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Verse 28

Made you overseers - Εθετο επισκοπους , Appointed you bishops; for so we translate the original word in most places where it occurs: but overseers, or inspectors, is much more proper, from επι , over, and σκεπτομαι , I look. The persons who examine into the spiritual state of the flock of God, and take care to lead them in and out, and to find them pasture, are termed episcopoi , or superintendents. The office of a bishop is from God; a true pastor only can fulfill this office: it is an office of most awful responsibility; few there are who can fill it; and, of those who occupy this high and awful place, perhaps we may say there are fewer still who discharge the duties of it. There are, however, through the good providence of God, Christian bishops, who, while they are honored by the calling, do credit to the sacred function. And the annals of our Church can boast of at least as many of this class of men, who have served their God and their generation, as of any other order, in the proportion which this order bears to others in the Church of Christ. That bishop and presbyter, or elder, were at this time of the same order, and that the word was indifferently used of both, see noticed on Acts 20:17 ; (note).

Feed the Church of God - This verse has been the subject of much controversy, particularly in reference to the term Θεου , of God, in this place; and concerning it there is great dissension among the MSS. and versions. Three readings exist in them, in reference to which critics and commentators have been much divided; viz. εκκλησιαν του Θεου , the Church of God; του Κυριου , of the Lord; Κυριου και Θεου , of the Lord and God. From the collections of Wetstein and Griesbach, it appears that but few MSS., and none of them very ancient, have the word Θεου , of God; with these only the Vulgate, and the later Syriac in the text, agree. Κυριου , of the Lord, is the reading of ACDE, several others, the Sahidic, Coptic, later Syriac in the margin, Armenian, Ethiopia, and some of the fathers. Κυριου και Θεου , of the Lord and of God, is the reading of the great majority; though the most ancient are for Κυριου , of the Lord: on this ground Griesbach has admitted this reading into the text, and put Κυριου και Θεου in the margin, as being next in authority.

Mr. Wakefield, who was a professed and conscientious Unitarian, decides for του Θεου , of God, as the true reading; but, instead of translating του ιδιου αἱματος , with his own blood, he translates, by his own Son, and brings some passages from the Greek and Roman writers to show that αἱμα and sanguis are used to signify son, or near relative; and, were this the only place where purchasing with his own blood occurred, we might receive this saying; but, as the redemption of man is, throughout the New Testament, attributed to the sacrificial death of Christ, it is not likely that this very unusual meaning should apply here. At all events, we have here a proof that the Church was purchased by the blood of Christ; and, as to his Godhead, it is sufficiently established in many other places. When we grant that the greater evidence appears to be in favor of του Κυριου , feed the Church of the Lord, which he has purchased with his own blood, we must maintain that, had not this Lord been God, his blood could have been no purchase for the souls of a lost world.

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