Acts 20:2-3 he came into Greece, And there abode three months
Near the end of this three-month time period, Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans. The careful student will remember that Paul has not yet been to Rome, but he writes to them in anticipation of a future mission, saying, 'oftentimes I purposed to come unto you...I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also' (Rom 1:13,15). The Bible Dictionary states, "Paul was then contemplating a visit to Jerusalem, which was certain to be dangerous (Rom 15:31). If he escaped with his life he hoped afterwards to visit Rome. The letter was meant in part to prepare the Church there to receive him when he came."
Acts 20:6 we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread
Luke makes it clear that Paul and his companions honored the old Jewish feasts-in this case the feast of unleavened bread. One might wonder why it is that Paul is still celebrating the holidays of the Law of Moses. Although the schoolmaster had been dismissed, Paul's recognition of this feast is in accordance with scripture.
The feast of unleavened bread was associated with the feast of the Passover. It was celebrated annually in commemoration of the Lord's deliverance from Egypt. For the Jews, it was not to have an end with the coming of the Messiah, 'ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread...therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever' (Ex 12:17). Therefore, Christian Jews were obliged to recognize the feast forever, but converted Gentiles were not.
Acts 20:7 upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread
Seventh-day Adventists preach that the appropriate day to worship is the last day of the week, or Saturday. They say that the practice of Sunday Sabbath worship is a mistake foreseen by the ancient prophet Daniel who prophesied that in the last days, they would 'wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change the times and laws' (Dan 7:25). Is Sunday worship of the Sabbath "changing the times and the laws"? Not according to latter-day prophets.
This passage in Acts is probably the most significant scripture in the New Testament to show that the early saints came together to worship on the first day of the week. Sunday was the day that they "broke bread," equating the event with the most holy part of any worship service-the Sacrament. Other scriptures (John 20:19, 26; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 2:1-4; DC 59:9-12) and historians confirm that this was the established practice.
"The Christians of this [first] century assembled for the worship of God and for their advancement in piety, on the first day of the week, the day on which Christ reassumed his life; for, that this day was set apart for religious worship by the apostles themselves, and that after the example of the church of Jerusalem it was generally observed, we have unexceptionable testimony. Moreover, those congregations whose members either lived intermingled with Jews, or were composed in great measure of Jews, were accustomed also to observe the seventh day of the week as a sacred day, which other Christians did not consider wrong." (Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, p. 43)
George Q. Cannon
"'The Lord's Day' (Revelation 1:10) is the day on which He rose from the dead and on which His disciples at that period assembled to worship and break bread in His name. That was the 'first day of the week' (John 20:1; Acts 20:7), as they counted time. This custom was observed in the primitive Christian Church, and the Seventh Day was also observed by the Jewish disciples for a time. But Paul and other leading Elders of the Church set themselves against the observance of the rites and rules of the Mosaic law and proclaimed the liberty of the Gospel, the law having been fulfilled in Christ. He chided those who were sticklers for special days as required by the law but himself observed the Lord's Day-the first day of the week.
"It is the spirit of Sabbath observance that is acceptable to God rather than its letter. One day out of seven is to be a day of rest and worship. It would not matter which day of the week that was but for the sake of order and uniformity. So the Lord has designated for the Saints which day they should keep holy, and that is the 'Lord's Day,' commonly called 'the first day of the week.'" (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, ed. by Jerreld L. Newquist, 391.)
"This conclusion is further sustained by the fact that the first day of the week (Sunday) is called a sabbath eight times in the original Greek Bible. Had the Bible, therefore, been correctly translated, much of the present confusion in this matter would have been eliminated. Why would the first day of the week (Sunday) be called a sabbath in the Bible if it were not a sabbath? And how did it become a sabbath other than as we have explained? 'In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week. . . .' (Matthew 28:1. In Greek, 'sabbath' instead of 'first day of the week.')
"This text may be confusing because of its reference to two sabbaths, unless one keeps in mind the fact that the Christian sabbath (first day of the week) follows immediately the Jewish sabbath (seventh day of the week). Hence the reference to two sabbaths.
And very early in the morning the first day of the week. . . (Mark 16:2. In Greek, "sabbath" instead of "first day of the week.")
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week. . . (Mark 16:9. In Greek, "sabbath" instead of "first day of the week.")
