Acts 20: 1-16

After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.

But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

Understanding And Applying the Text

Ephesus had calmed down. I am sure it was an uneasy peace. Things could erupt again. But God called Paul to plant churches among the Gentiles. God did not call Paul to be the minister at Ephesus. So Paul needed to leave. Paul called the disciples in Ephesus together. He embraced them. He encouraged them. Then he left for the Roman providence of Macedonia. While in Macedonia, Paul may have extended his ministry as far as Illyricum. (Rom. 15:19) Illyricum is modern Albania.

After going through Macedonia Paul went to Greece. He spent three months in Greece. He wintered in Corinth in A.D 56-57. During this time he wrote Romans (Rom. 15:26; 16:23, 24).

Once again Paul’s life was in danger. They uncovered a plot by the Jews to kill him as he was about to sail for Syria. So Paul changed his plans and went through Macedonia. Why change? He was about to leave anyway. The reason could be the plan was to kill Paul aboard the ship. We could understand this to mean Paul was already aboard the ship when they discovered the plot. Or it could be the plot was to kill him on the way to the ship. The context is not clear. Either explanation would answer why Paul decided to go another way.

Luke indicates that several continued by ship and met up at Troas. Luke said “waiting for us at Traos” This indicates he went with Paul. Luke and Paul sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread. The days of Unleavened Bread refer to the week following Passover. This was an agricultural festival. It commemorated the beginning of harvest. It was seven days long beginning on the fifteenth day of the month Nisan (March-April). It was later combined with Passover.

The day before Paul left Troas. The disciples came together to break bread. It was the first day of the week, that is, Sunday or the Lord’s day. It was the day after the Hebrew Sabbath. The breaking of bread could refer to having a meal together.

I would understand this to mean they celebrated the holy supper. This is more probable for several reasons. First, this was no small gathering. It is unlikely they could prepare a supper in a private house for that crowd. Second in verse 11, Luke tells us Paul ate the bread after midnight, not at supper time. They had come together for worship on the first day of the week. This was the Lord’s day. Paul spoke to the gathering. This was a Sunday preaching-teaching service.

As a parenthetical note, Luke tells us there were many lamps in the upper room where they met. This was not a secret meeting. They were not trying to hide this meeting from anyone.

Paul spoke to the disciples in Troas the day before he left. Paul wanted them to understand the gospel. He wanted them grounded in the faith. So he spoke a long, long time, He spoke past midnight. Luke does not tell us when he started. But Luke does tell us Paul prolonged his speech.

As Paul spoke a young man fell asleep in the window. This window was on the third floor. When the young man fell asleep he fell out of the window and died. You could say Paul literally talked him to death.

I am going to take a minority position on Eutychus. I can find no commentator who agrees with me. So, the probability I am wrong is high. But here it is. I do not believe the young man died when he fell from the window. The Greek word used means died. There is no doubt about that. This would detract from my position. The fact that the word is sometimes used as a figure of speech does not help my position either.

I come to this because of the context. In verse 10 Paul said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” In other words, he ain’t dead. Paul did not mention anything about the Lord raising him. Paul said he was still alive. My position is he appeared dead. Everyone assumed he was dead after such a fall.

As I said, this is a minority position. And as far as I can tell a minority of one. Every translation I have titled this section “Eutychus Raised From the Dead.” None of them say, Eutychus Revived.” So, while I think this is the correct interpretation, the weigh of learned opinion is against me.

Agree with me or not. My hope is my argument inspires you to study the scripture with care. Watch for contextual hints in the scripture.

When Eutychus fell out of the window he interrupted Paul’s sermon. I cannot tell with certainty what Paul did. The ESV says Paul bent over him. The ASV and KJV say Paul fell on him The NET says Paul threw himself on the young man. The ASV and KJV make it sound like Paul tripped. The ESV makes it sound like Paul knelt down beside him. The NET makes is out like Paul intentionally fell on top of Eutychus. Strong’s Greek dictionary says the Greek word means: embrace (with affection) seize (with more or less violence; – fall into (on, upon), lie on, press upon.

Whatever happened Paul announce the young man was alive. Paul went back upstairs. He then participated in the Lord’s supper. Then Paul preached some more. He did not stop preaching until dawn.

Paul went by land to Assos. Luke at least some of the party traveled to Assos by sea. Scripture does not tell us why they split up. When they both arrived in Assos they took Paul aboard and went on to Mitylene.

Paul sailed past Ephesus because he was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem before Pentecost.

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