Summary of Acts 20:1-12
Paul heads out to Macedonia encouraging the people and then arrives in Greece where he stayed 3 months. Intending to sail back home but having to change plans because of a plot against him by the Jews, Paul travels back through Macedonia overland. He was accompanied by representatives of various churches since he was purportedly carrying a large amount of famine relief money with him.
Paul arrives in Troas where he speaks all night to a group of people before his final departure to Jerusalem. A young man named Eutychus was seated in a window when he fell out of it during Paul’s long sermon and dies. Paul then throws himself on the man, wraps his arms around him, and brings him back to life. Then Paul continues with his sermon until daybreak.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 4: Acts 20:1-12
10) Encouragement is “the act of giving someone support, confidence or hope,” according to online dictionaries. Paul would have encouraged them by praying for them, staying positive, and telling them of a future home with Jesus — the same way we would today.
11) Part Personal Question. My answer: There was Sopater, son oe Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. I learn that Paul’s journey changed many times due to hardships and avoiding those who would do him harm. Yet, he always ends up where he was headed and where God is putting him. This is a great lesson for us as we often take the circuitous route to our destination — and that’s ok!
12) Part Personal Question. My answer: Eutychus fell asleep late at night as Paul was talking and fell three stories. He died, but Paul performed a miracle by laying on him, bringing him back to life. I can minister through prayer and daily care of needs.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 4: Acts 20:1-12
I would hope if I feel asleep during preaching that someone would catch me before I fell! So many times we all get caught up in the perfection of God that we forget that we’re all human. Here we see the recording of a basic human need — sleep. Great stuff!
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 4: Acts 20:1-12
Paul is now in Macedonia in Greece, home to Alexander the Great when he lived.
Paul spent his time working with the churches he had already established, as recorded in Acts 16-17.,and collecting money for them.
The Book of Acts never specifically mentions a visit by Paul to Illyricum, but it may fit in here at Acts 20:2-3, Illyricum is due west from Thessalonica, and there was a famous Roman Road (the Via Egnatia) that went between Thessalonica and the Roman province of Illyricum. Today, the area of Illyricum is modern day Albania, on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, with the mainland of Italy westward across the water.
The mention of Illyricum in Romans 15:19 reminds us that the Book of Acts is by no means a complete accounting of all that God did through His people in the first century. There is much, even in the life of the Apostle Paul, that is not described – not to mention the life and work of many, many others.
From Greece, Paul had planned to take the long journey by sea directly back to Syria (where his sending church at Antioch was), but the plotting of some anti-Christian Jews made him take a more overland route back through Macedonia, accompanied by many companions.
These traveling companions of Paul were probably representatives from other churches who had sent money with Paul to Jerusalem. They were also present as ambassadors from the churches Paul has founded among the Gentiles, and were there to vouch for Paul’s good stewardship in regard to the collection destined for Jerusalem.
Aristarchus’ name was connected with aristocracy, the ruling class. It’s likely that he came from a wealthy and powerful family. Secundus was a common name for a slave. It meant “Second.” Slaves were often not called by their true names, and the first-ranking slave in a household would often be called Primus. The second-ranking slave was often called Secundus.
Paul sailed back across the Agean Sea, eastward towards the Roman province of Asia Minor.
Luke has resumed the we narrative that he uses when he travels with Paul. He met Paul in Philippi and then sailed with Paul to Troas where they met Paul’s other traveling companions. Paul had left Luke in Philippi in Acts 16:40.
This is the first certain example we have of Christians making a practice to gather together on the first day of the week for fellowship and the word – though here, it seems they gathered in the evening, because Sunday was a normal working day for them.
Eutychus Falls Asleep in Church
The combination of the late hour, the heat, and perhaps the fumes from the oil lamps made the young man Eutychus fall asleep. His fall and death certainly would have put a sour note on the meeting.
It is comforting for any preacher to think that people might fall asleep during the preaching of even the Apostle Paul. Yet, Paul taught for many hours and after a long day of work for most of his audience. God made us need sleep.
I don’t know many of us who can sit through a 6 hour sermon until midnight after having been up since daybreak, working in the fields performing manual labor as we have to assume Eutychus was (that’s why Paul was preaching at night because everyone worked during that day).
We are also told there were many lamps. Lamps in Paul’s time were oil lamps and gave off a lot of smoke and fumes (unhealthy to breath). We’re not talking kerosene here. The fuel was most likely olive oil. We can also assume there’s a lot of people packed into a tiny space to hear Paul before he leaves (another reason Eutychus may have been sitting on the window).
So here’s Eutychus breathing in all these fumes, probably sweating from all the people and the heat from the lamps, being lulled to sleep by Paul because he’s exhausted, and he falls out the window. I would have too!
Why wouldn’t Paul show compassion? What’s he gonna do? Blame the guy? Doubt it. Eutychus died because he was eager to hear the word of God and couldn’t overcome his exhaustion that was not caused by any fault of his own. It was the times he lived in. Naps were non-existent back then for most people.
In the end, God made humans and humans require sleep. It’s not something we can go without. Trust me, I’ve pulled enough all-nighters in my college days to know this is horrible for the body
I see no fault here whatsoever with Eutychus falling asleep, and I believe Luke told the story either as a diligent reporter who was recording Paul’s travels or to show the dedication of believers. I don’t think he ever intended it as a warning that “If we fall asleep in church we’re doomed to Hell.”