Around AD 56, the apostle Paul prophesied that upon his departure, false teachers would infiltrate the Ephesian fellowship to lead them astray, and men from among the congregation would also rise up to corrupt the divinely established doctrinal truths (see also Ephesians 5:6-7). Although the Ephesians deserved praise for their dedication to Christ (Ephesians 1:15), Paul feared they would neglect their duty to love one another.
Soon after his exit, his dire prediction came true. Disputes arose, leading to division. Many drifted away, and the loving fellowship of earlier years began to wane (I Timothy 1:18-20; 4:1-3). Paul ordered Timothy to remain in Ephesus to combat these very problems (I Timothy 1:3-7), emphasizing that it was necessary to promote “love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,” from which many in the early church had strayed (Galatians 1:6-7).
Martin G. Collins
First Love (Part One)
Paul's address here to the Ephesian elders probably took place in the springtime of AD 56. He prophecies to them of apostasy and corrupt leadership that Peter, Jude, and John would later write about as it was happening.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Paul understood; he knew the history of the truth of God. He had the Old Testament, and so he knew that people could not hold on to the truth for very long. He knew that, in the days of Moses, a false religion was working. He could see that, if it happened back then, it would happen in his day too. The mystery of lawlessness was already at work (II Thessalonians 2:7; Galatians 1:6-7). Acts 20 was a little bit later than the early part of AD 50, when the books of Galatians and II Thessalonians were written, but the first seal—the first horseman—was already unleashed upon the world (Revelation 6:2; Matthew 24:3-5).
John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 4)
Regarding God's work changing its emphasis according to need and God's will, Acts 20:28-32 is especially interesting. Predicting that conditions would not always remain the same, Paul warns that significant events would trouble the church after his death. He felt it was critical that they pay special attention to feeding the flock through the Word of God, and in doing so the people would build spiritual strength. Clearly, God's focus, the church's focus, shifts occasionally to meet the spiritual needs of the church and His will.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing the Bride
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Acts 20:31:
Song of Solomon 1:1