Acts 16 explained

Acts 16 explained DEFAULT

Acts 16 Bible Commentary

Complete     Concise

Chapter Contents

Paul takes Timothy to be his assistant. (1-5) Paul proceeds to Macedonia, The conversion of Lydia. (6-15) An evil spirit cast out, Paul and Silas scourged and imprisoned. (16-24) The conversion of the jailer at Philippi. (25-34) Paul and Silas released. (35-40)

Commentary on Acts 16:1-5

(Read Acts 16:1-5)

Well may the church look for much service from youthful ministers who set out in the same spirit as Timothy. But when men will submit in nothing, and oblige in nothing, the first elements of the Christian temper seem to be wanting; and there is great reason to believe that the doctrines and precepts of the gospel will not be successfully taught. The design of the decree being to set aside the ceremonial law, and its carnal ordinances, believers were confirmed in the Christian faith, because it set up a spiritual way of serving God, as suited to the nature both of God and man. Thus the church increased in numbers daily.

Commentary on Acts 16:6-15

(Read Acts 16:6-15)

The removals of ministers, and the dispensing the means of grace by them, are in particular under Divine conduct and direction. We must follow Providence: and whatever we seek to do, if that suffer us not, we ought to submit and believe to be for the best. People greatly need help for their souls, it is their duty to look out for it, and to invite those among them who can help them. And God's calls must be complied with readily. A solemn assembly the worshippers of God must have, if possible, upon the sabbath day. If we have not synagogues, we must be thankful for more private places, and resort to them; not forsaking the assembling together, as our opportunities are. Among the hearers of Paul was a woman, named Lydia. She had an honest calling, which the historian notices to her praise. Yet though she had a calling to mind, she found time to improve advantages for her soul. It will not excuse us from religious duties, to say, We have a trade to mind; for have not we also a God to serve, and souls to look after? Religion does not call us from our business in the world, but directs us in it. Pride, prejudice, and sin shut out the truths of God, till his grace makes way for them into the understanding and affections; and the Lord alone can open the heart to receive and believe his word. We must believe in Jesus Christ; there is no coming to God as a Father, but by the Son as Mediator.

Commentary on Acts 16:16-24

(Read Acts 16:16-24)

Satan, though the father of lies, will declare the most important truths, when he can thereby serve his purposes. But much mischief is done to the real servants of Christ, by unholy and false preachers of the gospel, who are confounded with them by careless observers. Those who do good by drawing men from sin, may expect to be reviled as troublers of the city. While they teach men to fear God, to believe in Christ, to forsake sin, and to live godly lives, they will be accused of teaching bad customs.

Commentary on Acts 16:25-34

(Read Acts 16:25-34)

The consolations of God to his suffering servants are neither few nor small. How much more happy are true Christians than their prosperous enemies! As in the dark, so out of the depths, we may cry unto God. No place, no time is amiss for prayer, if the heart be lifted up to God. No trouble, however grievous, should hinder us from praise. Christianity proves itself to be of God, in that it obliges us to be just to our own lives. Paul cried aloud to make the jailer hear, and to make him heed, saying, Do thyself no harm. All the cautions of the word of God against sin, and all appearances of it, and approaches to it, have this tendency. Man, woman, do not ruin thyself; hurt not thyself, and then none else can hurt thee; do not sin, for nothing but that can hurt thee. Even as to the body, we are cautioned against the sins which do harm to that. Converting grace changes people's language of and to good people and good ministers. How serious the jailer's inquiry! His salvation becomes his great concern; that lies nearest his heart, which before was furthest from his thoughts. It is his own precious soul that he is concerned about. Those who are thoroughly convinced of sin, and truly concerned about their salvation, will give themselves up to Christ. Here is the sum of the whole gospel, the covenant of grace in a few words; Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. The Lord so blessed the word, that the jailer was at once softened and humbled. He treated them with kindness and compassion, and, professing faith in Christ, was baptized in that name, with his family. The Spirit of grace worked such a strong faith in them, as did away further doubt; and Paul and Silas knew by the Spirit, that a work of God was wrought in them. When sinners are thus converted, they will love and honour those whom they before despised and hated, and will seek to lessen the suffering they before desired to increase. When the fruits of faith begin to appear, terrors will be followed by confidence and joy in God.

Commentary on Acts 16:35-40

(Read Acts 16:35-40)

Paul, though willing to suffer for the cause of Christ, and without any desire to avenge himself, did not choose to depart under the charge of having deserved wrongful punishment, and therefore required to be dismissed in an honourable manner. It was not a mere point of honour that the apostle stood upon, but justice, and not to himself so much as to his cause. And when proper apology is made, Christians should never express personal anger, nor insist too strictly upon personal amends. The Lord will make them more than conquerors in every conflict; instead of being cast down by their sufferings, they will become comforters of their brethren.

  1. Bible > Bible Commentary
  2. Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (concise)
  3. Acts
  4. Acts 16
Sours: https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary/matthew-henry-concise/acts/16

Acts Chapter 16 introduces Timothy, the son of a Greek man and a Jewish mother. Paul wanted to take Timothy with him when preaching, so he circumcised him.

Paul had a vision of a man praying and asking him to go to Macedonia. He took this to mean that he should head towards Macedonia with his companions, which he did. During the Sabbath, they rested from their journey alongside a river in the city of Thyatira. They met a woman there named Lydia who wanted to hear the Word. After her baptism and her household’s conversion, they set out in prayer.

After leaving the river, they encountered a slave woman who was possessed by the spirit of divination. She did not want to be noticed by the apostles; however, Silas and Paul cast the demon out of her in Jesus’ name. This angered her masters because they had feared they would not be able to earn money off of her anymore. They brought the two apostles to the marketplace where they faced high magistrates.

Paul and Silas were apprehended and whipped. Paul stated that the lashes given were more than the number of the usual Jewish custom, which was not supposed to exceed 40. Following the beating, they were locked up and chained to stocks. During this time, they prayed constantly.

A great earthquake fell upon the city which caused the prison to break and allowed the two to escape. The prison guard, fearing for his life for failing to stop the two men from escaping, wanted to kill himself rather than face the possibility of torture or execution. But Paul called out to him and told him not to hurt himself. After the chaos, He shared the Word of the Lord with him and the guard found salvation.

1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;

12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.

36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.

37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.

39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.

40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

Sours: https://totallyhistory.com/acts-chapter-16/
  1. Bahasa translate to english
  2. Ice cave ark: ragnarok
  3. Flooring stores abilene, tx
  4. Fall hidden pictures printable
  5. Nasal congestion icd 10

Acts chapter 16

New International Version

1 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. 'If you consider me a believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And she persuaded us.

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, 'These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.' 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, 'In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!' At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, 'These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.'

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone's chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, 'Don't harm yourself! We are all here!'

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'

31 They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household.' 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole household.

35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: 'Release those men.' 36 The jailer told Paul, 'The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.'

37 But Paul said to the officers: 'They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.'

38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.

English Standard Version

1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

King James Version

1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. 11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. 13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. 36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. 37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. 38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. 39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. 40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

New American Standard Bible

1 Now Paul also came to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, 2 and he was well spoken of by the brothers and sisters who were in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted this man to leave with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the ordinances for them to follow which had been determined by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.

6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, after being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; 8 and passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and pleading with him, and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately sought to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11 So after setting sail from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the following day to Neapolis; 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were spending some days in this city. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were thinking that there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.

14 A woman named Lydia was listening; she was a seller of purple fabrics from the city of Thyatira, and a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. 15 Now when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.' And she prevailed upon us.

16 It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave woman who had a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing great profit to her masters by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us and cried out repeatedly, saying, 'These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you a way of salvation.' 18 Now she continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and he turned and said to the spirit, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!' And it came out at that very moment.

19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was suddenly gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities, 20 and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, 'These men, Jews as they are, are causing our city trouble, 21 and they are proclaiming customs that are not lawful for us to accept or to practice, since we are Romans.'

