Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
What should I learn from this chapter?
- Confidence in the Lord
- The identity of Timothy
- Paul’s relationship to the Jews
Timothy Joins Paul and Silas
Acts 16:1 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.
- Timothy is Jewish, Christian, and Greek.
Acts 16:2 He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.
Acts 16:3 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.
- Paul didn’t circumcise him because of the law but rather, that the Jews would not be offended.
Acts 16:4 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.
- What “decrees”?
Acts 16:5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
The Macedonian Call
Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in [The Roman province of Asia] Asia.
Acts 16:7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit [of Jesus] did not permit them.
Acts 16:8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
Acts 16:9 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.”
Acts 16:10 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.
Lydia Baptized at Philippi
Acts 16:11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis,
Acts 16:12 and from there to Philippi, which is the [Literally: first] foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days.
Acts 16:13 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.
Acts 16:14 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.
Acts 16:15 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.
Paul and Silas Imprisoned
Acts 16:16 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.
Acts 16:17 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.”
Acts 16:18 And this she did for many days.
But Paul, greatly [distressed] 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.
Acts 16:19 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.
Acts 16:20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;
Paul was a Jew but also a Roman because he was born a citizen of Tarsus.
Julius Caesar was so impressed by Tarsus that he made it tax-exempt and lavished further favors on the city; in gratitude, Tarsus renamed itself Juliopolis. Caesar also rewarded the Jews of the region (and, by extension, all Jews who would eventually live under Roman rule) freedom to practice their religion in thanks for their support during his struggles with Pompey. His decree, most likely from 47 BC, was upheld by Augustus Caesar (r. 27 BC-14 AD) and the emperors who succeeded him.
Acts 16:21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”
Acts 16:22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.
- They were violently put to public shame.
Acts 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
Acts 16:24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
The Philippian Jailer Saved
Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Acts 16:26 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.
Acts 16:27 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.
Acts 16:28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
- Paul chose not to retreat.
Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
Acts 16:30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Acts 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
Acts 16:34 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.
Paul Refuses to Depart Secretly
Acts 16:35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the [lictors, Literally: rod bearers] officers, saying, “Let those men go.”
Acts 16:36 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.”
Acts 16:37 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.”
Paul had the power to cause great problems for the magistrates.
Sinners who shame Believers will one day escort them to the table of honor. Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over
“He sets me at His banqueting table; His banner over me is LOVE.”
Acts 16:38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.
Acts 16:39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city.
- They escorted them out. I hope it was with great fan fare.