Acts 20:7

Lovely Cascade mountains.

Friday, 8 September 2023

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. Acts 20:7

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verse, it noted that Paul and Luke (indicated by the word “we”) joined the others at Troas, where they then stayed seven days. With that noted, Luke continues, saying, “Now on the first day of the week.”

The Greek reads, “In now the one of the sabbaths.” The cardinal numeral here is used for the ordinal. The word “sabbaths” is plural. This plural is used for the singular in imitation of the Hebrew form. The noun, sabbaths, is used after numerals in the signification of a week. In other words, the Sabbath is the last day of the week. The next day begins a new week which is day one of the week. Thus, the day is Sunday, even if it started on Saturday night.

This verse, along with 1 Corinthians 16:2, shows with certainty that the Lord’s Day (Sunda) was already being observed at this early time in church history –

“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.”

Of this day, Luke next records, “when the disciples came together to break bread.” The words are more precisely translated, “the disciples having been gathered together to break bread.” Like in Corinth, the people have gathered as an assembly. In Troas, this included 1) being on the first day, just as in Corinth, 2) gathering together, 3) breaking bread after that (see verse 11), 4) a sermon, and 5) long hours of contemplating God’s word.

This may have been Saturday night, which is the beginning of the first day of the week when reckoning by Jewish days. The breaking of bread is in accord with Paul’s words of 1 Corinthians 11. It is the observance of the Lord’s Supper. This would have been done along with a greater meal, an Agape or love feast, which is a regular meal along with fellowship. Next, Luke records, “Paul, ready to depart the next day.”

If this is Saturday night, meaning the beginning of the first day of the week, then Paul would depart on a Sunday. If this gathering began during the day on Sunday, then Paul would depart on a Monday. The reason for the confusion rests in the fact that the Jewish days begin in the evening at sundown. Thus, without knowing what time they gathered, it is unwise to be dogmatic.

At this meeting, Paul “spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” The word translated as “spoke” is dialegomai. HELPS Word Studies says it signifies “through, from one side across to the other,” It contains the idea of “exercising ‘dialectical reasoning.’” Further, it notes, “This is the process of giving and receiving information with someone to reach deeper understanding – a ‘going back-and-forth’ of thoughts and ideas so people can better know the Lord (His word, will).” One can see that this is where our word “dialogue” comes from.

In other words, people were asking questions, and Paul was answering them. At times, Paul may have pulled out his parchments, referring to them to find the answer to a particular question.

The word translated as “continued” is found only here in Scripture, parateinó. It means to prolong. Paul obviously had a lot to say, and the people would then continue to question him as well. As a historical note, the Pulpit Commentary says –

“Justin Martyr, in his second Apology to Antoninus Plus (or Marcus Aurelius), of the Church assemblies in his day, not a hundred years after this time, is in exact agreement with it: – ‘On the day which is called Sunday, all (Christians) who dwell either in town or country come together to one place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read for a certain time, and then the president of the meeting, when the reader has stopped, makes a discourse, in which he instructs and exhorts the people to the imitation of the good deeds of which they have just heard. We then all rise up together, and address prayers (to God); and, when our prayers are ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president, to the best of his ability, offers up both prayers and thanksgivings, and the people assent, saying “Amen.” And then the distribution of the bread and wine, over which the thanksgivings have been offered, is made to all present, and all partake of it.’ He adds that the elements are carried to the absent by the deacons, and that collections are made for poor widows, and orphans, and sick, and prisoners.”

Life application: Regardless of whether these believers gathered on Saturday night after the Sabbath or at some point during the day on Sunday, the church was gathered on Sunday. The reason that the Sabbath is mentioned at all by Luke, as a means of counting the days, would be because Paul would have observed the Sabbath in order to not be an offense to Jews (1 Corinthians 9:20).

Luke, knowing this, is explaining things from the perspective of Paul’s conduct. However, Paul’s instruction to the church, not his personal habits, is what direct doctrine. Just because Paul may or may not have observed a Sabbath, that has no bearing on what he taught. Also, the words that he was set to travel the next day show that there were no restrictions concerning Sabbath observance transferred to the new day of worship, meaning Sunday.

Those who impose Sabbath standards for Saturday worship, or who move those Sabbath standards to Sundays, are not working in accord with our freedom in Christ, which Paul writes about in Romans 14:5, Galatians 4:10, or Colossians 2:16. The Sabbath belonged to the Jewish people alone. It was never transferred to the church, even if Jews in the church continue to conduct their weeks in accord with the Jewish weekly calendar.

Those who have come to Christ have entered the rest that the Sabbath only anticipated (Hebrews 4:3). Exercise your freedom in Christ and do not be led down a path of false piety, nor to the observance of things that were mere shadows of the substance that has come in Jesus.

