4. Gospel expansion into Greece, 15:36-20:38

x] Paul's final missionary circuit


Given the growing hostility in Ephesus, Paul decides to make his move back Jerusalem via Macedonia. He uses the circuit to visit all his missionary churches, staying some three months in Achaia ("Greece"). Paul is about to sail off to Syria when some Jews cause trouble, so he returns by land to Philippi, and from there he sails to Troas. At Troas, one Sunday evening, Paul is addressing the gathered believers. The meeting is on the building's third floor, and a young man named Eutychus is listening to Paul's address while sitting on the window sill. The meeting runs on somewhat, and Eutychus nods off, falling to his death. Paul raises him to life, leaving the congregation "supremely cheered", Berkeley.


The life-giving power of the gospel transcends the powers that oppose it.


i] Context: See 15:36-41.


ii] Background:

iSigns and Wonders in Acts, 4:23-31;

iFor an overview of Paul's movements at this time, see Paul's letter-writing, 19:8-20.


iii] Structure: Paul's final missionary circuit:

The Macedonian circuit, v1-6;

Breaking bread at Troas, v7-12;

Troas to Ephesus, v13-16.


iv] Interpretation:

Again, we strike another section in Acts where Luke describes the action using the personal pronoun "we". It seems likely that Luke is now a part of the action, although other explanations are offered, eg., Luke is working off Paul's own notes.

The Riot in Ephesus prompts Paul to set out on a circuit of his missionary churches. After encouraging the brothers in Ephesus, he heads North, and then West into Macedonia. Luke doesn't give us much of an itinerary, but centres like Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea are obvious stop-off points. Travelling through Macedonia, he moves down to Greece, the province of Achaia, with a possible visit to Athens. It is likely that the three months Paul spends in Achaia is spent in Corinth. This is when Paul most likely writes his letter to the Romans.

A problem develops with some "Jews" and so, rather than seeking passage by sea to head back to Syria and Jerusalem, Paul travels overland with his ministry team through Macedonia to Troas; see v3 below. Luke lists Paul's travelling companions in three sets of men. Given the origin of the first three, they are probably converts from Paul's 2nd. missionary journey through Macedonia - Paul mentions Aristarchus in his letters. The second group, Gaius and Timothy, are the product of Paul's 1st. missionary journey in Southern Phrygia; Phamphylia etc., The third group, Tychicus and Trophimus, are most likely the fruit of his Ephesian ministry - Paul mentions both of these men in his letters.

On reaching Troas, the party stays a week, joining with the local congregation as they gather on the first day of the week.

The shift from the Sabbath, Saturday, to Sunday, is obviously well intrenched by now. Jesus gave no instructions on the day of rest for his disciples, but theologically, resting on Sunday fulfils the eschatological intention of the Sabbath in that the kingdom of God is realised in Christ's resurrection from the dead. In Christ we enter into God's long-promised eternal rest. Clearly, the Apostles, as Christ's representatives, have administered this change over the first decades of the Christian church.

Luke tells us that at this gathering of the believers on the first day of the week that they "broke bread." It is not at all clear whether Luke is using this descriptive for a fellowship meal, a love feast, or the Lord's Supper, cf., 1Corinthians 11. In the gospels, the phrase is used of the typical Jewish practice of offering a blessing at a meal. It is quite a jump for a yearly Passover celebration, reshaped into the Lord's Supper by Jesus, to become a weekly celebration, a "breaking of bread" (and a sharing of wine; assumed). Paul, addressing the Corinthian situation, seems to refer to the church coming together for a common fellowship meal followed by ("after you are filled") a version of the passover ritual Haggadah, a setting forth of the promises of the covenant. Paul expresses this in 11:27 as a kataggellw, "to set forth", a proclaiming of the fulfilment of the covenant promises in the death and resurrection of Christ. Luke has ton arton, "the bread", in 20:11. His use of the article is possibly specifying the Lord's Supper, but in the end, the term "breaking of bread" is more likely referring to a fellowship meal than the Lord's Supper.

With respect to the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, it should be noted that Paul is seeking to address improper behaviour within a local context. The Corinthian practice of meeting for a fellowship meal, followed by the Lord's Supper, may not be representative, and is certainly not mandatory.