22 The crowd joined in an attack against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. 23 When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; 24 and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 Now about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying, 'Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!' 29 And the jailer asked for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas; 30 and after he brought them out, he said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'

31 They said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.' 32 And they spoke the word of God to him together with all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and was overjoyed, since he had become a believer in God together with his whole household.

35 Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their officers, saying, 'Release those men.' 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, 'The chief magistrates have sent word that you be released. So come out now and go in peace.' 37 But Paul said to them, 'After beating us in public without due process—men who are Romans—they threw us into prison; and now they are releasing us secretly? No indeed! On the contrary, let them come in person and lead us out.' 38 The officers reported these words to the chief magistrates. And they became fearful when they heard that they were Romans, 39 and they came and pleaded with them, and when they had led them out, they repeatedly asked them to leave the city. 40 They left the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brothers and sisters, they encouraged them and departed.

New Living Translation

1 Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, 3 so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. 4 Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.

6 Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. 7 Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. 8 So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.

9 That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us!' 10 So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.

11 We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. 12 From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. 14 One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15 She was baptized along with other members of her household, and she asked us to be her guests. 'If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my home.' And she urged us until we agreed.

16 One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, 'These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.'

18 This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.' And instantly it left her.

19 Her masters' hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. 20 'The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!' they shouted to the city officials. 21 'They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.'

22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn't escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, 'Stop! Don't kill yourself! We are all here!'

29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'

31 They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.' 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, 'Let those men go!' 36 So the jailer told Paul, 'The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.'

37 But Paul replied, 'They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison--and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!'

38 When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. 40 When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.

Christian Standard Bible

1 Paul went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. 2 The brothers and sisters at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to go with him; so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for the people to observe. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 Passing by Mysia they went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision in which a Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, "Cross over to Macedonia and help us! " 10 After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, a Roman colony and a leading city of the district of Macedonia. We stayed in that city for several days. 13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women gathered there. 14 A God-fearing woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying. 15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, "If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.

16 Once, as we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 As she followed Paul and us she cried out, "These men, who are proclaiming to you a way of salvation, are the servants of the Most High God."

18 She did this for many days.Paul was greatly annoyed. Turning to the spirit, he said, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! " And it came out right away.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20 Bringing them before the chief magistrates, they said, "These men are seriously disturbing our city. They are Jews 21 and are promoting customs that are not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice." 22 The crowd joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had severely flogged them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to guard them carefully. 24 Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's chains came loose. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison standing open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped.

28 But Paul called out in a loud voice, "Don't harm yourself, because we're all here! "

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He escorted them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? "

31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. 33 He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized. 34 He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had come to believe in God with his entire household.

35 When daylight came, the chief magistrates sent the police to say, "Release those men."

36 The jailer reported these words to Paul: "The magistrates have sent orders for you to be released. So come out now and go in peace."

37 But Paul said to them, "They beat us in public without a trial, although we are Roman citizens, and threw us in jail. And now are they going to send us away secretly? Certainly not! On the contrary, let them come themselves and escort us out."

38 The police reported these words to the magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came to appease them, and escorting them from prison, they urged them to leave town. 40 After leaving the jail, they came to Lydia's house, where they saw and encouraged the brothers and sisters, and departed.

Sours: https://www.bibleref.com/Acts/16/Acts-chapter-16.html
Acts 16: How to Handle Stress

Commentary on Acts 16:16-34

In last Sunday’s lesson, Paul met Lydia while he was looking for a place of prayer.

Now, again on his way to the place of prayer, Paul meets another woman. Whereas Lydia, while not necessarily wealthy, was at least a woman of some independence (as the head of her household), this second woman is doubly bound, a slave to a cartel of human masters, and a slave to the evil spirit that possesses her. She is a woman of no power, status, or freedom. Yet she speaks the truth about Paul and his partners, following them all around town and providing free advertising for Paul’s ministry.

But in the end, Paul cannot tolerate it any more. Perhaps even the truth, when proclaimed through abusive systems, ends up necessarily being distorted. Is her declaration that Paul and Silas offer “a way of salvation” (NRSV), rather than clearly saying “the way of salvation” (the Greek construction is ambiguous) such a distortion? Evil’s attempts to manipulate and perhaps control the truth are not to be tolerated, but answered with the clarity of the gospel.

And so, in Jesus’ name, Paul sets the woman free from the spirit that had occupied her life. At this point, we might wish to hear more about what happens to this woman, who remained a slave to her human owners. The focus of this scene is the power of Jesus over all the spirits of the world, but we might well ask whether and how there could be a more complete freedom for this woman. The story simply leaves her behind, nameless, disturbing, and perhaps a reminder of the continuing need of liberation for so many.          

We might expect the people who witness this exorcism to react with awe, wonder, and even faith. Instead, there is greed, bigotry, and a hostile appeal to cultural-political identity that labels the “other” as different, and therefore as dangerous and a legitimate target of violence. It is not difficult to find similarly targeted groups among us: immigrant workers accused of taking “our” jobs, members of minority religious traditions who are seen as suspicious if not sinister, those whose sexual orientation or gender identity doesn’t fit the majority.

Too often, those who are perceived as different become the objects of criticism and violence in the name of being truly “American” or “Christian” (often with no distinction made between those two). Even more disturbingly, we may all find within ourselves a failure to recognize God at work in our midst, especially when that working of God upsets our plans and our profits.

It seems as though bigotry has won the day, with Paul and Silas locked in chains. The first sign that the powers of this world are really not in charge comes with the surprising songs in that dark cell. Paul and Silas sing praises to God — not laments for the suffering (which would be understandable, appropriate, and biblical) — but praise for the privilege of being God’s servants in the face of injustice.

God has already sprung preachers from Roman prisons twice in Acts (5:17-21, 12:6-11), so we readers shouldn’t be surprised that the Philippian jail can’t hold Paul and Silas. But the earthquake in this text is certainly a strange one as it is one that sets free instead of trapping and crushing. This earthquake is the visible manifestation of God shaking this world’s powers to their foundations.

Given the story of Peter’s rescue from prison in chapter 12, we might expect Paul and Silas to go immediately to Lydia’s house. But this is an escape story without an escape. Paul and Silas don’t leave. Being God’s servants does not mean escape from the dangerous places, but means the opportunity to be the voice and the hands of Christ there. And so just as Paul and Silas shared the gospel in song with their fellow prisoners (is that why all the other prisoners, whose chains and doors were also undone, stayed put with Paul and Silas?), now they save their jailer both from the suicide that Roman honor expected with a failure of duty (see 12:19), and from a life without faith in Christ.

Just as Lydia’s life was changed by the gospel, so too is the life of this jailer. He washes the wounds of Paul and Silas, and he becomes their host. The call to faith in verse 31 and the rejoicing over faith in verse 34b frame a scene in which we find the Word of the Lord being spoken (32), service to others (33a), baptism (33b), and sharing a meal (34a). This is a picture of the church’s life, which the jailer has now entered by faith.

The next morning, the city magistrates want to be done with this episode quickly. Perhaps they realize that the mob mentality had gotten out of hand the previous day; perhaps they hoped that a single night in prison would be enough to stop any more troublemaking from Paul and Silas. Despite the events of the previous night, the magistrates think they’re still in control of their little part of the world.

But they, and we readers, are in for one more surprise, as Paul reveals his Roman citizenship for the first time. With that one declaration, the magistrates’ sense of power and control is taken away. Like those Gerasenes in Luke 8 who could not tolerate Jesus’ exorcism (or was it losing all those pigs that they couldn’t tolerate?), so now the leaders of Philippi beg Paul to simply leave them alone. Paul does go; after all, God is calling him to an expanding mission.

But before he goes, we hear in verse 40 a reminder that the church is still there in Philippi in the house of Lydia (and, we remember, in the house of the jailer). If the magistrates felt any relief at Paul’s departure, it was premature and mistaken. The church remains, serving and proclaiming the risen Jesus as Lord, and the world will not go back to the way it was.

