Acts 20:17-38

Paul meets with the leaders of the believers

17 When we were in Miletus, Paul sent someone to Ephesus with a message. This message was for the leaders of the believers in Ephesus. Paul asked them to come to Miletus to meet him there. 18 When they arrived, Paul said to them, ‘You yourselves know about everything that I did here in Asia. You saw how I lived from the first day that I arrived in this region. I was with you for the whole time. 19 I did not say that I was an important man. Instead, I worked as a servant of the Lord Jesus. I often was sad because of trouble that came to me. Some Jewish people spoke against my message. They wanted to hurt me. 20 But I have not been afraid to teach God's message. I have taught you everything that would help you. I have done this outside for everyone to hear. I have also taught you in your own homes. 21 I have taught the same things both to Jewish people and to Gentiles. I have said clearly to them all, “You must stop doing wrong things. Change the way that you live and turn to God. Believe in our Lord Jesus.”

22 Now I am going to Jerusalem. God's Holy Spirit has shown me that I must go there. I do not know what will happen to me there. 23 But I do know that much trouble will come to me. The Holy Spirit has told me about that. He said to me, “People will put you in prison and they will hurt you.” 24 But even if people kill me, this is not important to me. The Lord Jesus gave me some work to do. It is important that I finish his work. I must tell people the good news about how kind and good God is.

25 I have lived among you and I have taught you all about the kingdom of God. But now I know that none of you will see me again. 26 So I want to say this clearly to you today. If any of you have not believed in Jesus, it is not because of me. 27 I have told you everything that God wants you to know. 28 You leaders should be careful about how you live. Also help the people that the Holy Spirit has chosen you to lead. Lead all the groups of believers well. Keep them safe like shepherds who take care of their sheep. All the believers belong to God because Jesus died for them. He bought them with his blood which poured out on the cross.

29 I know that trouble will come to you after I leave. Bad people will come to teach you. They will cause trouble for the believers, like dangerous wild animals that attack sheep. 30 Even men from your own group of believers will teach things that are not true. They will want other believers to leave you and to join with them. 31 So, be very careful! For three years I taught you, in the day and in the night. I told you to be careful. I even cried because I wanted to help you.

32 Now I ask God to keep you safe. I brought God's message to you, which tells us how kind he is. That message will cause you to be strong. As a result, God will give to you all the good things that he has for his special people. 33 When I stayed among you, I did not ask you to give me money or clothes. 34 You yourselves know that I worked with my hands. I did that to get money. Then my friends and I could have the things that we needed. 35 In this way I have shown you how you should live. You should work well so that you may help sick or weak people. You should remember what Jesus himself said: “It may make you happy when you receive things. But it makes you more happy when you give things to someone.” ’

36 Then Paul finished speaking. He went down on his knees together with the leaders of the believers. He prayed with them all. 37 They all cried a lot, because Paul was going to leave them. They put their arms round him and kissed him in a friendly way. 38 They were very, very sad because Paul had said, ‘I will never see you again.’

After that, they walked with Paul to the ship to say ‘goodbye’.