Acts 20:26-27 Verses

In this verse Paul says: “And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

What is this blood Paul references? Why is he exempting himself from responsibility?

(Just curious about what others know about this verse.)

I believe it to hearken back to the admonition in Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 3:17-21
17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

And re-iterated in Ezekiel 33

The meaning of 26-27 is made clear by the verses before and after.

Paul having earlier founded a church at Ephesus returns there on his way back to Jerusalem. Paul knoes he will soon be arrested and killed. He assembles the leaders and tells them

25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

In short, Paul also knows that the leaders of the Church at Ephesus are also in danger. Paul already informed them of their fate and that it is God’s will. Thus their blood is not on his hands.

That is beautiful. Thank you.

Also a great possibility. Still, I can’t help that he is hearkening back to Ezekiel.

I have not begrudged my life in teaching the law and will surely be killed for it. Do not blame me for your own persecution and do not begrudge your life either, but spread the law no matter what.

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I think this is either right or is close. There is the potential issue that Paul may fear that when these people are persecuted after he leaves, they may think that he has returned to his old ways and ratted them out when he gets put to torture or threats by Christian haters.

BTW… was nice to read “Mitylene” in chap 20… the city near where my grandfather grew up on Lesbos. Also … although I’ve been close to the places mentioned in chap 20, I did visit some places in Turkey where Paul had been. It is a very special feeling to be in some of those places, like Pateras beach which must look like it did back then.

Turkey is a little crazy now but in 2012, there was still considerable respect for these places that are of interest to Christians. So long as one does not prosyletize (nor step on baby loggerhead turtles on the beaches in that area) it may still be. All the churches of Asia Minor are in Turkey.

I look at it this way:

If I preach to you, converting you to Christianity and ONLY years later I inform you that because you converted the Romans are going to torture you ti death, then I have done wrong to you and your blood us on my hands.

St. Luke wrote 2 books for his employer (Theophilus).

He opend his second book (Acts of the Apostles) by writing
“Luke 1:1
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach . . .”

He never explicitly states what his second book (Acts of the Apostles) is about, but clearly it IS about what the Apostles did, and he chose to (clearly) contrast it as no longer about “all that Jesus began to do and to teach.”

The teachings in it are quite valuable, but its purpose is to describe what the Apostles did, not what Jesus taught.

Could be either way, but considered in that light, Acts 20 26-27 is more likely (51%?) intended as a description of how Paul behaved, and less likely intended for Theophilus to call to mind something written in Ezekial.

Paul knew that anyone he converted would be tortured and killed. Heck, his original job (until he saw the light) was to kill Christians.

He must have wrestled internally with the matter. “I’m going to convert you, and if I am successful you will be tortured and killed. But if I leave you alone, you and your family will be fine.”

Any biography of St Paul (including Acts) would be incomplete without making reference to how St. Paul dealt with thus issue.

Lukes (later) death is unrecorded but tradition holds that he too was martyred and the ancient Romans were not gentle in their methods of martyrdom.

24 But I hold not my life of any account as dear unto myself, [g]so that I may accomplish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the [h]gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I testify unto you this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God. 28 Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you [i]bishops, to feed the church of [j]the Lord which he [k]purchased with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

IMO Paul is saying that his mortal life is not important compared to his life in Christ. He showed all those who witnessed his ministry that he did not back down from threats, trials or beatings. He continued on in the work of our Lord. Now he is leaving them and going to Jerusalem and he’s warning them of the trials that will lie ahead when he leaves and to understand that they’ve given their life to Christ. Continue on in The Lord’s work and know that many evil forces are coming to work against them but be strong.