Sours: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/seventh-sunday-of-easter-3/commentary-on-acts-1616-34-4

16 explained acts

Acts 16:16-34

EXEGESIS:

THE CONTEXT:

This is Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (49-52 A.D.) as recorded in Acts 15:30 – 18:21. Paul is accompanied by Silas (15:37-38), and they are later joined by young Mark (16:1). Because of the “we” passages in 16:10-16, some scholars believe that Luke (the author of this book) is also part of Paul’s party.

This missionary journey has taken Paul from Jerusalem north to Antioch of Syria and then westwards through the interior of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). A vision of a man from Macedonia (modern-day Greece) caused Paul and Silas to cross the Aegean Sea to go there (16:9-12). This introduced the Gospel to the continent of Europe for the first time (Turkey is in Asia and Greece is in Europe).

Paul and his companions found a “place of prayer” outside the city of Philippi on the sabbath (16:13). They met Lydia, a seller of purple, there, and baptized her and her family (16:11-15). Lydia, a seller of purple (and probably affluent), offered them the hospitality of her home, which they accepted (16:15).

As the story continues, the disciples are still in Philippi, where they will be for the balance of chapter 16. This chapter records Paul’s encounter with Lydia, the successful businesswoman (16:11-15) and his encounter with a slave-girl (16:16-18) ­—women from opposite ends of the social and economic scale. It also records the conversion of a Roman jailer and his household (16:29-34), demonstrating the ability of the Gospel to penetrate into the hearts of people from all walks of life. These three recipients of Paul’s ministry (Lydia, the slave-girl, and the Roman jailer) “epitomized all whom the Jews held in contempt—women, slaves, and Gentiles” (Williams, 280).

ACTS 16:16-18. A GIRL HAVING A SPIRIT OF DIVINATION

16It happened, as we were going to prayer, that a certain girl having a spirit of divination (Greek: pneuma pythona—a python spirit) met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling (Greek: manteuomene—prophesying). 17Following Paul and us, she cried out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us a way of salvation!”18She was doing this for many days. But Paul, becoming greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” It came out that very hour.

This story has parallels in three stories of Jesus’ exorcisms:

• The man with the unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37).
• The Gerasene demoniac (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39).
• The Syrophoenician woman’s daughter (Matthew 15:21-18; Mark 7:24-30).

“It happened, as we were going to prayer” (v. 16a). This appears to be the same place of prayer where they earlier encountered Lydia (16:13). Luke does not tell us whether this is a sabbath.

“that a certain girl” (v. 16b). This is one of several “we” passages in the book of Acts (see also 16:10-15; 20:5-8, 13-15; 21:1-18; 27:1 – 28:16). Because Luke is the author of the book of Acts, many scholars have concluded that Luke has joined Paul and his companions (Silas and Timothy) at this point.

Lydia was both financially prosperous and socially independent. This girl is neither. Her owners dictate her every action and confiscate any money that her efforts produce.

“having a spirit of divination (pneuma pythona—a python spirit) met us (v. 16b). In Greek mythology, the great serpent, Python, “lived in a cave near Delphi….and guarded the oracle there” (Encarta). People believed that this oracle provided divinely inspired wisdom to humans, so Greeks associated the python with divine inspiration.

When Luke says that this girl has a pneuma pythona—a python spirit—he means that people believe that she can tap into divine powers for wisdom and guidance—that she is, in essence, a human intermediary for divine powers.

“who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling” (manteuomene—prophesying) (v. 16d). In reporting this, Luke clearly sees problems on two levels. First, the girl’s owners have enslaved her for the purpose of enriching themselves. Second, the spiritual powers to which this girl has access are demonic.

Many similar forms of slavery exist throughout the world today. Peddlers of sex and pornography often use enslaved children, male and female, for their purposes. In some cases, they kidnap the children. In others, they buy children for a small price from impoverished parents—often under false pretenses. In nations torn by civil strife, rebels often capture children and turn them into killing machines. Middle Eastern nations often import female workers whose legal contracts constitute a form of indentured servitude. Anyone who thinks that slavery ended with the American Civil War is sadly mistaken.

“Following Paul and us (v. 17a). This “us” represents the last “we” passage in Acts until 10:6, leaving us to wonder if Luke drops out at this point.

“These men are servants of the Most High God (v. 17b). This woman, who is a slave to demonic spirits and evil men, recognizes that Paul and his companions are slaves to the Most High God.

Paul would not disagree with her characterization. In his Epistle to the Romans, he introduces himself as “Paul, a servant (Greek: doulos) of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1). The Greek word doulos means bond-servant or slave. Paul says, “Don’t you know that to whom you present yourselves as servants to obedience, his servants you are whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). He calls us to “present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification” (Romans 6:19). He says, “For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord’s free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ’s bondservant” (1 Corinthians 7:22). He explains, “For though I was free from all, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more” (1 Corinthians 9:19).

“who proclaim to us a way of salvation (v. 17c). This is exactly what Paul and his companions have come to do.

“She was doing this for many days. But Paul, becoming greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!’ It came out that very hour”(v. 18). This girl’s witness is true, but subject to misinterpretation by people who know nothing of Paul or the God whom he represents. As Greeks, they would be inclined to equate “Most High God” with Zeus.

“I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her” (v. 18b). This is very much like Jesus’ command to the demon, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (Luke 4:35).

“It came out that very hour” (v. 18c). Earlier, when Jesus exorcised the unclean spirit, the demon “came out of him, having done him no harm” (Luke 4:35)—much like the spirit leaves this slave-girl (v. 18c).

This exorcism demonstrates God’s power over demonic spirits.

ACTS 16:19-24: HER MASTERS SEIZED PAUL AND SILAS

19But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace (Greek: agoran) before the rulers (Greek: archontas). 20When they had brought them to the magistrates (Greek: strategois), they said, “These men, being Jews, are agitating our city, 21and set forth customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.” 22The multitude rose up together against them, and the magistrates tore their clothes off of them, and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23When they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely,24who, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison, and secured their feet in the stocks.

“But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace (agoran) before the rulers (archontas) (v. 19). To her owners, this girl is nothing but a money machine. Seeing that Paul has wrecked their business venture, they set out to wreck Paul and Silas. Timothy and Luke seem not to be involved at this point.

“into the marketplace”(agoran) (19b). The agora was the public square in the center of the city. Merchants would have their booths there, but the agora would also be where authorities would hold public court.

“When they had brought them to the magistrates” (strategois) (v. 20a). It is the slave-girl’s owners who bring Paul and Silas before these strategois (magistrates).

Are the magistrates (strategois) of this verse the same officials as the authorities (archontas) of verse 19? We can’t be sure. The strategois could be a higher-level authority. They are probably duumvirs, a word that comes from the Roman duo (meaning two) and vir (meaning man). The duumvirs would be two men appointed by Rome to administer the civil affairs of the city.

“These men, being Jews, are agitating our city” (v. 20b). As was true when Jesus was tried, these accusers avoid honest accusation. They say nothing about Paul and Silas ruining their little business. Instead, just as Jesus’ accusers did, they concoct misleading charges to make it easier to get a guilty verdict. They accuse Paul and Silas of creating a public disturbance—a charge that city officials must take seriously ­­—no civil official can tolerate a public disturbance.

“being Jews” (v. 20b). They also accuse Paul and Silas of being Jews, which of course is true. It is not illegal to be a Jew, but these accusers are hoping to hook into anti-Semitic sentiments among the officials and/or the crowd.

The people do not accuse Paul and Silas of being Christians, because Paul and Silas have just begun to introduce Christianity to Macedonia (Greece) and the people, for the most part, have no idea that they are Christians or what that means.

“and set forth customs which it is not lawful” (v. 21a). Paul’s accusers do not specify what customs Paul is advocating that are not lawful. If they can make a general charge like this stick, then they will find it unnecessary to defend more specific accusations. They could accuse Paul and Silas of persuading people to join a cult not recognized by the Roman government, but by this time officials do not usually prosecute people for this transgression.

for us to accept or to observe, being Romans (v. 21b). In the previous verse, the accusers (the slave-girl’s owners) have identified Paul and Silas as Jews. Now they identify themselves as Romans—a status that they enjoy as citizens of Philippi, a Roman colony. Roman citizenship comes with a number of privileges, and is highly respected. By characterizing Paul and Silas as Jews and themselves as Romans, Paul’s accusers are trying to establish a bad-guy, good-guy contrast—with themselves being the good guys.

