The Berean Expositor
Volume 30 - Page 30 of 179
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The seven epistles of Paul, after Acts 28:
A | EPHESIANS. | The Mystery.
a | Bishops and Deacons.
b | The Prize.
C | PHILEMON. Truth in Practice.
A | COLOSSIANS. | The Mystery.
a | Bishops and Deacons.
b | The Crown.
On closer examination we find that even the rule of bishops and deacons had failed by
the time II Timothy was written, and that ruin rather than rule seems to be the keynote
of the Church's external order from this time onwards. It is not in any sense a ground for
boasting that we can see no rule of bishops and deacons to-day. If we are obliged to walk
an individual path, let us not boast, but rather remember the position from which the
Church, in its manifest aspect, has fallen. Nevertheless, we can rightly rejoice--that,
though all should fail, "He faileth not"--and in these closing days, with apostacy on the
horizon, we can but cling more closely to the One Who is more to us than bishop, elder or
pastor could ever be.
The Third Missionary Journey (19: 21 - 21: 39).
The Prison Ministry Foreshadowed (20: 17 - 38).
Paul surveys his "Acts" ministry (20: 18 21).
pp. 200 - 208
If the reader will refresh his memory, by turning to the previous article of this series
(page 164) he will see that the opening member of the structure, with its reference to
"Elders", occupied all the available space. We must now turn our attention from ministry
in general and the particular office denominated Elder to Bishop to the ministry of the
apostle Paul, and that phase of it that was drawing to a close, covered in the structure by
H1 | 20: 18-21, and H3 | 20: 33-35, where the Apostle surveys his preaching and
his practice up to that time. Even though the reader were unacquainted with the passage
his first perusal of verses 18-27 would suffice to convince him that Paul is reaching the
close of one ministry, and looking on to the opening of another, and that this second
ministry is so closely connected with imprisonment, that the Apostle entertains no hope
of seeing these Ephesian believers again.
Before we follow his argument, it will be profitable to observe how much there is in
common between the phraseology of this recorded speech and that of the epistles written
by the same apostle.