What is your understanding of Acts 18:21?
Paul is moving throughout the region where Ephesus is. He drops off his ministry companions Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus as he continues to move back toward Antioch (Acts 18:18-21). He spent a small amount of time reasoning with Jews in the synagogue in Ephesus (Acts 18:19).
They wanted him to stay in Ephesus longer, but he had to move on to Antioch (Acts 18:20). It is in the next verse that Paul gives an explanation to the Ephesians, telling them that he will return to them if it is God’s will (Acts 18:21).
Paul traveled by the will of God. When he received the Macedonian call through a vision, he attempted to go and fulfill that call (Acts 16:6-10). God’s Spirit prevented him from doing what he wanted to do (Acts 16:7).
He receives a vision from God and makes a point to fulfill this vision of preaching in Macedonia (Acts 16:10). He believes that God through the vision was directing his path. Paul was open to whatever the Spirit wanted him to do.
He did his best to discern what God’s will was at the time in each of his travels. If only we would live like Paul today! He didn’t have a set schedule or plan. He followed God’s lead.
He told the Ephesians that he would see them again if it was God’s will because he was led by the Spirit. Indeed, God would send him back to Ephesus. In Acts 19, Paul returns to Ephesus and ends up spending about two and half years there.
And he did get to fulfill that Macedonian call that the Spirit called him to fulfill. In Acts 20:1-6, Paul travels to Macedonia and shares the gospel with the Macedonians and Greeks. When we live directed by the Spirit of God, we follow God’s will and fulfill everything that he calls us to do.