After the breaking of bread, Paul addresses the congregation. His intention is to leave the next day, so he makes sure he covers all bases, and in doing so, "prolongs his speech up to midnight." A young teenager, Eutychus, drops off to sleep, and consequently falls from the window sill he is sitting on to his death below. Paul's raising of Eutychus is framed in the image of Elijah and Elisha's raising of young boys, and more particularly, aligns not only with Peter's raising of Dorcas, but with Jesus' raising of the widow's son. Paul is about to be overwhelmed by the powers of darkness, just as Jesus was overwhelmed, but the life-giving power of the gospel cannot be overwhelmed. Jewish persecution and Roman trials cannot overwhelm Christ's resurrection power. On this day In Troas, a day celebrating the life of the one who conquered death in his resurrection, the reader is reminded that the life-giving power of the gospel will not be oppressed by Paul's oppression.

Luke outlines the journey of the missionary team from Troas to Miletus, with Paul travelling part of the way by foot. No reason is given for the team splitting up at this point, but they sail together from Assos to Miletus. Luke conveys a sense of urgency, given that Paul wants to be in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. For this reason, Paul does not make his way inland from Miletus to Ephesus, but he does stay a moment in Miletus to address the Ephesian elders.


v] Homiletics: Christ Jesus Lives Today

[Map] I'm like a broken record when it comes to selling off poorly attended church buildings. I was recently fired up again when I heard that the branch church of a Parish I once served in was up for sale. It sits in a small isolated seaside community of some 1500 people. It was built in 1914 as a mission church for the local community, and served that purpose right up to the Covid pandemic when services were suspended. Sadly, services were not resumed, even though requested. Now it will be sold to finance the building programme of the mother church - a funny way for a mother to behave!

I'm never slow in having say on the issue of consolidation, as opposed to church planting, and so I wrote off to the powers-to-be on the issue. Sadly, they saw no issue, and palmed me off to an underling who didn't even understand the issue. I well remember an aged Anglican clergyman tell me that he wanted to die before they totally destroyed the church he dedicated his life to. His were strong words, but I did get the point.

We do face difficult times. In the West, a humanised Marxist ideology is replacing the teachings of Christ, and consequently, increased bigotry is thinning the number of church attenders. Centralised consolidation is a practical response to the loss of nominal adherents, but as we saw in our reading today, Paul is not just concerned with the mission churches he has already founded, his perspective is beyond Jerusalem, to Rome. Paul understands Jesus' commission, and it doesn't involve retreat. The resurrection power of Christ ensures the advance of the gospel. For Paul's ministry, Jewish persecution and Roman trials, cannot overwhelm Christ's resurrection power.

I well remember attending a service one Sunday morning in a village church. By service time, there was only yours truly and the minister present. I thought for a moment I was going to get an early mark, but he reminded me that it only takes "two or three" for Jesus to join in. So, there we were, bannering the gospel that Sunday morning, doors wide open, reminding the village that "He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today."


Image: Centenary service congregation

Text - 20:1

Paul's final missionary circuit, v1-16: i] The Macedonian circuit, v1-6. Paul prepares for his pastoral circuit through Macedonia, then to Jerusalem, and finally to Rome. Of course, he does get to Rome, but not the way he expected. The starting date is probably the summer of AD 55.

meta + inf. "when [the uproar had ended]" - [but/and] after [the noise to cease]. This construction, meta + inf., serves to introduce a temporal clause, antecedent time. The noun "noise, confusion, tumult, uproar" serves as the accusative subject of the infinitive. "After the tumult had been quietened down", Berkeley.

metapemyamenoV (metapempw) aor. mid. part. "sent for [the disciples]" - [paul] having sent for, summoned [the disciples and having encouraged them, having greeted = having said good-bye, he went out, departed]. It is not overly clear how the three participles, having summoned, having encouraged, and having said good-bye, function together. Probably the best approach is to take the first and the third as expressing attendant action to the main verb "he departed", with the second as temporal; "When the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he took his leave and set out to go to Macedonia."

poreuesqai (poreuomai) pres. inf. "for" - to go [into macedonia]. Both Culy and Zerwick classify this infinitive as final, expressing purpose, "in order to go to Macedonia"; "left to go to Macedonia", Barclay. Interestingly, most translations treat it as if it were complementary, completing the sense of the verb "he went out, departed"; "set out on his journey to Macedonia", Cassirer, REB.