Now upon the first day of the week. . . . (Luke 24:1. In Greek, "sabbath" instead of "first day of the week.")
The first day of the week. . . . (John 20:1. In Greek, "sabbath" instead of "first day of the week.")
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week. . . . (John 20:19. In Greek, "sabbath" instead of "first day of the week.")
And upon the first day of the week. . . . (Acts 20:7. In Greek, "sabbath" instead of "first day of the week.")
Upon the first day of the week. . . . (1 Corinthians 16:2. In Greek, "sabbath" instead of "first day of the week.")
"From the foregoing, it should be clear that the writers of the New Testament fully understood that the first day of the week (Sunday) was a sabbath day, and that it was the day upon which the saints met to worship." (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, 336-7)
Acts 20:9 Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep...fell down from the third loft
Have you ever felt to complain because church meetings last for three hours? Have you ever been frustrated with a speaker whose talk inconsiderately rambled on for 20 or 30 minutes longer than scheduled? Have your eyelids ever been heavy during an early morning meeting? If you have experienced any of these feelings, then you can relate-in the smallest degree-to the situation of poor Eutychus.
The young man, like many of our Aaronic Priesthood brethren, lost interest in Paul's talk. If Paul's talks were anything like his epistles, then the content was likely too complex for the younger crowd. Besides, Paul could talk for a long time. The record states that he was 'long preaching,' that he had 'talked a long while, even till break of day' (v. 11). Did Paul really preach all night long? If he did, then maybe Eutychus was justified in falling asleep. Besides, how many high priests would be similarly injured if they had to attend meetings seated in the precarious "third loft" instead of the padded pew?
"...humanness gleams through the Bible even in such unlikely places as the account of a too-long sermon by the strict apostle Paul: 'There sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus'-with whom those who have endured overlong talks can identify-'and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft.' (Acts 20:9.)
"We miss by our misreading of the Bible much that matters; we miss its humor, its pathos, its love. It is our unawareness of those touches of humanness that causes us to see the people of scripture not as people but as bloodless examples in a rule book: they may inform us, but they fail to move us to better action. When we fail to read thoughtfully, we learn little about the advantages of staying awake during conference from Eutychus." (Steven C. Walker, "Between Scriptural Lines," Ensign, Mar. 1978, 62)
Acts 20:16 Paul had determined...to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost
Today, we celebrate two Christian holidays: Christmas and Easter. In the days of the ancient church, they celebrated two events as holidays: the Resurrection and the day of Pentecost. The historian Mosheim recorded, "As to annual religious days, they appeared to have observed two; the one in memory of Christ's resurrection, the other in commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles." (Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, 43) This helps us to understand how important the gift of the Holy Ghost was to the ancient Church.
Acts 20:17 Paul called the elders of the church
"...in Acts, fourteenth chapter and twenty-third verse, we read: 'And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.' 'And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders. * * * And the apostles and elders came together.' (Acts 15:4-6.) 'And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.' (Acts 16:4.) 'And from Miletus He sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.' (Acts 20:17.) 'And ordained elders in every city as I had appointed thee,' (Titus 1:5.)
"The term 'elders' is used in many other passages of Scripture. In some instances the apostle is called an elder, as Paul and John allude to themselves personally as elders. In some places the term is used in reference to the aged, as in I Timothy 5:1, 2: 'Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father, and the younger men as brethren, the elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity.' Yet the quotations made will be ample to prove that the office of Elder was an order anciently in the organization of the Church of Christ." (Cowley's Talks on Doctrine [Chattanooga: Ben. E. Rich, 1902], 65.)
Acts 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility
Humble service should be the hallmark of latter-day saint lives. Paul's humble service reminds us of the importance of this principle. Indeed, there is no other way to truly serve the Lord, except 'with all humility.' Otherwise, we are really only serving ourselves. The Lord has said, 'no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love' (DC 12:8). The scriptures are full of examples which do not require repeating, but let us remind ourselves of the great promises associated with humble service.
First, the Lord promises that if we are called to serve, He will provide for our families in our absence, 'Let the residue [of the Twelve] continue to preach from that hour, and if they will do this in all lowliness of heart in meekness and humility, and long-suffering, I, the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them, from henceforth' (DC 118:3). Furthermore, humility brings needed guidance and answers to prayers, 'Be thou humble, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers' (DC 112:10).
