Acts 16

16:1-11. Lystra, and Extended Tour in Asia Minor.

1-3. Preparation to go forth.
4. Decrees of Council.
5. Churches prospering.
6-9. Decree of the Spirit.
10,11. Preparation to go forth.

Acts 16:1 Then came he


to Derbe and Lystra:

(They would reach Derbe first, coming from Cicilia.)

and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus,

(From this time closely associated with Paul in the ministry [Rom.16:21]. He was probably one of his converts at his previous visit [14:7]. Cp. my own son in the faith [1 Tim.1:1,18. 2 Tim.1:2]. In six of Paul's epistles Timothy is joined with him in the opening salutation. His name, which means honor of God, or valued by God [timŕ and theos], suggests the important part he was to take in the revelation of God's eternal purpose.)

the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed;

(Eunice [2 Tim.1:5], as well as her mother Lois, had instructed Timothy in the Holy Scriptures from his infancy.)

but his father was a Greek:

(I.e. a Gentile [Gr. Hellŕn]. His influence doubtless prevented Timothy's being circumcised when eight days old.)

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.

(In the fifteenth chapter of Acts, we were taught that it was not necessary for the Greeks to be circumcised. So why was it necessary for Timothy to be circumcised, when his father was a Greek, and well known in all circles of that day? It wasn't necessary for Timothy or anyone to be circumcised in order to receive salvation then or in our generation today.

However, in as much as Timothy's mother was an Hebrew, and from this part of Timothy's ties to his family, Timothy was circumcised to please his mothers side of the family. Remember where the brethren of Jerusalem, those Kenite Jews that had entered the church, sent out their spies to spy out Titus into the restroom to see if he had been circumcised? Some times it becomes necessary to do certain things that are not necessary, that the Word of God may be accepted by weaker ones in the Lord.)

4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees

(Or edicts. Gr. dogma. See 17:7. Luke 2:1. Eph.2:15. Col.2:14.)

for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

(They read it, and taught those truths.)

5 And so were the churches established

(Gr. stereo§. A medical word, thus giving us another thumb-print that the Acts written by Luke. See 3:7; 14:22.)

in the faith, and increased in number daily.

(This is why it pays to preach and teach all of God's Word as it should be taught, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse, with understanding. The purpose is that the church, the body of Christ can be established in the faith, and more would come to know the Gospel of Christ. When you establish each person in the faith, then God's Word will take care of all problems that can arise in each of their lives.)

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,

(The question that should come to mind is why would the Holy Spirit not allow Paul and Timothy to take this letter to Asia? It wasn't the time yet for that ministry. Remember the ten tribes, the House of Israel, those tribes that were scattered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.? They were to receive the Word first.)

7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia:

(The province of Bithynia and Pontus, lying on the S.E. shores of Propinis [Sea of Marmora], and the south shore of Pontus Euxinus [Black Sea].)

but the Spirit suffered them not.

(It was the same Spirit Who sent Paul and Barnabas forth from Antioch [13:2,4], and had already hindered Paul and Silas [vv.6,7]. The Spirit promised by the Lord Jesus [2:33. John 16:7].

This had nothing to do with the fact that the Apostles had split, but God through His Spirit is directing Paul and Timothy to where He wants them to teach. Can you see in your own life, when you intended to go to a certain place, or do a certain thing and God slammed a door in your face?)

8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

(Alexandreia Troas, the port on the coast of Mysia, about 30 miles south of the Dardanelles. Now Eski Stamboul.)

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."

(Paul was stopped from entering Asia Minor, and now the Holy Spirit is going to direct him through this vision to where he should go with the ministry. The Holy spirit is telling Paul, that is where the door is, now get through the door.)

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.

(Lit. to evangelize them.)

11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course

(I.e. ran direct, i.e. ran before the wind.)

to Samothracia,

(The highest in elevation of the northern Ăgean islands, midway between Troas and Philippi.)

and the next day to Neapolis;

(The harbor of Philippi, distant about 10 miles away. The first European soil trodden by Paul. It had taken 2 days with a favorable wind. Cp. 20:6.)

16:12-40. Philippi.

12. Abiding in Philippi.
13. Prayer.
14. Lydia. Heart opened.
15. Result. Hospitality.
16. Prayer.
17,18. Damsel. Demon cast out.
19-24. Result. Persecution.
25,26. Prayer.
27-34. Jailor. Conversion.
35-39. Result. Vindication.
40. Departure from Philippi.

12 And from thence to Philippi,

(The scene of the decisive battle ended in the Roman republic 42 B.C.)

which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia,

(Lit. the first of the district, a city of Macedonia, a colony. Amphipolis had been the chief city, and was a rival of Philippi.)

and a colony:

(Gr. kol§nia. A Roman military settlement. The word survives in the name of some places in England, e.g. Lincoln. These colonies were settlements of old soldiers and others established by Augustus to influence the native people. Hence the significance of v.37.)

and we were in that city abiding certain days.

