Acts 20
6. J. R., Carrickfergus.—When Paul gave his charge to the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20) he foretold that after his departure grievous wolves would enter in who would not spare the flock; and that of themselves would some arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them. Under such circumstances the question is, What resource of safety did he point out to them? The professing church would point to some man from the pope downwards, or to a council, or some human creed; but the apostle does not refer the elders to any one higher in authority than themselves, nor bid them call a council to judge of the coming evil; he said, " Now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." Doubtless the reference is to the whole word of God.
At the time when Paul spoke he had already written the epistles to the Thessalonians, to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, and to the Romans; but he speaks of a future apostasy " after his departure "—and the resource is equally applicable to all apostasies, and so he does not refer to any particular part of scripture. The scriptures divinely interpreted will fortify us against every apostasy. It is lamentable that many of God's beloved people should go astray with the Bible in their hands, but this shows that we need both " God " and the " word." It is a day of grace, and God's word is “the word of grace," though it speaks also of judgment; yea, judgment begins at the house of God.