Pastoral visitation, either by himself or one of his associates, along with pastoral letters, is the way Paul manages his mission churches. The pastoring has as its purpose parakallew, "to exhort, encourage, comfort", and is achieved logw/ pollw/, "with many words." It is interesting to note the many and varied ways translators blend these concepts, eg., "much encouragement", ESV; "many heartening words", Phillips; "he encouraged the Christians with great eloquence", Cassirer; "he encouraged the followers with many messages", CEV; "many an encouraging talk", Barclay. Kellum even suggests "with a long message"; "much speaking", Peterson Gk. We are probably talking about sermons which are both instructive and encouraging, involving both declaration and dialogue (reasoning, arguing, discussing, cf., v7, 9), sermons which are many and varied, rather than long-winded. Still, given what happens at Troas, maybe Kellum is right.

dielqwn (diercomai) aor. part. "he travelled through" - [but/and] having passed through [those parts and having exhorted them]. The participle, as with "having exhorted", is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "After passing through the districts of Macedonia and exhorting the people", Moffatt.

logw/ (oV) dat. "[many] words" - in [many] words. The dative is instrumental, expressing means; "with many words."

eiV + acc. "in [Greece]" - [he went] into [greece]. Expressing both the direction of the action and arrival at. Luke uses the more popular descriptive for the region, namely Greece, rather than the official title, the Roman province of Achaia. He does use the official title in 18:12.


Paul's stay in Greece for three month was probably in Corinth, and most likely during the years AD 56-57. It is generally assumed that Paul wrote his letter to the Romans during this stay. The Western text makes it clear that it was because of the plot by some "Jews" that he didn't sail off to Syria on his way to Jerusalem, but travelled back through Macedonia, and that this move was directed by the Holy Spirit.

If the epiboulhV, "plot, plan, organised scheme or conspiracy", was of a violent nature, an overland trek would surely be more dangerous than setting off on a small sailing boat that leaves the conspirators well behind. Ramsay suggests that the ship would carry Jewish pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, and so the threat Paul faced was from his fellow passengers. None-the-less, it seems likely that the conspiracy is of more danger to Paul's mission churches than to Paul. If this is the case, the "Jews" Luke is referring to here may well be members of the Circumcision Party of the Jerusalem church, the judaizers, whose mission in life is to follow up on Paul's outreach ministry, correcting his gospel of grace apart from works of the law. The Law / Grace issue was a contentious one in the early church, constantly putting Paul's authority to the test. Note how Luke seeks to confirm that authority in his record of the Jerusalem Council, Acts 15.

So, in the face of this threat from some "Jews", Paul, with a support team, retraces his steps through Macedonia to Philippi where he meets up with Luke ("us", v5). The party then sails to Troas where they meet up with the other team members (Tychicus and Trophimus, according to Begs) who had sailed from Macedonia, probably from Kenchrees, Corinth's port in the Saronic sea. This circuit would be an obvious opportunity for Paul to deliver copies of his theses on the gospel of grace (Romans) to his missionary churches, so countering the heretical threat of the judaizers?

Of course, whether Paul and his support team travelled by land all the way to Philippi is a matter of conjecture. Most commentators opt for an overland journey, so Witherington, etc., Bock noting that such a journey could take up to two years. Cho and Park argue that for most of the journey they sailed by ship.

poihsaV (poiew) aor. part. "he stayed" - [and] having done [three months there]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to come", v2; "he made his way into Greece and there he spent three months."

uJpo gen. "because [some Jews]" - by [the jews]. The NIV takes the preposition to express cause, although this is normally only with things, and not persons. Usually taken to express agency, "a plot was made against him by a certain group of Jews"; the article with "Jews" possibly specifies.

genomenhV (ginomai) aor. part. "had plotted" - [a plot] having become. The genitive participle, with its genitive subject "a plot", forms a genitive absolute construction, probably temporal; "When a plot was made against him", ESV.

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - to him. Dative of interest, disadvantage; "against him."

mellonti "just as he was about" - having become. The participle is probably adjectival, idiomatic / temporal, limiting the dative "him"; "a plot by the Jews against him when he was about to sail for Syria."

anagesqai (anage) pres. mid. inf. "to sail" - to raise up = to sail [into syria]. Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the participle "being about".

gnwmhV (h) gen. "he decided" - [he became] of an opinion, intent, purpose. The genitive is adjectival, turning the noun into a predicate adjective, "he was of a mind", Culy; "so he decided to make his return journey by way of Macedonia", Cassirer.

tou uJpostrefein (uJpostrefw) pres. inf. "to go back" - to return [through macedonia]. In the NT, this construction is either epexegetical or final / purpose. Here, epexegetical, or more specifically, it introduces dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul was of a mind to do, namely, to head back to Jerusalem by way of Macedonia.


