Acts 16

Acts 16:1-15
16:1 He came to [arrived at] Derbe and then to Lystra [Paul and Barnabas established churches in these cities on their first journey], where a disciple named Timothy [first mention of the man who would become Paul’s protégé and one of the early church’s first pastors] lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek [perhaps he was not a Christian].

16:2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well [to be approved] of him.

16:3 Paul wanted to take him [Timothy; cf. 1 Cor. 4:17] along on the journey, so he circumcised [necessary in order for Timothy to preach in synagogues] him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father [probably dead] was a Greek.

16:4 As they traveled from town to town, they [Silas included; one of two leaders of Jerusalem church chosen to take to Antioch the apostolic letter containing decrees of the Jerusalem Council (cf. 15:32)] delivered [kept on delivering] the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey [observe].

16:5 So the churches were strengthened [to make firm or solid] in the faith and grew daily [continual increase] in numbers.

16:6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia [west of the province of Galatia; some Phrygians were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10) and probably had taken news of the gospel to their region] and Galatia, [Paul and his companions recognized that God was responsible for the roadblock] having been kept by the Holy Spirit [the specific means that the Holy Spirit used to keep them from moving into Asia or Bithynia is not recorded] from preaching the word in the province [not to be confused with the name of the continent today] of Asia [located on the western portion of Asia Minor].

16:7 When they came to the border of Mysia [the northwest region of Asia Minor], they tried to enter Bithynia [a district in northern Asia Minor; Christianity took root in Bithynia by some other means (cf. 1 Pet. 1:1)], but the Spirit of Jesus [the Holy Spirit] would not allow them to.

Note: “Sometimes God in His providential care will keep us from something good in order to use us for something better.” (FBS Leader Guide, Spring 2003, p. 30)

16:8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas [Roman colony located on the extreme western shores of Asia Minor; important seaport for those traveling between Asia Minor and Macedonia].

16:9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia [northernmost province in Greece; part of modern-day Greece; a Roman province] standing [erect posture] and begging him, “Come [earnest appeal] over to Macedonia [specific place] and help us [eager plea].”

16:10 After Paul had seen the vision, we [Paul, Silas, Timothy, Luke] got ready at once [realized urgency of the call; moved while the door was open] to leave for Macedonia, concluding [to put together, to infer; they were in tune with God] that God had called us [Paul, Silas, Timothy, Luke] to preach the gospel [to bring the good news] to them.

Note: “Before the Lord can turn us, He often has to stop us. … When a good door closes, a better door opens.” (Charles R. Swindoll • The Growth of an Expanding Mission • p. 138)

16:11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight [wind was at their backs; found a favorable wind; obstacles and friction were gone] for Samothrace [island in the Aegean Sea], and the next day on to Neapolis [ten miles southeast of Philippi; served as seaport of Philippi; first step onto European soil].

16:12 From there we traveled to Philippi [situated on a hill], a Roman colony [like a piece of Rome transplanted abroad; military outpost; citizens enjoyed special privileges and tax exemptions for having aided Octavian in battle] and the leading city [illustrious city, but marked by immorality and paganism] of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

16:13 On the Sabbath [not enough Jews (ten required) to make up a synagogue] we went outside the city gate to the river [the Gangites (Angites) which flows into the Strymon], where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women [Paul was flexible and began a conversation with Macedonian women instead of a Macedonian man] who had gathered there.

16:14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia [although Paul had seen a man in his vision, the first European believer was a woman], a dealer [seller] in purple cloth [“great demand for this fabric as it was used for the official toga at Rome and in Roman colonies” (Rienecker/Rogers)] from the city of Thyatira [located in western Asia Minor; trade center of purple dye], who was a worshiper of God [a God-fearer; a seeker; open to God; probably attracted to Judaism because of worship of one God and high ethical standards; probably attracted to Judaism while living in Thyatira which had an extensive population of Jews]. The Lord [salvation is God’s initiative] opened her heart to respond to Paul’s [like Paul, our responsibility is to share gospel] message.

16:15 When she and the members of her household [included servants and other dependents] were baptized [signifies they had trusted Christ for salvation], she invited us to her home [practical proof of her conversion]. “If you consider [judge] me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house [first meeting place of the church in Philippi; cf. 16:40].” And she persuaded [to urge strongly, to insist] us.

16:16-24 Paul and Silas imprisoned on charges of causing civil unrest.

Acts 16:25-33
16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing [despite their pain] hymns to [directly to] God, and the other prisoners were listening [as a doctor places his ear to a patient to listen to his heartbeat; others are always listening to and watching God’s people] to them.

16:26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake [divinely appointed] that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.

16:27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself [rather than waiting for his superiors to execute him for allowing prisoners to escape; cf. Acts 12:18-19] because he thought the prisoners had escaped.

16:28 But Paul [more concerned about the jailer’s physical welfare than his own freedom] shouted, “Don’t [appeal to prohibit the beginning of an action] harm yourself! We are all here!”

16:29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in [to leap in, to burst in] and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.

16:30 He then brought them out and asked [people often seek spiritual answers in a crisis], “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

16:31 They replied [essence of the gospel], “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your [jailer had influence over others] household.”

16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.

16:33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and [note two indications of change in jailer’s life] [1] washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family [those mature enough to make a commitment] were baptized [this spiritual harvest made the physical pain worthwhile].

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