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Acts 20 is the twentieth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the Christian New Testament of the Bible. It records the third missionary journey of Paul the Apostle. The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke the Evangelist composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.[1]

Acts 20
Codex Laudianus (Acts 20,28).jpg
Scrivener's facsimile (1874) of Acts 20:28 in Latin (left column) and Greek (right column) in Codex Laudianus, written about AD 550.
BookActs of the Apostles
CategoryChurch history
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part5



Originally written in Koine Greek, this chapter is divided into 38 verses.

Some early manuscripts containing this chapter are:


Verse 4Edit

And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.[2]

Verse 9Edit

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.[6]

Eutychus was a young man of (Alexandria) Troas tended to by St. Paul. The name Eutychus means "fortunate". Eutychus fell asleep due to the long nature of the discourse Paul was giving and fell from his seat out of a three story window.[7]

Verse 10Edit

Paul raiseth Eutychus to life, from Figures de la Bible, 1728.
But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.”[8]

After Eutychus fell down to his death, Paul then picked him up, insisting that he was not dead, and carried him back upstairs; those gathered then had a meal and a long conversation which lasted until dawn. After Paul left, Eutychus was found to be alive. It is unclear whether the story intends to relate that Eutychus was killed by the fall and Paul raised him, or whether he simply seemed to be dead, with Paul ensuring that he is still alive.[9][10] Regardless of the result of the fall, the implication of the passage is Eutychus' complete recovery, whether by resurrection, by healing or by neither.

Verse 12Edit

And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.[11]

Paul's Maritime JourneyEdit

Satellite view of Chios island (NASA)
Satellite 3D view of Samos island (NASA)

Paul's journey through the northern Aegean Sea is detailed in verses 13 to 16. The text states that Paul, having left Philiipi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, had a desire urgently to travel to Jerusalem and needed to be there by the Day of Pentecost, even choosing to avoid returning to Ephesus and being delayed there. As there are fifty days from the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) to Pentecost, and five days were taken on travel from Philippi to Troas and seven days spent waiting in Troas, Paul and his party had around 38 days available for travel to Jerusalem.

Paul appears to have made the arrangements to charter a ship, but Luke and his companions began the journey from Troas and sailed around Cape Baba to Assos. Paul travelled overland from Troas to Assos and embarked there. The ship sailed southwards to Lesbos, calling at Mitylene, then passed Chios and arrived at Samos, staying at Trogyllium. They passed Ephesus and came into port at Miletus, calling for the elders of the church in Ephesus to travel to Miletus for a meeting.[12] The elders of the church (Greek: τους πρεσβυτερους της εκκλησιας, tous presbyterous tes ekklesias) were also referred to as overseers (Greek: επισκοπους, episkopous) in verse 28.

Miletus is about 40 miles south of Ephesus. The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary noted that in view of Paul's haste, more time might have been lost in calling for the elders to come from Ephesus than would have been lost if Paul had actually gone to Ephesus himself, but surmised that either his decision was made because of 'unfavorable winds and stormy weather [which] had overtaken them' or 'he was unwilling to run the risk of detention at Ephesus by the state of the church and other causes'.[13]

Verse 24Edit

[Paul said:] “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.”[14]

Verse 28Edit

[Paul said:] “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”[15]

Peculiar to Luke's writings (Acts 5:53; Luke 12:1; Luke 17:3; Luke 21:34).[16] Compare 1 Timothy 3:2–7; 4:16; 6:11.[13]

This word is usually also rendered as "bishops." Both "elders" and "bishops" have been originally and apostolically synonymous, which now it is not [Alford].[13] The distinction between these offices cannot be certainly traced till the second century, nor was it established till late in that century.[13]

  • "To feed" (ποιμαίνειν, poimainein)

This is the proper word for "tending" in relation to τὸ ποίμνιον (to poimnion), "the flock", as ποιμήν (poimen), the "pastor", or "shepherd".[16] The pastor is to feed the flock of Christ (see John 10:11, 16; John 21:17; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:2, 3). St. Peter applies the titles of "Shepherd and Bishop of souls" to the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 2:25). St. Paul does not use the metaphor elsewhere, except indirectly, and in a different aspect (1 Corinthians 9:7).[16]

  • "Church of God" (ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, ekklēsian tou Theou)

Textus Receptus has τοῦ Θεοῦ, but most uncials have τοῦ Κυρίου ("of [the] Lord"). Meyer thinks that the external evidence for τοῦ Κυρίου is decisive, and that the internal evidence from the fact that ἐκκλησία τοῦ Κυρίου occurs nowhere else in Paul's writings, is decisive also. On the other hand, both the Codex Vaticanus (B; 03) and the Codex Sinaiticus (א; 01), the two oldest manuscripts, have Θεοῦ (Θυ),[16] as well as the Vulgate and the Syriac; also the early Fathers as Ignatius (in his Epistle to the Ephesians) and Tertullian use the phrase, "the blood of God," which seems to have been derived from this passage. Alford reasons powerfully in favor of Θεοῦ, dwelling upon the fact that the phrase ἐκκλησία τοῦ Θεοῦ occurs ten times in Pauline epistles, that of ἐκκλησία τοῦ Κυρίου not once.[16] The chief authorities on each side of the question are:[16]

(1) in favor of τοῦ Κυρίου, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Bornemann, Lunge, Olshausen, Davidson, Meyer, Hackett, as also Grotius, Griesbaeh (doubtfully), Wetstein, Le Clerc, and others;
(2) in favor of τοῦ Θεοῦ, Bengel, Mill, Whitby, Wolf, Scholz, Knapp, Alford, Wordsworth, etc., and Textus Receptus.

It should be added that the evidence for τοῦ Θεοῦ has been much strengthened by the publication by Tischendorf of the Codex Sinaiticus in 1863,, and of the Codex Vaticanus in 1867, from his own collation. With regard to the difficulty that this reading seems to imply the unscriptural phrase, "the blood of God," and to savor of the Monophysite heresy, it is obvious to reply that there is a wide difference between the phrase as it stands and such a one as the direct "blood of God," which Athanasius and others objected to.[16]

Verse 35Edit

[Paul said:] "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.'"[17]

This verse is unusual in that it records a saying of Jesus that did not come to be recorded in any of the gospels.[18] In his homily on the Acts of the Apostles, John Chrysostom says, "And where said He this? Perhaps the Apostles delivered it by unwritten tradition; or else it is plain from (recorded sayings, from) which one could infer it."[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  2. ^ Acts 20:4 KJV
  3. ^ Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome (2007). "70. Colossians". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 1198. ISBN 978-0199277186. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  4. ^ Towner, Philip H. (2006). Bruce, Frederick Fyvie (ed.). The Letters to Timothy and Titus. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 800. ISBN 9780802825131.
  5. ^ " - Dictionary - Trophimus". 2012-07-26.
  6. ^ Acts 20:9
  7. ^ Arndt, William & Gingrich, F. W. (1967), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (University of Chicago Press).
  8. ^ Acts 20:10
  9. ^ The Case of Eutychus
  10. ^ Eutychus (WebBible Encyclopedia) – ChristianAnswers.Net
  11. ^ Acts 20:12
  12. ^ Acts 20:17 KJV
  13. ^ a b c d Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Acts 20, accessed 14 October 2015
  14. ^ Acts 20:24
  15. ^ Acts 20:28
  16. ^ a b c d e f g The Pulpit Commentary, edited by H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, 1890.
  17. ^ Acts 20:35 NKJV
  18. ^ Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The New Testament, p. 413.
  19. ^ "Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans – Homily XLV", Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans, Christian Classics Ethereal Library

External linksEdit