Luke's list of Paul's team members is amended in the Western text. Johnson suggests that "the emendations apparently seek to clarify the respective movements of the delegates, eliminate intertextual conflicts, and anticipate the following narrative." Barrett notes Bultmann who makes the point that such lists are more likely drawn from a written document than from oral tradition. Given v5, and Luke's use of hJmaV, "us", there is nothing stopping our author remembering the delegates who accompanied Paul.

Purrou (oV) gen. "son of Pyrrhus" - [but/and sopater] of pyrrhus. The genitive is adjectival, relational, as NIV.

BeroiaioV adj. "from Berea" - berean. The adjective serves as a substantive standing in apposition to "Sopater"; "Sopater, a Berean, son of Pyrrhus."

autw/ dat. "-" - [was accompanying] him. Dative of direct object after the sun prefix verb "to follow along with, accompany."

Qessalonikewn (uV ewV) gen. "of the Thessalonians" - [but/and] of thessalonians [aristarchus and secundus]. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / source; "from Thessalonica", CEV.

DerbaioV adj. "from Derbe" - [and gaius] a derbian [and timothy]. The adjective serves as a substantive standing in apposition to Gaius; "Gaius a Derbian" / "of = from Derbe." "Gaius the Galatian / from Galatia, and = along with Timothy"; see 14:6. There is a mention in 19:29 of a Gaius from Macedonia. Variants try to sort this problem, but are probably not original. So, either we have an error, or a different Gaius.

Asianoi (oV) "from the province of Asia" - [but/and tychicus and trophimus] asians. The noun stands in apposition to the proper nouns Tychicus and Trophimus; "Tychicus and Trophimus, the Asians / from Asia."


The men who went on ahead and were waiting for Paul in Troas, are probably Tychicus and Trophimus, the team members who sail directly to Troas, while the rest accompany Paul on foot. The use of "us" again indicates that our author is present. Barrett suggests that Luke has resided in Philippi during the whole of Paul's Macedonian mission and that now he links up again with Paul on his arrival at Philippi. Luke, Paul and the team then sail to Troas, v6.

outoi pro. "these men" - [but/and] these. The demonstrative pronoun is backward referencing, but it is unclear whether all, or only some, of the listed men is intended. As noted above, it is likely that the reference is to "the Asians Tychicus and Trophimus".

proelqonteV (proercoma) aor. part. "went on ahead" - having gone before [were remaining = waiting for us in troas]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "to remain, abide, continue"; "went on ahead and were waiting", ESV. "The Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus, went on ahead and were waiting for us in Troas."


The use of the first person continues through to 21:18, and although literary explanations can be offered, it is more than likely that our author is actually recounting his first-hand experience of the team's journey to Jerusalem. The specific mention of the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Passover) is an example of a specific recollection. Luke references the Jewish calendar for dating purposes (the Christian calendar is a work in progress), and is not necessarily implying that the team, or Paul and the Jewish members, set sail for Troas after they celebrate the Passover. So, the point Luke makes is that it is Spring, and Paul has seven weeks left to get to Jerusalem before the fest of Pentecost (thanksgiving for God's bounty). This is when Paul intends making the offering of the Gentiles for the poor saints in Jerusalem - when God's bounty flows through Gentiles who come bearing gifts for the people of Israel, then you know that the kingdom of God is come.

apo + gen. "from" - [but/and we sailed] from [philippi]. Expressing separation, "away from."

meta + acc. "after" - after. Temporal use of the preposition.

twn azumwn (oV) gen. "of Unleavened Bread" - [the days] of the unleavened bread. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / identification; "the festival days known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread."

acri + gen. "[five days] later" - [and we came toward them into the troas] up to, as far as / until = within [five days, we we stayed seven days]. Temporal use of the preposition; "and in five days we reached them in Troas", Cassirer.