Elder Elray L. Christiansen
"The person with true humility will not seek to aggrandize himself. He will serve for the sake of service. He will give his gifts in secret and let it be found out by accident. He will realize that all knowledge comes from God-for he knows all. He will not be contentious, unruly, or critical. He will not profane the name of Deity. As a literal child of God, he will feel it a privilege to do his will and keep his commandments.
"Finally, the Lord has left us this: In order to shape ourselves to be fit candidates for his kingdom by leading lives of meekness and humility before him, he admonishes us to 'let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practise virtue and holiness before me.'(DC 38:24-25.)" (Conference Report, April 1953, 36.)
Acts 20:22-4 bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear
"We need to cultivate moral courage. It seems clear that most forms of insincere and unloving speech arise from fear: fear of serious reflection on what we most care about and want to be, fear of exposing our limited selves, fear of the opinion or power of others, fear of demonstrating a whole-souled commitment to Christ when it might be unpopular or even dangerous to do so. We need to read often Paul's farewell to the Ephesian saints, where he reminds them he has served the Lord 'with all humility of mind, and many tears' and has 'kept back nothing that was profitable unto you':
"But how can we develop such courage? John has told us that 'perfect love casteth out fear' (1 Jn. 4:18) ... Can we, for instance, really say with the apostle Paul, 'The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me'? (Heb. 13:6.) Can we have the confidence of Nephi: 'I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them'? (1 Ne. 3:7.) God has commanded us not only to tell the truth but to actively speak out the truth to bring redemption, assuring us that we can succeed because he is our helper. If we will only begin to take some risks, speaking the truth lovingly and boldly even though we feel inept or weak or exposed, the Lord will keep his promises and we will be surprised at the response in others and in ourselves." (Eugene England, "Speaking the Truth in Love," Ensign, Apr. 1976, 51-52)
Acts 20:27 I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God
"Well-educated and learned divines have been so utterly at a loss to find any scripture to sustain them in denying immediate revelation, that they have not hesitated to pervert, in the most glaring manner, not only the foregoing passages, but some few others of a similar nature which they have culled from the Bible, and which they, and all persons with the least reflection, know have the most distant bearing upon the subject. They tell their flocks that no more revelation is to be expected, because St. Paul, in addressing the elders of the church at Ephesus, says, 'I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you. I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.' (Acts 20:20, 27.) 'All the counsel of God' having been imparted by St. Paul to the Ephesians, it is presumed that all further revelation was unnecessary. If this presumption be correct, it would... not only cut off from the Bible several of the epistles, but the book of John's gospel, and the great revelation given on Patmos, all of which were certainly written years after Paul declared 'all the counsel of God' to the elders of Ephesus. Paul, no doubt, had previously declared all the counsels which God had manifested to him in relation to their welfare, but this did not prohibit the Lord from revealing afterwards other counsels as the future circumstances of the Ephesians might require. Indeed, notwithstanding this saying of Paul, the Lord did, a long time after, give further revelations and counsels to this same church, through His servant John, on Patmos. (See Revelation 2:1-8.)" (Latter-day Tracts [Pamphlets], 6.)
Acts 20:28 Take heed...to feed the church of God
Ezra Taft Benson
"Now to you priesthood leaders we say, look to the prophetic counsel of Lehi and Paul and others like them. In that counsel you will find the solution to the challenges you face in keeping your flocks safe from the 'ravening wolves' that surround them. (See Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29.) We know that you too have great anxiety for the members of your wards and stakes and expend great time and effort in their behalf. There is much that we ask of you who have been chosen for leadership. We place many loads upon your shoulders. You are asked to run the programs of the Church, interview and counsel with the members, see that the financial affairs of the stakes and wards are properly handled, manage welfare projects, build buildings, and engage in a host of other time-consuming activities.
