Ye all - shall see my face no more - This probably refers simply to the persons who were now present; concerning whom he might have had a Divine intimation, that they should not be found in life when he should come that way again. Or it may refer only to Ephesus and Miletus. From the dangers to which he was exposed, it was, humanly speaking, unlikely that he should ever return; and this may be all that is implied: but that he did revisit those parts, though probably not Miletus or Ephesus, appears likely from Philemon 1:25-27; Philemon 2:24; Philemon 1:22; Hebrews 13:19-23. But in all these places he speaks with a measure of uncertainty: he had not an absolute evidence that he should not return; but, in his own mind, it was a matter of uncertainty. The Holy Spirit did not think proper to give him a direct revelation on this point.
I know that ye all - Perhaps this means simply, “I have no expectation of seeing you again; I have every reason to suppose that this is my final interview with you.” He expected to visit Ephesus no more. The journey to Jerusalem was dangerous. Trials and persecutions he knew awaited him. Besides, it is evident that he designed to turn his attention to other countries, and to visit Rome; and probably he had already formed the purpose of going into Spain. See Acts 19:21; compare Romans 15:23-28. From all these considerations it is evident that he had no expectation of being again at Ephesus. It is probable, however, that he did again return to that city. See the notes on Acts 28:31.
Among whom I have gone preaching - Among whom I have preached. The parting of a minister and people is among the most tender and affecting of the separations that occur on earth.
The kingdom of God - Making known the nature of the reign of God on earth by the Messiah. See the notes on Matthew 3:2.
Paul sometimes worked night and day, not only for his own support, but that he might assist his fellow laborers. He shared his earnings with Luke, and he helped Timothy. He even suffered hunger at times, that he might relieve the necessities of others. His was an unselfish life. Toward the close of his ministry, on the occasion of his farewell talk to the elders of Ephesus, at Miletus, he could lift up before them his toilworn hands, and say, “I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:33-35. AA 352.1
If ministers feel that they are suffering hardship and privation in the cause of Christ, let them in imagination visit the workshop where Paul labored. Let them bear in mind that while this chosen man of God is fashioning the canvas, he is working for bread which he has justly earned by his labors as an apostle. AA 352.2
Work is a blessing, not a curse. A spirit of indolence destroys godliness and grieves the Spirit of God. A stagnant pool is offensive, but a pure, flowing stream spreads health and gladness over the land. Paul knew that those who neglect physical work soon become enfeebled. He desired to teach young ministers that by working with their hands, by bringing into exercise their muscles and sinews, they would become strong to endure the toils and privations that awaited them in the gospel field. And he realized that his own teachings would lack vitality and force if he did not keep all parts of the system properly exercised. AA 352.3Read in context »
Sailing from Philippi, Paul and Luke reached their companions at Troas five days later, and remained for seven days with the believers in that place. AA 391.1
Upon the last evening of his stay the brethren “came together to break bread.” The fact that their beloved teacher was about to depart, had called together a larger company than usual. They assembled in an “upper chamber” on the third story. There, in the fervency of his love and solicitude for them, the apostle preached until midnight. AA 391.2
In one of the open windows sat a youth named Eutychus. In this perilous position he went to sleep and fell to the court below. At once all was alarm and confusion. The youth was taken up dead, and many gathered about him with cries and mourning. But Paul, passing through the frightened company, embraced him and offered up an earnest prayer that God would restore the dead to life. His petition was granted. Above the sound of mourning and lamentation the apostle's voice was heard, saying, “Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” With rejoicing the believers again assembled in the upper chamber. They partook of the Communion, and then Paul “talked a long while, even till break of day.” AA 391.3Read in context »
In many places self-supporting missionaries can work successfully. It was as a self-supporting missionary that the apostle Paul labored in spreading the knowledge of Christ throughout the world. While daily teaching the gospel in the great cities of Asia and Europe, he wrought at the trade of a craftsman to sustain himself and his companions. His parting words to the elders of Ephesus, showing his manner of labor, have precious lessons for every gospel worker: MH 154.1
“Ye know,” he said, “after what manner I have been with you at all seasons: ... and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house.... I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:18-35. MH 154.2Read in context »
In this degenerate age many will be found who are so blinded to the sinfulness of sin that they choose a licentious life because it suits the natural and perverse inclination of the heart. Instead of facing the mirror, the law of God, and bringing their hearts and characters up to God's standard, they allow Satan's agents to erect his standard in their hearts. Corrupt men think it easier to misinterpret the Scriptures to sustain them in their iniquity than to yield up their corruption and sin and be pure in heart and life. 5T 141.1
There are more men of this stamp than many have imagined, and they will multiply as we draw near the end of time. Unless they are rooted and grounded in the truth of the Bible, and have a living connection with God, many will be infatuated and deceived. Dangers unseen beset our path. Our only safety is in constant watchfulness and prayer. The nearer we live to Jesus, the more will we partake of His pure and holy character; and the more offensive sin appears to us, the more exalted and desirable will appear the purity and brightness of Christ. 5T 141.2
In order to cover his corrupt life and make his sins appear harmless, this man will bring up instances recorded in the Bible where good men have fallen under temptation. Paul met with just such men in his day, and the church has been cursed with them in all ages. At Miletus Paul called the elders of the church together and warned them in regard to what they would meet: “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. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.” 5T 141.3Read in context »