Acts 20

And there abode three months; probably in the city of Corinth. It was during this residence at Corinth, that Paul is supposed to have written his Epistle to the Romans. See the introductory remarks prefixed to that Epistle.—Through Macedonia; so as to avoid their ambuscade, by taking this circuitous route. The direct route to Antioch would have been across the Egean Sea to Ephesus, instead of around it through Macedonia and Troas.

Troas; near the head of the Egean Sea, on the eastern side.

The days of unleavened bread. It seems that the passover occurred while they were there, and during its continuance their journey was suspended.

The first day of the week; the Christian Sabbath; the Jewish Sabbath being on the seventh day.

By Ephesus; leaving it on the left. To have touched at Ephesus, would have taken them somewhat out of their course.

Temptations; trials, in the sense of dangers and sufferings.

Bound in the spirit; urged or impelled by the spirit.

Overseers. In v. 17, they are called elders; here, overseers, which is, in the original, the same as the word rendered sometimes bishops. There have been endless disputes among different churchmen whether the terms elder and bishop, as used in the New Testament, denote the same office, or whether the one was of higher rank than the other. But on an impartial examination of the subject, it will appear that these terms, and the many other similar ones, such as pastor, teacher, angel of the church, were often used interchangeably, and without any idea of technical precision and strictness in their applications; and this shows that they were employed, like ordinary words of discourse, as general terms of designation,—not as the technical titles of office. To attempt to make out from these primitive institutions any nice system, which shall be adapted to modern wants, and conformed to modern ideas, is to mistake altogether the nature of all primitive institutions, which are essentially provisional, extemporaneous, informal, and changeable.—Of God. In all the most ancient copies of the New Testament, and those most to be relied upon for correctness, it reads, "The church of the Lord, which," &c.

Grievous wolves; cruel enemies, persecutors.

Of your own selves; that is, false teachers from within the church.

These words are not recorded by any of the evangelists among the sayings of the Savior.

And when he had thus spoken. The reader who possesses a heart of true Christian sensibility, will not fail to be affected by the manner in which the most sublime, and also the most delicate and tender, traits of the Christian character are blended in the expression of this solemn farewell. We see in it a strong assertion of conscious rectitude, made in a spirit of humility and lowliness of mind; a determined and undaunted courage, tinged with the depression and sadness awakened by dark forebodings of future danger; and feelings of peaceful and quiet happiness, beaming through and overcoming mournful recollections of the past, and the sadness of a final separation. Thus the tender sensibilities, and the calm but indomitable courage and energy of the great apostle's character, are here seen in a combination which Christianity alone is able to produce.

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