ii] Breaking bread in Troas, v7-12. This is the first mention of a gathering of believers on Sunday, the day of Christ's resurrection. Luke uses the Jewish calendar, but he may be using Roman reckoning on days, in which case, the gathering would be on Sunday evening, rather than Saturday evening (Jews reckon days from sunset to sunset, Romans from sunrise to sunrise). As noted above, it is unclear whether the phrase klasai arton, "to break bread", refers to the Lord's Supper or to a love feast / communal meal; a communal meal seems more likely.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

en + dat. "on" - on. Temporal use of the preposition.

twn sabbatwn (on) gen. "of the week" - [the one = first] of the sabbaths. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

sunhgmenwn (sunagw) gen. perf. mid. part. "[we] came together" - [we] having gathered. The genitive participle and its genitive subject "we" form a genitive absolute construction, temporal; "when we were gathered together to break bread", ESV.

klasai (klaw) aor. inf. "to break" - to break [bread]. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to break bread."

autoiV dat. pro. "[Paul spoke] to the people" - [paul was discussing, reasoning with] them. Dative of direct object after the dia prefix verb "to reason with."

mellwn (mellw) pres. part. "because he intended" - being about. The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal, as NIV.

exienai (exeimi) pres. inf. "to leave" - to go out = depart. Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the verb "to be about".

th/ epaurion adv. "the next day" - the tomorrow. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the adverb "tomorrow" into a substantive, "the tomorrow", while the dative is adverbial, temporal, "on the tomorrow" = "the next day."

mecri + gen. "until" - [and was extending the word] until [midnight]. Temporal use of the preposition, expressing extended time up to = "until".


[dead tired] The details presented over the next few verses could be the product of creative writing, but they also represent the type of details an eyewitness would remember about the events "in the upper room where we were gathered." The "many lamps" implies a stuffy environment conducive to drowsiness, a drowsiness accentuated by a preacher determined to make every point count.

sunhgmenoi (sunagw) perf. mid. part. "we were meeting" - [but/and there were sufficient = many lamps in the upper room where we were] having met. The perfect participle with the imperfect verb to-be h\men forms a pluperfect periphrastic construction, possibly used to accentuate durative aspect; "where we were meeting, there were a lot of lamps", CEV.


kaqezomenoV (kaqezomai) pres. part. "seated" - [but/and a certain young man by name eutychus] sitting [upon the opening being overcome]. Although anarthrous, both participles "sitting" and "being overcome" are often treated as adjectival, attributive; "A certain young man named Eutychus who was sitting on the window sill and who was nodding-off with drowsiness as Paul spoke at length, was overcome by sleep and fell to his death." On the other hand, the participle "sitting" may serve in an imperfect periphrastic construction where the imperfect verb to-be is assumed, with the participle "being overcome" expressing an attendant circumstance; "A certain young man named Eutychus was sitting on the window cill and gradually fell into a deep sleep."

onomati (a atoV) dat. "named" - by name. Dative of reference / respect; "with respect to his name, Eutychus."

dialegomenou (dialegomai) gen. pres. part. "[Paul] talked [on and on]" - [paul] lecturing, discussing, debating [upon much]. The genitive present participle with its genitive subject "Paul" forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal; "While Paul spoke at length."

katenecqeiV (kataferw) aor. pas. part. "when he was sound asleep" - having been brought down = overcome [from sleep, he fell from the third floor down and was taken up dead]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to fall"; "While Paul spoke at length, he was overcome by sleep and fell to his death from the third story."


There is a touch of Elijah / Elisha in the way Paul raised the boy to life. Yet, given Paul's words, it is not overly clear whether the boy was nekroV, "dead, a corpse", in the sense of "as good as dead", or actually "deceased". Luke's reporting of the incident is very matter-of-fact. None-the-less, most commentators assume that Luke is recording a resurrection miracle, the last recorded miracle performed by Paul. This miracle affirms God's life-giving power, a power enshrined in the gospel.

katabaV (katabainw) aor. part. "went down" - [but/and] having come down [paul fell]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to fall"; "Paul went downstairs and threw himself upon him."

autw/ dat. "the young man" - him. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to fall upon."

sumperilabwn (sumperilambanw) aor. part. "put his arms around him" - [and] having embraced [him he said]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say".

mh qorubeisqe (qorubew) pres. mid. imp. "don't be alarmed" - do not be troubled. This negation, with an imperative, was often taken to express a command to cease action that is underway, but the status of the action is now understood to be determined by aspect. In this case, the present tense indicates that they were making a fuss at the moment Paul told them to stop, so Bruce Gk. - see Culy mh qorubesqe p138.

gar "-" - for [the life of him is in him]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the gathered friends should stop making a fuss. "He is still alive", Phillips / "He is alive", REB.


