Acts

20:13-38

4. Gospel consolidation and expansion into Greece, 16:1-20:38

x] Paul's farewell sermon

Synopsis

After a long stay in Ephesus, Paul is forced on the road again. He revisits Macedonia and Greece, and while heading toward Jerusalem he gathers the Ephesian elders and delivers a farewell sermon. This sermon could be delivered to any of Paul's mission churches, and in a sense, this is how it functions in Acts. Paul's pastoral ministry is coming to an end, dark clouds gather before him, and so soon his mission churches will no longer have him to lean on.

 
Teaching

As a word to all believers who follow in the way, Paul sets out to "review the character of his main missionary work, to forewarn of future dangers and to draw appropriate lessons for his churches", Dunn.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 16:1-15.

 

ii] Background: See 16:1-15.

 

iii] Structure: This passage, Paul's farewell sermon, presents as follows:

The journey to Miletus, v13-16;

Paul summons the Ephesian elders, v17;

The sermon, v18-35:

Review of Paul's ministry, v18-21;

"I served the Lord with great humility and with tears."

Paul's future plans, v22-25;

"my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me."

A declaration of innocence, v26-27;

"I am innocent of the blood of any of you."

Exhortation, v28-31;

"keep watch over yourselves and all the flock."

A commendation to God's grace, v32-35;

"now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace."

A sad farewell, v36-38.

 

There is some debate over the structure of Paul's sermon, and this because it evidences something of his emotion at the time, eg. repeated themes. Such actually counters those who think it is Luke's own creation. Barrett, as with many commentators, makes a point of noting the difficulty of outlining the sermon because of its many repetitions. None-the-less, a structure is evident and to this end we follow Bock.

 

iv] Interpretation:

Although we usually classify Paul's speech to the Ephesian elders as a farewell speech ("a last will and testament", Fitzmyer), it is very similar in form to the main Pauline letters and as such stands as an exhortation applicable to all Christian fellowships.

Given that Luke is in one of his "we" sections in Acts, 20:5-21:18, there is a good chance that he was present on the occasion of the sermon. It is obvious that Luke has selectively summarized the sermon for us, recording the stand-out elements. The sermon is actually the only one in Acts addressed to a Christian congregation. The thoughts expressed in the sermon, as well as its phrasing, is similar to Paul's letters. This is to be expected, although some commentators use the observation to argue it is a creation of the author of Acts. Although primarily pastoral, the sermon does carry something of the feel of a farewell speech. Paul is aware of the prophetic warnings he has received over his visit to Jerusalem, and such is obviously weighing on his mind.

Peterson says of the sermon that it "gives Paul the opportunity to review his past ministry, to alert the elders to the danger of false teaching, unfaithfulness and division in the ongoing life of the church, and to commit them to the Lord and to the word of grace."

 

v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

 
Text - 20:13

Paul's farewell sermon: i] Luke's record of Paul's movements from Troas to Miletus prepares the scene for Paul's speech / sermon to the Ephesian elders, v13-16.

hJmeiV "we" - Luke and other members of Paul's missionary team.

proelqonteV (proercomai) aor. part. "went on ahead" - having gone on ahead. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "lead up / sail", as NIV; "gone on ahead .... and set sail."

epi + acc. "to [the ship]" - Spacial.

mellonteV (mellw) pres. part. "[where we were going]" - [from there] intending. The participle is adverbial, probably causal, "because [from there] we intended"; "intending to take Paul on board there", Moffatt, Phillips, ...

analambanein (analambanw) pres. inf. "to take [Paul aboard]" - As with the infinitive pezeuein "to travel by land / going there on foot", this infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verbal aspect of the participle "intending".

gar"-" - for [thus he had arranged]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why these particular travel movements; "for such was his arrangement", Berkeley.

ou{twV adv. "this" - so. Demonstrative adverb referring back.

diatetagmenoV (diatassw) perf. mid. part. "he had made [this] arrangement" - he had arranged it. The participle with the imperfect verb to-be h|n forms a periphrastic pluperfect construction.

 
v14

wJV "when" - Temporal conjunction introducing a temporal clause, as NIV.

hJmin dat. pro. "[he met] us" - [he was meeting with] us. Dative of direct object after the sun prefix verb "to meet with."

analabonteV (analambanw) aor. part. "we took [him] aboard" - having taken [him] up. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "we came"; "we took him on board and got to Mitylene", Moffatt.

 
v15

th/ epioush/ (epeimi) dat. pres. part. "on the next day" - on the following after. The dative participle forms a substantive temporal phrase; "the next day."

apopleusanteV (apoplew) aor. part. "we set sail" - having sailed away. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "we arrived"; "we set sail and arrived."