What the accusers do not know, but Paul will later reveal (v. 37) is that he and Silas are also Roman citizens.

“The multitude rose up together against them, and the magistrates tore their clothes off of them, and commanded them to be beaten with rods” (v. 22). This parallels the situation that Jesus faced, where the crowd demanded that he be punished and the authorities bowed to the demands of the crowd (Luke 23).

In this kind of situation, the magistrates should arrest the accused and schedule a trial to hear the accusations and to weigh the evidence. This procedure is designed, in part, to separate the process from mob rule and to give the accused a fair trial before impartial judges. However, these magistrates fail to observe proper procedure, and instead bow to the crowd’s demands for immediate punishment.

and commanded them to be beaten with rods (v. 22b). Beating prisoners with rigid rods is an alternative to whipping them with flexible whips. Paul will later claim to have been beaten with rods three times (2 Corinthians 11:25), but we have no further record of the other two occasions.

“When they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely” (v. 23). The authorities would typically imprison anyone whom they had first flogged. The note about ordering the jailer “to keep them safely” helps to set up the later scene where an earthquake sets them free.

“who, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison, and secured their feet in the stocks” (v. 24). The jailer, having been ordered to keep these prisoners secured, places them in the innermost cell at the heart of the prison—more than likely a dungeon. There would be no light at night, and little light during the day. There would be little provision for sanitation or ventilation, so the stench would be terrible. Beaten backs would be subject to infection. Feet fastened in stocks would add physical discomfort. Unable to shift positions, prisoners would grow more uncomfortable by the minute. It is difficult to imagine a more terrible place.

ACTS 16:25-34. SUDDENLY THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE

25But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were loosened.27The jailer, being roused out of sleep and seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.28But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, “Don’t harm yourself, for we are all here!”29He called for lights and sprang in, and, fell down trembling before Paul and Silas, 30and brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32They spoke the word of the Lord to him, and to all who were in his house. 33He took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was immediately baptized, he and all his household.34He brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his household, having believed in God.

“But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (v. 25a). At midnight, the darkness would be all-encompassing. Luke gives us no information concerning the content of these prayers, but the hymn-singing makes it clear that Paul and Silas are anything but depressed, defeated prisoners. It seems likely that their prayers are prayers of praise and petitions for guidance rather than prayers for release.

“and the prisoners were listening to them” (v. 25b). Some of these prisoners have probably spent many days in this terrible place, and this would surely be the first time that they have heard anyone praying and singing hymns. The actions of Paul and Silas, therefore, constitute a powerful witness to the rest of the prisoners.

“Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken” (v. 26a). Philippi is in a seismically active area, so it would not be unusual to experience an earthquake there—although an earthquake this violent would be unusual.

“and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were loosened” (v. 26b). This is the point. Using an earthquake for his purposes, God opens the prison doors and unfastens the prisoners’ chains so that Paul and Silas are free to escape.

Luke has told us about two occasions in the past when God opened prison doors, allowing disciples to escape. In the first instance, Peter and other disciples were healing large numbers of people in the temple when the high priest had the disciples arrested and put in public prison. “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said, ‘Go stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life'” (5:20).

In the second instance, Herod arrested Peter “and delivered him to four squads of four soldiers each to guard him” (12:4)—an extraordinary measure of security. However, even though Peter was bound with chains and sleeping between two soldiers, an angel freed him (12:6-11).

These stories are intended to show that even powerful men, using their utmost to stifle the Gospel, cannot defeat the people whom God has sent to proclaim the Gospel.

“The jailer, being roused out of sleep and seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped”

(v. 27). It might seem odd that this jailer did not examine the cells carefully before deciding to kill himself, but people under great stress often panic—and this jailer is certainly panicked. When the angel delivered Peter from prison in an earlier instance, Herod executed the guards for dereliction of duty (12:19). In this latest instance, the jailer knows that his life is forfeit if even one prisoner has escaped—and all the prison doors are open, so surely more than one prisoner has escaped.

There is another reason, too, why the jailer would contemplate suicide. Not only can he expect to be killed if a prisoner has escaped, but he will also be humiliated before his peers, who will carry out his execution. Very often, fear of humiliation is a significant factor in suicide.

“But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Don’t harm yourself, for we are all here“‘ (v. 28). Not only have Paul and Silas remained in prison, but the other prisoners have done the same. Perhaps God caused the prisoners to delay their escape. Perhaps Paul and Silas persuaded them to stay.

Paul understands the pressure that the jailer is under and the possibility that he will commit suicide. He calls out to reassure the jailer that all the prisoners are still present. The miracle that God has worked is not just for the deliverance of Paul and Silas, but also for the deliverance of the jailer.

“He called for lights and sprang in, and, fell down trembling before Paul and Silas” (v. 29). The jailer understands that Paul has saved his life, so he falls down before them—signaling his obeisance.

“and brought them out” (v. 30). A lesser manuscript (known as the Western text of Acts) says that the jailer secured the other prisoners before bringing Paul and Silas outside, but the better manuscripts say nothing about this.

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?(v. 30). The jailer’s panic and his relief on discovering that the prisoners are still present has made him receptive to guidance from Paul and Silas, whom he surely regards as his saviors in this present crisis.

The jailer’s question reminds us of the people’s response to Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, where they asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (2:37). The jailer’s question can be understood on two levels. He could be asking what he must do to be saved from execution by the authorities. But, as we will see in the next verse, Paul and Silas hear the jailer’s question as having to do with his eternal salvation.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved(v. 31). Paul and Silas use the jailer’s question as an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to him. This verse probably summarizes a longer proclamation. It is similar to Peter’s salvation formula at Pentecost, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (2:38).

“you and your household(v. 31a). Paul and Silas make it clear to the jailer that his household can enjoy the same salvation that they are offering him.

“They spoke the word of the Lord to him, and to all who were in his house” (v. 32). The proclamation of the Gospel continues, this time to the jailer and “all who were in his house”—his family and possibly servants as well.

Luke has already told us about the baptism of Cornelius and all those who were with him (10:44-48) and of Lydia and her household (16:15).

“He took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was immediately baptized, he and all his household” (v. 33). The jailer demonstrates his new faith by taking care of their wounds and by being baptized. His family is also baptized, in keeping with a tradition that the head of a family can make a decision that is binding on the whole family.

Chrysostom said of this incident, “He (the jailer) washed and was washed. He washed them from their stripes, and was himself washed from his sins” (quoted in Bruce, 318).

“He brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his household, having believed in God” (v. 34). Like Lydia earlier (v. 15), these new converts extend genuine hospitality to Paul and Silas.

ACTS 16:35-40. EPILOGUE

As this story continues through the end of chapter 16, the following morning the magistrates send word to the jailer to let Paul and Silas go. When the jailer relays that information to Paul and Silas, Paul says, “They have beaten us publicly, without a trial, men who are Romans, and have cast us into prison! Do they now release us secretly? No, most certainly, but let them come themselves and bring us out” (v. 37).

This strikes fear in the heart of the magistrates, because they do not have the authority to beat and jail Roman citizens without due process of law. The magistrates come to the jail to apologize, after which they ask Paul and Silas to leave town. Paul and Silas visit Lydia’s home to encourage the believers, after which they do leave town.

SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS are from the World English Bible (WEB), a public domain (no copyright) modern English translation of the Holy Bible. The World English Bible is based on the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensa Old Testament, and the Greek Majority Text New Testament. The ASV, which is also in the public domain due to expired copyrights, was a very good translation, but included many archaic words (hast, shineth, etc.), which the WEB has updated.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Barclay, William, Daily Study Bible: Acts, (Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1976)

Bock, Darrell L., Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Acts (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007)

Bruce, F. F., The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Acts(Revised)(Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988)

Chance, J. Bradley, The Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary: Acts (Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc., 2007)

Craddock, Fred B.; Hayes, John H.; Holliday, Carl R.; and Tucker, Gene M., Preaching Through the Christian Year, C (Valley Forge: Trinity Press, 1994)

Farris, Lawrence W., in Van Harn, Roger (ed.), The Lectionary Commentary: Theological Exegesis for Sunday’s Text. The First Readings: The Old Testament and Acts (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001)

Faw, Chalmer E., Believers Church Bible Commentary: Acts, (Scottdale, Pennsyvania: Herald Press, 1993)

Gaventa, Beverly Roberts, Abingdon New Testament Commentaries: The Acts of the Apostles (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003)

Hemer, C.J. in Bromiley, Geoffrey (General Editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume Four: Q-ZRevised, “Tarsus” (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988).

Newsome, James D. in Cousar, Charles B.; Gaventa, Beverly R.; McCann, J. Clinton; and Newsome, James D., Texts for Preaching: A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV–Year C (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994)

Polhill, John B., New American Commentary: Acts, Vol. 26 (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992)

Wall, Robert W., The New Interpreter’s Bible: Acts, Romans, I Corinthians, Vol. X (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002)

Walaskay, Paul W., Westminster Bible Companion: Acts (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998)

Williams, David J., New International Biblical Commentary: Acts (Paternoster Press, 1995)

Willimon, William H., Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Acts (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1988)

Copyright 2009, 2010, Richard Niell Donovan

Sours: https://sermonwriter.com/biblical-commentary/acts-1616-34/
Paul in Philippi - A Bible Study on Acts 16

Acts: Chapter 16

Theme:

  • Joy in all Things: Acts 16 displays the beauty of Christian joy, that joy is not tied only to triumph in the faith but also defeat. Acts chapter 16 starts off with Paul and Silas embarking on Paul’s second missionary journey. The journey begins with them finding Timothy and training him up in the Gospel. Then they receive a divine vision from God directing them to Macedonia and then Philippi. Once they arrive in Philippi they meet Lydia, and she converts to Christianity and places her faith in Jesus Christ, and, not only Lydia, but also her entire household. After the church grows in Philippi, they are approached by an enemy of the Gospel, a demon-possessed slave girl. The demon is mocking the faith, and Paul expels the demon from the child. Paul and Silas up to this point have been immensely victorious. They have experienced personal discipleships, they have seen a divine vision, they are bringing whole families to Jesus, and even casting out demons. But, now they experience a defeat, or at least what most people would call a defeat. They are publicly beaten and then thrown in prison. But, even in defeat, when they are weakest, so they rejoice. Luke is trying to teach us that joy is not merely a reaction to good things experienced, rather, joy is a complete change of the heart and soul. True joy is to know and have Jesus Christ. To have Jesus Christ causes one to be joyful in all things, to know and love Christ is to know and love God. To have Christ is to have eternity. So, this allows us to rejoice in the good and the bad! For in all things, whether sickness, persecution, defamation, financial decline, and even death, we have our savior, Jesus Christ by our side, and His Spirit in our hearts. As Paul later writes back to the church at Philippi, “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern forme. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, Ihave learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” The entire meaning of “I can do all things through Christ” is tied to persecution and hunger. For when we are starving without food we still have the Bread of Life; For when we are thirsty and without drink, we have the fountain of Living Hope; For when we are cursed by the world, we have the Promise of the Holy Spirit. Let the Joy of Jesus Christ and the hope of the resurrection permeate your heart and soul. Let it change the way you live this week!

People: 

  • Timothy: “Honouring God, a young disciple who was Paul's companion in many of his journeyings. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are mentioned as eminent for their piety (2 Timothy 1:5). We know nothing of his father but that he was a Greek (Acts 16:1). He is first brought into notice at the time of Paul's second visit to Lystra (16:2), where he probably resided, and where it seems he was converted during Paul's first visit to that place (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 3:11). The apostle having formed a high opinion of his "own son in the faith," arranged that he should become his companion (Acts 16:3), and took and circumcised him, so that he might conciliate the Jews. He was designated to the office of an evangelist (1 Timothy 4:14), and went with Paul in his journey through Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia; also to Troas and Philippi and Berea (Acts 17:14). Thence he followed Paul to Athens, and was sent by him with Silas on a mission to Thessalonica (17:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:2). We next find him at Corinth (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) with Paul. He passes now out of sight for a few years, and is again noticed as with the apostle at Ephesus (Acts 19:22), whence he is sent on a mission into Macedonia. He accompanied Paul afterwards into Asia (20:4), where he was with him for some time. When the apostle was a prisoner at Rome, Timothy joined him (Philippians 1:1), where it appears he also suffered imprisonment (Hebrews 13:23). During the apostle's second imprisonment he wrote to Timothy, asking him to rejoin him as soon as possible, and to bring with him certain things which he had left at Troas, his cloak and parchments (2 Timothy 4:13). According to tradition, after the apostle's death he settled in Ephesus as his sphere of labour, and there found a martyr's grave.”

  • Lydia: “A woman of Thyatira, residing at Philippi in Macedonia, and dealing in purple clothes. She was not a Jewess by birth, but had become a proselyte to Judaism and "worshipped God." She was led by the grace of God to receive the gospel with joy; and having been baptized, with her household, constrained Paul and his fellow-laborers to make her house their home while at Philippi. Acts 16:14,40.”

Culture: 

Places:

  • V.6

    • Galatia - “This province was directly east of Phrygia. The region was formerly conquered by the Gauls. They settled in it, and called it, after their own name, Galatia. The Gauls invaded the country at different times, and no less than three tribes or bodies of Gauls had possession of it. Many Jews were also settled there. It was from this cause that so many parties could be formed there, and that so much controversy would arise between the Jewish and Gentile converts”.

  • V. 7

    • Mysia - “This was a province of Asia Minor, having Propontis on the north, Bithynia on the east, Lydia on the south, and the Aegean Sea on the west.

    • Bytnia - bequeathed to the Roman Republic in 74 BC, and became united with the Pontus region as the province of Bithynia et Pontus.”

  • V. 8

    • Troas — “a city on the coast of Mysia, in the north-west of Asia Minor, named after ancient Troy, which was at some little distance from it (about 4 miles) to the north.”

  • V. 9

    • Macedonia - “This was an extensive country of Greece, having Thrace on the north, Thessaly south, Epirus west, and the Aegean Sea east. It is supposed that it was populated by Kittim, son of Javan, Genesis 10:4. The kingdom rose into celebrity chiefly under the reign of Philip and his son, Alexander the Great. It was the first region in Europe in which we have any record that the gospel was preached.”

  • V. 11

    • Samothrace - “This was an island in the Aegean Sea not far from Thrace. It was populated by inhabitants from Samos and from Thrace, and hence called Samothracia. It was about 20 miles in circumference, and was an asylum for fugitives and criminals.

    • Neapolis - There were many cities of this name; but this was a sea-port town of Macedonia, a few miles eastward of Philippi. Neapolis signifies the new city.”

  • V. 12

    • Philippi - “This was a town of Macedonia, in the territory of the Edones, on the confines of Thrace, situated on the side of a steep eminence. It took its name from Philip II., king of Macedon. It is famous for two battles, fought between the imperial army, commanded by Octavianus, afterwards Augustus, and Mark Antony, and the republican army, commanded by Brutus and Cassius, in which these were successful; and a second, between Octavianus and Antony on the one part, and Brutus on the other. In this battle the republican troops were cut to pieces, after which Brutus killed himself. It was to the Church in this city that St. Paul wrote the epistle that still goes under their name.

    • A Roman colony - That is, a colony of Rome; for it appears that a colony was planted here by Julius Caesar, and afterwards enlarged by Augustus; the people, therefore, were considered as freemen of Rome, and, from this, call themselves Romans.”

  • V 14

    • Thyatira - “This was a city of Lydia, in Asia Minor, now called Akhisar. The art of dyeing was early cultivated in the neighborhood of Thyatira, as we learn from Homer (Iliad, iv. 141), and as is confirmed by inscriptions found in that city - a circumstance which may be referred to as confirming the veracity of the statements of Luke even in his casual allusions.”

