Yes, you yourselves know, that these hands have ministered to my necessities, and to them that were with me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)These hands have ministered unto my necessities.—The words clearly cover the whole three years of the Apostle’s ministry at Ephesus. The partnership with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:3) continued. Philemon was probably a sharer in it (Philemon 1:17). And the Apostle had not been satisfied with working for himself, but ministered also to “those who were with him.” His teaching in 2Thessalonians 3:10 makes it improbable that he would have thus laboured to maintain others who were able-bodied in idleness, and the words that immediately follow make it almost certain that we must confine the statement to those who were suffering from infirmity. In 1Corinthians 4:12, written, it will be remembered, from Ephesus, we have an undesigned coincidence confirming the statement.Acts 18:3); and he refers elsewhere to the fact that he had supported himself, in part at least, by his own labor, 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8. We may hence learn that it is no discredit to a minister to labor. Whatever it may be to a people who put him under a necessity to toil for his support, yet the example of Paul shows that a man should rejoice in the privilege of preaching the gospel, even if it is done while he is obliged to resort to labor for his daily bread. It is well when a minister of the gospel can make an appeal to his people like this of Paul, and say, "I have coveted no man's gold, or silver, or apparel." Every minister should so live that he can make this appeal to their own consciences of the sincerity and disinterestedness of his labors from the pulpit; or when called to separate from them as Paul did; or when on a dying bed. Every minister of the gospel, when be comes to lie down to die, will desire to be able to make this appeal, and to leave a solemn testimony there, that it was not for gold, or ease, or fame, that he toiled in the ministerial office. How much more influence will such a man have than he who has been worldly-minded; he who has sought to become rich; and he, the only memorials of whose life is, that he has sought "the fleece, not the flock" - that he has gained the property, not the souls of people.
have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me—See Ac 18:3; 1Co 4:12; 9:6, written from Ephesus; also 1Th 2:9.Acts 18:3 1 Corinthians 4:12 1 Thessalonians 2:9; which he gives an account of, 2 Thessalonians 3:8, to have been done only that in such a juncture, they being poor, and the false teachers watching all advantages against him, he might not then be chargeable to them.
that these hands have ministered unto my necessities; meaning, that he had wrought with his hands, which he then held up, or stretched out, at tent making, along with Aquila and Priscilla, at Ephesus, as he had done before at Corinth, Acts 18:2 and therewith supplied himself with necessaries for food and clothing; for though he had a power, as a minister of the Gospel, to forbear working, and to insist upon a maintenance from the churches, yet in some cases, and in some places, he chose rather to forego that, lest he should either any ways hinder the progress of the Gospel at the first preaching of it, or be burdensome to the churches, or give the false teachers any handle against him; and he not only supported himself in this way, but assisted others also:
and to them that were with me; as Luke, Timothy, and others; see Acts 20:4.Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 20:34. αὐτοὶ: placed first for emphasis, so too emphasised in Acts 2:22, Acts 16:37, Acts 18:15. In 1 Corinthians 4:12 we may see an undesigned coincidence, and cf. the word κοπιῶντας in Acts 20:35, Paley, H.P., iii., 6.—ταῖς χρείαις μου καὶ τοῖς αὖσι μετʼ ἐμοῦ: so the work of the Christian convert ἐργαζ. τὸ ἀγ. ταῖς χερσίν is to be done ἵνα ἔχῃ μεταδιδόναι τῷ χρείαν ἔχοντι, Ephesians 4:28, and for the word χρεία as used by St. Paul elsewhere in same sense, cf. Romans 12:13, Php 2:25; Php 4:16, Titus 3:14.—ὑπηρέτησαν: only in Acts 13:36, used by Paul, Acts 24:23, used of Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1); Wis 16:24.—αὗται: “callosæ, ut videtis,” Bengel, so Blass; quite in Paul’s manner, cf. Acts 26:29, Acts 28:20; so also πάντα, 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Corinthians 10:33; 1 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 4:15. Paul pursued his trade at Ephesus probably with Aquila and Priscilla, possibly with Philemon, Philemon 1:17.34. Yea, ye yourselves know] The oldest texts omit “Yea.” The working in company with Aquila and Priscilla, which the Apostle began in Corinth, was probably continued when they came together to Ephesus, and so the Apostle’s trade and his steady pursuit of it would be well known to many of the listeners. It has been suggested that he was a partner in trade-matters with Philemon during this residence at Ephesus. Cp. Philemon 1:17.
that these hands have ministered] No doubt, he held them forth, and they bore marks that not only while at Ephesus, but since that time they had laboured for the means of living.
unto … them that were with me] We cannot determine under what circumstances the Apostle felt himself called upon to minister by his hand-labour to the support of his companions. We may be sure however that the necessity was there, and that St Paul, working himself, did not countenance indolence in others. And when we read of Timothy’s “often infirmities” (1 Timothy 5:23) we may conjecture that there were those among the companions of St Paul who were less able to work with the hands than the Apostle himself.Acts 20:34. Αὗται, these) which are hardened with labour, as ye see.Verse 34. - Ye for yea ye, A.V. and T.R.; ministered for have ministered, A.V. These hands (see 1 Corinthians 4:12, written from Ephesus a few months before).
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