Acts 20 Commentary

Acts chapter 20 commentary Bible study

Acts Chapter 20 Commentary Bible Study


Acts 20:9-16 Eutychus
Acts 20:17 Elders
Acts 20:18-25 Asia
Acts 20:26-27 Whole Counsel of God
Acts 20:28-38 Church of God
Acts 20 Bible Study Questions (Handout)
ACTS 20:1  1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia.

Which "uproar" (Acts 20:1) ceased?
The one led by Demetrius in Ephesus just after Paul decided to leave Ephesus (see Ephesus Theater).

ACTS 20:2-3  2 Now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece 3 and stayed three months. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.

Why did Paul go to "Macedonia" (Acts 20:1) and "Greece" (Acts 20:2)?
To visit and encourage the churches there, and to gather those who will be carrying the financial gifts from those churches to the church in Jerusalem, which once again was suffering through a famine (see Great Famine). Before he left Ephesus, Paul wrote to the church in Corinth of Greece (Achaia), "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me" (1 Corinthians 16:1-4).

Where in "Greece" (Acts 20:2) did Paul go and how long did he stay?
He most likely spent the "three months" (Acts 20:3) in Corinth, as he had also written to the Corinthians before leaving Ephesus: "Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits" (1 Corinthians 16:5-7).

How did Paul adapt his plans after learning that "the Jews plotted against him" (Acts 20:3)?
Instead of taking a ship, most probably from Cenchrea, the eastern port of Corinth, to "sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia" (Acts 20:3) and take a ship from there.

ACTS 20:4-6  4 And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia - also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

How many disciples sailed ahead to wait for Paul at Troas, located on the northwest coast of what is Turkey today?

Why so many?
They were carrying the financial gift from their respective churches to the starving church in Jerusalem: "Sopater of Berea" (Acts 20:4) in Macedonia; "Aristarchus and Secundus" (Acts 20:4) of the church in Thessalonica, which is also in Macedonia; "Gaius of Derbe" (Acts 20:4), which was in Galatia of Turkey; and "Tychicus and Trophimus" (Acts 20:4) from Asia.

Who was carrying the gift from the church in Corinth?
Most likely "Timothy" (Acts 20:4).

Where did Paul spend "the Days of Unleavened Bread" (Acts 20:6)?
He spent the Days of Unleavened Bread, also called the Passover, at "Philippi" (Acts 20:6), from whose port - Neapolis - he sailed to Troas to rendezvous with the others.

Why does Acts 20:6 say, "we sailed"?
Paul left Philippi with Luke, who wrote Acts and who most likely was carrying the financial gift from the church in Philippi.

ACTS 20:7-8  7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together.

Why did the "disciples" (Acts 20:7) come together in Troas?
To celebrate the Lord's supper - "break bread" (Acts 20:7) - on the Sunday - "the first day of the week" (Acts 20:7) - before Paul's departure "the next day" (Acts 20:7).