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Life and Its Outgoings.
The Finishing of the Course (Acts 20: 24).
pp. 159, 160
One of the differences between "mice" and "men" is indicated by Burns when he said
to the "Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie" whose nest had been wrecked by the
"Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee;
But Och'! I backward cast my e'e on prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear!"
Man looks backward and forward. He cannot help it, it is a part of his constitution. A
good bulk of philosophic speculation has been expended on the questions "whence?" and
"whither?" and will be until the day of revelation. The apostle looked forward, but he did
not "guess and fear". He knew Whom he had believed and was persuaded regarding
"that day". His great desire was to "finish his course". The Authorized Version adds the
words "with joy", the Revised Version omits them, and there is apparently slender MSS
authority for their inclusion. We can well believe that Paul would desire to finish his
course, with or without joy, being assured that the "well done" at the end would more
than compensate him for "the light affliction which is but for a moment". In this desire
of the apostle to finish his course, he was but following in the steps of the Lord Himself,
Who had declared early in His ministry "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me,
and to finish His work" (John 4: 34).
At the close of the Saviour's earthly life it is written "that the scripture might be
fulfilled (He) saith, I thirst . . . . . When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said,
it is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost" (John 19: 28-30). The
word that the Saviour used in John 4: 34 is the same that Paul used in Acts 20: 24.
The word that the Saviour used in John 19: 30 is the same that Paul used in II Tim. 4: 7
when he said "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
henceforth . . . . . a crown". The word "course" which the apostle here uses as having
finished was a racecourse, which is the primary meaning of the word dromos and enters
into the word "hippodrome", a racecourse for horses. In I Cor. 9: 24, they "which run
in a race run all . . . . . so run that ye may obtain", where the Greek word stadion is used,
a word meaning one-eighth of a Roman mile, and then used of a racecourse. In
Heb. 12: 1, "let us run with patience the race that is set before us", is the word agona.
The word "finish" is the Greek word teleioo, one of a number of derivatives from the
word telos which means "the end". This word translated "finish" is also translated
"perfect", and because of the doctrinal importance of this term we will give a few
specimen passages both of teleioo and other similarly derived words.