"While none of those activities can be ignored and laid aside, they are not the most important thing you can do for those you serve. In recent years, time and again we have counseled you that certain activities bring greater spiritual returns than others. As early as 1970, President Harold B. Lee told the regional representatives:
"We are convinced that our members are hungry for the gospel, undiluted, with its abundant truths and insights. ... There are those who have seemed to forget that the most powerful weapons the Lord has given us against all that is evil are His own declarations, the plain simple doctrines of salvation as found in the scriptures." ("The Power of the Word," Ensign, May 1986, 79)
Acts 20:28 the church of God...he hath purchased with his own blood
What is the worth of a soul? Do we really know the true value of any of God's children? How about the combined value of all of God's children? What are they worth to God? We are told that 'the worth of souls is great in the sight of God' (DC 18:10). Yet, without an atonement, it would seem that they are not worth much, except 'to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery' (2 Ne 9:9). The sum of these sinful souls seems fit only for a yard-sale or swap meet, yet the Lord paid the infinite price for them, 'For ye are bought with a price' (1 Cor 6:20). The currency of the transaction was not filthy lucre but blood-pure and undefiled. For money cannot be infinite, but the Son's immeasurable suffering, exuding from every pore, somehow paid the price.
Neal A. Maxwell
"Hence Jesus not only bore our sins personally in order to atone for them, but He also bore our pains, infirmities, and afflictions. Thereby ensured is the precious fact that Jesus' mercy would be full, because He knows how to succor us in a unique, merciful, and personal way-amid all of that through which we mortals individually pass. Having so purchased us once, His glad and great investment in us continues (see Acts 20:28Acts 20:28)." (One More Strain of Praise, 38.)
Acts 20:29-30 Paul prophecies of the Great Apostasy
Ezra Taft Benson
"As the restored Church, we affirm that with the passing of the apostolic age, the Church drifted into a condition of apostasy, that succession in the priesthood was broken, and that the Church, as an earthly organization operating under divine direction and having authority to officiate in spiritual ordinances, ceased to exist. This is attested by history. We affirm also that all this was foreseen and predicted by the apostles when they were living, yea, and by the Master in his day. The apostasy had started during the days of the Apostles, and was referred to frequently by them.
"You are acquainted with the quotation in Paul's reference to the situation as he met with the elders of Ephesus for the last time when he said,
'For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.' (Acts 20:29.)
"Then his letter to the Thessalonians.
'Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come-the Second Coming of the Master except there come a falling away first.' (II Thessalonians 2:3.)
"To the Galatians Paul referred to the apostasy already under way, and marveled that they were so soon removed from him that had called them, into another gospel. He chastised them for so doing, and pointed out that there was only one gospel plan. (Gal. 1:6-8.)
"Peter spoke of ' . . . false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies . . . and bring upon themselves swift destruction.' (II Peter 2:1.)
"In fact, in the great vision given to John while on the Isle of Patmos, he refers to the few churches worthy of his note as being 'neither cold nor hot.' (Rev. 3:15.) In reference to the restoration of the gospel, the passage often quoted (Rev. 14:6-7) is a clear evidence that the apostasy was to be complete, for when John received this revelation, indicating a condition of the future, he saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven, 'having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth.'
"Even in the Old Testament, prophets had prophesied in a similar manner. Isaiah indicated that the earth would be defiled under the inhabitants thereof because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 24:5.) Nowhere is the law of Moses referred to as an everlasting covenant. The everlasting covenant is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Amos had spoken of a famine that should come in the land for 'hearing the words of the Lord' and that people would 'run to and fro to seek the work of the Lord, and shall not find it.' (Amos 8:11.)
"Not only by history, which is quite conclusive, but through prophecy also we have been informed definitely that there was and there would be a complete apostasy from the truth. Many of the early reformers recognized this fact as they struck out against the false teachings and practises of their day. Wesley, the founder of Methodism, lamented that the 'Christians had turned heathen again and had only a dead form left.' Even here in America, Roger Williams, head of the oldest Baptist congregation in the land, recognized, as he quit the ministry, that there was no divinely constituted authority or church upon the face of the earth, nor would there be such a church until one arose having apostles and other officers as found in the church established in the Meridian of Time." (Conference Report, October 1949, First Day-Morning Meeting 26-27.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"So bad was this dissension by the end of the first century that the Lord could find only seven churches (branches) worthy of his attention, and each of these was severely rebuked. (Rev. chapters 2, 3.) Moreover, in many of the epistles written to the members of the church scattered abroad, the warning voice of the apostles was raised calling them to repentance and pointing out the time when spiritual darkness would set in and the priesthood would have to be taken back to God and the Church driven into the wilderness. (Ibid., chapter 12.) In time all ordinances of the gospel were changed, commandments were broken, and the simple principles of the gospel were mixed with pagan philosophy by the 'grievous wolves' and apostate disciples who displaced the prophets and apostles who had divine communion with the heavens. Spiritual darkness set in, and unrighteous men took command and closed the heavens against themselves. Visions and contact with the heavens ceased, and the gifts of the spirit came to an end. The blessings and presence of the Twelve Apostles ceased, and the cry went forth that they were no longer needed." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:180.)