kakeiqen "from there" - and from that place. A crasis; kai ekeiqen.

th/ ... eJtera/ "the day after that" - on the next day. The dative serving to form a temporal phrase, as NIV.

th/ ... ecomenh/ (ecw) dat. pres. part. "on the following day" - on the having. The dative articular participle forms a substantive temporal phrase, "on the following day", "day" understood.

 
v16

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why the particular travel itinerary; "For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus ....", ESV.

parapleusai (paraplew) aor. inf. "to sail past" - to sail by. The infinitive forms a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul had decided to do. Presumably, by sailing direct to Miletus, Paul was able to save some time, assuming that he had got a message to the Ephesian elders to meet him at Miletus, otherwise if the message had been sent from Miletus to Ephesus (50k) there would have been a delay of some 5 days, cf. v17. Conzelmann thinks the real reason for not going to Ephesus is that he was non-persona-grata in the city. Safety was the issue, particularly as he was carrying the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

oJpwV + subj. "to [avoid]" - to [it would not be]. This construction usually forms a purpose clause, "in order that [it might not be]"; "so as to avoid any loss of time in Asia", Moffatt.

cronotribhsai (cronotribew) aor. inf. "spending time [in Asia]" - to spend, waste time [in Asia]. The infinitive forms an infinitival phrase subject of the negated verb "it would not be"; "in order that to waste time in Asia would not be."

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - [would not be] to him. Dative of interest / advantage; "he did not wish to be delayed in Asia", Barclay.

gar "for [he was in a hurry]" - for [he was eager / hurrying]. Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul wanted to avoid spending time in Asia; "for ...."

genesqai (ginomai) aor. inf. "to reach [Jerusalem]" - to come [to Jerusalem]. The infinitive is adverbial forming a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that [he might reach Jerusalem]."

ei + opt. "if" - Forming an incomplete conditional clause, 4th. class, where the condition is assumed to be a remote future possibility, so Culy; "if, as should possibly happen to be the case, .... then ..... ", (Conditional optative, Wallace / an indirect interrogative, Zerwick!!!). Serving to introduce a measure of uncertainty, "he recognizes that he might come too late", Barrett. Why the rush to be in Jerusalem by Pentecost? Paul doesn't seem to be a person who is focused on Old Testament religious festivals. Peterson, 2009, suggests that this particular festival was an appropriate occasion on which to present his collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. We are not told whether Paul reaches Jerusalem in time for the festival. "By the time of Pentecost, if that were possible", Cassirer.

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - [if that were possible] to him. Dative of interest / advantage.

 
v17

ii] Paul summons the Ephesian elders for a final briefing, v17.

apo + gen. "from" - Expressing source / origin.

pemyaV (pempw) aor. part. "Paul sent" - having sent. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he called, summoned." As noted above, this summons to the Ephesian elders, if it is going to save time, must have been sent at some time prior to the ship's docking at Miletus.

thV ekklhsiaV (a) gen. "[the elders] of the church" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive / relational.

 
v18

iii] The sermon, v18-35. a) Paul reviews his faithfulness in ministry, v18-21. First, Paul speaks of his ministry with the Ephesians - he served them through much hardship. Luke gives us some idea of the difficulties the disciples experienced in Ephesus due to the activities of the provincial Jewish community. Despite the difficulties, Paul exercised a full teaching and preaching ministry with the Ephesian fellowship, teaching all that was "helpful". As is typical of Paul's ministry, his focus was on the gospel, proclaimed to both Jew and Gentile, along with the obligatory call for "repentance" and "faith".

wJV "when [they arrived]" - This conjunction serves to introduce a temporal clause.

autoiV dat. pro. "to them" - Dative of indirect object.

uJmeiV "you [know]" - Emphatic by use and position.

pwV "how [I lived]" - how, in what way. Used instead of oJti to introduce a dependent statement expressing what they know, here in the sense of their knowing the manner of his living with them, ie. "the faithfulness of his ministry to them ..... he had been a model for them", Bock.

apo + gen. "from [the first day]" - from [the beginning]. Temporal use of the preposition.

 
v19

douleuwn (douleuw) pres. part. "I served" - giving service as a slave. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of "how" Paul was with them; "how I served the Lord with all humility and with tears", Barclay.

tw/ kuriw/ dat. "the Lord" - to the Lord. Dative of direct object after the verb "to serve."

meta + gen. "with" - with [all (great) humility and sorrow and trials]. Adverbial use of the preposition; "in all humility", REB.

tapeinofroshnhV (h) "humility" - Referring to humble service as unto the Lord, "the risen Christ", Fitzmyer, so Paul's gospel ministry.

