The Second Visit to Europe and Return.
SUMMARY.--Paul Departs to Macedonia.
And to Greece.
Paul at Troas.
The Meeting on the First Day of the Week to Break Bread.
The Meeting with the Elders of the Church at Ephesus.
Paul's Affectionate Warnings.
The Sorrowful Farewell.
1-6. After the uproar was ceased. It had been his purpose to go
but to remain at Ephesus until after Pentecost
(1 Cor. 16:8),
and that time (about the middle of May, A. D. 57 or 58) had
probably come. Hence, having exhorted the disciples (Revision),
he departed. It was on his way to Greece that the Second Epistle to the
Corinthians was written. He speaks in
2 Cor. 12:14 and 13:1,
of coming "the third time" to Corinth. Hence, Hackett supposes that
during the three years at Ephesus he made a flying visit to Corinth by
sea to correct disorders in the church there.
When he had gone over those parts. Visited Philippi,
Thessalonica, Berea at least, and possibly other Macedonian churches.
He came into Greece. To Corinth. During the three months that he
remained in Corinth, he wrote the greatest of all his letters, the
Epistle to the Romans.
The Jews laid in wait. We have no further details, but it was,
no doubt, a murderous plot. To prevent it, his plans were changed, and
instead of sailing to Syria, he again took the route to Macedonia.
There accompanied him to Asia, Sopater. The Revision, based on
the oldest MSS, calls him "the son of Pyrrhus." He is otherwise
Secundus is not named elsewhere.
Gaius of Derbe. So named to distinguish him from another Gaius
Derbe was in Lycaonia. See
Timotheus. This celebrated disciple was of Lystra near Derbe. See
Tychicus. Supposed to be an Ephesian. See
Col. 4:7, 8;
Eph. 6:21; 2 Tim. 4:12.
Trophimus. He attended Paul all the way to Jerusalem. See
Acts 21:29 and 2 Tim. 4:20.
These going before. Paul evidently tarried with the church at
Philippi, while they went on to Troas.
Us. Luke was now a companion. When Paul first passed into
Europe, six or seven years before, he was with him
but there are reasons for thinking that he had remained and
labored in Philippi until this time. Henceforth he attends the great
Came to Troas in five days. The winds must have been
the voyage was made in two days. For Troas, see note on
7-12. On the first day of the week when, etc. The language shows
that it was the custom to meet on the first day of the week, and shows
the leading object of that meeting. This was not a farewell meeting for
Paul, for then the day of the week would not have been mentioned, but
the regular weekly assemblage of the saints. They came together,
to break bread, i. e., to observe the Lord's Supper.
Dean Howson says: "We have here an unmistakable allusion to the
practice, which began evidently immediately after the resurrection of
our Lord, of assembling on the first day of the week for religious
purposes." He also shows that the Lord arose on the first day of the
week, showed himself to the apostles a second time one week later on
the first day of the week, that the church was founded and the Holy
Spirit shed forth on Pentecost, which was on the first day of the week.
On the same day the disciples at Troas meet to break bread, the
Corinthians meet, take collections
(1 Cor. 16:2)
and eat the Lord's Supper
(1 Cor. 11:20),
and the Lord on Patmos reveals himself to John
In addition to this, the early church writers from Barnabas, Justin
Martyr, Irenæus, to Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Cyprian,
all with one consent, declare that the church observed the first day of
the week. They are equally agreed that the Lord's Supper was observed
weekly, on the first day of the week.
Paul preached. Though it was the special object of this weekly
meeting to break bread, preaching was a part of the worship.
Continued his speech until midnight. About to depart, probably
never to see them more, all were anxious to hear the great apostle, and
he had much to say.
There were many lights. This is mentioned to show how they could
meet at night. In those time public meetings and even the games of the
theatre were by daylight. Means of lighting were very imperfect.
Eutychus. Sitting in the window, and at last overcome by
drowsiness, he fell to the earth, three stories below. The language
implies that he was killed by the fall, and restored by the Divine
power, exercised through Paul. The history is plain, simple, and easy
to understand. Compare
2 Kings 4:34.
When he . . . had broken bread and eaten. Opinions are
divided whether the Lord's Supper had been celebrated before his long
discourse and this was a common meal just before his departure in the
early morning, or whether these words allude to the celebration of the
Lord's Supper. I incline to the last opinion. The fact that the same
phraseology is used in both places shows that they refer to the same
thing. Some, however, insist that if this be true, the Lord's Supper
was celebrated on Monday morning before day. This does not necessarily
follow. The Jews began their day at sunset. Sunday began at sunset of
what he call Saturday. The early churches, composed in large part of
Jews at first, often followed the Jewish custom. It is probable that
this meeting at Troas began at the close of the Sabbath, in the
evening, was continued through the night, the Lord's Supper being
celebrated in the latter part of the night, before dawn of Sunday, and
that at daybreak Paul departed. He had remained over a week to have the
privilege of observing the Lord's Supper with them. So, too, he
remained a week with the disciples at Tyre
and with the brethren at Puteoli
13-16. Sailed unto Assos. The distance from Troas to Assos by
sea, round Cape Lectum, was about forty miles, while across by land it
was only half as far. Paul, probably attended by a number of brethren,
chose to walk across. Vast ruins now mark the site of the seaport of
Mitylene. The next stopping place, about thirty miles from
Assos, still the capital of the island of Lesbos. It is now called
Sailed to Chios. A populous island near the Asiatic coast, famed
for its wine. In 1822, the Turks almost exterminated the inhabitants in
a frightful massacre.