Obviously, it is Paul who went upstairs, not the boy. Paul then breaks bread and eats with the congregation, but it remains unclear whether this is the Lord's Supper, or a communal meal - "an ordinary meal, not the Lord's Supper", Longenecker. Luke tells us that Paul converses with the congregation. The verb oJmilew means "to engage in a conversation", but as Barrett notes, it is likely that Paul does most of the "talking".

anabaV (anabainw) "[then] he went upstairs" - [but/and] having gone up [and having broken the bread and having tasted = eaten it]. As with "having broken" and "having tasted", the participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "After Paul went upstairs, broke bread and ate."

te "-" - and. This conjunction serves to coordinate while indicating transition; separating the action of the following participle construction from the three previous participles; see 13:46. The NIV expresses this step in the narrative with a new sentence, but te coordinates as well as separating. So, the sense is "After Paul went upstairs, broke bread and ate, and after conversing for a considerable time until dawn, he therefore departed."

oJmilhsaV (oJmilew) aor. part. "after talking" - having conversed. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

ef (epi) + acc. "-" - upon [sufficient]. Temporal use of the preposition. Idiomatic phrase, "for a long time."

acri + gen. "until" - up to [dawn]. Temporal use of the preposition, expressing extension of time up to; "until".

ouJtwV adv. "[he left]" - thus [he departed]. Used to sum up the preceding participles, so Barrett; "And so having accomplished all this, he departed."


The Western text tries to smooth out the transition to this statement with "as they were bidding farewell, he brought the boy alive and ......", but as Barrett notes, the verse serves "to make explicit the happy ending of the story for the Christians in Troas."

zwnta (zaw) pres. part. "[home] alive" - [but/and they brought the young man] living. The participle serves as the accusative complement of the object "young man", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object; "they took the boy away alive", Barclay.

ou metriwV adv. "greatly [comforted]" - [and they were comforted] not moderately. Anther Litotes where a negated understatement is used to express the opposite, as NIV.


iii] Troas to Ephesus, v13-16. The port of Assos is about twenty miles south of Troas, and Luke provides no reason why Paul wants to travel there by land while Luke and other members of the team travel by sea; "We went on ahead ...." The terrain is very rugged, but then, a voyage by sea is always dangerous.

hJmeiV de pro. "we" - but/and we. The conjunction de is transitional, indicating a step to a new section in the narrative, which step is emphasised by the unnecessary use of the personal pronoun hJmeiV

proelqonteV (proercomai) aor. part. "went on ahead" - having gone ahead [upon the boat, we raised up = set sail upon = for assos]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to raise up."

mellonteV (mellw) pres. part. "[where] we were going" - [from there] we were about = we intended. The participle is adverbial, possibly causal, "because", Culy, or final, "in order to", Kellum.

analambanein (analambanw) pres. inf. "to take [Paul] onboard" - to take up [paul]. Complementary infinitive completing the sense of the verb "to be about."

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Luke and the ministry team intended to pick Paul up at Assos; "for he had arranged it thus. / this way."

diatetagmenoV (diatassw) perf. mid. part. "he had made [this] arrangement" - having arranged, instructed [it thus]. This participle probably goes with the following imperfect verb to-be h\n to form a pluperfect periphrastic construction. It should be noted that in such constructions the verb to-be usually precedes the participle, although there are exceptions to this rule; "Paul had ordered it so because he intended to travel by road", Cassirer. Note that Cassirer has opted for the stronger sense "instructed" which, in Paul's case, is probably right.

mellwn (mellw) pres. part. "-" - [he = he himself] being about = intending [to travel by foot]. The participle is adverbial, probably causal, "because he intended", as Cassirer above. The infinitive pezeuein, "to travel by foot / land", is complementary, completing the sense of the participle "being about".