Cultural Background

  • Why was Timothy circumcised? - “Having a Greek father, Timothy had not been circumcised, though by Jewish law the child of a Gentile father and a Jewish mother was considered Jewish. Because of the Jews who were in those places”. Paul never abandoned his Jewish heritage, and so he circumcised Timothy. It was all the more necessary if Timothy was to join his mission. He did not want to fight on nonessentials (1 Cor. 9:19-21). Paul always began in the synagogues, and to have an uncircumcised Jew with him would have made any witness to Jews much more difficult. (Since Timothy had grown up in this region, the Jews would have known of his mixed family background.)”

  • A Place of Prayer - “The places of prayer, or proseuche, were in locations where there were no synagogues. These were places of prayer outside of towns where the Jews were too poor to have synagogues, or were not permitted to have them. They were generally located near the water for the convenience of ablution, sometimes a large building was erected; but frequently the proseuche was simply a retired place in the open air or in a grove. Proseuche is translated “chapel.” Even today it is not uncommon to find a chapel or similar structure in a grove, forest, or alongside a lake, or other peaceful body of water.”

  • A Roman to the Romans - “Paul protested on behalf of himself and Silas that they had been treated illegally. Roman citizens should not be condemned or punished without receiving a fair trial and having an opportunity to defend themselves. Yet they had been summarily beaten and imprisoned on the magistrates’ orders. Paul was concerned for the public reputation of his gospel message and also, no doubt, for the good standing of the church that was being established in Philippi. Thus he insisted on public vindication lest the people of Philippi continue to believe that he was a troublemaker and a law breaker, ideas that would have presented barriers to the gospel in Philippi for years to come. Paul wanted to make it clear that a mistake had been made. Christianity is no threat to Rome citizens. When the lictors went back to them with Paul’s message, both the magistrates (praetors, to give them their honorific title) came to the prison, escorted the missionaries out and begged them to leave the city. Roman citizens could not be summarily ejected from a Roman colony, but the praetors felt unable to undertake responsibility for two such unpopular Romans.” 

Contemplating God: 

Voices of the Past

  • From the Depths they Sang Out - ”The devotion of the apostles’ hearts and the power of prayer are expressed [here] together, since in the depths of the prison they sang hymns, and their praise moved the earth of the prison, shook the foundation, opened the doors, and finally loosened the very chains of those who had been bound. In other words, anyone who is of the faithful (a Christian) “considers it all joy when he falls into various trials.” And he gladly glorifies in his infirmities, so that the power of Christ may dwell in him. Someone with this mindset will undoubtedly sing hymns along with Paul and Silas within the darkness of prison, and with the Psalmist recite to the Lord, “You are my refuge from the distress which surrounds me, you are my exaltation.”

Footnotes:

Philippians 4:10-13. ESV.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary. “Timothy.”

ATS Bible Dictionary. “Lydia.”

https://www.godtube.com/bible/acts/16-6

https://www.godtube.com/bible/acts/16-7

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bithynia

http://eastonsbibledictionary.org/3724-Troas.php

https://www.godtube.com/bible/acts/16-9

https://www.godtube.com/bible/acts/16-11

https://www.godtube.com/bible/acts/16-12

https://www.godtube.com/bible/acts/16-14

ESV Study Bible, p.2117.

J.M. Freeman & H.J. Chadwick. Manners & Customs of the Bible. pp.525-536

Bruce, F.F. Commentaries on Acts. Chapter 16:35-40; ESV Study Bible, p.2120

Bede. Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. 16:25.

Peter Elliott

Sours: https://www.resurrectionchurch.com/acts-blog/acts-chapter-16

You will also like:

Acts 16 – The Second Missionary Journey Begins

A. From the city of Derbe to Troas.

1. (1-2) Paul meets Timothy in Lystra.

Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.

a. Then he came to Derbe and Lystra: Paul (and Silas) arrived in Derbe, where he had great success on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:20-21), and in Lystra, where a crowd tried to honor Paul and Barnabas as pagan gods on the first missionary journey (Acts 14:8-20).

i. Paul began this missionary journey having come from Antioch. First, he did the work of strengthening the churches through the regions of Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:40-41).

ii. According to the estimate of William Barclay, the first missionary journey finished about five years before the events of this chapter. Paul was anxious to see for himself how the work of the Lord continued among these churches he founded five years before.

b. A certain disciple was there, named Timothy: In the time since Paul had been to Lystra, a young man named Timothy had been serving the Lord (He was well spoken of by the brethren). Timothy had a believing mother with a Jewish background (son of a certain Jewish woman who believed), and a (presumably) unbelieving Greek father.

i. The last time Paul was in Lystra, they first worshipped him as a god and then tried to kill him by stoning (Acts 14:11-20). Paul’s courage and wisdom in the face of these obstacles built a great legacy in people like Timothy.

2. (3-5) Timothy joins Paul and Silas, and their work continues.

Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.

a. Paul wanted to have him go on with him: Paul was impressed enough with Timothy to ask him to join their missionary team. This shows God’s provision, because John Mark and Barnabas just left Paul (Acts 15:36-41). No single worker in God’s kingdom is irreplaceable. When a Barnabas leaves (for whatever reason), God has a Timothy to go on with him.

b. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews in that region: Paul had Timothy circumcised, not for the sake of his salvation (Paul would never do so) but so there would be less to hinder ministry among the Jews.

i. In Acts 15, Paul argued strongly that it was not necessary for Gentile converts to come under the Law of Moses for salvation (Acts 15:2 and 15:12). At the time Paul met Timothy, he was delivering the news of this decree that came out of the Acts 15 council (as they went through the cities, the delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem).

ii. Yet, Paul did not contradict his belief or the findings of the council when he had Timothy circumcised. Paul did this not for Timothy’s salvation or right standing with God, but so that Timothy status as a non-circumcised man from a Jewish mother would not hinder their work among the Jews and in synagogues. Paul did things for the sake of love that he would not do for the sake of trying to please God through legalism. Paul insisted that Titus, a Gentile co-worker, did not have to be circumcised (Galatians 2:3-5).

iii. “By Jewish law Timothy was a Jew, because he was the son of Jewish mother, but because he was uncircumcised he was technically an apostate Jew. If Paul wished to maintain his links with the synagogue, he could not be seen to countenance apostasy.” (Bruce)

iv. “As Paul saw it, being a good Christian did not mean being a bad Jew.” (Longenecker) The wording of Acts 16:3 implies that Paul himself performed the circumcision (he took him and circumcised him).

c. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily: Paul, Silas, and Timothy together enjoyed great success in their work of strengthening and growing churches.

i. Their work was successful because their first interest was in strengthening the churches. Strong churches will naturally increase in number daily, without relying on man-centered and manipulative methods.

3. (6-8) The Holy Spirit forbids Paul to go towards the province of Asia Minor.

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.

a. They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia: After strengthening the churches in the region, Paul sought to go next to the south-west, towards the important city of Ephesus. Yet, Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go there.

i. We note with interest that the Holy Spirit actually forbade Paul to do something we normally think of as good – preaching God’s Word to those who need it. Yet the Spirit of God directed this work, and Paul wasn’t the right person in the right place at the right time to begin bringing the gospel to the Roman Province of Asia Minor. There was certainly nothing wrong with Paul’s desire to preach the word in Asia; but it wasn’t God’s timing, so this was forbidden by the Holy Spirit.

ii. It is difficult to say exactly how the Holy Spirit said no; it may have been through a word of prophecy, or by an inward speaking of the Holy Spirit, or by circumstances. One way or another, Paul and his company got the message. Ephesus would come later, not now.

iii. Asia does not refer to the Far East as we know it today. It refers to the Roman Province of Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey.

b. They tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them: After the attempt to go to Asia, Paul sought to go north into Bithynia, but was again prevented by the Holy Spirit. So, they came down to Troas.

i. Paul didn’t set out to go to Troas. It was at least the third choice for him. But it was the Holy Spirit’s plan to lead him there. Paul, beautifully responsive to the Holy Spirit, was willing to lay down his will and his plans for the direction that the Holy Spirit brings.

ii. Paul was guided by hindrance. The Holy Spirit often guides as much by the closing of doors as He does by the opening of doors.

iii. David Livingstone wanted to go to China, but God sent him to Africa. William Carey wanted to go to Polynesia, but God sent him to India. Adoniram Judson went to India, but God guided him to Burma. God guides us along the way, to just the right place.