(See 12:19.)

13 And on the sabbath

(Cp. John 20:1.)

we went out of the city by a river side,

(The river [the Gangas] was well know to Luke.

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,

(= strife.)

a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira,

(On the Lycus in Lydia. Inscriptions of the guild of Dyers at Thyatira.)

which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord

(Gr. ho Kurios, used of Christ = Messiah.)

opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

(Though many have called Lydia a prostitute, because she was a seller of purple, they just show their lack of understanding, for Lydia was a dealer in "purple cloth". Lydia was a trader of goods, selling her wares in Macedonia. In the Strong's Greek dictionary, number 4211 the Greek word is "Porphuropolis, a female trader in purple cloth."

Isn't it amazing how the Holy Spirit works. This was written in God's Word to give each of us an example of how we should all let God to do what He wishes in our lives. God controls those that He sends, and if you are sent of God it is only because you were sensitive to God's Spirit. If you claim to be doing God's work, then allow Him to do the leading. If Paul would have gone to Asia Minor, and followed his own desires, then he would have missed the key person that God wanted to lead His church there. He would have missed Lydia because she wasn't there, she was on a business trip over in Macedonia.)

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.

(See also Luke 24:29. Hindered in Asia their first convert is an Asiatic.

God has a way of opening doors, to start a work where He wants to plant a church. When you are teaching souls, gender has nothing to do with it, but God is using a woman to start His work in Asia. So we have met the first lady of this chapter, and now we are about to meet the other type of woman that God will use.)

16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us,

(She was a witch with evil spirit. The text reads "a spirit, a Python". The Phython was a serpent destroyed, according to Greek Mythology, by Apollo, who was hence called Pythius, and the priestess at the famous temple at Delph was called the Pythoness. Through her the oracle was delivered. See an instance of these oracular utterances in Pember's "Earth Earliest Ages", ch. XII. The term Python became equivalent to a soothsaying demon, as in the case of this slave-girl who had an evil spirit as "control". She would be nowadays called a medium. The Lord's commission in Mark 16 was to cast out demons [v.17]. To say that the girl was a ventriloquist, who was disconcerted, and so lost her power, shows what shifts are restored to in order to get rid of the supernatural.)

which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

(= fortune-telling. Gr. manteuomai. In Sept. used of false prophets. Deut.18:10. 1 Sam.28:8, &c.)

17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried,

(I.e. the demon in her. Cp. Matt.8:29. Luke 4:33.)

saying, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation."

(Cp. Luke 4:34, where a demon testifies to the Lord, to discredit Him.)

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.

(When you are one of God's children, you have power over all of Satan and his spirits. Though Satan is held by Michael now, shortly he will be released to this earth to deceive the whole world. However his spirit and demonic realm are present today. These spirits of Satan are fulfilling their role in God's plan, as being the prince of the world, and over the darkness of the world.

Christians are to be able to recognize and discern between the spirits of Satan, and the Holy Spirit, when they see it, hear it, or feel it. Then when you recognize that spirit, you are to do something about it. Not necessarily to demand it to do something openly, but we must anoint ourselves and our family from it. You have power over all evil spirits. The option is never left open to any evil spirit, whether they would or would not leave, when the command is given by a servant of Almighty God to leave, they must leave, and they do.

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,

(Gr. agora. Where the courts were held. Lat. forum.)

20 And brought them to the magistrates,

(These were Romans. Gr. statŕgos. Showing Luke's accuracy. The magistrates of this colony bore the same title as at Rome, prŠtors, for which stratŕgos is the Greek rendering, though before this it is applied to the captain of the Temple guard.)

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."

(Note the distinction. These men, being Jews to begin who are Romans, as is well known.)

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

(Gr. rabdiz§. Only here and 2 Cor. 11:25. The lictors who attended the prŠtors carried rods or staves for the purpose, and were called rod-bearers. See v.35.)

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

(If this was a type of our being delivered up, however, remember not one hair on our head can be harmed.

Mark 13:11 "But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost."

The Spirit will take over, and they do speak prayerfully, then in Luke 21:15 which is another recording of this same event, we are told that even the gainsayers will know how to resist. "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.")

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

(So we see that these servants of God had been whipped, and now they are brought to the most secure part of the prison, and their feet locked in the stocks there. So Paul and the others with him are locked away were they could hardly move. We see that when Satan thinks he is in control, he will really try to overpower you. However when it looks that we are at our weakest, then is when we are at our strongest.)

25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God:

(lit. were hymning. The first 2 passages refer to the great Hallel. See Matt. 26:30. Ps. 113. If this were sung by Paul and Silas, note the beautiful significance of Psalms 115:11; 116:3,4,15,17; 118:6,29, and in the result, Ps.114:7. The noun hummos [hymn] only in Eph. 5:19. Col. 3:16.)