dakruwn (on) "[and] tears" - [and] tears, sorrows. Translations usually have the "tears" exegeted by the "tests", although the grammar simply presents a list of three items: "all humility, tears, and tests." "And sorrow (in the midst of) the trials ...", Culy.

twn smbantwn (sumbainw) aor. part. "although I was severely" - [and tests] having happened [to me]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "tests/trials"; "trials which I had to undergo." Often translated as also modifying tears, so "how I served the Lord with all humility in the sorrows and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews", Fitzmyer.

peirasmwn (oV) "tested" - [and] tests, temptations, trials. Referring to the persecution which Paul endured, usually instigated by Jews opposed to the gospel; "putting up with no end of scheming by the Jews", Peterson.

en + dat. "by [the plots]" - Here instrumental, expressing means, "by", as NIV, or causal, "because of."

twn Ioudaiwn (oV) gen. "of the Jews / of my Jewish opponents" - of the Jews. The genitive is usually treated as verbal, subjective, as TNIV.

 
v20

wJV "you know that" - how. Restating "you know" from v18 for meaning, with the conjunction again replacing oJti to introduce a dependent statement of perception, see v18.

uJpesteilamhn (uJpostellw) aor. mid. "I have [not] hesitated" - I have kept, held back [nothing]. The middle voice often has a touch of holding back out of fear, but that is surely not the case here. Paul is saying that he has declared the full gospel to the Ephesian fellowship.

tou mh anaggeilai (anaggellw) aor. inf. "to preach" - This construction, the genitive articular infinitive, usually forms a purpose clause, "in order that", but sometimes a consecutive clause expressing result, "with the result that", here a negated result, thus "so as not [to preach to you and to teach you]." The double negative in this sentence is a problem to the modern ear, ie. Paul has not hesitated to not preach and teach the full gospel. The NIV, as with most translations, reworks the sentence; "When I preached in public and taught in your homes, I didn't hold back from telling anything that would help you", CEV.

uJmin dat. pro. "-" - to you. Dative of indirect object.

twn sumferontwn (sumferw) gen. pres. part. "that would be helpful to you" - of the things coming together / being advantageous. The participle serves as a substantive, while the genitive is partitive / wholative. "The things that were profitable", ie. teaching which is profitable.

kat (kata) "from [house to house]" - according to [house]. The preposition takes a distributive sense here, as NIV.

 
v21

diamarturomenoV (diamarturomai) pres. part. "I have declared" - testifying, declaring, affirming. The participle may be treated as adverbial, modal, expressing the manner in which, "how", Paul kept nothing back that was profitable, v20, "testifying both to Jews and Greeks", ESV, or possibly causal, "because I have declared ....." . The participle could also serve to introduce a dependent statement of perception expanding on the content of what they know; "you know that ...."

IoudaioiV (oV) dat. "to [both] Jews" - to [both (te)] Jews [and Greeks / Gentiles]. Dative of indirect object.

thn .... metanoian (a) "[that they must turn to God] in repentance" - repentance [to/into God]. The single accusative article links both repentance and faith and serves as a nominalizer introducing a noun clause object of the verbal aspect of the participle "declaring". "Repentance" in the sense of turning to God and bowing before him in recognition of one's state of sin.

pistin (iV ewV) "have faith [in our Lord Jesus]" - faith [to/into the Lord of us Jesus]. "Faith" in the sense of "placing trust in what God did through Jesus as one embraces his person and work", Bock. The suggestion that this is not a Pauline expression rests on Paul's common genitival phrase ek pistewV Ihsou Cristou, "through / out of faith of (in) Jesus Christ", Ihsou Cristou usually taken as an objective genitive, cf. Rom.3:22, Gal.2:16. It is likely that this genitive is adjectival, possessive, or verbal, subjective, such that the phrase expresses the basis of a person's right-standing in the sight of God, namely, "the faithfulness of Christ", which faithfulness a person must necessarily believe in / rest upon / put their faith in......, cf. Rom.10:9. So, there is nothing un-Pauline in Luke's account of Paul's words here.

 
v22

b) Paul outlines his plans while explaining that the Ephesian elders will probably never see him again, v22-25. Second, Paul goes on to speak of his plan is to hand over the funds raised from the collection for the Jewish believers in Jerusalem. He has received numerous warnings of the danger associated with his planned visit to Jerusalem. His prayer is that he might be "delivered from them that are disobedient in Judea", Rom.15:31, although sadly this prayer is not answered. Yet, in the face of this danger, he presses forward so that "Christ may be magnified in my flesh", Phil.1:20. He wants his life to testify to the gospel. Note Paul's short-hand description of the gospel, "the gospel of God's grace." For Paul, the gospel concerns God's life-giving favor freely bestowed on all who repent and believe. Paul does not expect to be with the Ephesian elders again, given that his ministry focus is now toward Rome.

