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In Acts 20 Paul is saying his farewell to the elders of Ephesus. He is bringing to their memory the manner, in which he had spent all that time with them - in humility (Acts 20:19).

Then he says:

Acts 20:26 (KJV)
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men

Why on earth did Paul need to mention this? Was there a possibility that during his ministry he might've killed someone? Was it not clear that Paul didn't kill anyone and didn't even intend to kill anyone?

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Was it possible reference to former life of saul, thus since converting has lived a just life – user3824 Jan 23 '13 at 7:32
Why would he then need to tell the elders from Ephesus about it at the very last time meeting them? They knew it all too well that Paul hadn't killed anyone since his conversion. It just doesn't make any sense mentioning that to them. – brilliant Jan 23 '13 at 7:40
Interesting, I just ran into this when answering another question: apparently Pope Pelagius I did this as well, but (seemingly?) in reference to the death of the prior pope, Pope Vigilius. – Alypius Mar 18 '13 at 1:21
up vote 23 down vote accepted

In the NLT, it's quite straightforward:

Acts 20:26 (NLT)

26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault,

I was actually amused by the "it's not my fault" part; reminds me of a child. :P

Anyway, other more-literal translations give variations of the following:

Acts 20:26 (NIV)

26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you.

Okay, we can see where the "it's not my fault" part comes from; "innocent".

With more context, the meaning becomes clearer.

Acts 20:25-27 (NIV)

 25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

Jews would have recognized the reference to (at least) Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 33:8 (NIV)

8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.

Thus, Paul was saying that because he had been preaching God's word to everyone, he couldn't be held accountable for failing to warn someone about their sins and its consequences.

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I've really grown to like how the NLT can help in understanding the original meaning behind a verse. I still like to hold it up against literal translations (as you did) and interlinear bibles, though. – a_hardin Sep 13 '11 at 15:24
Yup, don't knock the NLT or The Message. Plenty of effort by the translators went into the dynamic equivalence, especially by Peterson. – Footwasher Dec 9 '12 at 5:57
The Ezekiel reference was spot on. God's apostles and messengers have a great responsibility on their shoulders. They have to answer to God if they neglect their divinely-appointed mission. – Simply a Christian Jan 23 '13 at 8:27
I would take NLT > Message though. I feel like most of the time when you encounter a gospel blessing in the Bible, the Message renders it as something you do or some action you take, rather than what you receive. – Ben Mordecai Jan 24 '13 at 5:11
I agree that this is a metaphor that must have been understood by the people of his day (perhaps originating with Ezekiel). This language also appears in the Book of Mormon in Jacob 1:19, 2 Nephi 9:44, Mosiah 2:27. Those who are called to preach will be held accountable for their diligence. – Samuel Jul 13 '15 at 17:41

By that statement Paul actually meant He was free from the bloof of all men bse He had accomplished His purpose. if you read ahead you will find that he kept the faith he finished the race.. his purpose on earth..meaning he had accomplished all that God had purposed him to fulfill on earth. he did it all..he fulfilled his purpose, he therefore was free from the blood of all men.

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Can you support this better, perhaps by quoting the verses you reference and maybe an external source or two? Thanks. Click edit below your post to add content. – fredsbend Jul 13 '15 at 18:31
"fulfilled his purpose, he therefore was free from the blood of all men" - You might want to develop this point a bit. So far, it is not yet clear in your answer how having fulfilled the purpose of life equals to being free from the blood of all men. Let's say Paul has failed to fulfill his purpose, would that have meant then that he was not free from the blood of all men yet? Another point you might want to take a second look at is that Paul here is only speaking in the context of his ministry in Ephesus. Paul's life's purpose here was not fulfilled yet - check Acts 23:11. – brilliant Jul 14 '15 at 16:45

The Bible is Self Attesting, meaning it proves itself, If you have to use a External Source to prove the Bible then you would be alleging that there is a higher source than the Word of God, of which there isn't. Ezekiel 33 Is straightforward. Paul warned them and their blood wasn't on his hands, once your warned then its on you to take on the responsibility of seeking the kingdom and its righteousness which is found only in Jesus Christ Alone. To answer your question Believers have a Bema Seat Judgment to be rewarded for the works that The Lord has given us to do. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

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Welcome! We're glad you are here, but this answer would be much stronger if you showed more clearly, preferably with sources, that it doesn't merely reflect your own analysis. I hope you'll take a minute to review how this site is different from others, and better understand how your answer can be supported. – Nathaniel Jul 14 at 18:06

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