Over the next two verses, Luke lists the ports the team members visit, both on the mainland and Aegean islands, as they journey to Miletus. Each stop-off represents a day's sailing.

wJV "when [he met us]" - [but/and] as [he was meeting us into assos]. Temporal use of the conjunction, as NIV. An aorist variant for the verb sumballw, "to meet", makes more sense in the context, but the imperfect is likely original. Barrett suggests that it is a Lukan "slip".

analabonteV (analambanw) aor. part. "we took him aboard" - having taken up [him, we came to mitylene]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to go, come". Barrett reminds us that in Greek terminology, a person goes down to a town, up to a boat and onto the sea. This is why they take Paul up when they get to Assos. "We took him on board and got to Mitylene", Moffatt.


th/ epoioush/ (epeimi) dat. pres. part. "the next day" - [and from there] on the next day. The participle serves as a substantive, the dative being adverbial, temporal, modifying the verb "to sail off". As with the other following dative constructions, hJmera/, "day", is assumed. "And from there we sailed off the following day."

apopleusanteV (apoplew) aor. part. "we set sail" - having sailed off [we came straight on chios]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to come, arrive".

th/ ... eJtera adj. "[and] the day after" - [but/and] on the other, another day [we arrived into samos]. The adjective serves as a substantive, the dative being adverbial, temporal.

th/ ... ecomenh/ (ecw) pres. mid. part. "on the following day" - [but/and] the having = next day [we came into miletus]. The participle serves as a substantive, the dative being adverbial, temporal, modifying the verb "we came". The phrase ecomenh/ hJmera/, "on the having day", is idiomatic, used to express "the next / following day."


As Barrett notes, a fictional author would not create the sort of continuity errors we find in this verse. Here is Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, in a hurry to get to Jerusalem for a Jewish festival, and in so much of hurry that he doesn't stop off at Ephesus to greet the believers there, but then calls into Miletus, some 30 miles south of Ephesus, and summons the elders of the church for a meeting. Such a meeting without a mobile phone would require a good five days. Clearly, Luke is only providing a bare-bones account. Samos to Miletus is a day's sailing, so it's likely that the meeting was prearranged, with Paul speaking to the elders on the evening before they sailed away the next day. Of course, other scenarios are possible. Conzelmann thinks the real reason for not going to Ephesus is that Paul was non-persona-grata in the city. Safety was the issue, particularly as Paul was carrying the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

As for Paul's desire to get to Jerusalem for Pentecost, as already noted, it is likely to be related to the collection for the saints in Jerusalem, and to be theological in nature - Gentiles bearing gifts to God's historic people in fulfilment of prophecy, so Peterson Gk. Luke doesn't tell us if Paul, with the delegates from his mission churches, get to Jerusalem for Pentecost, although the reference to crowds in 21:27 may indicate that he does.

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul sailed directly to Miletus and didn't call into Ephesus.

parapleusai (paraplepw) aor. inf. "to sail past" - [paul decided] to sail by [ephesus]. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul decided.

oJtwV + subj. "to [avoid]" - that [to spend time in asia would not become = happen]. This construction serves to introduce a final clause expressing purpose; "in order that he might not have to spend time in Asia." The infinitive cronotribhsai, "to spend time", forms a nominal phrase, subject of the negated subjunctive genhtai, "to become, happen".

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - to him. Dative of indirect object / interest advantage, "for him". Culy suggests a dative of reference / respect; "with respect to him".

gar "for" - for [he was hastening]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why he wanted to avoid spending time in Asia, namely, because he was in a hurry to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

genesqai (ginomai) aor. inf. "to reach [Jerusalem]" - to become. The infinitive forms a nominal phrase subject of the optative verb to-be, "may be"; as below.

ei + opt. "if [possible]" - if [to become into jerusalem of the day of pentecost may be possible to him]. The conjunction eij + the optative verb to-be ei[n, "it may be", introduces a 4th. class conditional clause where the proposed condition is assumed to be a future possibility (Conditional optative, Wallace / an indirect interrogative, Zerwick!!!). As is typical of NT Greek, the apodosis, a[n + opt., is missing, so producing an incomplete condition; "he was hurrying onward if, as could the case, to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost were possible for him, then .................." "By the time of Pentecost, if that were possible", Cassirer.

thn hJmeran (a) acc. "by the day" - the day. The accusative is adverbial, reference / respect.

thV penthkosthV (h) gen. "of Pentecost" - of pentecost. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / identification; "the day known as Pentecost".

autw/ dat. "-" - to him. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage, "for him", or possibly adverbial, reference / respect.


Acts Introduction

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Exegetical Commentaries


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