nun adv. "[and] now" - Temporal adverb introducing a temporal clause.

dedemenoV (dew) perf. pas. part. "compelled" - having been bound = constrained. The participle is probably adverbial, and seems best taken as causal, "because"; "and now I am going to Jerusalem, because the Spirit will not let me do anything else", Barclay.

tw/ pneumati (a atoV) dat. "by the Spirit" - Instrumental (agent) dative, as NIV, or possibly local, "in the Spirit", cf. 19:21, "Paul resolved in the Spirit." Either way, Paul is compelled by divine constraint.

egw pro. "I" - Emphatic; "I .... am going to Jerusalem."

mh eidwV (oida) perf. part. "not knowing" - not having known. Possibly an attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "I am going", "I am going to Jerusalem and I do not know ....", or adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his going, "in/with doubts", even concessive, "although I do not know ...."

ta ... sunanthsonta (sunantaw) fut. part. "what will happen" - the things going to come upon. The participial construction "the things in it (Jerusalem) happening to me" serves as a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul does not know; "although I do not know what is going to happen to me there." The participle itself is adjectival, attributive, limiting ta, "the things"; "the things which are going to happen."

moi dat. pro. "to me" - Dative of interest, disadvantage.

en + dat. "there" - in [it]. The preposition is local here. "What is to befall me there I do not know", Moffatt.

 
v23

plhn "[I] only [know]" - except. Paul doesn't know what will befall him in Jerusalem except that he has received numerous warnings of trouble ahead.

oJti "that" - Here introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul does know, the "I know" assumed from v22.

kata + acc. "in every [city]" - according to [city]. The preposition is distributive, as NIV, so "in city after city", Cassirer.

diamarturetai (diamarturomai) pres. "warns" - testifies, affirms, declares. "The Holy Spirit leaves me in no doubt", Barclay.

moi dat. pro. "me" - Dative of direct object after the dia prefix verb "to testify."

legon (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant.

oJti "that" - Introducing a second dependent statement, here indirect speech expressing what the Holy Spirit legon "says"; "that prison and persecution await me", NJB. This is the first time Luke tells us of Paul's concerns regarding his visit to Jerusalem.

 
v24

all (alla) "however" - but. Strong adversative; "but that matters little", Peterson.

poioumai (poiew) pres. "I consider" - I cause to be, make / I reckon, regard, consider, hold an opinion. "As far as my life is concerned", Cassirer.

thn yuchn (h) "my life" - the soul, being. Of personal existence.

oudenoV logou "worth nothing" - of no word. Generally taken as genitive of respect, "of no account", Bruce, so Culy, see BAGD p477. See also Barrett who nicely summarizes the various grammatical and textual options of what is a rather "obscure" opening clause. As Metzger says, it is "awkward, yet idiomatic"; see Phillips below.

timian adj. "-" - precious. "I do not consider my own life valuable to me", Phillips.

emautw/ "to me" - to myself. Dative of interest.

wJV + inf. "if only [I may finish]" - that [to finish]. A rare use of this conjunction with the infinitive to form a purpose clause; "in order that I may complete the race (ie. "accomplish the course to which the Lord Jesus has called him", Bock)." The variant eJwV, and particularly wJste, more commonly serve to form a purpose clause when followed by an infinitive, so the variants are most likely scribal corrections. "I don't place self first so that I can accomplish what Jesus has asked me to do."

thn diakonian (a) "the task" - the ministry, service. Obviously "gospel ministry" = the business of preaching the gospel = testifying to the content of God's grace.

para + gen. "[the Lord Jesus] has given me" - [which I received] from [the Lord Jesus]. Expressing source, origin, "from", as NIV / agency, "by".

diamarturasqai (diamarturomai) aor. inf. "the task of testifying to" - to testify. The infinitive is epexegetic, explaining / specifying the diakonian, "ministry".

to euaggelion (on) "the gospel" - important message. God's important message to humanity announcing the fulfillment of the covenant blessing to all in and through the ministry of Jesus Christ.

thV carisoV (iV ewV) gen. "of [God's] grace" - of the grace. The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, "consists of" the important message which makes known the grace of God, namely "that God was bestowing his unmerited favor upon, was gracious to, the human race", Barrett / "a genitive of content", so Barrett, Bock / verbal, objective, so Culy. As Fitzmyer notes, Luke's few words here serve as "an apt summary of Paul's proclamation." Paul proclaims the kingdom in the terms of divine grace, of the realization of covenantal mercy for Jew and Gentile alike in fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham that through his seed the whole world will be blessed.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "God's [grace]" - of God. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

 
v25

kai nun idou "now" - and now behold. Possibly serving to introduce an important point.

