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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 20 - Verse 33

Verse 33. I have coveted. I have not desired. I have not made it an object of my living among you to obtain your property. Thus 2 Co 12:14 he says, "I seek not yours, but you." Paul had power to demand support in the ministry as the reward of his labour, 1 Co 9:13,14. Yet he did not choose to exercise it, lest it should bring the charge of avarice against the ministry, 1 Co 9:12,15. Paul also had power in another respect. He had a vast influence over the people. The early Christians were disposed to commit their property to the disposal of the apostles. See Ac 4:34,35,37.

The heathen had been accustomed to devote their property to the support of religion. Of this propensity, if the object of Paul had been to make money, he might have availed himself, and have become enriched. Deceivers often thus impose on people for the purpose of amassing wealth; and one of the incidental but striking proofs of the Christian religion is here furnished, in the appeal which the apostle Paul made to his hearers, that this had not been his motive for action. If it had been, how easy would it have been for them to have contradicted him! and who, in such circumstances, would have dared to make such an appeal? The circumstances of the case, therefore, prove that the object of the apostle was not to amass wealth. And this fact is an important proof of the truth of the religion which he defended. What should have induced him to labour and toil in this manner, but a conviction of the truth of Christianity? And if he really believed it was true, it is, in his circumstances, a strong proof that this religion is from heaven. See this proof stated in Faber's "Difficulties of Infidelity," and in Lord Lyttleton's "Letter on the Conversion of St. Paul."

Or apparel. Raiment. Changes of raiment among the ancients, as at present among the orientals, constituted an important part of their property, See Barnes "Mt 6:19".

 

{c} "I have coveted" 1 Sa 12:3; 1 Co 7:12.

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