4. (9-10) God directs Paul to the region of Macedonia.

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

a. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: In Troas, God made Paul’s direction clear. In a vision, Paul was invited to the region of Macedonia, westward across the Agean Sea.

i. This moved Paul and his missionary team from the continent of Asia to the continent of Europe; this was the first missionary endeavor to Europe.

ii. The wisdom and greatness of God’s plan was beginning to unfold. In Paul’s mind, he wanted to reach a few cities in his region. But God wanted to give Paul a continent to win for Jesus Christ.

b. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” The Macedonian man wanted help. So Paul went to bring Macedonia the gospel – the best possible help.

i. The greatest help we can bring anyone is the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. It is good for us to bring other help along with the gospel, but without the gospel, little real help is given.

c. Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go: Paul did not hesitate to answer the call of the Macedonian man. Paul’s missionary team did not hesitate to follow him on the basis of this call. This was a strong, godly man, leading a strong, godly team.

i. God still calls people to the mission field, and He may call through unusual ways. It’s still possible for a type of Macedonian Man to give an unusual call to serve God in a distant place. When that happens, it’s important to respond the way Paul and his team did.

d. Immediately we sought to go: The shift from they (they came down to Troas, Acts 16:8) to we in this verse probably means that Luke joined the band of missionaries in Troas. Perhaps he even came as Paul’s personal doctor.

i. Now we see another reason why they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. We see another reason why the Spirit did not permit them to go into Bithynia. God wanted Paul and his team to go to Troas and pick up a doctor named Luke. Because God said “no” to Paul these two times, we have a gospel and a Book of Acts written by Doctor Luke.

ii. At the time, Paul probably had no idea of the greatness of God’s purpose. God wanted to give him a continent for Jesus, to give him a personal doctor, and to give all of us the man whom God would use to write more of the New Testament than anyone else did. God knows what He is doing when he says, “No.”

B. Paul’s work in the Macedonian city of Philippi.

1. (11-12) Arrival in Philippi.

Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days.

a. Sailing from Troas: Paul and his missionary team (now including Luke) had to sail across the Agean Sea, from the continent of Asia to the continent of Europe. This was a big step, perhaps bigger than Paul even knew.

i. “That they ‘sailed straight for Samothrace’ is quite revealing, because this is a nautical expression that means the wind was at their backs. So perfect were the winds that they sailed 156 miles in just two days, whereas returning the other way at a later time (Acts 20:6) it took five days.” (Hughes)

b. From there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia: Paul here followed a plan to plant churches in the major cities. He knew that it was easier for the gospel to spread from these cities than to these cities.

i. Philippi was “the place where the armies of Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius in the decisive battle of the second Roman civil war in 42 B.C.” (Hughes) Because of this, many Roman soldiers retired in the area, and Philippi was proud of its Roman connection.

2. (13-15) The conversion of Lydia.

And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

a. On the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made: The fact that the Jews of Philippi had no synagogue and met by the river means that there were not many Jewish men in Philippi.

i. “Had there been ten Jewish men, they would have sufficed to constitute a synagogue. No number of women would compensate for the absence of even one man necessary to make up the quorum of ten.” (Bruce)

b. Lydia… was a seller of purple: Anyone who was a seller of purple dealt in a valued, luxurious product. The dyes used for making purple were expensive and highly regarded. This woman was the first convert in Europe, and one might say that the Macedonian man turned out to be a woman.

i. From the city of Thyatira: Thyatira was well known as a center for this purple dye and fabric made from it. Later, there was a church in Thyatira also, and it was one of the seven churches addressed in Revelation (Revelation 2:18-29).

c. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul: Before Lydia was converted (as demonstrated by her baptism), the Lord opened her heart. This is a work God must do in all who believe, because as Jesus said, no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him (John 6:44).

i. Therefore, a most important element in evangelism is asking God through prayer to open hearts, for without this there can be no genuine conversion.

d. She begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” Immediately, Lydia set about doing good. Her hospitality was touching and a wonderful example.

3. (16-17) A demon-possessed slave girl follows Paul.

Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

a. A certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination… brought her masters much profit: This girl, though demon possessed, was a source of money for her owners as a fortune teller. Presumably this was because demons gave her supernatural insight into the lives of others.

i. “It actually says, ‘She had a spirit of Pythona.’ That does not mean much to most of us, which is why it is not translated literally. But ‘pythona’ was a certain kind of snake – a python. It is used here because the python was associated with the god Apollo…not far from Philippi, in this very area of Europe, there was a shrine to the Pythian Apollo.” (Boice)

ii. Today, much of what fortune-tellers and psychics do is only a money making sham. But when it is true and has a supernatural origin (as opposed to clever, insightful guessing), there is no doubt that it is inspired by demons. There are still those today who are possessed with a spirit of divination.

iii. Because demons are created beings, not “gods” themselves, we suppose that they cannot read minds, nor actually foretell the future. But they can read and predict human behavior, and can attempt to steer events towards a previously predicted conclusion.

b. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” The demon-possessed slave girl preached for Paul, giving a demonic testimony to their divine credentials and their message. She didn’t do this only once, but for many days (Acts 16:18).

4. (18) Paul casts the demon out of the slave girl.

And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

a. But Paul, greatly annoyed: Paul was greatly annoyed, and he did not appreciate the free advertising from the demon. He did not appreciate the source of the recommendation, and he didn’t need demonic approval of his work.

i. Paul knew that a man will be identified by both his friends and his enemies, and could do without a demonic letter of reference. In this, Paul was like Jesus, who often told demons to be silent, even when they told the truth about Him (Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 3:11-12).

b. I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her: Jesus cast out demons with His own authority. Paul was careful to speak to demons only in the authority of Jesus Christ, and he spoke beyond the afflicted girl to the demon itself with this authority of Jesus.

c. And he came out that very hour: The idea behind that very hour is that the demon came out immediately. Yet Jesus said that some demons would be more difficult to cast out than others (Matthew 17:21).

i. Bruce translates the phrase, It came out there and then. He comments: “The words had scarcely left his lips when she was released from its power.”

5. (19-24) Paul and Silas are arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for delivering the slave-girl from her demonic possession.

But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

a. Her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone: This explains why Paul and Silas were treated so badly. The masters of the demon possessed girl cared nothing for the girl herself, only for their ability to exploit her demonic possession for money. They were occult “pimps,” prostituting her spiritually.

b. They seized Paul and Silas: Paul and Silas were singled out not only because there were the leaders of the evangelistic group, but also, by their appearance, they were the most obviously Jewish. This is indicated by how they began their accusation: “These men, being Jews.”

i. Luke was a Gentile, and Timothy was only half Jewish. Paul and Silas looked Jewish, and “Anti-Jewish sentiment lay very near the surface in pagan antiquity.” (Bruce) The objection that these men were Jews is even more interesting knowing the Jewish community in Philippi was small.

c. Exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe. Their charges were vague, simply accusing Paul and Silas of being troublemakers. But those vague charges were enough, because both the multitude and the magistrates were biased against Paul and Silas. They were biased because of their Jewish appearance, and because they assumed Paul and Silas were not Roman citizens.

i. In the Roman Empire there were two very different laws: one for citizens of the Roman Empire, and one for those who were not citizens. Roman citizens had specific, zealously guarded civil rights. Non-citizens had no civil rights, and were subject to the whims of both the multitude and the magistrates.

ii. Since they assumed Paul and Silas were not Roman citizens, they were offended that these obviously Jewish men harassed Roman citizens with their strange religion of a crucified Savior. As well, the multitude and the magistrates felt free to abuse Paul and Silas because they assumed they were not Roman citizens.

iii. “There was great indignation that Roman citizens should be molested by strolling peddlers of an outlandish religion. Such people had to be taught to know their proper place and not trouble their betters.” (Bruce)

d. When they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison: After being severely beaten, Paul and Silas were imprisoned in maximum-security conditions (commanding the jailer to keep them securely… the inner prison… fastened their feet in the stocks).

i. Jewish legal tradition gave a maximum number of blows that could be delivered when beating a person, but the Romans had no such limit. We simply know Paul and Silas were severely beaten. Paul later wrote of his life: In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. (2 Corinthians 11:23)

ii. After such a bad beating, they were put in uncomfortable conditions (fastened their feet in the stocks). “These stocks had more than two holes for legs, which could thus be forced apart in a such a way as to cause the utmost discomfort and cramping pain.” (Bruce)

iii. Even in their pain, God was not far from Paul and Silas. Tertullian said, “The legs feel nothing in the stocks when the heart is in heaven.”