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul knows.

khrusswn (khrussw) pres. part. "preaching" - preaching, proclaiming. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of Paul's going about.

thn balileian (a) "the kingdom" - An obvious textual variant exists; tou qeou, "of God". What we have here is "the recognized content of Christian preaching", Barrett. Paul/Luke, at this point, is bringing out "the continuity between the preaching of Jesus and the preaching of the post-resurrection church", Barrett. Of course, the gospel, in terms of the kingdom of God, is not the way Paul usually presents the gospel. Only a Jewish audience is able to easily understand the notion of a kingdom realized in accord with prophecy. For this reason Paul regularly contextualizes the gospel for a Gentile audience in the terms of divine grace. In the end though, "to testify the gospel of grace of God is synonymous with preaching the kingdom [of God]", Bruce.

oyesqe to proswpon mou "will see me again" - will behold the face of me.

 
v26

c) As to the responsibilities of ministry, Paul declares that he is free of guilt having fully exercised his ministry responsibility of gospel proclamation, v26-27. Paul is confident he has declared "the whole counsel of God" to the Ephesian believers, making God's plan plain to them. If they should face judgment, it is certainly not down to Paul.

dioti "therefore" - Inferential / drawing a logical conclusion.

uJmin "to you" - Dative of indirect object.

en + dat. "[today]" - on [today day]. This temporal use of the preposition with shmeron hJmera/ "today day" produces an emphatic "this very day."

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what Paul declares / testifies. Paul's claim that he is innocent of the blood of everyone echoes Ezekiel's watchman prophecy, cf. Ezk.33:4-5. He is innocent in that "he has not held back or obscured the revelation of God to his people", Peterson, 2009, cf. v27. Paul has made known the truth of the gospel, thus providing a way of escape from the day of God's judgment, a judgment which even now hangs over the human race.

apo + gen. "of [the blood]" - from [the blood]. Expressing separation; "I am responsible for the death of no man's soul", Barclay.

patwn gen. adj. "of any of you" - of all. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

 
v27

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul is not responsible for the spiritual death of any of the faithful, "because I did not shrink for declaring to you the whole counsel of God."

ou ... uJpesteilamhn (uJpostellw) aor. "I have not hesitated" - I did not hesitate, draw back, shrink back from.

tou mh anaggeilai (anggellw) aor. inf. "to proclaim" - to not announce, disclose, report, recount. This construction will often form a purpose clause, rarely a consecutive clause expressing result, although the double negative in the clause is confusing to the modern ear: "I did not hesitate [in the business of preaching the gospel] in order that (lest) I did not disclose all (the totality of) the will of God to you." None-the-less, on many occasions the construction is appositional / epexegetic, limiting by explaining / specifying a substantive, which in this case would need to be supplied: "I did not hesitate [in the business of preaching the gospel], namely, to not disclose all (the totality of) the will of God to you." "I have told you everything God wants you to know", CEV.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object.

thn boulhn (h) "the [whole] will" - [all] the counsel. The word "will" often carries with it a sense of compulsion, giving a possible meaning "the law of God", whereas Paul is speaking of "the revelation of God." So possibly: "the whole of God's purpose", Cassirer, so Barclay, Moffatt, Phillips, NJB, REB, TNT, NRSV; "the full intent and purpose of God", Junkins; "the whole of God's plan", Knox; "the whole counsel of God", ESV. Divine revelation is obviously intended, yet it seems likely that Paul is specifically referring to the gospel, in which case he is saying that he has preached the full gospel, a complete gospel. The members of the circumcision party charged that Paul preached a diluted gospel, that he had expunged law-obedience from the gospel, teaching that a believer lives by grace apart from the law. The Judaizers argued that a believer lives by grace and law, ie. that grace and law go hand-in-hand in progressing the Christian life (ie. "trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey"!!!!). Paul, on the other hand, argued that a believer in Christ, by grace through faith apart from the law, stands eternally approved before God, righteous, holy, which state/status of itself promotes right living, cf. Romans / Galatians Introduction.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - The genitive may be treated as adjectival, possessive, or verbal, subjective, or even ablative, source / origin.

 
v28

d) At this point Paul begins to encourage the elders to take care of the flock, protecting the church against those who would distort the truth, v28-31. Paul now gives the elders a solemn charge. The Ephesian elders are to care for, to shepherd, the community gathered by Christ's sacrifice. This is their responsibility as gifted believers. Paul goes on to ward the elders of the prophesied division and dissension that will face the church in coming days. In the Pastoral epistles we read of the growing opposition to Paul's teaching, to his gospel concerning the free grace of God accessed by faith in the faithfulness of Christ, and this apart from the law.

