Strengthening () (episterizo from epí = intensifies + sterízo = strengthen, support) means literally to place firmly upon.
The first missionary journey had been about five years before the events of this chapter and Paul was eager to follow up the work of the Lord among these churches founded five years before.
In Derbe Paul had great success on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:20-21).
In Lystra, a crowd had tried to honor Paul and Barnabas as pagan gods on the first missionary journey (Acts 14:8-20) and then they stoned him (Acts 14:19)!
Certain disciple - Timothy was probably a convert of Paul's from his previous missionary trip to Derbe and Lystra (1Ti 1:2 "to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."). His mother and grandmother had trained him well in the Jewish Scriptures (see notes 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15), and evidently all three had accepted Christ. Timothy was no doubt aware of Paul's miraculous restoration after his stoning (Acts 14:20 "But while the disciples stood around him, he arose and entered the city. And the next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe."), and was ready and willing to go with Paul when asked. Since his father was a Greek (Christian or not is not known), he had never been circumcised, and Paul deemed it expedient though not required to have this done before taking him into the synagogues, to avoid giving unnecessary offense to the Jews.
Disciple (mathetes from manthano = intentional learning by inquiry and observation) is a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. A disciple is an adherent who accepts instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct.
A believer (pistos from peítho = to persuade) is something or someone who is worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word, etc
Vincent gives a nice summary (expanded in the discussion that follows) of the meaning of pistos, faithful, writing that it is used
Webster says that Faithful means firm in adherence to whatever one owes allegiance and implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted.
Pistos is used in two senses in the NT
1) An active meaning = trusting or believing
This is the less frequent usage. This sense speaks of a sinner exercising faith in the Lord Jesus. In the first NT use in this sense, Jesus "said to Thomas,
Paul instructs Timothy to
When pistos is used in this active sense to refer to the faith which a lost sinner must place in the Lord Jesus in order to be saved, it includes the following ideas -- the act of considering the Lord Jesus worthy of trust as to His character and motives, the act of placing confidence in His ability to do just what He says He will do, the act of entrusting the salvation of his soul into the hands of the Lord Jesus, the act of committing the work of saving his soul to the care of the Lord. This means a definite taking of one’s self out of one’s own keeping and entrusting one’s self into the keeping of the Lord Jesus. Thus Paul says
Note also that with regard to believers, they are spoken of sometimes in the Active sense (as believers) and sometimes in the Passive (as faithful).
The New Testament concept of faith includes three main elements, mutually connected and requisite, though according to circumstances sometimes one and sometimes another may be more prominent
Well spoken of (matureo) refers to a human declaration of ascertainable facts based on firsthand knowledge or experience and in the present context refers to a good report or having a good reputation.
This verb is used of Jesus in Luke…
It is also used of those who would lead in the church…
Circumcised him - (see study of noun circumcision) The Jerusalem council had declared that circumcision was not necessary for salvation or for acceptance into the Christian church (See Acts 15 where Pharisees felt circumcision was necessary but the council concluded it was not), but because of Timothy's Jewish background it seemed expedient in his case in order to enlarge his local usefulness even as Paul declared in his letter to Corinth…
In Acts 15, the Jerusalem council had declared that circumcision was not necessary for salvation (Acts 15:19), but because of Timothy's part-Jewish background Paul felt it was expedient in order to enlarge his usefulness in witnessing.
Nowhere does Luke state that Paul circumcised Timothy in order that he be saved, but simply because of the Jews who were in those parts. It is a wise spiritual leader who knows how and when to apply the principles of the Word of God, when to stand firm and when to yield.
In the case of Gentile Titus, Paul insisted that he not be circumcised because the Judaizers insisted on circumcision as necessary for salvation, a false doctrine to which Paul would not acquiesce. Paul writes…
John MacArthur explains that…
Bruce adds that…
Delivering the decrees - What decrees? The decrees which had been drawn up by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem which can be summarized (1) that salvation is by faith alone (God cleansed the Gentiles "hearts by faith." Acts 15:9) and does require circumcision or law-keeping, (2) that sexual immorality was forbidden for all believers for all time and (3) that meats offered to idols, from animals that had been strangled, and blood were all forbidden as food, not as matters essential to salvation, but to facilitate fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers. Some of these instructions were revised 1 Cor. 8-10; 1 Ti 4:4, 5).
