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Home » Daily Readings

Tend the Church of God

Submitted by on Wednesday, 27 May 2009No Comment

Acts20_28-38

 

Acts 20:28-38 is part of Paul’s farewell speech to the elders of the Ephesians. He was at Miletus when he had them called to him. He has had premonitions that this may be the last time he will meet his collaborators (v. 23.25). I have written something about the Farewell Discourse genre here. To be noted in this speech are the following:

1. Paul bids the elders to tend “the Church of God that he acquired with his own blood.” The Iglesya ni Manalo are careful to use the Lamsa translation of this verse. George Lamsa has created his own New Testament based on what he considers to be the original language, Aramaic. The Lamsa translation has been shown to be bogus, but the Iglesya ni Manalo use it to promote their ideology. On this part of the discourse, Lamsa gives this translation: “the Church of Christ that he acquired with his own blood…” Lamsa is a Nestorian and so does not share in the profession of Christ’s divinity. For this reason he has found it more correct to write “Church of Christ” instead of “Church of God” as found in the Greek document because of the phrase that follows: “that he acquired with his own blood”. He found it necessary to change the original wording because he could not accept that God acquired the Church with his own blood. The Iglesya ni Manalo too would prefer that translation for obvious reasons. However, Greek text here reads “Church of God”; “Church (singular) of Christ” never appears in the New Testament.

2. Paul warns the elders of “savage wolves” who will not spare the flock. The reference is to “men from your own ranks who will be perverting the truth to draw the disciples away” (v. 30) The same warning is found in the epistles, both Pauline and Catholic.

3. Paul attributes to the Lord Jesus a saying that does not appear in the written gospels: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Here is a case where apostolic memory records something that the written gospels do not.

Acts 20:28-38
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28Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31Therefore watch, keeping in memory, that for three years I ceased not, with tears to admonish every one of you night and day.
32And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, who is able to build up, and to give an inheritance among all the sanctified.
33I have not coveted any man's silver, gold, or apparel, as
34You yourselves know: for such things as were needful for me and them that are with me, these hands have furnished.
35I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the word of the Lord Jesus, how he said: It is a more blessed thing to give, rather than to receive.
36And when he had said these things, kneeling down, he prayed with them all.
37And there was much weeping among them all; and falling on the neck of Paul, they kissed him,
38Being grieved most of all for the word which he had said, that they should see his face no more. And they brought him on his way to the ship.

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