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Acts 20:31

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Therefore watch, and remember - The only way to abide in the truth is to watch against evil, and for good; and to keep in mind the heavenly doctrines originally received. Unwatchfulness and forgetfulness are two grand inlets to apostasy.

By the space of three years - Τριετιαν . The Greek word here does not necessarily mean three whole years: it may be months more or less. In Acts 19:8, Acts 19:10, we have an account of his spending two years and three months among them; probably this is all that is intended. One MS., perceiving that the time of three years was not completed, inserts διετιαν, the space of two years.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Therefore watch - Matthew 24:42. In view of the dangers which beset yourselves Acts 20:28, the danger from people not connected with the church Acts 20:29, and the danger which will arise from the love of power among yourselves Acts 20:30, be on your guard. Observe the approach of danger, and set yourselves against it.

Remember - Recall my counsels and admonitions in reference to these dangers.

By the space of three years - In Acts 19:10, we are told that Paul spent two years in the school of Tyrannus. In Acts 19:8, it is said that he was teaching in the synagogue at Ephesus three months. In addition to this, it is not improbable that he spent some months more in Ephesus in instructing the church in other places. Perhaps, however, by the phrase three years, he meant to use merely a round number, denoting about three years; or, in accordance with the Jewish custom, part of each of the three years one whole year, and a considerable portion of the two others. Compare the notes on Matthew 12:40.

I ceased not - I continued to do it.

To warn - To admonish; to place before the mind νουθετῶν nouthetōnsetting the danger and duty of each individual before him.

Everyone - He had thus set them an example of what he had enjoined, Acts 20:28. He had admonished each individual, whatever was his rank or standing. It is well when a minister can refer to his own example as an illustration of what he meant by his precepts.

Night and day - Continually; by every opportunity.

With tears - Expressive of his deep feeling, and his deep interest in their welfare. See the notes on Acts 20:19.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
If the Holy Ghost has made ministers overseers of the flock, that is, shepherds, they must be true to their trust. Let them consider their Master's concern for the flock committed to their charge. It is the church He has purchased with his own blood. The blood was his as Man; yet so close is the union between the Divine and human nature, that it is there called the blood of God, for it was the blood of Him who is God. This put such dignity and worth into it, as to ransom believers from all evil, and purchase all good. Paul spake about their souls with affection and concern. They were full of care what would become of them. Paul directs them to look up to God with faith, and commends them to the word of God's grace, not only as the foundation of their hope and the fountain of their joy, but as the rule of their walking. The most advanced Christians are capable of growing, and will find the word of grace help their growth. As those cannot be welcome guests to the holy God who are unsanctified; so heaven would be no heaven to them; but to all who are born again, and on whom the image of God is renewed, it is sure, as almighty power and eternal truth make it so. He recommends himself to them as an example of not caring as to things of the present world; this they would find help forward their comfortable passage through it. It might seem a hard saying, therefore Paul adds to it a saying of their Master's, which he would have them always remember; "It is more blessed to give than to receive:" it seems they were words often used to his disciples. The opinion of the children of this world, is contrary to this; they are afraid of giving, unless in hope of getting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing that can be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent. It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receives from none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good. This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also. It is good for friends, when they part, to part with prayer. Those who exhort and pray for one another, may have many weeping seasons and painful separations, but they will meet before the throne of God, to part no more. It was a comfort to all, that the presence of Christ both went with him and stayed with them.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 952

In these days of delusion, every one who is established in the truth will have to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Every variety of error will be brought out in the mysterious working of Satan, which would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect, and turn them from the truth.... 7BC 952.1

There will be false dreams and false visions, which have some truth, but lead away from the original faith. The Lord has given men a rule by which to detect them: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” If they belittle the law of God, if they pay no heed to His will as revealed in the testimonies of His Spirit, they are deceivers. They are controlled by impulse and impressions which they believe to be from the Holy Spirit and consider more reliable than the Inspired Word. They claim that every thought and feeling is an impression of the Spirit; and when they are reasoned with out of the Scriptures, they declare that they have something more reliable. But while they think that they are led by the Spirit of God, they are in reality following an imagination wrought upon by Satan (Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, September 1886, reprinted from The Signs of the Times, March 27, 1884). 7BC 952.2

