They wept together (Acts 20:37)

“There was

Much weeping

Among them all.

They embraced Paul.

They kissed him.”

ἱκανὸς δὲ κλαυθμὸς ἐγένετο πάντων, καὶ ἐπιπεσόντες ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον τοῦ Παύλου κατεφίλουν αὐτόν,

The author of Acts indicated that there was much weeping among them all (ἱκανὸς δὲ κλαυθμὸς ἐγένετο πάντων).  They embraced or fell on his neck (καὶ ἐπιπεσόντες ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον).  They kissed him (κατεφίλουν αὐτόν).  They were all crying as they said goodbye.  They were hugging and kissing each other as they bid their farewells.  Despite everything that had taken place over the last three years, they were genuinely sad to see Paul leave Ephesus.  This was a very emotional farewell.  Have you ever been sad to see someone leave you?

Paul prayed with them (Acts 20:36)

“When he had finished speaking,

Paul knelt down

With them all.

He prayed.”

καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν, θεὶς τὰ γόνατα αὐτοῦ σὺν πᾶσιν αὐτοῖς προσηύξατο.

The author of Acts indicated that when he had finished speaking (καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν), Paul knelt down (θεὶς τὰ γόνατα αὐτοῦ) with them all (σὺν πᾶσιν αὐτοῖς) and prayed (προσηύξατο).  Kneeling was a traditional way to pray to indicate that a person was a servant to God, although many Jewish people prayed standing up with their arms extended.  How do you pray?

Better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)

“In all this,

I have given you

An example

That by such difficult work

We must support

The weak.


The words

Of the Lord Jesus!

He himself said.

‘It is more blessed

To give

Than to receive.’”

πάντα ὑπέδειξα ὑμῖν, ὅτι οὕτως κοπιῶντας δεῖ ἀντιλαμβάνεσθαι τῶν ἀσθενούντων, μνημονεύειν τε τῶν λόγων τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, ὅτι αὐτὸς εἶπεν Μακάριόν ἐστιν μᾶλλον διδόναι ἢ λαμβάνειν.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that in all this (πάντα), he had given them (ὑπέδειξα ὑμῖν) an example that by such difficult work (ὅτι οὕτως κοπιῶντας) they had to support the weak (δεῖ ἀντιλαμβάνεσθαι τῶν ἀσθενούντων).  They were to remember (μνημονεύειν τε) the words (τῶν λόγων) of the Lord Jesus (τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ) that he had said (ὅτι αὐτὸς εἶπεν) that it was more blessed (Μακάριόν ἐστιν μᾶλλον) to give (διδόναι) than to receive (ἢ λαμβάνειν).  Paul felt that his life was an example on how to support the weak.  Actually, this saying of Jesus was not a saying that can be found in the four canonical gospel stories.  Perhaps, it was part of an oral tradition.  Throughout the ages, this saying about it better to give than to receive has been used in various circumstances.  The origin is here in Paul’s farewell address in Ephesus.  Do you support the weak in your community?

I worked to support myself (Acts 20:34)

“You yourselves know

That I worked

With my own hands

To support myself

And my companions”

αὐτοὶ γινώσκετε ὅτι ταῖς χρείαις μου καὶ τοῖς οὖσιν μετ’ ἐμοῦ ὑπηρέτησαν αἱ χεῖρες αὗται.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that they knew (αὐτοὶ γινώσκετε) that he worked or served (ὑπηρέτησαν) with his own hands (ὅτι ταῖς χρείαις) to support (αἱ χεῖρες αὗται) himself (μου) and his companions or those with him (καὶ τοῖς οὖσιν μετ’ ἐμοῦ).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word ὑπηρέτησαν, that means to serve or to minister to.  The author of Acts said in chapter 18:3 that Paul was a tentmaker.  His gospel was free.  You did not have to pay him a stipend.  They knew that he had worked with his own hands to support himself and those with him.  Do you work with your hands on your job?

Paul did not want anything (Acts 20:33)

“I coveted

No one’s silver,


Or clothing.”

ἀργυρίου ἢ χρυσίου ἢ ἱματισμοῦ οὐδενὸς ἐπεθύμησα·

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that he coveted (ἐπεθύμησα) no one’s (οὐδενὸς) silver (ἀργυρίου), gold (ἢ χρυσίου), or clothing (ἢ ἱματισμοῦ).  Paul said that he never wanted any silver or gold coins of any kind or any fancy garments.  He was content with what he had.  He traveled a lot so that he must have depended on others.  Do you have simple tastes?

Build up your inheritance! (Acts 20:32)

“Now I commend you

To the Lord

And to the message

Of his grace,

That is able

To build you up

And give you

The inheritance

Among all those

Who are sanctified.”

