Acts 20:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 20:4, NIV: "He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia."

Acts 20:4, ESV: "Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus."

Acts 20:4, KJV: "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus."

Acts 20:4, NASB: "And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia."

Acts 20:4, NLT: "Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia."

Acts 20:4, CSB: "He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia."

What does Acts 20:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This passage records the end of Paul's third missionary journey. He spent three years in Ephesus then went north to Troas, across to Philippi, and south to Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth (Acts 20:1–2, 31). His primary reason for revisiting the churches he planted is to encourage them but also to collect donations for believers in Jerusalem (Romans 15:26).

Now, Paul takes the long way from Corinth to Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders in Corinth plotted against him so he can't sail straight to Caesarea Maritima. Instead, he returns up the coast to Macedonia, across the Aegean to Troas, and back down the coast of modern-day Turkey to Miletus before he can take a ship to Judea.

The men mentioned seem to be delegates going with Paul to deliver their churches' donations. It's unclear why a delegate from Corinth isn't mentioned when Paul instructed them to gather money and told Rome that they do donate (1 Corinthians 16:2; Romans 15:26). Perhaps they just didn't send an envoy with their money.

We know little about Sopater. As a Berean, he is most likely a careful, considerate scholar (Acts 17:10–12). Aristarchus is apparently the same man who was caught in the riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:29), but we know nothing of Secundus. The Gaius referenced here is from Galatia, in central modern-day Turkey, not Macedonia (Acts 19:29). Timothy, of course, is the young man Paul met in Lystra at the beginning of his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1); Paul has mentored him since they met. Tychicus and Trophimus are from the province of Asia in southwest Turkey, not the continent. Tychicus becomes Paul's messenger (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12).

Trophimus will become an unwitting character in Paul's next drama. While in Jerusalem, Jews from Asia see Trophimus with Paul. They later see Paul in the temple and erroneously assume Paul has brought Trophimus—a Gentile—into the Jewish holy place (Acts 21:27–36). The Romans arrest Paul and keep him under house arrest in Caesarea Maritima for two years. When he invokes his right as a Roman citizen and demands to see Caesar, the governor sends him on a hazardous sea voyage to Rome where he spends another two years under house arrest before the courts free him again (Acts 28:30).