Barrett argues that we now come to the center of Paul's sermon, given that its purpose is to encourage the Ephesian elders to faithfully minister to their congregation, but it is also the theological center of the sermon identifying the church as God's church, purchased by the blood of Christ and administered by the Holy Spirit.

prosecete (prosecw) pres. imp. "keep watch over" - take care of, care for, be concerned about, pay attention.

eJautoiV "over yourselves" - to yourselves. As with panti tw/ poimniw/, "all the flock", dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to pay attention to."

en + dat. "of [which]" - in [which]. Local; expressing space / sphere; "in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as guardians", Barclay.

eqeto (tiqhmi) aor. "[the Holy Spirit] has made you" - [the Holy Spirit] put, made, appointed. Better "appointed".

episkopouV (oV) "[you] overseers" - [you] overseers, guardians. The verb episkeptomai, "to look at, inspect, examine, visit", reveals the sense of the noun. The pronoun uJmaV serves as the object, with "overseers" serving as the object complement asserting a fact about the object.

poimainein (poiew) pres. inf. "be shepherds" - to shepherd, feed. The NIV treats the infinitive as an imperative, although this is a rare construction. It seems more likely that the infinitive forms a purpose clause amplifying the opening imperative, "keep watch", "in order to shepherd / take care of", ie. "their watchfulness was to be for the express purpose of effective pastoral care", Peterson, 2009.

thn ekklhsian (a) "the church [of God]" - the assembly [of God]. "Church" simply means "assembly / gathering", and the genitive "of God" is obviously adjectival, possessive.

dia + gen. "with" - through, by means of. Instrumental.

tou idou "his own" - Is "his own blood" used in the sense of "God's own blood"? A variant "church of the Lord" is probably prompted by this very question. The "blood" surely refers to Jesus' sacrifice. So possibly, "the blood of his own", ie. "his own one/son", here being used as "a term of endearment to near relations", Bruce, so "the blood of his own Son", NRSV. None-the-less, it is more natural to read the Gk. as "his (God's) own blood". "When Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross he was acting as the representative of God: he was God's way of giving life, blood, to the world", Barrett.

aiJmatoV (a atoV) "blood" - Obviously "blood" in the sense of "sacrifice."

 
v29

oJti "[I know] that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul knows.

meta + acc. "after" - Adverbial, temporal use of the preposition; "when I am gone."

mh feidomenoi (feidomai) aor. part. "and will not spare [the flock]" - not sparing. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "will come in"; "savage wolves will get in among you and they will not spare the flock", Moffatt. Paul obviously has in mind false teachers - Judaizers and the like.

 
v30

ex (ek) + gen. "from" - Expressing source / origin.

autwn intensive pro. "your own number" - [you] yourselves. Not found in all manuscripts, "but the emphasis was probably intended", Barrett. Paul is implying that heretical teachers will emerge from their own ranks.

anasthsontai (anisthmi) fut. "will arise" - "I know that from your own members men will emerge who will preach a perverted version of the truth", Barclay.

lalounteV (lalew) pres. part. "distort the truth" - speaking. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "will arise", "will arise and speak / teach", but also possibly adjectival, attributive, limiting "men", "men who will speak / give utterance / preach / teach."

diestrammena (diastrefw) perf. pas. part. "distort the truth" - having been turned, perverted, distorted. The participle serves as a substantive forming an object clause / dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what the men will "speak / teach", namely "distorted things" = heresy; "will arise and teach heresy."

tou apospan (apospaw) pres. inf. "to draw away" - to lead away, draw away. This construction, the genitive articular infinitive, usually forms a final clause expressing purpose, "in order to draw away." "With a view of drawing disciples after them and making them come over to their side", Cassirer.

 
v31

The elders must be alert to the threats facing their fellowship.

dio "so" - therefore. Drawing a logical conclusion.

grhgoreite (grhgorew) pres. imp. "be on your guard!" - be awake, alert, be watchful.

mnhmoneuonteV (mnhmoneuw) pres. part. "Remember" - remembering. The present tense, being durative, indicates durative action; they are to continue to remember. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "be alert"; "be alert and remember."

oJti "that" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what they are to remember, namely that they have been warned of the danger of false teachers.

trietian (a) "for three years" - for a period of three years.

