TO MACEDONIA, AND TO CORINTH AGAIN
Luke’s account in Acts 20 passes very quickly over Paul’s visit to Macedonia and Achaia, but certain details are supplied by his epistles.
He went from Ephesus to Troas (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), where his preaching was favorably received.
In Troas the apostle expected to find Titus with a report of the reaction of the Corinthian church to his epistle (1 Cor) sent a short time before, and disappointed at not finding him there, he hurried to Macedonia (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), with the believers at Corinth weighing heavily upon his heart (2 Cor 2:12, 13; cf. ch 1:9).
2Ko 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,
2Ko 2:13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.
There he found Titus, and he had encouraging tidings for him from Corinth (ch 7:5–7).
2 Corinthians 7:5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.
2Ko 7:6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,
2Ko 7:7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.
Cheered greatly by this report, the apostle wrote 2 Corinthians, in which he promised to visit the Corinthian church (ch 13:1, 2), and dispatched it evidently by Titus (ch 8:6, 16, 17, 23).
Paul then went southward into Greece (Acts 20:2) and visited the believers there. While at Corinth for about 3 months he wrote the epistles to the *Romans and the *Galatians (v 3), about a.d. 58.
RETURN VIA MACEDONIA
Paul now planned to take ship for Syria, but just about the time for embarkation he learned of a plot by some Jewish enemies to kill him, probably while he was aboard ship.
Consequently, he changed his plans and went by way of Macedonia, thus foiling the plot of his would-be murderers (Acts 20:3).
Hnd 20:3 and stayed three months. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.
He traveled northward, probably by way of Beroea and Thessalonica (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), to Philippi.
While several other companions crossed over to Troas, Paul and Luke remained at Philippi for the Passover and then “after the days of unleavened bread” sailed to join the others (Acts 20:4–6).
nd 20:4 And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.
Hnd 20:5 These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas.
Hnd 20:6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.
TROAS AND THE VOYAGE TO PALESTINE
Paul spent a week at Troas. The evening before his departure a farewell service was held (see First Day of the Week).
About midnight a young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in an open window of the 3d-story room in which the meeting was being held, went to sleep, fell to the ground below, and was “taken up dead.”
Hastening down, Paul embraced him and stated that his life was in him, and the youth revived (Acts 20:7–10, 12).
nd 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
Hnd 20:8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together.
Hnd 20:9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
Hnd 20:10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.”
Hnd 20:12 And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.
Returning to the meeting room, the group celebrated the Lord’s Supper, after which Paul conversed with them until dawn. Then he bade them farewell and departed (v 11) for the 20-mi. (c. 32 km.) walk across the peninsula to Assos.
Hnd 20:11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed.
He walked to rejoin the ship in which he had been traveling, and which had sailed around the point (Paul’s First Missionary Tour).
Having rejoined his companions in the ship, Paul sailed via Mitylene, Chios, and Samos to Miletus (vs 13–17), some 40 mi. (c. 64 km.) south of Ephesus (Paul’s First Missionary Tour).
nd 20:13 Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot.
Hnd 20:14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene.
Hnd 20:15 We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day we arrived at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The next day we came to Miletus.
Hnd 20:16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.
Hnd 20:17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.
He had purposely bypassed Ephesus, for a stop there would unquestionably have made impossible his arrival at Jerusalem for Pentecost, which was but a short time away.
He sent word to the elders of the Ephesian church to meet him at Miletus. The record of this meeting, during which Paul warned the elders against heresy and exhorted them to faithfulness, is one of the most touching passages of Acts (vs 18–35).
nd 20:18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,
Hnd 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews;
Hnd 20:20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,
Hnd 20:21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hnd 20:22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there,
Hnd 20:23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.
Hnd 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Hnd 20:25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.
Hnd 20:26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
Hnd 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
Hnd 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Hnd 20:29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Hnd 20:30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Hnd 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
Hnd 20:32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Hnd 20:33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.
Hnd 20:34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.
Hnd 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “
Before departing, Paul prayed with his visitors, then bade them a tearful farewell and boarded ship to continue his voyage (vs 36–38).
nd 20:36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.
Hnd 20:37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him,
Hnd 20:38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.
Having at length arrived, via Cos and Rhodes, at Patara, a city on the coast of Lycia, Paul and his companions boarded another ship and eventually reached Tyre (Paul’s First Missionary Tour)in Phoenicia (ch 21:1–3).
nd 21:1 Now it came to pass, that when we had departed from them and set sail, running a straight course we came to Cos, the following day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
Hnd 21:2 And finding a ship sailing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail.
Hnd 21:3 When we had sighted Cyprus, we passed it on the left, sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo.
There they found some believers, and remained with them a week. During this time Paul was prophetically warned of the danger of going to Jerusalem.
When it was time for him to rejoin his ship, the entire group of believers accompanied him to the shore. Paul’s ship stopped next at Ptolemais, where he and those accompanying him spent one day with the brethren, and then continued the journey, probably by foot, to Caesarea. Here they stayed at the home of Philip the evangelist and deacon (Acts 21:4–8; cf. 6:5).
nd 21:4 And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem.
Hnd 21:5 When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed.
Hnd 21:6 When we had taken our leave of one another, we boarded the ship, and they returned home.
Hnd 21:7 And when we had finished our voyage from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, greeted the brethren, and stayed with them one day.
Hnd 21:8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
At some time during the several days Paul stayed at Caesarea the prophet *Agabus predicted that evil results would follow Paul’s visit to Jerusalem. Upon hearing this both those accompanying the apostle and the church at Caesarea pressed him not to go, but he remained inflexible in his decision (ch 21:10–14).
Hnd 21:9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
Hnd 21:10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
Hnd 21:11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ “
Hnd 21:12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Hnd 21:13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Hnd 21:14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”