καὶ τὰ νῦν παρατίθεμαι ὑμᾶς τῷ Κυρίῳ καὶ τῷ λόγῳ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ τῷ δυναμένῳ οἰκοδομῆσαι καὶ δοῦναι τὴν κληρονομίαν ἐν τοῖς ἡγιασμένοις πᾶσιν.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that now he was commending them (καὶ τὰ νῦν παρατίθεμαι ὑμᾶς) to the Lord (τῷ Κυρίῳ) and to the message of his grace (καὶ τῷ λόγῳ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ), that was able (τῷ δυναμένῳ) to build them up (οἰκοδομῆσαι) and give them (καὶ δοῦναι) the inheritance (τὴν κληρονομίαν) among all those who were sanctified (ἐν τοῖς ἡγιασμένοις πᾶσιν).  Paul was committing them to the Lord and his grace.  Thus, God would build them up to give them the inheritance for those who were sanctified or saved.  Do you rely on the Lord to build you up spiritually?

I warned you (Acts 20:31)


Be alert!


That for three years

I did not cease

Night or day

To warn everyone

With tears.”

διὸ γρηγορεῖτε, μνημονεύοντες ὅτι τριετίαν νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν οὐκ ἐπαυσάμην μετὰ δακρύων νουθετῶν ἕνα ἕκαστον.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that they should be alert (διὸ γρηγορεῖτε).  They should remember (μνημονεύοντες) that for three years (ὅτι τριετίαν) Paul did not cease (οὐκ ἐπαυσάμην), both night (νύκτα) and day (καὶ ἡμέραν), to warn or admonish (νουθετῶν) everyone (ἕνα ἕκαστον) with his tears (μετὰ δακρύων).  Paul reminded these leaders from the Ephesus Christian community that he had warned or admonished them for three years, both day and night, with his tears.  They should remember all this and be alert for anything.  Have you ever warned people for three years?

Some of your people will distort the truth (Acts 20:30)

“Some even

From your own group

Will come


Distorted things

In order

To entice

The disciples

To follow them.”

καὶ ἐξ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν ἀναστήσονται ἄνδρες λαλοῦντες διεστραμμένα τοῦ ἀποσπᾶν τοὺς μαθητὰς ὀπίσω ἑαυτῶν.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that even some from their own group (καὶ ἐξ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν) would come up or arise (ἀναστήσονται ἄνδρες) speaking (λαλοῦντες) distorting things (διεστραμμένα) in order to entice or draw away (τοῦ ἀποσπᾶν) the disciples (τοὺς μαθητὰς) to follow them (ὀπίσω ἑαυτῶν).  Not only outside wolves, but some among themselves would distort the truth to get personal disciples for themselves.  Paul warned them that the threat was both internal and external to this fledgling Christian community.  Have some of your friends tried to deceive you with false ideas?

The wolves are coming (Acts 20:29)

“I know

That after my departure,

Savage wolves

Will come in

Among you,

Not sparing the flock.”

ἐγὼ οἶδα ὅτι εἰσελεύσονται μετὰ τὴν ἄφιξίν μου λύκοι βαρεῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς μὴ φειδόμενοι τοῦ ποιμνίου,

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that he knew (ἐγὼ οἶδα) that (ὅτι), after his departure (μετὰ τὴν ἄφιξίν μου), savage wolves (λύκοι βαρεῖς) would come in (εἰσελεύσονται) among them (εἰς ὑμᾶς), not sparing (μὴ φειδόμενοι) this flock (τοῦ ποιμνίου).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word ἄφιξίν, that means arrival or departure.  Paul said that after he was gone, then these fierce wolves would come among this flock that would not be spared from false teachings.  Thus, they had to be alert to these false teaching wolves among their very own sheep.  Do you like the image of wolves as bad guys?

Keep watch over the flock! (Acts 20:28)

“Keep watch

Over yourselves!

Keep watch

Over all the flock!

The Holy Spirit

Has made you overseers,

To shepherd

The church of God

That he obtained

With the blood

Of his own Son.”

προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that they should keep watch (προσέχετε) over themselves (ἑαυτοῖς) and all their flock (καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ).  The Holy Spirit (τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον) had made (ἔθετο) them (ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς) overseers or episcopal bishops (ἐπισκόπους) as shepherds (ποιμαίνειν).  The church of God (τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) was obtained (ἣν περιεποιήσατο) with the blood (διὰ τοῦ αἵματος) of his own Son (τοῦ ἰδίου).  Paul warned these elders or presbyters from Ephesus to watch out for themselves and their flock.  The Holy Spirit had made them the shepherd overseers or the bishops of this church or assembly that had been purchased by the blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.  These presbyters or elders from Ephesus were here called bishops or overseers, since the primitive Christian community was still evolving in its structures.  The idea of church leaders as shepherds and the assembly as a herd of sheep was quite common.  Jesus himself had used the metaphor of the Good Shepherd in John, chapter 10:1-21.  Similar imagery can also be found in Psalm 23, where the Lord is my shepherd.  Do you like the image of Christians as sheep or a flock of sheep?