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Acts 20:17-38

20:17 From Miletus 1  he sent a message 2  to Ephesus, telling the elders of the church to come to him. 3 

20:18 When they arrived, he said to them, “You yourselves know how I lived 4  the whole time I was with you, from the first day I set foot 5  in the province of Asia, 6  20:19 serving the Lord with all humility 7  and with tears, and with the trials that happened to me because of the plots 8  of the Jews. 20:20 You know that I did not hold back from proclaiming 9  to you anything that would be helpful, 10  and from teaching you publicly 11  and from house to house, 20:21 testifying 12  to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. 13  20:22 And now, 14  compelled 15  by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem 16  without knowing what will happen to me there, 17  20:23 except 18  that the Holy Spirit warns 19  me in town after town 20  that 21  imprisonment 22  and persecutions 23  are waiting for me. 20:24 But I do not consider my life 24  worth anything 25  to myself, so that 26  I may finish my task 27  and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news 28  of God’s grace.

20:25 “And now 29  I know that none 30  of you among whom I went around proclaiming the kingdom 31  will see me 32  again. 20:26 Therefore I declare 33  to you today that I am innocent 34  of the blood of you all. 35  20:27 For I did not hold back from 36  announcing 37  to you the whole purpose 38  of God. 20:28 Watch out for 39  yourselves and for all the flock of which 40  the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, 41  to shepherd the church of God 42  that he obtained 43  with the blood of his own Son. 44  20:29 I know that after I am gone 45  fierce wolves 46  will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 20:30 Even from among your own group 47  men 48  will arise, teaching perversions of the truth 49  to draw the disciples away after them. 20:31 Therefore be alert, 50  remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning 51  each one of you with tears. 20:32 And now I entrust 52  you to God and to the message 53  of his grace. This message 54  is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 20:33 I have desired 55  no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 20:34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine 56  provided for my needs and the needs of those who were with me. 20:35 By all these things, 57  I have shown you that by working in this way we must help 58  the weak, 59  and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 60 

20:36 When 61  he had said these things, he knelt down 62  with them all and prayed. 20:37 They all began to weep loudly, 63  and hugged 64  Paul and kissed him, 65  20:38 especially saddened 66  by what 67  he had said, that they were not going to see him 68  again. Then they accompanied 69  him to the ship.

1 sn Miletus was a seaport on the western coast of Asia Minor about 45 mi (72 km) south of Ephesus.

2 tn The words “a message” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

3 tn The words “to him” are not in the Greek text but are implied. L&N 33.311 has for the verb μετακαλέομαι (metakaleomai) “to summon someone, with considerable insistence and authority – ‘to summon, to tell to come.’”

4 tn Grk “You yourselves know, from the first day I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time.” This could be understood to mean “how I stayed with you the whole time,” but the following verses make it clear that Paul’s lifestyle while with the Ephesians is in view here. Thus the translation “how I lived the whole time I was with you” makes this clear.

5 tn Or “I arrived.” BDAG 367 s.v. ἐπιβαίνω 2, “set foot in…εἰς τ. ᾿Ασίαν set foot in Asia Ac 20:18.” However, L&N 15.83 removes the idiom: “you know that since the first day that I came to Asia.”

6 tn Grk “Asia”; see the note on this word in v. 16.

7 sn On humility see 2 Cor 10:1; 11:7; 1 Thess 2:6; Col 3:12; Eph 4:2; Phil 2:3-11.

8 sn These plots are mentioned in Acts 9:24; 20:13.

9 tn Or “declaring.”

10 tn Or “profitable.” BDAG 960 s.v. συμφέρω 2.b.α has “τὰ συμφέροντα what advances your best interests or what is good for you Ac 20:20,” but the broader meaning (s.v. 2, “to be advantageous, help, confer a benefit, be profitable/useful”) is equally possible in this context.

11 tn Or “openly.”

12 tn BDAG 233 s.v. διαμαρτύρομαι 1 has “testify of, bear witness to (orig. under oath)…of repentance to Judeans and Hellenes Ac 20:21.”

13 tc Several mss, including some of the more important ones (Ì74 א Α C [D] E 33 36 323 945 1175 1241 1505 1739 pm and a number of versions), read Χριστόν (Criston, “Christ”) at the end of this verse. This word is lacking in B H L P Ψ 614 pm. Although the inclusion is supported by many earlier and better mss, internal evidence is on the side of the omission: In Acts, both “Lord Jesus” and “Lord Jesus Christ” occur, though between 16:31 and the end of the book “Lord Jesus Christ” appears only in 28:31, perhaps as a kind of climactic assertion. Thus, the shorter reading is to be preferred.

sn Repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. Note the twofold description of the message. It is a turning to God involving faith in Jesus Christ.

14 tn Grk “And now, behold.” Here ἰδού (idou) has not been translated.

15 tn Grk “bound.”

