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Volume 7 - Page 55 of 133 Index | Zoom | |
"That I may finish my course." (Acts 20: 24).
We have given a passing glance at the apostle's words in II Tim. 3: 10 on page 46.
Let us consider some of the objects that he, by his own confession, had before him. To
have a purpose in any sphere is a long way in the direction of its accomplishment. How
often we are struck by the coincidence, that perhaps the very day following our interest in
some peculiar theme, a friend drops a word about it, or we open a book and read about it;
there is every probability that the words would have been spoken or read if we had not
previously thought of them, but we noticed them because we were interested. There are
many things happening all around us that pass unheeded because we have no use for
them. To have a definite purpose in life make many of the hitherto unperceived and
unused incidents contribute to its achievement. Paul calls the attention of his son in the
faith not only to his doctrine and his manner of life, but to his purpose, that which he had
placed before himself, prothesis. Acts 20: 24 contains a statement of the apostle's
purpose; let us consider it. The R.V., following the critical Greek Texts, omits the words,
"none of these things move me". This omission is supported by the Numerics text.
Sometimes when trials beset us we have had to confess that the apostle's "unmoved"
condition was far ahead of our own experience; we may feel greatly moved, yet in spite
of all our fears hold on our way, and this seems to be the spirit exhibited in Acts 20: 24.
Bonds and afflictions awaited the apostle, yet he says:--
"But I make of no account, nor hold I my soul valuable to myself, so that I may finish
my course, even the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear full testimony to
the gospel of the grace of God."
Here is a man careless of life, but not because of indifference or unbelief: an
all-absorbing purpose holds him on his way, and in view of its accomplishment nothing
in life can enter into consideration. It is important to note that the apostle does not speak
of his life, but of his soul; this he did not hold as precious to himself. To translate the
word correctly brings this passage into line with the others that testify to a similar line of
truth, and we may see more fully the apostle's meaning concerning himself by noticing
how other scriptures, as well as his own epistles, refer to the disciple (or the witness) and
The classic passage of the Gospels is Matt. 16: 24-27.
"If any one wills to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
follow Me. For whosoever may will to save his soul, shall lose it, and whoever may lose
his soul on My account shall find it. For what is a man profited, if the whole world he
may gain, and his soul he shall forfeit? or what shall a man give in ransom for his soul?
For the Son of man is about to come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and then
He will give back to each one according as his work".
The soul, as used in Scripture, stands for all that goes to make up the man, his life, his
faculties, and his activities; it indicates the capacity to enter into all the possibilities of
ours being. But we are in an alien country; our Lord here has been rejected and crucified,
we therefore are called upon to choose between following Him in His rejection, which