Acts 20:1-6

1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia.

2 Now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece

3 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.

4 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.

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

6 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.

The record before us is very brief. Some have thought the reason is the fact that the apostle had turned aside from Him given ministry and therefore the Holy Spirit had nothing to report. We do believe that this is correct. — Gaebelein, page 340.


Macedonia (v.1) — According to his declared intention (19:21), though his departure was expedited by the riot. He sailed by a coasting vessel, trans-shipping at Troas, where he tarried for a time expecting Titus who had been dispatched on special business to Corinth, probably bearing with him the First Epistle to the Corinthians. While he waited for Titus, special opportunities presented themselves for work in Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12). But on account of his anxiety for news from Corinth, aggravated, it would seem, by a serious illness and by distress about the condition of the Galatian churches (2 Corinthians 1:8-10), he curtailed his campaign in Troas and passed on to Macedonia (2 Corinthians 2:13).

Ramsay suggests that Titus, unable to cross the open sea out of the sailing season, had to take a coasting voyage via Macedonia, and so was much delayed. Of course, also, Paul had arrived at Troas much earlier than had been originally contemplated. The two finally met in Macedonia, probably in Philippi (2 Corinthians 7:5-7). It is strange that Titus is not mentioned in the Acts as he plays so important a part in the third missionary journey and afterwards. He was clearly a Greek. In Macedonia, Paul met also Timothy again, possibly at Thessalonica. — Walker, page 431.


gone over (v.2) — His itinerating tour would, of course, include Philippi, Berea and Thessalonica — and seems to have been extended as far as Illyricum, a province bordering on the Adriatic Sea, north of Macedonia (Romans 15:19). His attention was much occupied at this time in collecting alms from the Gentile churches for the poor at Jerusalem. The summer and autumn were spent over this Macedonian tour. To this period must be assigned his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, dispatched by Titus, who gladly undertook a second journey to Corinth, accompanied by two others. — Walker, pages 431-432.


three months (v.3) — That is December, January and February. During this time, he wrote and dispatched his great Epistle to the Romans sending it by Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2). Timothy and others united with him in sending greetings to the Roman Christians (Romans 16:21-23). We gather from its pages that his mind was set on going to Rome and the West, as also that he anticipated trouble in Jerusalem (Romans 15:22-33). — Walker, page 432.


accompanied (v.4) —We gather that this representative party must have been delegates of the Gentile churches, entrusted with contributions for the poor of Jerusalem. Paul had been urging these collections strongly in Galatia (1 Corinthians 16:1), Macedonia (2 Corinthians 8:1-4), Achaia (1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24), and doubtless in Asia also. He seems to have attached the greatest importance to them as a means of promoting unity between Jew and Gentile. Though these collections are not specifically mentioned in the Acts, they are alluded to in 24:17 (cf. Romans 15:25). he had himself suggested that the offerings should be entrusted to chosen delegates (1 Corinthians 16:3-4), to travel in his company. — Walker, page 433.


Sopater of Berea (v.4) — It is doubtful if he is to be identified with the Sosipater of Romans 16:21, who was with Paul at Corinth.

Aristarchus — see Acts 19:29

Secundus — We know nothing further of him. The three enumerated so far were clearly the Macedonian delegates. Luke himself may have been entrusted with the Philippian contributions when he joined the party at that city (v.6), as only Berea and Thessalonica are mentioned in this verse.

Gaius of Derbe — see Acts 19:29

Timothy — of Lystra (16:1). He and Gaius may have been the Galatian delegates.

Tychicus — We find him later, a valued fellow-worker with Paul at Rome, during the latter’s first imprisonment there. To him were entrusted the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon (Ephesians 6:21-22; Colossians 4:7-8). At a subsequent date, Paul speaks of possibly sending him to relieve Titus at Crete (Titus 3:12); and he is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:12 as having been recently sent by the apostle on a special mission to Ephesus. He was most probably an Ephesian.

Trophimus — He accompanied Paul to Jerusalem, and it was his presence there which led to the tumult in the temple (21:29). He was an Ephesian. The only other occurrence of his name is in 2 Timothy 4:20, where he is said to have been left by the apostle at Miletus sick on the eve of Paul’s second Roman imprisonment. He and Tychicus were the Asian delegates, and many are of the opinion that, though their names are included in this list, they were not actually present at Corinth, but joined the party in Asia. — Walker, pages 434-435.

us (v.5) — Luke accompanied Paul from here to Acts 20:15. Luke was last seen with Paul in Philippi (Acts 16:16), about seven years previously. He now rejoined him in Philippi — it may have been where Luke spent those years.

unleavened bread (v.6) — Passover

seven days (v.6) — probably waiting for a ship?

It appears from verses 4 to 6 that, to foil the assassins’ plot, seven of those who “accompanied” Paul “into Asia” boarded the ship to Troas as scheduled, as though there had been no change in plans, while Paul and his “beloved physician” went north from Macedonia and sailed from Philippi (or Neapolis, its nearby port) to meet the others at Troas. — Stam, pages 215-216.

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