6. (25) Paul and Silas sing in prison.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

a. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God: Though they were arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for doing good, Paul and Silas were filled with joy, and sang praises to God. It seemed as if nothing would make them stop praising God.

i. Anyone can be happy in pleasant circumstances, but real joy comes only from within, and is a gift available to Christians at all times. “Instead of cursing men, they blessed God.” (Stott)

b. And the prisoners were listening to them: What a strange sound this was to the other prisoners! Prayers and praises unto God at midnight, in the midst of a brutal prison. Those prison walls had probably never heard such a sound.

7. (26-29) The great earthquake and its result.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

a. Suddenly there was a great earthquake: This earthquake was clearly supernatural. This was not only because of its timing and location, but also in the way that all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

b. The keeper of the prison…was about to kill himself: The jailer did this for a good reason. Under Roman law and custom, guards who allowed their prisoners to escape received the penalty of their escaped prisoners. Knowing this, Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” He assured the jailer that no one had escaped.

i. It would have been easy for Paul and Silas to escape thinking God provided another miraculous jailbreak. But to them, the lives of others were more important than their own personal freedom and comfort.

ii. In not escaping, they showed tremendous discernment. The circumstances said, “escape.” But love said, “Stay for the sake of this one soul.” They were not guided merely by circumstances, but by what love compelled.

c. Ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas: This hardened keeper of the prison fell down trembling. Thiswas as dramatic as it sounds. This man was more affected by the love and grace demonstrated by Paul and Silas than by the earthquake. As well, this may have even been the same guard who beat them a few hours earlier.

8. (30-32) The conversion of the Philippian jailer.

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

a. Sirs, what must I do be saved? The jailer was so impressed by Paul and Silas – by the love they showed to him, and from their ability to take joy even in misery – that he instantly wanted the kind of life that Paul and Silas have.

i. This is how God wants our lives to be: Natural magnets drawing people to Him. Our Christianity should make others want what we have with God.

b. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved: Paul’s answer to the keeper of the prison is a classic statement of the essence of the gospel. This is salvation by grace alone, received by faith alone.

i. Some have worried that Paul’s invitation to salvation here is too easy, and would promote a too-easy faith or a cheap grace. Others refuse to preach repentance, claiming that this text says that it is not necessary.

ii. Paul never specifically called the keeper of the prison to repent because he was already repenting. We see the humble repentance of the jailer in that he fell down trembling, in the full idea of the word believe (pistis, which means to trust in, rely on, and cling to), and in the command to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ).

iii. For the Philippian jailer, Paul did not direct him to counseling. He did not give him a lecture on theology. He did not discuss the spiritual terminology of the jailer. He did not talk about sacraments or even churches. He pointed this obviously repentant man to faith in Jesus Christ.

iv. There was an old chaplain general of the British Army – Bishop John Taylor Smith – who used a unique test on candidates for the chaplaincy. He asked them to say how they would speak to a man injured in battle, who had three minutes to live, how to be saved and come to peace with God. If they couldn’t do it within three minutes, they weren’t fit for the chaplain’s service. Paul would be qualified.

c. You and your household: Thisseems to be a specific promise for that Philippian jailer. Under inspiration by the Holy Spirit, Paul told the keeper of the prison that his household would trust Jesus just as he did.

i. This was a promise made specifically to the keeper of the prison. But it is a promise that the Holy Spirit may well make alive to us, helping us to trust Him for the salvation of our families.

ii. However, the jailer’s household was not saved merely because he was; Paul came and spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. They were all saved because they all trusted the word of God and the Jesus revealed to us through the word.

9. (33-34) The Philippian jailer serves Paul and Silas.

And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

a. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes: The same jailer who had punished them now cared for Paul and Silas, caring for their wounds and he set food before them. This shows how repentant he was and how he followed the example of love shown by Paul and Silas.

b. And immediately he and all his family were baptized: The jailer and his family saw no reason to delay baptism; they were baptized that very night, and all this began around midnight (Acts 16:25).

c. And he rejoiced: This man was carried from suicidal fear to abounding joy in just a few minutes. The Holy Spirit used the courageous praise of Paul and Silas in their terrible adversity.

10. (35-36) Paul and Silas return to the prison, and are set free by the magistrates the next day.

And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.” So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”

a. The magistrates sent the officers: Paul and Silas left the prison (in the protective custody of the jailer) to minister to the jailer’s household. Yet they returned to the prison willingly to spare the jailer certain death.

b. Let those men go: In societies that recognize few rights for their citizens it is common for one to be arrested, beaten, imprisoned – and then quickly and unexpectedly released. This sort of treatment effectively terrorizes the population into submission.

c. The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace: If Paul and Silas were released the day after their beating, arrest, and imprisonment, why did God send the earthquake? We see that the earthquake had absolutely nothing to do with freeing Paul and Silas from prison. But it had everything to do with the salvation of a certain prison guard and his household.

11. (37-39) Paul and Silas reveal their Roman citizenship.

But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city.

a. They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans: Because Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they had recognized civil rights, which were violated by the Philippian magistrates. Upon learning this, the magistrates were filled with fear, because it was a grave offense to treat Roman citizens as Paul and Silas had been treated.

i. Why didn’t Paul and Silas reveal their Roman citizenship earlier? It is possible that they didn’t have the opportunity, but it is more likely that the Holy Spirit directed them to not reveal it until a certain time.

ii. Our rights are not as important as our obedience to the will of God. God may ask us to lay down our rights for the good of another (in this case, for the good of the Philippian jailer).

iii. How could Paul and Silas prove their Roman citizenship? “They may each have carried a copy of his professio or registration of birth, in which his Roman status would have been recorded. These were convenient in size…To claim Roman citizenship falsely was punishable by death.” (Williams)

b. They came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city: The magistrates acted as politicians often act by instinct. They tried to make their problem go away quietly by sweeping it under the rug.

12. (40) Paul and Silas leave Philippi on their own terms.

So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

a. When they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them: Only after this did they agree to go. Paul and Silas would not be hurried out of town until they had brought their work there to a conclusion.

i. The great missionary David Livingstone summarized the spirit of Paul when he said, “I am prepared to go anywhere, so long as it is forward.” (Cited in Barclay)

b. They encouraged them and departed: In Philippi, Paul and Silas left behind two notable converts: Lydia and the prison guard. Each of these two had their lives touched by Jesus in very different ways.

i. Lydia was a churchgoer; the guard was not. Lydia was prospering in business; the guard was about to kill himself. Lydia’s heart was gently opened; the guard’s heart was violently confronted. The guard had a remarkable sign – an earthquake, but all Lydia had was the move of the Holy Spirit in her heart. Both heard the gospel and believed, and through each of them their whole families were touched!

ii. It was a strange and wonderful church they left behind in Philippi: Lydia, perhaps the slave girl, the jailer and his household, and others. The use of “they” here suggests that Luke stayed behind in Philippi for at least a while, perhaps to care for this new congregation.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Sours: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/acts-16/


570 571 572 573 574