Heavenly Father, we are grateful to you for the full, finished, final, and forever work of Jesus Christ. Now, and in Him, we have the freedom to worship You in spirit and in truth. May we hold fast to Him and cling to You through His completion of all things necessary to restore us to Your presence. Thank You, O God, for Jesus our Lord. Amen.








Acts 20:6

Snow on the Cascade Mountains.

Thursday, 7 September 2023

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. Acts 20:6

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verses, it noted that some of those traveling with Paul went ahead of him to Troas. However, Luke accompanied Paul by ship. That can be discerned from the next words, “But we.”

Luke includes himself in the narrative. He and Paul “sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread.”

The word “Bread” should be italicized. The Greek simply gives the adjective azumos, not leavened. The timing shows that the span spent in Corinth was the winter months. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is in the spring. Having left that area and going through the area of Macedonia, they met up with Luke in Philippi. With Unleavened Bread complete, Luke obviously decided to join him on his trip and sailed with him. From there, it says, “and in five days joined them at Troas.”

The Greek reads “until five days.” It is a way of indicating the duration of the voyage between Philippi and Troas. In Acts 16, the same trip appears to have taken only three days. The reason for the longer trip could be either because there was a contrary wind as they traveled eastward, or it could be that they made a few more stops to offload and onload cargo.

Either way, Luke’s providing the specific timeframes shows his meticulous nature. He carefully records such things, providing details often not found in other narratives that he later compiled. Once having reached Troas, Luke next says, “where we stayed seven days.”

Although it is impossible to know for certain, it is generally accepted (and likely) that they stayed a full week to ensure they could participate in one week of fellowship together. This will be seen in the coming verse.

Life application: It is known from this verse that Paul observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Based on this, Judaizers are adamant that we too must observe the Feasts of the Lord. This is obviously wrong for several reasons.

First, Paul was a Jew. Gentiles are not Jews. Gentiles were never given the law, and Christ fulfilled the law, setting it aside through His work. As this is so, it makes as much sense as making a tennis puck to observe something never mandated and which is now obsolete.

Even Paul did not feel compelled to do such things any longer. He clearly indicates that we (including himself) are not under law but under grace. That is found in Romans 6:14, 15 –

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!”

Second, Paul clearly dismisses such observances in Colossians 2:16, 17 –

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”

Dietary laws, Sabbaths, and feast observances simply anticipated Christ. They have no substance but are mere shadows that anticipated Him.

Third, Paul explicitly explains what we are to do at Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 –

“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

The words “let us keep the feast,” meaning the feast that Paul just got done observing, do not mean “observe as Israel observed.” Rather, he explains that the physical rites observed by Israel anticipated spiritual truths. He does this with the words, “not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

This is exactly what he meant in Colossians 2. The physical rites of Israel were mere shadows that pointed to spiritual truths. Keeping the feast for a week each year is replaced with living in sincerity and truth throughout the year. The feasts only anticipated our lives in Christ.

If this is so, then why did Paul observe the feast? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 9 –

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Paul’s actions were to bring people to Christ. If that meant observing a now obsolete fest, he was up to it. If it means having a super yummy pulled-pork sandwich at Demetrio’s Diner, he was up to it. Paul’s only goal was to have people come to Christ.

Don’t allow uneducated, legalistic people to ruin your walk with Christ through such silly notions as “It is pleasing to God to observe these points of the law.” If you must observe any point of the law, you must observe the entire law – perfectly. Choosing the law over the grace of Christ is a self-condemning act. You do not have the right to pick and choose which laws you will observe and which you will not. You have placed the entire burden of the law on your shoulders. Good luck with that.

Lord God Almighty, thank You for the grace which is found in Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us to never fall back on our own supposed deeds of personal righteousness, assuming that they can make us right before You. Instead, may we hold fast to what Jesus has done and live our lives from that perspective. Thank You for the freedom we have because of Your grace lavished upon us. Amen.





Acts 20:5

Mountain and river in the Cascades.

Wednesday, 6 September 2023

These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. Acts 20:5

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The verse more correctly reads: “And these, having gone ahead, waited for us in Troas” (CG).

The previous verse listed seven men who had accompanied Paul on the journey. Of them, it next says, “And these, having gone ahead, waited for us in Troas.”

At first, one might think that it is referring to all seven. However, the Greek may indicate that it was only Tychicus and Trophimus that went on ahead. This is not unlikely because they were from that area, and therefore they may have been the only two to head that way. If so, then the other five went with Paul.

