Acts 16

Aug 11, 2019 // By:Dave // No Comment

1 Paul [and Silas] came also 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 brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.

Do these town sound familiar ? Where do we know of these places ?  (Acts 14:1-8)


3 Paul wanted this man to go 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.

Why did Paul circumcise Timothy since he already argued against it being required for salvation ?   (missionary strategy, he made Timothy less objectionable to the Jews)

4 Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.

What decrees ?  (Acts 15:20)

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, having been 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 permit them;


How might the Holy Spirit and/or Spirit of Jesus not permit someone from speaking the Word or from entering an area ?

Why would the Spirit prevent or forbid someone from speaking the Word ?

Acts 14:3  (“timing is part of the testimony”)

8 and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.

9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

notice the 3rd party personal pronoun “we” referring to the traveling Party that started as Paul and Silas, Timothy joins them verse 3, now we have a fourth member of the team …  who ?

Who wrote the book of the Acts of the Apostles ?  (Luke… meaning this is where and when he joins the journey)

Let us also not miss the complete Trinitarian nature of this supernatural guidance through Asia Minor.

verse 6 refers to Holy Spirit

verse 7 refers to the Spirit of Jesus

verse 10 refers to God (Theos   the Father)

11 ¶ So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, (island in the Aegean Sea) and on the day following to Neapolis;

12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days.

13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.

what a let down ? (no man to say “come and help us”) ?

No synagogue ?

In Jewish law, a congregation was made up of ten men. Wherever there were ten male heads of households who could be in regular attendance, a synagogue was to be formed.

if less than ten men, they could meet under the open sky near a river or the sea. (place of prayer = proseuche) 

14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

they travel through Mysia, to get to the shore to sail to Greece, to get to Philippi, to meet Lydia (who comes from Mysia)

(divine appointment?)

This was a well off business women from Thyatira.  those purple fabrics are only owned by super rich , such as royalty

To make Tyrian purple, marine snails (that only live in the western mediterranean ocean) were collected by the thousands. They were then boiled for days in giant lead vats, producing a terrible odor. The snails, though, aren’t purple to begin with. The craftsmen were harvesting chemical toxins from the snails that, through heat and light, were transformed into the valuable dye. Tyrian purple.

through heat and light, the color purple is brought out

(through trial and illumination, the color of royalty is “developed” and created)

a king’s purple robe was cloth soaked in mucous of a boiled sea snail.

sounds foolish (think about how much we spend for compressed coal, and shiny metals for jewelry)

the value is something is not intrinsic, it is valued by the beholder, the purchaser, the redeemer of that item (or person)

15 And 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.

good sales pitch (are they going to say “no , we don’t count you faithful to the Lord”?)

Now we just read about the first conversion on European soil (a rich business woman who is freed from bondage and handed to a kinder master

next we read about another 

16 ¶ It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.

17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”

18 She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and 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.

Why did Paul stop the demon from speaking the truth ?

spirit of divination is python spirit (culturally acceptable term meaning a person possessed by a demon who spoke through them)

according to Greek mythology, the Python was a mythical serpent or dragon that guarded the temple and oracle of Apollo, and had the power to speak about the future. This later became entangled with demon possession, and the possessing demon, who spoke through the person about truths and predictions, came to be known as a “spirit of the python”

[from Jesus in Acts]

  • Satan tried to derail the missionaries’ work in Philippi by attempting to form an alliance with the missionaries for his own devilish purposes.
  • Satan tried to use the slave girl to associate Paul’s message with the occult (v. 17), 
  • but the missionaries obviously needed to distance their ministry from this evil work. 
  • For many days the slave girl uttered things that were entirely true, but the missionaries didn’t fall prey to the evil scheme behind the girl’s words. 
  • In the Gospels demon-possessed people say true things about Jesus, but Jesus rebukes them every time
    • Mark 1:24–25; 5:7–8; 
    • Luke 4:34–35).
  • After becoming “greatly annoyed” by Satan’s attempt to associate with the team through the girl—or perhaps out of deep grief for her—Paul frees her with a word in Jesus’s name. 
  • In a moment, Jesus casts out the demon at work through the girl; Jesus masterfully crushes serpents.

Easton’s Bible Commentary:

But while the demon-inspired words provided some free publicity for the missionaries and helped gather an audience, when it continued for many days, it became a nuisance. The demon’s words were getting more of a hearing than the proclamation of the gospel!

19 ¶ But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities,

20 and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews,

21 and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”

They weren’t upset with “the team” for days until the demon was cast out, then suddenly, they were throwing the city into confusion.

Expect a reaction when you come against peoples false gods (often protected or empowered by demons)

22 The crowd rose up together 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.

inner prison = central, dark, no light no air, = dungeon.  


(depicted in this drawing are hand and feet stocks)

25 ¶ But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

Im sure singing hymns in jail at midnight went over well ! LOL

26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house 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, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.

28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”

dark enough for the jailer to not be able to see that “all” the prisoners are still there.


  • they could have tried to escape
  • they could have stayed silent and let the jailer kill himself then escape
  • stopped him from killing himself and that act of selflessness was enough to cause him to question their message about salvation.

29 And he called 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 the Lord 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.

again , a baptism immediately follows a choice of salvation.

is baptism required for salvation?

why are they baptized so fast ?

it’s the first, easiest outward sign of an inward change.

It’s their first act of a testimony

Water baptism symbolizes the believer’s total trust in and total reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as a commitment to live obediently to Him. It also

We are baptized because our Lord commanded it: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

water baptism for the believer declares three things:

  1. they die with Christ to their old self;
  2. they rise with Christ to become a new creature; and
  3. they are incorporated in their new life with a living community which looks for the coming of the Lord (Romans 6:1-11). 

Contrary to what some denominations teach, it seems obvious that a Christian’s baptism must necessarily require a responsible decision to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and therefore,

  1. must be delayed until an age of reason or discretion (knowing right from wrong within God’s perspective).
  2. should be carried out soon after a believer professes saving faith

34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

35 ¶ Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their policemen, saying, “Release those men.”

36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent to release you. Therefore come out now and go in peace.”

Safe to assume, that the prisoners went back into the jail cell, and the jailer went back to his duties as jailer

37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.”

38 The policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans,

39 and they came and appealed to them, and when they had brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city.

40 They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

remarkable chapter highlighting timing (God’s timing and will)

Merely speaking His Word does not automatically mean that you are doing His will.
(His will includes His timing for His Word … what we might call a good work by human effort, can actually be a work of evil if it is being done outside of God’s perfect timing).

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