The churches (ekklesia from ek = out + kaleo = call) is literally the "called-out ones". Greeks used ekklesia for an assembly of citizens "called out" to transact city business. The church is not an organization but a living organism, Christ's body, composed of individual members (believers) joined together and in and through which Christ, the Head works, carries out His purposes and lives. These churches were composed of men and women who had received and believed the gospel Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed on the First Missionary Journey.
Strengthened (stereoo from stereos = solid, stable. Stereoo is used 3 times in the NT all in Acts ( Acts 3:7, 3:16, 16:5) means literally to make strong, stable, firm and figuratively to solidify, confirm or establish in the faith (cf see note 1Thessalonians 3:2 - sterizo)
The faith speaking of the Christian profession, the faith professed.
Increasing (4052) (perisseuo from perissós = abundant) means caused to superabound, to overflow, to be in affluence, to excel or to be in abundance with the implication of being considerably more than what would be expected.
Perisseuo carries the idea of exceeding the requirements, of overflowing or overdoing. It means to exceed a fixed number of measure, to be left over and above a certain number or measure. It means to have or to be more than enough, to be extremely rich or abundant. To exceed or remain over (as used in loaves left over after feeding the 5000 [Mt 14:20]! When Jesus supplies there is more than enough so that some is even left over! How quick we are to forget this basic principle!) The idea is to overflow like a river out of its banks!
Perisseuo is used 3 times in Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians and in two instances is translated "excel" (see notes ) referring not so much to growth in numbers but in their walk of faith (see notes 1Thessalonians 3:12; 4:1, 4:10)
Number (arithmos) The result was fruit from the witness of the believers so that the churches increased in number daily. We see a similar principle in Acts 2…
Principle - strong (Biblically sound) churches will naturally increase in number daily, without relying on carnal, seeker oriented or manipulative ways. Sound expository preaching that matures believers in solid food (see note Hebrews 5:14) will build a strong church and God will add His people to an edifying, equipping body of believers.
Forbidden (Hindered, prevented) (2967) (koluo from kólos = docked, lopped, clipped, kolazo = curtail) means to cut off, to cut short, to weaken and generally to hinder, to prevent, to check, to restrain or to forbid by word or act. The idea is to cause something not to happen. To hinder means to make slow or difficult the progress of something by interfering in some way with the activity or progress thereof. In short koluo means to make it difficult for someone to do something or for something to happen.
At times the Spirit says no so He can lead us to a greater ministry for Jesus. How He forbade Paul, Silas and Timothy is not specifically stated.
In Asia - Asia was an important region and there would later be churches in such cities as Ephesus, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Colossae, Sardis, Pergamum, and Thyatira but for now Paul was forbidden to speak there.
F B Meyer writes
The Spirit of Jesus did not permit them - Paul, beautifully responsive to the Holy Spirit, is willing to lay down his will and plans for the direction that the Holy Spirit brings. Paul is being guided by hindrance. The Holy Spirit guides as much by the closing of doors as He does by the opening of doors.
Acts 16:6-7 both clearly demonstrate the superintendence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in missionary strategy.
Charles Ryrie writes that…
Discerning God's Will - move ahead and allow Him to close doors until the right opportunity presents itself.
The Lord's calling may become evident in different ways. One key principle is indicated here in the calling of Paul to Macedonia in Greece. Paul was already active, trying to preach in the province of Asia, then in Bithynia. He was not waiting idly at home, hoping to receive a call. The Holy Spirit in some very clear way closed the first two doors, but then opened another by this special vision. It is sobering to think that if Paul had not been redirected to Philippi and Greece, he might never have gone into Europe and Christianity might have remained primarily an Asian religion. But God had other purposes.
MacDonald summarizes how the early believers discerned the will of God and His guidance writing…
George Muller's (see bio) thoughts on finding the will of God…
1. Surrender your own will
2. Do not depend on feelings.
3. Seek, the Spirit's will through God's Word.
4. Note providential circumstances.
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F B Meyer - THE GUIDANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT Acts 16:7-10.
F. B. Meyer in his book Paul A Servant of Jesus Christ writes…
Although the man of Macedonia represented all the culture, intelligence, religion, and achievements of Greek civilization, he was spiritually bankrupt. Here the Gospel turns to Europe. So after two "no's", then a "go".