The word “us” indicates that Luke has now joined them in Philippi. The last we/us section was also in Philippi. That was in Acts 16. Therefore, it appears that Luke stayed there during all this time. Possibly he pastored a church or did medical work there. Only speculation is possible, but his connection to Philippi seems assured.

There are two good reasons for the arrangement of this verse. First, Paul could then observe the Passover at Philippi as the next verse will show. Therefore, it is certain that this time of year was already becoming a celebration of the cross and the resurrection, as Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8 and 1 Corinthians 15:20. Also, second, it would allow for all the believers at Troas to come together to meet with Paul upon his arrival.

Life application: It is common among various heretical Christian sects to claim that believers must adhere to the Law of Moses in part or in whole. For some, celebrating the Leviticus 23 Feasts of the Lord is mandatory. And yet, Paul dispels that notion in Colossians 2 –

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Colossians 2:16, 17

The “sabbaths” are the weekly Sabbath observances noted in Leviticus 23:1, along with special Sabbaths specifically noted in the Law. The “festival” refers to the individual annual feasts of Leviticus 23. These only anticipated the coming of Jesus. They are fulfilled in Him, and it is pointless to observe them now, except in the sense of remembrance of what He has done.

To reinsert law observance is to diminish or ignore the purpose of the coming of Jesus. It is, in essence, another path of working one’s way to heaven. That is an infinite climb that no man can make. Set aside such things. Look to the cross and consider the words, “It is finished.” That is where our faith should rest.

Glorious God, thank You for all You have done for us. May Your glorious name ever be praised as we look to the cross of Jesus and find our hope, our assurance, our peace, and our rest. May we never diminish the glory of what He has done by trying to earn what is offered by grace. All hail the name of Jesus, who alone has secured our path back to You. Amen.






Acts 20:4

Moutain peaks. Washington state.

Tuesday, 5 September 2023

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. Acts 20:4

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The verse more exactingly reads: “And there accompanied him as far as Asia Sopater, a Berean; and Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius a Derbite and Timothy; and Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus” (CG).

In the previous verse, a plot against Paul by the Jews caused him to cancel his sailing trip to Syria. Instead, he returned through Macedonia. Along with Paul, seven other people are mentioned as going to Asia with him.

These would have been the people selected to go with him to Jerusalem to present the gift to the church. They would then have all been in Corinth with him, intending to travel by ship when he went. Instead, they have all taken the longer trip with him. The naming of these individuals begins with, “And there accompanied him as far as Asia Sopater, a Berean.”

Rather than “of Berea,” as some translations state, the designation is an adjective, “a Berean.” Some think that Sopater is the same as Sosipater, who is mentioned along with Timothy and others in Romans 16:21. The name occurs on an arch in the area of Thessalonica. If he is the same person, he may have been one of the politarchs of Thessalonica. He is identified here, however, as a Berean. Next, it says, “and Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus.”

Aristarchus worked with Paul at Ephesus and had been in the riot there (Acts 19:29). Secundus isn’t mentioned elsewhere, but if his name is aligned with Tertius of Romans 16:22 and Quartus in Romans 16:23, then he may have been their brother. Secundus means Second, Tertius means Third, and Quartus means Fourth.

They may have been either the sons of one man who chose to name his sons this way, or they could have been born slaves and named according to their birth in that way. The only name missing is Primus, which would be the First, and it was not an unknown name at the time. The verse continues with, “and Gaius a Derbite and Timothy.”

Gaius may be the same Gaius in Acts 19:29 (but there he is referred to as a traveling partner from Macedonia) and 1 Corinthians 1:14. The term used to describe him is also an adjective, not a noun. Hence, he is a Derbite. Timothy is Paul’s faithful friend and companion first mentioned in Acts 16:1 and who is mentioned many times in Acts and Paul’s epistles. The verse ends with, “and Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.”

Tychicus means Fortunate or Fortuitous. It is the Greek equivalent of Felix. It was a common name of the time. He is mentioned five times in the New Testament – Here in Acts, Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:7, 2 Timothy 4:12, and Titus 3:12. He is well spoken of.

Trophimus comes from trophé, meaning food or nourishment. Thus, according to Strong’s, the name means something like Nutritive. However, others think it signifies something like Nursling or Foster Child. He is found again in Acts 21 and then in 2 Timothy 4:20 in a classic verse concerning health in relation to New Testament teachings on the misused doctrine of faith healing. That there were seven with Paul may be a subtle connection to the seven deacons found in Acts 6.

Life application: As noted, Trophimus is mentioned later in 2 Timothy 4:20. There, it says –

“Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.”

Paul was an apostle who had been granted special powers. At times, his influence alone was able to heal without him even being present. Each time that he was able to heal, it was for a set purpose. At other times, he was unable to heal. Such instances are recorded for us to understand, in advance, that the claims of “faith healers” are false.

