on Acts 20 :21
Testify both to - Jews and - Greeks - He always began with the Jews; and, in this case, he had preached to them alone for three months, Acts 19:8-10, and only left their synagogues when he found, through their obstinacy, he could do them no good.
Repentance toward God, etc. - As all had sinned against God, so all should humble themselves before him against whom they have sinned; but humiliation is no atonement for sin; therefore repentance is insufficient, unless faith in our Lord Jesus Christ accompany it. Repentance disposes and prepares the soul for pardoning mercy; but can never be considered as making compensation for past acts of transgression. This repentance and faith were necessary to the salvation both of Jews and Gentiles; for all had sinned, and come short of God's glory. The Jews must repent, who had sinned so much, and so long, against light and knowledge. The Gentiles must repent, whose scandalous lives were a reproach to man. Faith in Jesus Christ was also indispensably necessary; for a Jew might repent, be sorry for his sin, and suppose that, by a proper discharge of his religious duty, and bringing proper sacrifices, he could conciliate the favor of God: No, this will not do; nothing but faith in Jesus Christ, as the end of the law, and the great and only vicarious sacrifice, will do; hence he testified to them the necessity of faith in this Messiah. The Gentiles might repent of their profligate lives, turn to the true God, and renounce all idolatry: this is well, but it is not sufficient: they also have sinned, and their present amendment and faith can make no atonement for what is past; therefore, they also must believe on the Lord Jesus, who died for their sins, and rose again for their justification.
on Acts 20 :21
Testifying - Bearing witness to the necessity of repentance toward God. Or teaching them the nature of repentance, and exhorting them to repent and believe. Perhaps the word "testifying" includes both ideas of giving evidence, and of urging with great earnestness and affection that repentance and faith were necessary. See 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14; where the word used here, and here translated "testify," is there translated correctly, "charge," in the sense of "strongly urging, or entreating with great earnestness."
And also to the Greeks - To all who were not Jews. "The Greeks" properly denoted "those who lived in Greece, and who spoke the Greek language." But the phrase, "Jews and Greeks," among the Hebrews, denoted "the whole human race." He urged the necessity of repentance and faith in all. Religion makes no distinction, but regards all as sinners, and as needing salvation by the blood of the Redeemer.
Repentance toward God - See the notes on Matthew 3:2. Repentance is to be exercised "toward God," because:
(1) Sin has been committed against him, and it is proper that we express our sorrow to the Being whom we have offended; and,
(2) Because only God can pardon. Sincere repentance exists only where there is a willingness to make acknowledgment to the very Being whom we have offended or injured.
And faith - See the notes on Mark 16:16.
Toward - εἰς eis. In regard to; in; confidence in the work and merits of the Lord Jesus. This is required, because there is no other one who can save from sin. See the notes on Acts 4:12.
on Acts 20 :21
20:21 Repentance toward God - The very first motion of the soul toward God is a kind of repentance.