Guzik writes that…
Help (997) (boetheo from boé = a cry, exclamation + theo = to run) (Click for study on boetheo) means to run on hearing a cry, to give assistance. Boethéo means to succor (KJV says God "is able to succour them that are tempted" - see note Hebrews 2:18) which is a word you may not be too familiar with, but which means literally to run to or run to support hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners. (succor is derived from Latin succurrere = to run up, run to help, from sub- = up + currere to run).
The greatest help we can bring anyone is the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ! It is good for us to bring help (social, medical needs, etc) but without the life changing gospel of Christ, what help of eternal value have you given them?
George MacDonald wrote that…
Our Daily Bread - THE MAN FROM MACEDONIA - Acts 16:9
When the apostle Paul saw in a vision the man from Macedonia, it changed the history of the world. Heeding the man's plea to "come over to Macedonia," Paul altered his plans. It was in Macedonia he led Lydia to the Lord, and it was there that the evangelization of the Western world began.
All Christians should be on the lookout for "the man from Macedonia." That man or woman may be well-educated, or have no education at all. He may drive an expensive car, or he may be poor and eke out a living ransacking garbage cans. He may live next door, down the street, or across the sea. He may speak a different language. But wherever you find him, and whatever his situation, he has one pressing need -- to know Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Sometimes that need is expressed as a cry for help. At other times it is veiled in bitter hostility to the Savior and the gospel. Many times his sins and errors and crimes announce this desperate condition. Yet despite the thousand different ways he voices that need, the plea is always the same: "Come over… and help us" (Acts 16:9).
Sooner or later someone will call out to you for help. Will you be quick to answer?-- Haddon W. Robinson
O stir me, O stir me, Lord, till all my heart
If you've accepted Christ's invitation to come,
The first use here of we in the narrative, instead of "they," seems to indicate that Luke, the author of the book of Acts, joined the missionary party at Troas. Then after Paul and Silas and Timothy left Philippi, Luke changed the pronoun from we to they in Acts 17:1, which suggests that he remained behind in Philippi to watch over the infant church after Paul left.
God wanted Paul and his team to go to Troas and pick up a doctor named Luke. If God wouldn't have said "no" to Paul two times, we might not have a gospel and a Book of Acts written by Luke!
It was some six to seven years later when Luke rejoined Paul…
Finally, in the third we section, Luke is with Paul has they sail for Italy …
Concluding (sumbibazo from sun = union + bibazo = to force) means to cause to come together, to bring together, to join together. It is used more literally and in a physical sense in (see notes Ephesians 4:16, cf Colossians 2:2 "knit together").
How did the facts "come together" and allow them to arrive at a conclusion? Two "no's" plus one "vision" added up to a directive to preach the gospel (to "help" cf Acts 16:9)
A T Robertson adds that sumbibazo is…
A straight course to Samothrace - This phrase is a nautical term which means "sailing before the wind".
They anchored for a night at Samothrace.
From the continent of Asia, to the continent of Europe. From Troas to Neapolis, the port of Philippi was a distance of about 150 miles, and it took them two days to make the journey. Later, the trip in the opposite direction would take five days, apparently because of contrary winds, Luke recording…
The wisdom and greatness of God's sovereign plan of salvation begins to unfold. In Paul's mind as he traveled through Asia and tried to enter Bithynia, he sought to reach a few of the cities in this region. On the other hand, God had a much bigger plan for He wanted Paul to reach a continent for Jesus Christ!
Neapolis some 120 miles from Troas was the seaport for Philippi which was located about 10 miles inland as one treks along the Via Egnatia (picture of road upon which Paul probably entered Philippi). This paved road extended some 530 miles from Dyrrachium (Modern day Albania) on the Adriatic coast across Macedonia to Neapolis on the Aegean Sea, traversing through major metropolitan centers such as Thessalonica.
Roman colony was like a piece of Rome transplanted abroad so that those who held citizenship in a colony enjoyed the same rights they would have had if they had lived in Italy. Other colonies mentioned in Acts are Pisidian Antioch, Lystra, Troas, Ptolemais, and Corinth.
Wiersbe adds that…
Sabbath - (sabbaton from shabath - H7676 = to cease from work, intermission) Jewish Sabbath was the 7th day of week and was kept originally by a total cessation from all labor as even the kindling of a fire, but apparently without any public solemnities except an addition to the daily sacrifice in the tabernacle and the changing of the shewbread (Ex 20:8, 31:13; Lv 24:8; Nu 15:32, 28:9). The custom of reading the Scriptures in public assemblies and synagogues appears to have been introduced after the exile (cf. Neh 8; Lu 4:16).
