Author: Ron Graham

Book of Acts

Acts 20:17-38
—Verse by verse

This page is a verse by verse study of Acts 20:17-38. These verses record Paul’s farewell speech to the Ephesian elders.

Paul’s farewell speech to the Ephesian elders.

1 Paul Reviews His Work in Ephesus

Verses 17-21

¶ "From Miletus Paul sent to Ephesus, summoning the elders of the church. When they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time. I served the Lord with all humility, with many tears, and with trials which happened to me by the plots of the Jews. You know that I did not shrink from declaring to you all that was profitable. I taught you publicly and from house to house. I testified to both Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:17-21).

2 Paul Looks Toward Jerusalem

Verses 22-24

¶ "Now, behold, I go compelled in spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself. I just want to finish my race with joy, and complete the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to fully testify to the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:22-24).

Verses 25-27

¶ "Now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I went about preaching the Kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am clean from the blood of all men, for I didn't shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God." (Acts 20:25-27).

3 Paul Encourages the Work of Shepherds

Verse 28

¶ "Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which he purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28).

Elders, Overseers, Shepherds

These same men who were referred to as elders (Acts 20:17), are here called overseers and shepherds (Acts 20:28). These terms are interchangeable.

4 Paul Warns About False Teachers

Verses 29-31

¶ "I say this because I know that, after my departure, vicious wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Men will arise from among your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember that for a period of three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears." (Acts 20:29-31).

5 Paul Commends the Elders to God

Verses 32-35

¶ "So brethren, I now entrust you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all those who are consecrated to God. I coveted no one’s silver, gold, or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine served my own needs and those of my companions. In everything by this labor, I have shown you that you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, who said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”" (Acts 20:32-35).

Verses 36-38

¶ "When Paul had spoken these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. They all wept much, and hugged Paul’s neck and kissed him affectionately. They sorrowed most of all because of his saying that they should see his face no more. And they went with him to the ship." (Acts 20:36-38).