Acts 20:35 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 20:35, NIV: "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' '"

Acts 20:35, ESV: "In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”"

Acts 20:35, KJV: "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Acts 20:35, NASB: "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’? '"

Acts 20:35, NLT: "And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.''"

Acts 20:35, CSB: "In every way I've shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' ""

What does Acts 20:35 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul first came to Ephesus on his way home from his second missionary journey and spoke in the synagogue for only one Sabbath (Acts 18:19–21). After he left, Apollos learned about Jesus and spoke of Him some before moving on to Corinth (Acts 18:24–28). Later, Paul came to Ephesus again and spent three months in the synagogue, explaining how Jesus of Nazareth brought the kingdom of God. Some of his audience couldn't accept his words, so he moved to a local hall (Acts 19:8–10). In all, Paul spent three years in Ephesus, establishing and building the church (Acts 20:31).

Now on his way back to Jerusalem, Paul meets with the elders of the church. He reminds them of his service and warns them about coming false teachers. He also tells them he is going to be imprisoned and they will not see him again. Now, he gives them final instructions as he commissions them to faithfully lead their church (Acts 20:17–34).

Paul's hard work showed in two ways. First, for two years, he reasoned daily about how Jesus is the Messiah who fulfills the Old Testament prophecies and brings reconciliation with God (Acts 19:9–10). Second, he worked when he wasn't teaching (Acts 20:34). He didn't want the new believers to be distracted from learning about Christ, so he didn't rely on them for his physical needs or the needs of his team: Timothy and Erastus (Acts 19:22). As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he would rather live in the freedom of the gospel—the freedom to not demand what he is owed—than inhibit the spread of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:12, 18).

These instructions are for the elders of the church; they are not for the members and attendees. In 1 Corinthians 9:8–12, Paul tells us if a leader feeds us spiritually, we should feed him physically. In 1 Timothy 5:17, he says elders who preach—teaching pastors—should receive "double honor"—meaning, more income. Pastors should not let their need for support get in the way of teaching God's Word, but church members should not pay so little their pastor cannot teach.

This quote isn't found in the Gospels. Jesus did say, "…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38). That doesn't mean Jesus didn't say this; Jesus said many things the Gospels didn't record (John 20:30–31), and Paul may have heard it from one of the apostles. Both the apostle John and Jesus' half-brother James share a similar sentiment in their letters (1 John 3:17–18; James 2:14–17).