Christians are to do what the New Testament says. Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial, sacrificial part of the Old Testament law when He died on the cross (Hebrews 10). He told Peter that the dietary laws no longer applied to the church (Acts 10). True believers keep the moral part of God’s laws as they live by His Spirit (see notes Romans 8).
The sabbath was a sign between the Lord and the nation of Israel—the sign of the Old Covenant (the Law)—that they might know He is the Lord Who sanctifies them, sets them apart. Israel was to observe the sabbath because it was holy, set apart, for them. The one who profaned the sabbath, did not treat it as holy, was put to death. The sabbath, the seventh day, was to be a day of complete rest. Israel was to keep it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.
But after the captivity arose the school of the Pharisees, and by them the attractive character of the Sabbatical observances was destroyed. In place of the joy, they imposed upon the people the yoke of a scrupulous, slavish sabbatarianism which made the Sabbath an END instead of a MEANS, hampered the spirit of true worship, and laid greater stress upon a punctilious obedience to mere human regulations than upon God's commands in the Law. Some of the ridiculous prohibitions were as follows: walking in the grass on the Sabbath because its bruising effect would constitute a kind of threshing; wearing nailed shoes because they would be viewed as carrying a burden. It was against this perversion of the commandment that the Lord protested. He refused to sanction Pharisaical legalism and vigorously defended His Sabbath miracles.
Jesus kept the Sabbath in the highest sense of the term. He observed every jot and tittle of the Mosaic Law in the freedom of the spirit. He taught us that acts of necessity and mercy are to be performed always, even on the Sabbath, and worldly occupations are to be put as far as possible out of our thoughts. In the Christian church the first day of the week has been substituted for the last day as a day of worship and rest. This, however, is in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ.
We went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer - Paul normally went first to a local synagogue when he arrived in a new city, but apparently there was none in Philippi. Ten Jewish men who were heads of there household was required to constitute a synagogue, suggesting that Philippi must have had a small Jewish population.
The only religious activity on the weekly Sabbath was apparently the ladies' prayer meeting, so that was where Paul headed. This gathering became the nucleus of the first Christian church in Europe.
Bruce adds that…
AND A CERTAIN WOMAN NAMED LYDIA: kai tis gune onomati Lydia: The first European Christian!
She may have been named after the land, though Lydia is a common female name. Lydia was itself a Macedonian colony. When Paul wrote the Philippians he did not mention Lydia who may have died meanwhile and who certainly was not Paul's wife.
FROM THE CITY OF THYATIRA A SELLER OF PURPLE FABRICS: porphuropolis poleos Thuateiron:
Thyatira (plural form like Philippi) was famous for its purple dyes as old as Homer (Iliad) and had a guild of dyers as inscriptions show. There was a great demand for purple fabric as it was used on the official toga at Rome and in Roman colonies.
A WORSHIPER OF GOD: sebomene (PMPFSN) ton theon:
Like Cornelius (Acts 10:2), she was a God-fearer or Gentile but was not a full Jewish proselyte. Nevertheless she openly worshiped with the Jews and clearly she was seeking truth.
WAS LISTENING: ekouen (3SIAI):
The imperfect tense pictures her as listening, really listening and she kept it up, listening to each of these new and strange preachers.
AND THE LORD OPENED HER HEART: es o kurios dienoixen (3SAAI) ten kardian:
The Lord thoroughly, totally opened her mind by dividing the mind was was previously closed and causing her to understand spiritual truths otherwise hidden to the natural mind. Lu 24:31, 45.
Repentance is a gift to undeserving sinners granted by a merciful, kind God [Ro 2:4 Acts 5:31 11:18]
This verse is clear proof of the sovereignty of God in salvation.
When Lydia heard the gospel, the Lord opened her heart and she believed--another example where divine election and human responsibility are naturally juxtaposed.
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; and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44).
