Berean Insights

Paul’s Travels and the Warning to Stay Away from Syria

When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia.

While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece,

where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia.

Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.

They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas.

After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week. (Acts 20:1-6)

 

Eutychus’ Falls Out of The Window

On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight.

The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps.

As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below.

Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!”

Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left.

Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved.

 

Paul’s Continued Travels Through Assos, Mitylene, Samos and Miletus

Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship.

He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene.

The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus.

Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. (Acts 20:7-16)

 

Paul Meets the Ephesian Elders

But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.

When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now

I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.

I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes.

I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.

“And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me,

except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

“And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again.

I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault,

for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.

“So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.

I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock.

Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.

Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.

“And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.

“I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.

You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them.

They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye.

They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship. (Acts 20:17-38)

  

I have divided the text for you for chapter 20 but I have received no questions sent in by readers. I have had a number of requests to “cool it for Christmas”. Well one person asked that and I have lumped the other comments in with the same request. The ones who commented asked if we could take a break for Christmas. With the Christmas season upon us it is hard to find the time to spend in Bible study. As we were reminded at church yesterday maybe it is over the Christmas break here in NZ that we have more time to focus on the story behind the Christmas story. But I know that is not necessarily the case in Indonesia and other places in the grip of winter.

So here is what I am going to do: you will see from my division of the segments above that we have three segments before we come to the meeting with the Ephesian elders and my promise to give you some overview of the book of Ephesians.  So I plan to complete these three segments before Christmas and then I am going to take a break from Gemz for a month. While I take a break from Gemz I won’t be taking a break as such. I am heading to Brazil to teach Deeper Bible 101 to 301 levels to a group of young people heading out to the tribal groups of the equatorial jungles. I will be gone from January 5th to 22nd. So I will be too busy and out of contact to be writing the Gemz. Therefore you will have a Gemz holiday. Some will be disappointed and some will be relieved I am sure, but don't let this month’s break be a break from the Bible. You can’t afford that. This is the time of the year when you should press in close.

Now for the segment before us in today’s serving.

 

Paul’s Travels and the Warning to Stay Away from Syria

When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia.

While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece,

where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia.

Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.

They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas.

After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week. (Acts 20:1-6)

  

What is interesting in this passage and the third segment is that Luke speeds up commentary. Paul was hurrying to get to the Passover Festival in Jerusalem. The parallel struck me that we are hurrying to get to the Christmas Festival after which New Zealand shuts down in holiday mode for three weeks over Christmas and New Year.  Notice how the text mirrors this rush to get to Jerusalem. These 16 verses in our sights before Christmas are marked by extreme brevity. These first 6 verses cover about a year of Paul’s ministry. But Luke too seems to skip over the action quickly. Note too that Luke rejoins Paul again likely as not in Philippi – marked by the appearance of the “we” again in verse six.  Notice the two references to Passover with Paul leaving after Passover in verse 6 and then looking to get to Jerusalem by the Passover Festival. The reason is that there is a year between them. Unless you look carefully at what Luke has written for us you will likely miss that fact.

In this preliminary section Paul leaves Ephesus for Macedonia again where he spends time travelling through Macedonia on his way to Greece again, stopping in all the towns he stopped in on his way through this region the first time. Then we are told that Paul stayed for three months in and around Greece ministering the Word of God. In each of these places he encouraged the believers. It appears that Paul discovered the plot to kill him on his journey to Syria before he boarded the ship. My hunch is that the plot was to be hatched on the ship from Corinth when the Jewish enemies of Paul had him confined on board ship. With all the Jewish pilgrims on ship heading back to Jerusalem for Passover it would have been easy to kill Paul and throw his body overboard. Consequently, Paul opts for delaying the journey and instead leaving on a ship from Philippi. The men who were travelling with Paul:-  Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia seemingly caught the ship in Corinth and went on ahead and waited for Paul and Luke at Troas. We must assume that they caught the boat from Corinth and only Paul and Luke took the ship from Philippi. But we can’t be certain of all of this because Luke has not provided us with the details.

I am not going to check into the backgrounds of these men whose names are listed here, but I suggest you do. If I did it I wouldn’t finish these first three segments before Christmas. Rather I will leave it to you, my trusted band of deep Biblers. Imagine the opportunities Luke had when travelling with Paul alone on the ship for a week back to Troas from Philippi. I would guess that Luke caught up on all the details of Paul’s experiences since he had left them after their initial time in Philippi (Acts 16). It was here they had left Luke. So appropriate the Luke joins Paul again here. They all meet up together in Troas where they stay for five days. Luke doesn't comment on anything else but does relate to us the remarkable story of what happened one night when Paul was preaching in Troas. We will pick up the story of Eutychus in the next Gemz. It is a great little vignette delightfully told.

  

The Saviour came not just to comfort the afflicted but to also afflict the comfortable.

As we build up to honouring the Babe in a manager this Christmas let’s consider how His ultimate sacrifice should be changing us. Susan Shore

God is in the adoption business. He wants YOU and everyone else in His family!

Maybe this Christmas is the time to process your adoption papers. It starts with a prayer of repentance. Ian

Don’t allow the busyness of life’s journey get in the way of ensuring your place for the Ultimate Journey. Ian

By all means take a break this Christmas – New Year period but don't let it be a break from the Bible. You need God’s Word like you need air. Ian

The quality of your life is determined by the Word of God that you consume DAILY. Kenny Goh

 

 

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