nouqetwn (nouqetew) pres. part. "to warn / warning" - warning, admonishing. "Admonish" in the sense of correct / teach someone in danger of going astray so that they may think and act appropriately. The participle serves as if a complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the verb "to cease"; "remember how for three years I never quite night and day to give each of you warning with my tears", Berkeley.

meta + acc. "with [tears]" - Adverbial use of the preposition, modal, expressing the manner of Paul's perseverance; "and that frequently amidst tears", Cassirer.

 
v32

e) Paul commends the elders to God's grace, "a message that is able to build you up", within the context of his own ministry and his example of not seeking personal gain, v32-35. Paul may no longer be able to minister to the Ephesians, but they still have the gospel to rest on, a message which both redeems and sanctifies. Paul goes on to remind them of his own example, encouraging the elders to see their ministry in terms other than exercised for monetary gain. None of the gospels quote these "words" from "the Lord", although the sentiment is certainly there, Lk.6:38, 11:9f, Jn.13:34.

Peterson, 2009, notes that in v32 three important Pauline themes come to the fore: First, through the gospel God is building his church; Second, by means of the gospel, God promises an eternal inheritance to those who trust in Christ; Third, in the gospel, God declares those who are in Christ to be already sanctified.

kai ... nun "now" - and now. Serving to introduce an important point.

ta "-" - the ones. "[and now] brothers."

paratiqemai (paratiqhmi) pres. "I commit [you]" - I set before, present [you].

tw/ logw/ (oV) dat. "to the word" - As with tw/ qew/, "to God", dative of indirect object.

thV caritoV (iV ewV) gen. "of [his] grace" - Barrett suggests that "the word of his grace" is a hendiadys, ie., the phrase represents a single concept, "to God, who is active in the word of grace (the gospel)". At any rate, the genitive may simply be taken as adjectival, attributive, limiting "the word", with the genitive autou, "his", adjectival, possessive; "to God and to his gracious word", namely "his gospel." "The gospel is the word of saving grace", Fitzmyer.

tw/ dunamenw/ (dunami) dat. pres. pas. part. "which can" - the one/thing being able. The referent, being dative, is "the word", so the participle here is adjectival, attributive, forming a relative clause limiting "the word", as NIV.

oikodomhsai (oikodomew) aor. inf. "build you up" - to build up. As with dounai, "to give", the infinitive is complementary, completing the verbal aspect of the participle "being able"; "able to build up and to give." "The message which has the power of building you up in the faith and of giving you ...", Cassirer.

en + dat. "among" - in. Local / spacial sense; "among".

pasin adj. "all" - The Ephesian elders have an inheritance among all the people of God. As Paul puts it in more detail, "he made us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light", Col.1:12.

toiV hJgiasmenoiV (aJgiazw) perf. pas. part. "those who are sanctified" - the ones having been sanctified, made holy. The participle serves as a substantive. The perfect tense serves to express completed action with abiding results, while the passive expresses divine action (a theological passive). Together they indicate that a present state of divine induced holiness is in mind, not a future earned holiness. Luke has put his finger on a truth which dominates Pauline theology, namely that in Christ a believer is set right with God, is covenant compliant, holy (justified and sanctified). This state (usually classed as a status in reformed circles, although what God declares so is so) cannot be secured by law-obedience (legalism), nor improved by law-obedience (nomism). Of course this state/status is expressed in the Christian life when a believer strives to be what they are, albeit always imperfectly while in this body of flesh ("the old Adam retains his power until he is deposited in the grave", Luther).

 
v33

oudenoV gen. adj. "[I have not coveted] anyone's" - of no one. The genitive is adjectival, possessive; "I desire the money .... of no one" = "I desire no person's money ...."

arguriou (on) gen. "silver" - money. The three items take the genitive of direct object after the epi prefix verb "I desire, long for."

 
v34

autoi pro. "[you] yourselves" - The reflective use of this personal pronoun is intensive, as NIV.

oJti "[know] that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what they know. The Ephesian elders would know well that Paul worked as a tent maker to fund his daily needs, cf. Acts 18:3, 1Cor.4:12, 1Thes.2:9.

taiV creiaiV (a) dat. "[my own] needs" - for the needs [of me]. Dative of interest, advantage.

toiV ou\sin (eimi) dat. pres. part. "the needs of my companions" - for the ones being [with me]. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of interest, advantage.

met (meta) + gen. "-" - with [me]. Expressing association.

 
v35

panta "in everything I did" - all. Taken adverbially by Bruce, 1951, "always"; "I have always shown you ..."

uJpedeixa (uJpodeiknumi) aor. "I showed" - I informed, revealed, showed. "I have always shown you by example ..."

uJmin "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object.

