Acts 20:32 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 20:32, NIV: "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."

Acts 20:32, ESV: "And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified."

Acts 20:32, KJV: "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."

Acts 20:32, NASB: "And now I entrust you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified."

Acts 20:32, NLT: "'And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself."

Acts 20:32, CSB: ""And now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified."

What does Acts 20:32 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

On his way home from his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19–21), Paul spent a very brief time in Ephesus. In his second visit, he stayed three years (Acts 20:31). Now, on the way back from his third trip, his schedule is so tight he invites the elders of the church to meet him in Miletus (Acts 20:16–17).

He warns them their church will face attacks by "fierce wolves" (Acts 20:29): false teachers "speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:30). He reminds them how passionately he admonished the church to keep their faith in Christ (Acts 20:31).

The Holy Spirit has already told Paul he will be imprisoned when he reaches Jerusalem. He will never see these elders again (Acts 20:22–25). He will not be able to meet with them and answer their questions in person. He will not be able to stand with them and pray against the warfare they will face. He can, however, give them to God. God will provide what they need to stand strong against their enemies (Ephesians 6:11).

Ultimately, the inheritance of the believer is the right to be a child of God: to be reconciled with our heavenly Father and live with Him for eternity (Ephesians 1:11–14). Peter explains that the hardships the Ephesian elders—and all believers—face are to test our faith: to both strengthen it and reveal it to ourselves. He says our inheritance is "imperishable, undefiled, and unfading." We cannot lose it (1 Peter 1:3–7). We will share in God's glory (Romans 8:17). We will live forever in paradise with no tears, death, or mourning (Revelation 21:4).

"Those who are sanctified" refer to those who are saved. The Bible describes three stages of sanctification. When we are saved, we receive positional sanctification: we are forgiven, and no one can take our salvation away from us. Throughout our lives, as we become more spiritually mature and Christlike, we experience progressive sanctification. Upon death, when we receive our glorified bodies and are no longer subject to sin, we will have ultimate sanctification. God's grace sanctifies us; we can neither save ourselves nor perform good works under our own power (Ephesians 2:8–10). Paul knows that God will do this for the Ephesians.