Samos. All these islands are celebrated in Greek history. Samos
is separated from the coast only by a narrow channel.
Trogyllium. A promontory not far from Ephesus.
Came to Miletus. A city famous from the time of Homer, but at
this period sinking in importance on account of the prosperity of
Ephesus, only thirty miles away. A swamp and a few ruins now mark its
Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus. If he stopped at this
scene of three years' labor, he felt that he could not tear himself
away without a considerable stay. But it was his plan to be in
Jerusalem at Pentecost, now not far off. Hence, instead of stopping at
Ephesus, he sent for the elders to visit him at Miletus.
17-27. Called the elders of the church. No mention has been made
before of their appointment, but it was Paul's custom to "ordain elders
in every church"
These elders were also called "bishops" (see
In apostolic days there was a plurality of elders in every church;
these elders were "bishops," or overseers. There was no distinct
episcopal order. This is admitted even by the advocates of an
episcopate. Dean Howson, of the Church of England, declares
(Acts, p. 475) that
no special order of bishops was created in the lifetime of Paul, or the
apostles, but he dates their origin about the close of the first or
beginning of the second century. Prof. Rothe, of Heidelberg (quoted by
Lightfoot on Philippians), supposes that after the martyrdom of Paul,
Peter and James the necessity was felt for a general supervision, and
that this gave rise to the appointment of diocesan bishops. By the
admission of all scholars, the episcopal order is
Ye know. This is a pastoral address, worthy of the
closest study by all pastors and elders. First, the apostle calls
attention to his own example. Every elder ought to be an example.
Taught you publicly. Three months in the synagogue at Ephesus;
two years in the school of Tyrannus,
besides his teaching in the church assemblies.
Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord. These items
embrace the sum of Christian doctrine. Repentance of our sins against
our Creator, the resolve to turn from them; then faith in Jesus Christ
as our Savior, by trust in his grace and obedience to his will.
Now I go bound in the spirit. Urged by a sense of duty, yet
knowing from the premonitions of the Holy Spirit that bonds and
afflictions awaited him at Jerusalem.
Ye shall see my face no more. Paul does not state this as a
revelation, but as his conviction. He then thought it not improbable
that he would soon die for Christ. Many think that he was released from
his first imprisonment in Rome. Dean Howson says: "It is almost
certain that Paul, after his liberation from the imprisonment spoken of
did revisit the Asian churches (see notices and greetings and
2 Tim. IV. and in Tit. 1:5,
especially the words, 'Trophimus I have left at Miletum sick')."
Pure from the blood of all men. Not responsible, if they are
lost, for he had declared "the whole counsel of God."
28-31. Take heed. Here begin the special admonitions to the elders.
To yourselves. Their own lives must be the first subject of
watchfulness. No man can be so exalted that he does not need to watch
The flock. The church, the fold of the Good Shepherd, of whom
they were under-shepherds, or pastors.
To feed the church. "On the sincere milk of the word, that it
may grow thereby."
Grievous wolves. The figure of the flock is still kept up. The
"grievous wolves" were false teachers,
and the special reference is to the Judaizing teachers, who taught that
the Gentile Christians must keep the Jewish law. Paul's ministry was a
long battle with the schismatics. See
1 Tim. 1:3, 4, 20;
2 Tim. 1:15; 2:17;
John's Third Epistle.
By turning to these references the names of some six of these "grievous
wolves" will be found. Also in
we learn that there were false teachers at Ephesus.
32-35. I commend you to God. In their weighty responsibility he
commends them to God.
And to the word of his grace. The word will be a guide in all
their difficulties and
is able to build them up and give them an inheritance among the
sanctified. If it is followed, they cannot stray.
Sanctified. All Christians are spoken of as sanctified. See
1 Cor. 1:2; 6:9-11.
I have coveted no man's silver. No motives of self-interest
could induce him to labor in the work to which he was called. It
offered no earthly emoluments. We have found that at Corinth he worked
with his own hands for support. We here learn that he did the same
thing at Ephesus. See
2 Thess. 3:10-12; 1 Cor. 4:11, 12.
He also warns Timothy to flee from the love of money as hurtful,
an admonition that should never be forgotten.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. These words,
quoted by Paul, as well known are not found in any one of the four
Gospels, but are none the less genuine. They only preserve a fragment
of the sayings and doings of our Lord
Giving, even here, secures more real happiness than receiving, and
besides, is Godlike and blesses forever.
36-38. He kneeled down, and prayed. This was the most appropriate
parting for these ancient men of God.
Fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him. An Eastern custom of
exhibiting great affection.
That they should see his face no more. This thought caused their
greatest sorrow, but we have seen that it is probable that they did see
him again. It was not, however, until after Acts was written. See note