Acts 20:30

ESV and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
NIV Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
NASB and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them.
CSB Men will rise up even from your own number and distort the truth to lure the disciples into following them.
NLT Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.
KJV Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

What does Acts 20:30 mean?

Paul has been a church planter for many years. In his first foray into missions, he and Barnabas established several churches in the province of Galatia, in central modern-day Turkey. When they returned home, they discovered that legalistic Jewish Christians who wanted to maintain their standing in the Jewish community had infiltrated the churches in Galatia as well as Syrian Antioch. The Jews tried to convince the Gentile Christians they needed to convert to Judaism—particularly, to be circumcised—before they could follow the Jewish Messiah. Paul rejected their hypocrisy, saying if they depended on works to be saved from their sins, they should go all the way and emasculate themselves (Galatians 5:2–12).

So, when Paul meets for the last time with the elders of the church of Ephesus, he understands the pressure they will be under. He warns them, "after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock" (Acts 20:29). Strong leadership will protect the congregation.

Pastors and elders face the same issues today. The culture bombards us with different ideas of what can save us—money, politics, societal justice—and church-attending Christians can get caught up in making these secondary and tertiary issues on par with faith in Jesus. Thus, in Paul's later letter to the Ephesians, he strongly insists that salvation is by the grace of God through the faith He gives us. Not only is salvation not a work, but also any good thing we do is prepared for us by God before we are born (Ephesians 2:8–10).

The Ephesian elders listen and follow Paul's instruction. When John is on the island of Patmos, recording Jesus' revelation to him, Jesus tells him the Ephesians have done well to root out false teaching. Unfortunately, they have forgotten their love for Him and the repentance that first built their church (Revelation 2:2–5; Acts 19:1–4, 17–20). They heed John's warning and Ignatius of Antioch will write the church and praise them for their faith and love in Christ Jesus.
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