“To open the heart” indicates that the Lord caused her to understand (BAGD; EDNT) or that He caused her to have an open mind w. a willingness to learn and evaluate fairly." (New Linguistic & Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament )
Opened (1272)(dianoigo from dia = through, between, used here as an intensive + anoigo = to open, remove that which obstructs) means to open completely (wide, like "double folding doors" or as when Stephen in his last moments before martyrdom saw "the heavens opened up" Acts 7:56) and can speak of opening to one's understanding what is otherwise hidden to their intellect. To open the sense of Scripture and thus to explain the Scripture. To thoroughly disclose or cause one to thoroughly understand. Albert Barnes says dianoigo "means to explain what is concealed or obscure." Dianoigo is one of those truly "supernatural" words, a word that speaks of the Spirit's enabling power! It is used by Mark to describe the miraculous giving of hearing by Jesus (Mk 7:34, 32-33). The remainder of the NT uses are by Dr. Luke to describe the opening of the womb (context = miraculous birth of Jesus) (Lk 2:23), the supernatural opening of one's (spiritual) eyes ("the eyes of our heart") to recognize the Messiah (Lk 24:31), the opening of one's mind to Scriptural truth, explaining the truth, (and unless this occurs, we cannot truly understand it naturally, because it is supernatural!) (Lk 24:45, cp Lk 24:32), the opening of heaven to Stephen so that he could see Jesus (Acts 7:56), the supernatural opening of Lydia's heart to receive the Gospel preached by Paul (Acts 16:14) We see an OT parallel when Elisha prayed for his servant's (spiritual) eyes to be opened and given "supernatural vision." (2Ki 6:17) Note that the idiomatic phrase "a male that opens the womb" (Lk 2:23) speaks of the first-born male.
Dear pastor, Paul's practice necessitates that first of all we preach and teach the Scriptures with the mindset of the Reformers - "Sola Scriptura!" As we work through verse by verse, our "Enabler," the Holy Spirit, will teach us as we teach others, opening individual passages and words as to their meaning and their practical application. Every teacher of spiritual truth must recognize that whereas he may teach the Word of God to others and seek to help them apply it to their lives, only God Himself can open the pupils’ spiritual eyes (the "pupils" of the pupil, so to speak) and thus receptive to the truth. Read Mt 11:27.
Old John Trapp says "Man's heart is naturally locked up and barricaded against God, till he, by his mighty Spirit, make forcible entrance, beating the devil out of his trenches, 2Cor. 10:4 (cp what the devil does when the Word is sown - Lk 8:5, 10-12)."
Jesus had thoroughly, totally opened the minds of the two on the road to Emmaus by ''dividing'' their mind that was was previously closed and the Word that was previously closed and causing them to understand spiritual truths otherwise hidden to the natural mind (Lk 24:32) and He did the same for His disciples (Lk 24:45 ) and for Lydia's heart Acts 16:14. Paul speaking but it was the power of Acts 1:8.
"The Bible is divine revelation, not human discovery. Spiritual truth is a gift from God to blinded, sinful humanity." (Utley)
In the Septuagint (Lxx), dianoigo is used to describe Sheol "opening wide" it's mouth (a dramatic picture of it being unavoidable or inescapable!) or of men "opening wide" their mouth to speak against the Jews (Lam 2:16, 3:46), of Ezekiel's spiritual feeding (Ezek 3:2), of "gates of rivers" opened to flood and destroy (Nah 2:6), of God opening His eyes to smite Judah's enemies (Zech 12:4), of a (supernatural) fountain opened "in that day" (the Millennium), a fountain "for sin and impurity." (Zech 13:1)
Roy Zuck - Dianoigo means “to open,” and was the word used by our Lord when He healed a deaf man’s ears (Mark 7:34). In a more figurative sense, this verb is used of the opening of one’s eyes, mind, and heart so the person may understand spiritual truths. This stresses the divine element essential in Bible teaching. Only Christ could open the eyes of the Emmaus disciples so they would know that He was the One with them (Luke 24:31). Only Christ could open the Scriptures to them so they would appreciate them and know their meaning (Luke 24:32). Only Christ could open the minds of His disciples so they could understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). Only God could open the heart of Lydia, that is, “rouse in (her) the faculty of understanding or the desire of learning.” Every teacher of spiritual truth must recognize that whereas he may apply the Word of God to others and seek to help them apply it to their lives, only God Himself can make the pupils’ hearts open or receptive to the truth. (Bib. Sac. Vol. 122, No. 486, p 157).
A T Robertson - Opening the Scriptures, Luke means, as made plain by the mission and message of Jesus, the same word (dianoigō) used by him of the interpretation of the Scriptures by Jesus (Luke 24:32) and of the opening of the mind of the disciples also by Jesus (Luke 24:45) and of the opening of Lydia‘s heart by the Lord (Acts 16:14). One cannot refrain from saying that such exposition of the Scriptures as Jesus and Paul gave would lead to more opening of mind and heart. (Acts 17 - Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Dianoigo was used occasionally in secular authors from Plato, et al, meaning to open by dividing or drawing asunder (dia), to open thoroughly (what had been closed);
Dianoigo - 8x in 8v - translated in NAS - explaining(2), opened(5), opens(1).
