before a guilty verdict.

VV 26-29, 26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. 27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. 28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. 29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

The centurion reported to the commander that Paul was a Roman citizen. The commander asked Paul whether he was a Roman citizen. Paul said he was born as a Roman citizen. The commander was surprised because he had to pay a large sum of money to be a Roman citizen.

V 30, On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them.

A riot broke had broken out in the temple and the Romans had arrested Paul. Paul’s address triggered another riot and the Romans rearrested Paul. The next day, the Romans sent Paul to be tried under the Sanhedrin;

Application:

Paul shared his testimony to defend his faith. His testimony can be broken down into three-part, pre-conversion, conversion, and post-conversion. This is how you should share your testimony. Break it down into three parts, the before, the during, and the after. Write it out, practice it out and share it out.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Paul’s extraordinary testimony. We pray for wisdom to prepare our three-part testimony as an evangelistic tool, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Categories
bible study

Bible Study: Acts 21

Chapter 21: Acts 21: 1-40, mobbed at Jerusalem

Prayer:

Heavenly, we praised You and blessed You. You are worthy to be praised. You are righteous and pure, Your Name is above all Name. Thank You for the gift of salvation and the gift of eternal life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-6, 1 And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: 2 And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. 3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. 4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. 6 And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

Paul sailed through Cos, Rhodes, Patara, Phoenicia, Cyprus, Syria, and Tyre. The ship docked at Tyre to unload the cargo. Paul used this opportunity to fellowship with the disciples of Tyre and stayed with them for 7 days. The disciples advised Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. At the end of 7 days, the disciples and their families gave Paul a grand sent off. At the emotional farewell, everyone kneeled, prayed, and seek the Lord.

VV 7-11, 7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. 8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. 9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. 10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

Paul came to Ptolemais, greeted the local disciples, and stayed with them overnight. The next day, he came to Caesarea and visited the house of Philip, the evangelist. Philip was one of the 7 deacons selected to oversee the welfare of the widow’s food distribution in Acts 6. Philip had 4 unmarried daughters who moved in prophetic anointing. Agabus, a prophet from Jerusalem came to Caesarea. He took Paul’s belt, tied it around his hands and feet, and prophesied that the Jews in Jerusalem would arrest Pail and deliver him to the Gentiles.

VV 12-14, 12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

The disciples at Caesarea tried to stop Paul from going to Jerusalem out of safety concern. But Paul was adamant in going because he knew he was in God’s will and had heard from the Holy Spirit. When it was clear that Paul would not change his mind, they gave him their blessings.

VV 15-19, 15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem. 16 There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. 19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.

The disciples of Caesarea, and Mnason from Cyprus, accompanied Paul and his missionary team up to Jerusalem, which is 3000 feet above sea level. The elders and apostles received them cordially. The next day, Paul visited James, the half-brother of Jesus, and the elders. Paul narrated to them in detail about his missionary journeys and his evangelistic work among the Gentiles

VV 20-22, 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.

They glorified the Lord when they heard Pauls’ story. However, there were thousands of Jewish believers in Jerusalem who were legalistic and opposed Paul. These were the Judaizers or those of the circumcision. They were unhappy with Paul’s leniency to the Gentiles over the issue of circumcision and Mosaic law-keeping. They would certainly want to meet Paul over this issue.

VV 23-26, 23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. 25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

The Jerusalem elders wanted Paul to take the Nazarite vow together with 4 other Jewish believers and pay for their expenses. The Nazarite vow is recorded in Numbers 6. During the duration of the vow, they abstained from eating grape products, shaving, haircut, touching a dead body, and so on. At the end of the vow, they would offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Taking the Nazarite vow was to prove to the Jews that Paul has not forsaken the Jewish customs. Paul agreed and took the Nazarite vow together with the 4 other men. Paul entered the temple the next day to announce the expiry day of the vow, whereby, each of them would offer an offering.

VV 27-29, 27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. 29 (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)

Trouble broke out even before the Nazarite vow had expired. When Jews from Asia Minor saw Paul in the temple, they harassed, attacked, and deliberately started a mob, saying that Paul had taken a Greek into the temple. Just because, they saw Paul with Trophimus, an Ephesian Greek, in the city, they jumped to the conclusion that Paul had taken Trophimus into the temple. Paul had not taken Trophimus into the temple.

VV 30-32, 30 And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. 31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.

The Jews went on a rampage, attacked, beat, and dragged Paul out of the temple intending to kill him. The Roman commander of the garrison immediately came to Paul’s rescue bringing soldiers and centurions to stop the mob. When the Jews saw the Romans coming to the scene they dispersed and stopped attacking Paul

VV 33-36, 33 Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. 34 And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. 35 And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.

The commander handcuffed Paul with two chains and asked for his identity. The mob was very rowdy, screaming, and shouting. Unable to proceed further, the commander took Paul to the barracks. Paul could not even walk up the stairs and had to be carried by soldiers because was so severely beaten by the mob. Meanwhile, the mob outside continued to scream and shout “away with him”.

VV 37-40, 37 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek? 38 Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers? 39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people. 40 And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,

Paul politely told the commander that he wanted to speak to the mob. Surprised that Paul could speak Greek, the commanded enquired whether he was the Egyptian who had started a rebellion some time ago and had escaped with 4000 terrorists into the wilderness. Paul said he was not a terrorist, but a Jews from Tarsus in Cilicia, and a Roman citizen. The commander permitted him. Paul stood at the stairs and addressed the mob in the Hebrew language,

Application:

The Jews attacked Paul because of his faith in Christ but God protected him by sending the Romans to arrest him. Persecution, afflictions, trials, and sufferings are hallmarks of a believer. In times like these, we have to stay strong and surrender our lives to Christ. He will protect, rescue, and save us. Even in a pandemic, we need to trust the Lord and remain strong in the faith. Do not throw in the towel.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, Paul was mobbed by the Jews in Jerusalem, but You rescued him by sending the Romans to arrest him. We pray for strength to remain strong in the faith during this time of the pandemic attack. Protect, rescue, and save us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Categories
bible study

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.