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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 20 - Verse 27

Verse 27. For. This verse contains a reason for what had been said in the previous verse. It shows why Paul regarded himself as innocent if they should be lost.

I have not shunned. I have not kept back; I have not been deterred by fear, by the desire of popularity, by the fact that the doctrines of the gospel are unpalatable to men, from declaring them fully. The proper meaning of the word translated here, "I have not shunned," upesteilamhn is to disguise any important truth; to withdraw it from public view; to decline publishing it from fear, or an apprehension of the consequences. Paul means that he had not disguised any truth; he had not withdrawn or kept it from open view, by any apprehension of the effect which it might have on their minds. Truth may be disguised or kept back,

(1.) by avoiding the subject altogether from timidity, or an apprehension of giving offence if it is openly proclaimed; or,

(2.) by giving it too little prominency, so that it shall be lost in the multitude of other truths; or,

(3.) by presenting it amidst a web of metaphysical speculations, by entangling it with other subjects; or,

(4.) by making use of other terms than the Bible does, for the purpose of involving it in a mist, so that it cannot be understood. Men may resort to this course,

(1.) because the truth itself will be unpalatable;

(2.) because they may apprehend the loss of reputation or support;

(3.) because they may not love the truth themselves, and choose to conceal its prominent and offensive points;

(4.) because they may be afraid of the rich, the great, and the gay, and apprehend that they shall excite their indignation; and,

(5.) by a love of metaphysical philosophy, and a constant effort to bring everything to the test of their own reason. Men often preach a philosophical explanation of a doctrine instead of the doctrine itself. They deserve the credit of ingenuity, but not that of being open and bold proclaimers of the truth of God.

All the counsel, pasan thn boulhn. The word counsel (boulh), denotes, properly, consultation, deliberation; and then will or purpose, Lu 23:51; Ac 2:23. It means here the will or purpose of God, as revealed in regard to the salvation of men. Paul had made a full statement of that plan—of the guilt of men, of the claims of the law, of the need of a Saviour, of the provisions of mercy, and of the state of future rewards and punishments. Ministers ought to declare all that counsel, because God commands it; because it is needful for the salvation of men; and because the message is not theirs, but God's, and they have no right to change, to disguise, or to withhold it. And if it is the duty of ministers to declare that counsel, it is the duty of a people to listen to it with respect and candour, and with a desire to know the truth, and to be saved by it. Declaring the counsel of God will do no good, unless it is received into honest and humble hearts, and with a disposition to know what God has revealed for salvation.

{d} "counsel" Ep 1:11

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