Acts 20:14

ESV And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene.
NIV When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene.
NASB And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene.
CSB When he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went on to Mitylene.
NLT He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene.
KJV And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.

What does Acts 20:14 mean?

The voyage from Troas to Jerusalem will take Paul and his companions along the Aegean coast of Asia, the large province in southwest modern-day Turkey. They are nearing the end of a very circuitous journey. It started when Paul realized it was time for him to leave Ephesus. He had been there for three years, planting and building the church (Acts 20:31). He had planned to go to Corinth, which is just west across the sea from Ephesus. Sadly, he received a report that disturbed him greatly. Overwrought, he may have decided he was not in a good frame of mind to see the church in Corinth and decided to go north to Troas and across to Macedonia, instead (2 Corinthians 1:15–16, 23–24). Others believe the "painful visit" of 2 Corinthians 2:1 was this emotion-laden event.

After visiting Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, Paul and his companions continued south to Corinth. Paul had a tear-filled reconciliation and stayed for three months. He wanted to go to Jerusalem for Pentecost, and Corinth was a perfect place to catch a ship and sail to Caesarea Maritima on the Judean coast. Unfortunately, the Jewish leaders plotted against him and he realized his plan would be too dangerous. Instead, he backtracked up the coast of Greece and Macedonia and back to Troas (Acts 20:1–6, 16).

We don't know for certain why God allowed Paul's journey home to face so many challenges, but there are hints. He and Luke spend some time in Philippi before moving on; in fact, it seems Luke wouldn't have gone to Jerusalem had Paul not had to retrace his steps. If Luke hadn't gone to Jerusalem, he wouldn't have been able to interview Mary and the other witnesses of Jesus' life to write his Gospel.

In addition, Paul is able to spend a night with the church in Troas, building their faith and answering their questions. Soon, he will reach Miletus and call the elders of the church in Ephesus to him. Paul knows that when he reaches Jerusalem he will be imprisoned (Acts 20:22–23). He may not know that he will spend two years in Caesarea Maritima under house arrest, take a long, dangerous sea voyage, then spend another two years under house arrest in Rome. He does know that this trip along the coast of the Aegean Sea gives him the opportunity to say goodbye to friends he will not see again. Not only is he able to give final instructions to the churches he planted, but he can also take encouragement from them that his efforts over the last several years have yielded good, strong churches that worship Christ.

Assos was on the mainland, south and slightly east of Troas. Mitylene was a port city southeast of Assos on the island of Lesbos. From Mitylene, the ship will sail southwest to the island of Chios, then southeast again to the island of Samos before reaching Miletus (Acts 20:15). Miletus was east of Patmos where the apostle John was exiled.
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