(Acts 20:30, 31.) I would say to our dear brethren who have been so eager to accept everything that came in the form of visions and dreams, Beware that you be not ensnared. Read the warnings that have been given by the world's Redeemer to His disciples to be given again by them to the world. The Word of God is solid rock, and we may plant our feet securely upon it. Every soul must needs be tested, every faith and doctrine must needs be tried by the law and the testimony. Take heed that no man deceive you. The warnings of Christ on this matter are needed at this time; for delusions and deceptions will come in among us, and will multiply as we near the end. 7BC 952.3

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 434

Even to the Disinterested—Go to the homes of those even who manifest no interest. While mercy's sweet voice invites the sinner, work with every energy of heart and brain, as did Paul, “who ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.” In the day of God, how many will confront us, and say, “I am lost! I am lost! And you never warned me; you never entreated me to come to Jesus. Had I believed as you did, I would have followed every Judgment-bound soul within my reach with prayers and tears and warnings.”—Review and Herald, June 24, 1884 . Ev 434.1

Carry God's Word to Every Man's Door—The press is an instrumentality by which many are reached whom it would be impossible to reach by ministerial effort. A great work can be done by presenting to the people the Bible just as it reads. Carry the Word of God to every man's door, urge its plain statements upon every man's conscience, repeat to all the Saviour's command, “Search the Scriptures.” Admonish them to take the Bible as it is, to implore the divine enlightenment, and then, when the light shines, to gladly accept each precious ray, and fearlessly abide the consequences.—.The Review and Herald, July 10, 1883. Ev 434.2

God Will Guide to Homes—Light, light from the Word of God,—this is what the people need. If the teachers of the Word are willing, the Lord will lead them into close relation with the people. He will guide them to the homes of those who need and desire the truth; and as the servants of God engage in the work of seeking for the lost sheep, their spiritual faculties are awakened and energized. Knowing that they are in harmony with God, they feel joyous and happy. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they obtain an experience that is invaluable to them. Their intellectual and moral powers attain their highest development; for grace is given in answer to the demand.—The Review and Herald, December 29, 1904. Ev 434.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 351

During the long period of his ministry in Ephesus, where for three years he carried forward an aggressive evangelistic effort throughout that region, Paul again worked at his trade. In Ephesus, as in Corinth, the apostle was cheered by the presence of Aquila and Priscilla, who had accompanied him on his return to Asia at the close of his second missionary journey. AA 351.1

There were some who objected to Paul's toiling with his hands, declaring that it was inconsistent with the work of a gospel minister. Why should Paul, a minister of the highest rank, thus connect mechanical work with the preaching of the word? Was not the laborer worthy of his hire? Why should he spend in making tents time that to all appearance could be put to better account? AA 351.2

But Paul did not regard as lost the time thus spent. As he worked with Aquila he kept in touch with the Great Teacher, losing no opportunity of witnessing for the Saviour, and of helping those who needed help. His mind was ever reaching out for spiritual knowledge. He gave his fellow workers instruction in spiritual things, and he also set an example of industry and thoroughness. He was a quick, skillful worker, diligent in business, “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11. As he worked at his trade, the apostle had access to a class of people that he could not otherwise have reached. He showed his associates that skill in the common arts is a gift from God, who provides both the gift and the wisdom to use it aright. He taught that even in everyday toil God is to be honored. His toil-hardened hands detracted nothing from the force of his pathetic appeals as a Christian minister. AA 351.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 291

This chapter is based on Acts 19:21-41; 20:1.

For over three years Ephesus was the center of Paul's work. A flourishing church was raised up here, and from this city the gospel spread throughout the province of Asia, among both Jews and Gentiles. AA 291.1

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