16 sn This journey to Jerusalem suggests a parallel between Paul and Jesus, since the “Jerusalem journey” motif figures so prominently in Luke’s Gospel (9:51-19:44).

17 tn BDAG 965 s.v. συναντάω 2 has τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ συναντήσοντα ἐμοὶ μὴ εἰδώς without knowing what will happen to me there Ac 20:22.”

18 tn BDAG 826 s.v. πλήν 1.d has “πλὴν ὅτι except thatAc 20:23.”

19 tn The verb διαμαρτύρομαι (diamarturomai) can mean “warn” (BDAG 233 s.v. διαμαρτύρομαι 2 has “solemnly urge, exhort, warn…w. dat. of pers. addressed”), and this meaning better fits the context here, although BDAG categorizes Acts 20:23 under the meaning “testify of, bear witness to” (s.v. 1).

20 tn The Greek text here reads κατὰ πόλιν (kata polin).

21 tn Grk “saying that,” but the participle λέγον (legon) is redundant in English and has not been translated.

22 tn Grk “bonds.”

23 tn Or “troubles,” “suffering.” See Acts 19:21; 21:4, 11.

24 tn Grk “soul.”

25 tn Or “I do not consider my life worth a single word.” According to BDAG 599 s.v. λόγος 1.a.α, “In the textually uncertain pass. Ac 20:24 the text as it stands in N., οὐδενὸς λόγου (v.l. λόγον) ποιοῦμαι τὴν ψυχὴν τιμίαν, may well mean: I do not consider my life worth a single word (cp. λόγου ἄξιον [ἄξιος 1a] and our ‘worth mention’).”

26 tn BDAG 1106 s.v. ὡς 9 describes this use as “a final particle, expressing intention/purpose, with a view to, in order to.”

27 tn Grk “course.” See L&N 42.26, “(a figurative extension of meaning of δρόμος ‘race’) a task or function involving continuity, serious, effort, and possibly obligation – ‘task, mission’…Ac 20:24.” On this Pauline theme see also Phil 1:19-26; Col 1:24; 2 Tim 4:6-7.

28 tn Or “to the gospel.”

29 tn Grk “And now, behold.” Here ἰδού (idou) has not been translated.

30 tn Grk “all of you…will not see.” Greek handles its negation somewhat differently from English, and the translation follows English grammatical conventions.

31 sn Note how Paul’s usage of the expression proclaiming the kingdom is associated with (and intertwined with) his testifying to the good news of God’s grace in v. 24. For Paul the two concepts were interrelated.

32 tn Grk “will see my face” (an idiom for seeing someone in person).

33 tn Or “testify.”

34 tn Grk “clean, pure,” thus “guiltless” (BDAG 489 s.v. καθαρός 3.a).

sn I am innocent. Paul had a clear conscience, since he had faithfully carried out his responsibility of announcing to (the Ephesians) the whole purpose of God.

35 tn That is, “that if any of you should be lost, I am not responsible” (an idiom). According to L&N 33.223, the meaning of the phrase “that I am innocent of the blood of all of you” is “that if any of you should be lost, I am not responsible.” However, due to the length of this phrase and its familiarity to many modern English readers, the translation was kept closer to formal equivalence in this case. The word “you” is not in the Greek text, but is implied; Paul is addressing the Ephesian congregation (in the person of its elders) in both v. 25 and 27.

36 tn Or “did not avoid.” BDAG 1041 s.v. ὑποστέλλω 2.b has “shrink from, avoid implying fear…οὐ γὰρ ὑπεστειλάμην τοῦ μὴ ἀναγγεῖλαι I did not shrink from proclaiming Ac 20:27”; L&N 13.160 has “to hold oneself back from doing something, with the implication of some fearful concern – ‘to hold back from, to shrink from, to avoid’…‘for I have not held back from announcing to you the whole purpose of God’ Ac 20:27.”

37 tn Or “proclaiming,” “declaring.”

38 tn Or “plan.”

39 tn Or “Be on your guard for” (cf. v. 29). Paul completed his responsibility to the Ephesians with this warning.

40 tn Grk “in which.”

41 tn Or “guardians.” BDAG 379-80 s.v. ἐπίσκοπος 2 states, “The term was taken over in Christian communities in ref. to one who served as overseer or supervisor, with special interest in guarding the apostolic tradition…Ac 20:28.” This functional term describes the role of the elders (see v. 17). They were to guard and shepherd the congregation.