Acts 20:29 after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock
"This may be the most pointed and succinct description in all scripture of how the great apostasy of the early Church came about. It may also be the most important key to understanding how to recognize and avoid apostasy in modern times. Surely Paul knew that the apostasy that would significantly change the Lord's church was not going to be a gradual drift from divine truth or a waning interest in gospel principles. Nor would it be well-meaning but erroneous activity on the part of a few misguided souls. Apostasy is a Greek word-apostasía-and means literally 'to stand apart from,' 'to rebel against,' or 'to revolt.' Apostasy is a conscious act of rebellion against God by deliberately attempting to change divinely appointed doctrine and practice and by opposing God's chosen leaders. Paul foresaw that once the Apostles met their demise, the demise of the true Church would follow.
"Paul used the analogy of wolves rending the flock of God to describe the thoroughly destructive nature of religious rebellion. Furthermore, he declared without equivocation that apostasy was an internal phenomenon. It was born of the desires of certain members to exalt themselves, to step into the limelight and gather their own group of followers: 'of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them' (Acts 20:30; emphasis added). Nephi of old may have labeled it something else (that is, priestcraft), but he outlined the same basic ingredient of apostasy-pride.
"'He [the Lord] commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion' (2 Ne. 26:29)." (Andrew C. Skinner, "Apostasy, Restoration, and Lessons in Faith," Ensign, Dec. 1995, 25)
"Christ warned against the dangers of the wolves among the flock: 'Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves' (Matthew 7:15). A Church member or any false teacher may appear innocent but when hiding a private agenda and seeking for power or personal gain, he is as a wolf among lambs. The Savior and the apostles foresaw and foretold this danger. 'Go your ways,' said the Lord to the seventy, 'Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves' (Luke 10:3). Paul made similar reference to the Church as it would be without the apostles: 'For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock' (Acts 20:29). Foreshadowing the void left after his own and the apostles' death, the Lord declared: 'He that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep' (John 10:12). Once the true shepherds were gone, those who were merely hirelings fled, for they cared not for the sheep. Even some who had been sheep, or at least had worn sheep's clothing, became ravenous wolves." (Byron R. Merrill, The Lord of the Gospels: The 1990 Sperry Symposium on the New Testament, ed. by Bruce A. Van Orden and Brent L. Top, p. 138)
Harold B. Lee
"Today those warnings are just as applicable as they were in that day in which they were given.
"There are some as wolves among us. By that, I mean some who profess membership in this church who are not sparing the flock. And among our own membership, men are arising speaking perverse things. Now perverse means diverting from the right or correct, and being obstinate in the wrong, willfully, in order to draw the weak and unwary members of the Church away after them.
"And as the Apostle Paul said, it is likewise a marvel to us today, as it was in that day, that some members are so soon removed from those who taught them the gospel and are removed from the true teachings of the gospel of Christ to be led astray into something that corrupts the true doctrines of the gospel of Christ into vicious and wicked practices and performances (see Galatians 1:6).
"These, as have been evidenced by shocking events among some of these splinter groups, have been accursed, as the prophets warned; and they are obviously in the power of that evil one who feeds the gullible with all the sophistries which Satan has employed since the beginning of time." (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 432.)
Acts 20:31 I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears
"The tears were not in thankfulness for new generations of Christians but in sadness in realizing that all that he had worked for would be spoiled. He bluntly warned of apostasy soon after his time: 'For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves' (New King James Version, Acts 20:29-30). ... Thus, Paul left the astounding testimony that local Christian leaders would reverse the apostle's doctrines." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul, p. 65.)"