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.

(God hears the prayers of his servants, and the earth shook. The doors were shook and fell from their hinges, and even the bands that locked them to the shocks fell from them. They were free to run for the gate, but did they? No. The freedom is in their mind, and we always have the freedom when we believe on Jesus Christ. Though this delivery is in the physical, the delivery in the end, will be in the spiritual. However this is a lesson or type for us to understand, so we should have no fear in that time of the end. We have this as an example to follow.

We are to plant the seed of truth wherever we are, not to be a religious fanatic, but to tell others the truths that they are seeking right where they are, when they are ready to receive it, then we are pleasing our Heavenly Father. It doesn't matter what Satan has placed around you, or what demonic spirit are present, God will give you victory over all of them.)

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.

(Cp. 12:19; 27:42. Roman soldiers were responsible with their lives for prisoners in their charge. If the doors are open, and the prisoners were gone, the prison keeper knows that he is just as good as dead. The deputies, and rulers will order his death in the morning.)

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?"

(This man was under deep conviction of sin, "shaken to his foundations". He was ready to be told of the Lord Jesus Christ. To bid people to believe, who are not under conviction, is vain.

The prisoner had heard that song and praise of Paul and Silas, even when they had been locked and sealed away in that prison. This is the same as when you will be delivered up in the end times, and the true tongue of Pentecost goes forth that is heard clearly in every tongue. Many people shall be delivered.)

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

(I.e. on the same condition of faith.)

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

(Paul took advantage of the opportunity that the Holy Spirit had given him. He saw that the jailor was in much trouble, and that is the best time to plant seeds, the jailers mind was open to what Paul had to say.) 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

(This jailor that evening did not care what condition they were in, however when the love of God came into his heart, the Spirit of God changed him. Though the beating that we take in the end times under the "instead of Christ" [Antichrist] will not be physical, we will take a spiritual beating. You can count on that, but that will not hurt, when we know that our Heavenly Father is in control.

This jailor and his family were believers immediately, and there was no delay in their baptism. This jailor knew that something powerful had happened, and he did not want any delays. The jailor saw the power of God, and he did not want anything to delay his salvation.)

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.

(The "servants" are the officers enforcing the laws, and the judges told these lawmen to go to the jail and let Paul and Silas go. Now pay attention to what is going to happen.)

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.

(These people of Philippi, that declared that they were Romans, and in ignorance accused Paul and Silas as being Jews, and had taken a Roman citizen and caste him in Jail. This was an illegal act, for a Roman citizen could not be jailed without a fair trial before his peers, with the exception of a direct decree from Caesar. If any Roman governor, or magistrate through a Roman citizen in jail and beat him with out a trial, they were in trouble with Rome.

Remember Paul was educated in the law, yet led by the Holy Spirit to hold his peace when they were making the charges about him, and now though they want to release Paul and let him go, Paul has something else to say about it.)

37 But Paul said unto them, "They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans,

(The charge was that they were Jews, introducing alien customs, and the magistrates condemned them without inquiry. Cp. 21:39; 22:25.)

and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily?"

(Note the contrast, "openly....secretly")

nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

(Christians don't give ground to Satan, we take ground from him, we aren't second class citizens to Satan, we are the citizenry. The constitution was formed from the Word of God, and those rights give us the authority to stand boldly.)

38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared,

(Cp. 22:29. They had violated the Roman law by which no Roman citizen could be scourged, or put to death, by any provincial governor without an appeal to the Emperor. Cp. 25:11,12.)

when they heard that they were Romans.

(What was important was that the rights of citizens have been violated.)

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

(It is time to get out the peace-pipe, and make peace. In the translation, "begged" would be better then "desired". They tried to buy off Paul, just to have him leave. That is what Paul wanted to do anyhow, for he had converted the jailer, and Lydia, and God had given divine intervention to them.

Remember here, that no Roman could be disgraced through beating or put to death with out an order from Caesar, and confinement came only following a fair trial. They had done it all.)

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.

(They stayed there long enough to comfort and teach them before departing. They knew their rights, and the people of Philippi were in no position to pressure Paul and the others after what had happened.

Don't sell yourself out in ignorance, be sure of yourself, and stand firm in the Lord. The time is coming very shortly, when we must have the events of the end times sealed in our minds, in order to make the stand that God will require of us. It is interesting that the events of this sixteenth chapter, and the power and authority that we posses give us the ability to stand, yet many will allow themselves to be mind-controlled to the point of giving up on the American dream.

We are be aware of those like the Kenites that would lie to you, put you down, and take from you in your ignorance, and that is why we are to be aware of both our spiritual rights and our rights as a citizen, and that is what this Acts 16 is all about and we had better learn from it. We have the victory, and it is time to claim it.)

Next Chapter