Dianoigo - 34x in 32v -
Exodus 13:2 "Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring (Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] "opening the womb" = first-born) of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me."
12 you shall devote to the LORD the first offspring (Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] "opening the womb" = first-born) of every womb, and the first offspring (Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] "opening the womb" = first-born) of every beast that you own; the males belong to the LORD.
13 "But every first offspring (Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] = "opening the womb" = first-born) of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.
15 'It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD the males, the first offspring Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] = "opening the womb" = first-born) of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.'
Exodus 34:19 "The first offspring Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] = "opening the womb" = first-born) from every womb belongs to Me, and all your male livestock, the first offspring from cattle and sheep.
Numbers 3:12 "Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] = "opening the womb" = first-born) of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine.
Numbers 8:16 for they are wholly given to Me from among the sons of Israel. I have taken them for Myself instead of every first issue Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] = "opening the womb" = first-born) of the womb, the firstborn of all the sons of Israel.
Numbers 18:15 "Every first issue Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] = "opening the womb" = first-born) of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the LORD, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.
1 Kings 4:20 Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing.
2 Kings 6:17 Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, I pray, open (Lxx = dianoigo) his eyes that he may see." And the LORD opened (Lxx = dianoigo - Perhaps this is a prayer we dare pray for ourselves and those for whom we are called to intercede - that the Spirit would open eyes to see supernaturally God's truth which is closed to natural vision!) the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
20 When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, "O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
Job 27:19 "He lies down rich, but never again; He opens his eyes, and it is no longer.
Job 29:19 'My root is spread out (Lxx - dianoigo = "opened up") to the waters, And dew lies all night on my branch.
Job 38:32 "Can you lead forth (Lxx - dianoigo = "open up") a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites?
Proverbs 20:13 Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.
Proverbs 31:20 She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out (Lxx = dianoigo = "she opens up her hands completely" - a picture of her generosity and benevolent spirit) her hands to the needy.
26 She opens (Lxx = dianoigo) her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Isaiah 5:14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem's splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.
Lamentations 2:16 All your enemies Have opened their mouths wide against you; They hiss and gnash their teeth. They say, "We have swallowed her up! Surely this is the day for which we waited; We have reached it, we have seen it."
Lamentations 3:46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
Ezekiel 3:2 So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll.
Ezekiel 20:26 and I pronounced them unclean because of their gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn (Lxx = dianoigo - idiom [+ metra = womb] "opening the womb" = first-born) to pass through the fire so that I might make them desolate, in order that they might know that I am the LORD."'
Ezekiel 21:22 "Into his right hand came the divination, 'Jerusalem,' to set battering rams, to open the mouth for slaughter, to lift up the voice with a battle cry, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up ramps, to build a siege wall.
Ezekiel 24:27 'On that day your mouth will be opened to him who escaped, and you will speak and be mute no longer. Thus you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD.'"
Hosea 2:15 "Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope (Lxx uses dianoigo to translate as "to open her understanding"). And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
Nahum 2:6 The gates of the rivers are opened And the palace is dissolved.
Habakkuk 3:14 You pierced with his own spears The head of his throngs. They stormed in to scatter us; Their exultation was like those Who devour the oppressed in secret. (Septuagint = 3:14 Thou didst cut asunder the heads of princes with amazement, they shall tremble in it; they shall burst [dianoigo] their bridles, they shall be as a poor man devouring in secret.)
Zechariah 11:1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That a fire may feed on your cedars.
Zechariah 12:4 "In that day," declares the LORD, "I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. (LXE In that day, saith the Lord Almighty, I will smite every horse with amazement, and his rider with madness: but I will open mine eyes upon the house of Juda, and I will smite all the horses of the nations with blindness.)
Zechariah 13:1 "In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.
TO RESPOND TO THE THINGS SPOKEN BY PAUL: prosechein (PAN) tois laloumenois (PPPNPD) hupo tou Paulou:
Respond is an interesting Greek picture - to continually hold her mind toward. She kept her mind centered on the things spoken by Paul whose words gripped her attention.
Spoken is not the word for official proclamation but here pictures a more personal conversation (rather than a sermon).