42 tc The reading “of God” (τοῦ θεοῦ, tou qeou) is found in א B 614 1175 1505 al vg sy; other witnesses have “of the Lord” (τοῦ κυρίου, tou kuriou) here (so Ì74 A C* D E Ψ 33 1739 al co), while the majority of the later minuscule mss conflate these two into “of the Lord and God” (τοῦ κυρίου καὶ [τοῦ] θεοῦ, tou kuriou kai [tou] qeou). Although the evidence is evenly balanced between the first two readings, τοῦ θεοῦ is decidedly superior on internal grounds. The final prepositional phrase of this verse, διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου (dia tou {aimato" tou idiou), could be rendered “through his own blood” or “through the blood of his own.” In the latter translation, the object that “own” modifies must be supplied (see tn below for discussion). But this would not be entirely clear to scribes; those who supposed that ἰδίου modified αἵματος would be prone to alter “God” to “Lord” to avoid the inference that God had blood. In a similar way, later scribes would be prone to conflate the two titles, thereby affirming the deity (with the construction τοῦ κυρίου καὶ θεοῦ following the Granville Sharp rule and referring to a single person [see ExSyn 272, 276-77, 290]) and substitutionary atonement of Christ. For these reasons, τοῦ θεοῦ best explains the rise of the other readings and should be considered authentic.

43 tn Or “acquired.”

44 tn Or “with his own blood”; Grk “with the blood of his own.” The genitive construction could be taken in two ways: (1) as an attributive genitive (second attributive position) meaning “his own blood”; or (2) as a possessive genitive, “with the blood of his own.” In this case the referent is the Son, and the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity. See further C. F. DeVine, “The Blood of God,” CBQ 9 (1947): 381-408.

sn That he obtained with the blood of his own Son. This is one of only two explicit statements in Luke-Acts highlighting the substitutionary nature of Christ’s death (the other is in Luke 22:19).

45 tn Grk “after my departure.”

46 tn That is, people like fierce wolves. See BDAG 167-68 s.v. βαρύς 4 on the term translated “fierce.” The battle that will follow would be a savage one.

47 tn Grk “from among yourselves.”

48 tn The Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anhr), which only rarely is used in a generic sense to refer to both males and females. Since Paul is speaking to the Ephesian elders at this point and there is nothing in the context to suggest women were included in that group (“from among your own group”), it is most likely Paul was not predicting that these false teachers would include women.

49 tn Grk “speaking crooked things”; BDAG 237 s.v. διαστρέφω 2 has “λαλεῖν διεστραμμένα teach perversions (of the truth) Ac 20:30.”

sn These perversions of the truth refer to the kinds of threats that would undermine repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. v. 21). Instead these false teachers would arise from within the Ephesian congregation (cf. 1 John 2:18-19) and would seek to draw the disciples away after them.

50 tn Or “be watchful.”

51 tn Or “admonishing.”

52 tn Or “commend.” BDAG 772 s.v. παρατίθημι 3.b has “τινά τινι entrust someone to the care or protection of someone…Of divine protection παρέθεντο αὐτοὺς τῷ κυρίῳ Ac 14:23; cp. 20:32.”

53 tn Grk “word.”

54 tn Grk “the message of his grace, which.” The phrase τῷ δυναμένῳ οἰκοδομῆσαι… (tw dunamenw oikodomhsai…) refers to τῷ λόγω (tw logw), not τῆς χάριτος (ths caritos); in English it could refer to either “the message” or “grace,” but in Greek, because of agreement in gender, the referent can only be “the message.” To make this clear, a new sentence was begun in the translation and the referent “the message” was repeated at the beginning of this new sentence.

55 tn Traditionally, “coveted.” BDAG 371 s.v. ἐπιθυμέω 1 has “to have a strong desire to do or secure someth., desire, long for w. gen. of the thing desired…silver, gold, clothing Ac 20:33.” The traditional term “covet” is not in common usage and difficult for many modern English readers to understand. The statement affirms Paul’s integrity. He was not doing this for personal financial gain.

56 tn The words “of mine” are not in the Greek text, but are supplied to clarify whose hands Paul is referring to.

57 sn The expression By all these things means “In everything I did.”

58 tn Or “must assist.”

59 tn Or “the sick.” See Eph 4:28.

60 sn The saying is similar to Matt 10:8. Service and generosity should be abundant. Interestingly, these exact words are not found in the gospels. Paul must have known of this saying from some other source.

61 tn Grk “And when.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

62 tn Grk “kneeling down…he prayed.” The participle θείς (qeis) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

63 tn Grk “weeping a great deal,” thus “loudly” (BDAG 472 s.v. ἱκανός and BDAG 546 s.v. κλαυθμός).

64 tn Grk “fell on Paul’s neck” (an idiom, see BDAG 1014 s.v. τράχηλος).

65 sn The Ephesians elders kissed Paul as a sign of both affection and farewell. The entire scene shows how much interrelationship Paul had in his ministry and how much he and the Ephesians meant to each other.

66 tn Or “pained.”

67 tn Grk “by the word that he had said.”

68 tn Grk “to see his face” (an idiom for seeing someone in person).

69 tn BDAG 873 s.v. προπέμπω 1 has “they accompanied him to the ship Ac 20:38.”

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