Acts 20:33 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 20:33, NIV: "I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing."

Acts 20:33, ESV: "I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel."

Acts 20:33, KJV: "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel."

Acts 20:33, NASB: "I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes."

Acts 20:33, NLT: "'I have never coveted anyone's silver or gold or fine clothes."

Acts 20:33, CSB: "I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing."

What does Acts 20:33 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has a very balanced view of ministers and income. He believes that pastors should be paid by their congregations (1 Corinthians 9:14), but he will not insist on that right if it will impede the spread of the gospel. He neither craves riches nor demands payment from the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:34). He mentions it here as inspiration for the Ephesian elders—"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak…" (Acts 20:35).

Ephesus was one of the major ports on the east coast of the Aegean Sea as well as the meeting place of three major roads, so it saw a great deal of trade. It's likely the church includes many who are wealthy, but Paul worked to support himself. Wealth is not Paul's only expression of modesty. He also rejects glory (1 Thessalonians 2:4–6), honor (Philippians 3:7–8), and credit (1 Corinthians 1:10–17). He does expect respect for his teaching as his non-worldly lifestyle should prove that his words are from the Holy Spirit.

Paul is speaking to church elders, here. He is teaching them how to lead. Church members and attenders, however, have a different standard. We are to ensure that those God has chosen to feed us spiritually are fed physically. It is our responsibility to make sure we meet our spiritual leaders' financial needs (1 Corinthians 9:9–12).