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech, expressing what Paul revealed to the Ephesian believers.

kopiwntaV (kopiaw) pres. part. "by [this kind of] hard work" - toiling, working hard. The participle is adverbial, instrumental, expressing the means by which the poor are assisted; "by means of hard work." "One must work, as Paul did, not simply to secure one's independence but also to help the weak (who presumably are not able to work for themselves)", Barrett.

ou{twV adv. "this kind of" - in this way, manner - Demonstrative adverb referring back to Paul's example; "in this way, that is, in the example I set for you, by working hard ...."

antilambanesqai (antilambanomai) pres. inf. "[we must] help" - [it is necessary] to help, support, take hold of. This infinitive, as with mnhmoneuein, "to remember", serves as the subject of dei, "is necessary"; "to help the poor by hard work and to remember the words ..... is necessary." The verb "is necessary" may imply a divine necessity, although probably here more a moral necessity. "It is by such hard work that we must help the poor", Fitzmyer.

twn asqenountwn (asqenew) gen. pres. part. "the poor" - the ones being weak, defenseless = poor. The participle serves as a substantive, genitive of direct object after the anti prefix verb "to take hold of / help."

te "-" - and [to remember]. Serving to connect clauses with a close association; "but also it is necessary to remember ...."

twn logwn (oV) gen. "the words" - Genitive of direct object after the verb "to remember"; genitive of the person, accusative of the thing.

tou kuriou Ihsou gen. "of the Lord Jesus" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the Lord had said, although the gospels do not record these exact words. Certainly the sentiment is to be found in the gospels: Luke 6:30, 38, 11:41, 12:33, 18:22.

mallon adv. "more" - Used with a comparative sense even though taking a grammatically positive form, MHT III; a person "will do better giving than receiving", Barrett.

makarion adj. "blessed" - Usually with the sense of "blessed of God", giving the sense that "those who give to others and think of others rather than themselves are the ones over whom heaven's blessing will be shed", Fitzmyer. Yet, such a beatitude implies the gaining of divine favor by an effort of the will, such that "giving is blessed, not receiving", Jeremias. So, possibly just "happy" here, particularly if "it is necessary" is not implying a divine necessity; "the greatest happiness is not to receive a gift; it is to bestow one", Cassirer.

didonai (didwmi) pres. inf. "to give" - This infinitive, as with lambanein, "to receive", serves as the subject of the verb to-be; "to give rather than receive is more blessed."

 
v36

iv] Finally, Luke describes Paul's departure with prayer and tears, v36-38. The elders bid Paul a sorrowful farewell since this may be their last meeting with him.

eipwn (eipon) aor. part. "when he had said [this]" - [and] having said [these things]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

qeiV (tiqhmi) aor. part. "he knelt down" - having put [the knee of him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to pray"; "he knelt down and prayed with them." The phrase "having put the knee of him" derives from the latinism tiqhmi ta gonata, "to kneel down."

sun + dat. "with" - [prayed] with [them all]. Expressing association.

 
v37

egeneto (ginomai) aor. "[they]" - there became. Virtually functioning as a verb to-be.

pantwn gen. adj. "all" - [there became much crying] of everyone. The genitive is ablative, source / origin.

iJkanoV adj. "[wept] bitterly" - much [crying]. Here with the sense of a considerable amount, so "much crying"; "they all wept bitterly", Barclay.

epipesonteV (epiptw) aor. part. "as they embraced [him]" - having fallen [upon the neck of Paul]. The participle is probably best taken as adverbial, temporal, as NIV, but possibly attendant circumstance; "they all wept bitterly and flung their arms around him", Barclay.

katefiloun (katafilew) imperf. "kissed [him]" - The imperfect expresses either durative action (ongoing), or iterative action (repeated); "fervently kissed him", Berkeley.

 
v38

odunwmenoi (odunaw) pres. pas. part. "what grieved them [most]" - being distressed [exceedingly]. The participle is adverbial, possibly causal; "having wrapped their arms around Paul and kissed him, there was much crying, because they were terribly distressed."

epi + dat. "- [his statement]" - Expressing basis, ground / cause; "on the basis of / because of."

w|/ dat. "-" - which [he had said]. Dative by attraction; properly the accusative object oJn of the verb eirhkei.

oJti "that" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul had said.

qewrein (qewrew) pres. inf. "[they would never] see" - [they were no longer about] to see [his face]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "were about to".

de "then" - but, and [they sent him to the boat]. Here as a connective, "and"; "and they went with him down to the ship", Phillips.

 

Acts Introduction

Exposition

 

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