There is no such things as faith healers in Scripture, and there is no guidance for its practice. Rather, the Bible asks us to pray for the healing of others and to allow God to respond according to His wisdom. Hence, we can say that faith healing is possible, but faith healers are false. Such people who make claims like this should not be listened to. Rather, read the Bible, and accept that people get sick, and some will die.

We are to accept God’s providential care for us, praying for His hand of healing or for His hand of comfort in our afflictions or loss. In all things, let us not lose heart but be people of faith as we continue on life’s path.

Heavenly Father, we know that You can and will heal if it is according to Your will. You can do all things, but sometimes it is not in Your plan to do so. Help us to remain faithful when times of trial and testing come about. May we understand that Your plan is far greater than our temporary health or happiness. We bow to You and will follow, even through the valleys that may test us. Amen.













Acts 20:3

Mountains of Washington.

Monday, 4 September 2023

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. Acts 20:3

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The words more accurately read, “having made three months, a plot against him having been made by the Jews, being about to sail to Syria, there arose in him a resolution to return through Macedonia.”

In the previous verse, it noted Paul’s having encouraged those in Macedonia and then his traveling to Greece. Now, it says of his time in Greece, “having made three months.”

During these three months, he would have gathered together the gift for the churches in Jerusalem which is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16:1-3. Probably most of the time was spent with those in the Corinthian church, as 1 Corinthians 16:6 seemed to indicate was his desire.

It is during this time that he would have written Romans. This can be deduced because he had not yet been to Rome and that he was on his way to Jerusalem to deliver the gift, as mentioned in Romans 15:25-27.

In the letter to the Romans, he greets Aquila and Priscilla, meaning they had probably left the area earlier at the same time Paul did – after the incident of the riot stirred up by Demetrius. If they had helped Paul, they would have needed to leave quickly as well.

It appears that the edict expelling the Jews from Rome had ended by this time. Additionally, it seems that Timothy and Sosipater (Sopater), who was one of the noble Bereans, were there as he wrote Romans. That is seen in Romans 16:21. These details fit with verse 20:4. The account is orderly and well documented.

With these three months complete, it next says, “a plot against him having been made by the Jews.”

It is a common theme in Acts that has been seen and will be seen again. Probably the main reason for this is not simply the spreading of the news that Jesus is the Messiah, but that Jesus had fulfilled the law and it was now set aside in Him. With that accomplished, salvation was available to all, Jews and Gentiles, apart from the law.

Because of his adamant stand of salvation by grace through faith being granted to anyone who accepted the premise, he was hated even to the point of enraging those Jews who heard him. With this hatred boiling in them, they looked for opportune moments to eliminate him. Understanding this, it next says, “being about to sail to Syria.”

Paul was going to leave Greece and travel by ship directly to Syria. Any stops by the ship would be for the sake of off-loading cargo and obtaining new supplies at each port as they went.

As far as the plot against him, it seems the Jews heard that he was carrying the gift to Jerusalem, or at least that he was headed there, and they wanted to either arrest him at the port or even once on the ship. Or what may be just as probable, is that they wanted to eliminate him at sea by killing him and chucking him into the water at a convenient time. Because he had heard of the plot, however, “there arose in him a resolution to return through Macedonia.”

Instead of going by ship to Syria, he took a much more roundabout way of getting home by heading up through Macedonia once again – either by land or maybe sailing up the coast on another vessel, something the Jews would not have expected. Despite this delay, those in Macedonia were then favored by another visit from their beloved apostle.

Life application: Things haven’t changed that much, even after two thousand years. There are still Jews much like Paul (Saul) in Israel who literally hate the Messianic believers in Israel. They despise the thought of the gospel that robs them of their elite status as Jews, superior to all others.

Despite not upholding the law themselves, they see the law and their culture as being the epitome of God’s favor. Along with this are those heretical Christians who proclaim law observance, clinging to their own deeds as acceptable before God. They refuse to come to Christ through faith alone, and they bitterly oppose any who dare to challenge their unscriptural doctrine.

This is a real problem in the world, and it can only lead to being separated eternally from God. Those who think they are the ones to receive His favor, most especially because of their relationship with the Law of Moses, are those who will never satisfy Him through their attempts. But self gets in the way and the wall is built, one brick of work at a time, forever separating themselves from the righteousness of God in Christ.

Be sure to hold fast to God’s grace. Remove yourself from the equation. Have faith in the merits of Christ alone and you will be accepted by God. Jesus! It is all about Jesus!

Glorious Lord God, thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord who alone can reconcile us to You. We gladly receive the grace offered through His cross. Yes, thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.