Acts 20:35 these hands have ministered unto my necessities
"One of the plainest examples of Paul's integrity was his insistence on working with his own hands for his financial support (see Acts 18:1-3). He explained that as an 'apostle' he could have required support from the Saints, but that he preferred not to be burdensome (1 Thes. 2:5-9). Furthermore, to the Ephesians he said: 'I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.' (Acts 20:33-34.) And to the Corinthians he wrote: 'What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.' (1 Cor. 9:18.) And again: 'Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labour, working with our own hands' (1 Cor. 4:11-12)." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah, 335.)
Acts 20:35 It is more blessed to give than to receive
"...it is abundantly clear that the Bible does not contain all the words or deeds of Jesus. It is such a partial record that it is simply unthinkable to the reasonable mind that this sketchy record contains all his teachings, or that he never said anything new or worthwhile on those other days. John makes reference to this when he says: 'And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written' (John 21:25).
"In this connection one is reminded of Paul urging his friends from Ephesus 'to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive' (Acts 20:35). It is clear that Paul knew this as a particular statement by Jesus, yet nowhere in the four 'testimonies' is Jesus represented as saying that. (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 24.)
Thomas S. Monson
"'Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.' This is a truth more profound than most of us realize. Furthermore, it is a very practical truth. Many of the problems of our times arise out of an excess of receiving." ("In Quest of the Abundant Life," Ensign, Mar. 1988, 2)
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
"We speak often, and properly, of the great blessings which we have, the blessings that are given to us by the Lord. But sometimes I wonder if our thought may not be mostly concerned with what we get instead of what we give. In that great sermon of Paul to the elders of Ephesus, he said Jesus had declared:. . . It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35.)
"There is something very remarkable about what we have to give under the gospel plan. No matter how much we give of truth, of good example, of righteous living, our stores, our blessings increase, not decrease, by that which we give away. There are...miracles in the Bible that impress me in this connection. One was the barrel of meal which Elijah blessed after the good woman who owned it said that if she gave it to him it would take all she had. That barrel of meal, blessed by Elijah, did not thereafter fail. The more she took from it, the more she had to give...
"And so it is with God's spiritual blessings to us. We have the truth; we possess the priesthood; both are given into our care. We are responsible for the use we make of them. We are expected to give out of our store all that we possibly can give away, and in proportion as we give unto others, we become thereby more and more enriched ourselves. 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' I repeat, as possessors of truth, our mission is to minister therefrom to others. And the more of truth we give away, the more we shall have. The more we righteously use the priesthood, the greater its powers will grow in us." (Conference Report, October 1946, Afternoon Meeting 85.)
Howard W. Hunter
"When the time comes that we learn to share and do things for other people life takes on a new vision for us. This has come to the lives of most of you. To some it comes when a young man goes on a mission and he suddenly discovers that he is giving of himself, his time, his energy and his means for the benefit of others. To some, this awakening comes at marriage. Suddenly one discovers that happiness does not come from receiving, but from that which one gives to another.
"I am always impressed by the teachings of the Savior. He taught in simple, homely language. He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' (Acts 20:35) This realization of course, comes to us with maturity. It is the understanding of this lesson in life that brings about maturity; it changes our childhood ideas to the ideas and the ideals of adults.
"Giving does not always consist of material things. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: 'Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts; the only gift is a portion of thyself.' In this sense we have unlimited resources." (April 26, 1961, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1961, p. 3)
Heber J. Grant
"The whole Christian world is pretty generally agreed, I believe, that there is hardly a more important element in the teachings and in the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ than that expressed by the Apostle Paul when he said: 'Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than it is to receive.' (Acts 20:35.)
"Measured by this matchless measuring stick given by the Lord Jesus Christ, the L. D. S. Church is marvelous. In all the world there is no other institution which, in proportion to its size, has in it so many volunteer workers, or so many who contribute so lavishly, of both time and money, as do its members, into whose souls has come the conviction, as a result of faith, prayer and righteous living, that Jesus is the Christ, that by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel men may be saved, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. Match if you can in any other organization anywhere the unselfishness of our army of two thousand missionaries who preach the gospel, as we believe it, in nearly every quarter of the globe without money and without price. These not only give their time to this great cause, but they pay their own expenses." (Conference Report, October 1926, Afternoon Session 30-1.)