The Spirit of God used Paul as a vessel to win the heart of this woman to Christ. It is important to note that it was the Word which brought the sinner Lydia to the Savior Christ Jesus.
An interesting observation is that here we see one solitary convert, a woman, already a seeker after God, and a native of the very area where they had been forbidden to preach! God's ways are so much higher than our ways. A new era had dawned for Europe and for women in the conversion of Lydia. PTL Who Alone can opened closed hearts.
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C H Spurgeon - Morning and Evening - In Lydia’s conversion there are many points of interest. It was brought about by providential circumstances. She was a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, but just at the right time for hearing Paul we find her at Philippi; providence, which is the handmaid of grace, led her to the right spot. Again, grace was preparing her soul for the blessing—grace preparing for grace. She did not know the Saviour, but as a Jewess (Ed note: most commentators feel she was not Jewish but was a Gentile seeker of God), she knew many truths which were excellent stepping-stones to a knowledge of Jesus. Her conversion took place in the use of the means. On the Sabbath she went when prayer was wont to be made, and there prayer was heard. Never neglect the means of grace; God may bless us when we are not in his house, but we have the greater reason to hope that he will when we are in communion with his saints.
Observe the words, “Whose heart the Lord opened.” She did not open her own heart. Her prayers did not do it; Paul did not do it. The Lord himself must open the heart, to receive the things which make for our peace. He alone can put the key into the hole of the door and open it, and get admittance for himself. He is the heart’s master as he is the heart’s maker.
The first outward evidence of the opened heart was obedience. As soon as Lydia had believed in Jesus, she was baptized. It is a sweet sign of a humble and broken heart, when the child of God is willing to obey a command which is not essential to his salvation, which is not forced upon him by a selfish fear of condemnation, but is a simple act of obedience and of communion with his Master.
The next evidence was love, manifesting itself in acts of grateful kindness to the apostles. Love to the saints has ever been a mark of the true convert. Those who do nothing for Christ or his church, give but sorry evidence of an “opened” heart. Lord, evermore give me an opened heart. (Morning and Evening - Evening Devotional, December 10)
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F B Meyer writes… Acts 16:14, 27 - A certain woman named Lydia…. The Keeper of the prison.
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And her household - see similar descriptions of the household (John 4:53; Acts 11:14)
And it happened - More literally "And it came into being"
Wiersbe gives us a sage warning…
Spirit of divination - is literally spirit of python.
Divination (puthon/python) in Greek mythology was the serpent that guarded the oracle of Delphi, lived at the foot of Mt. Parnassus, and was slain by Apollo. Later puthon/python came to designate a spirit of divination, then also of ventriloquists, who were believed to have such a spirit dwelling in their belly. About A.D. 50-100, Plutarch maintained that the term puthognes applied to ventriloquists, and earlier in the LXX those having demonic spirits were called ventriloquists (Lev. 19:31; 20:6, 27; including the witch of En Dor in 1 Sam. 28:7).
TDNT adds that…
The Most High God - El Elyon, a name that connotes His sovereign control over all history. (See study El Elyon: Most High God - Sovereign Over All)
The continual harangue by the girl, referring to "the most high God," designed to produce ridicule and resentment against Paul, showed that her "spirit of divination" was actually a demonic spirit. Compare the experience of Jesus, whom they recognized as God, with such evil spirits (Mt 8:31,32 Mk 1:24,34).
Annoyed (diaponeo from dia = through or as intensifier + poneo = to labor from ponos = toil or pain) means literally to labor through, to work out with labor or to produce with labor. Figuratively, it means to feel burdened as the result of someone’s provocative activity, be greatly disturbed, or to be annoyed. To be grieved or to become wearied or grieved at the continuance of anything (Acts 4:2; 16:18). The slave girl with demonic spirit "wore Paul out".
Paul did not want either the Gospel or the name of God to be promoted by demons. Satan is a liar and will use truth one minute but in the next minute will speak a lie and the unsaved listener would not know the difference.
Jesus commanded the demons not to speak of Him…
The ability to cast out demons was a special ability of Christs apostles…
But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone - They did not care for the girl but the money she brought in. This conflict between the gospel and money comes up repeatedly in Acts (see Acts 5:1-11, 8:18-24, 20:33-34).
In Ephesus, we see a similar conflict between Paul and the worshippers of the false idol Artemis, as the gospel had begun to negatively impact the sale of the lifeless shrines of Artemis. Luke records…
Hope (1680) (elpis) is used usually in Scripture to refer to an absolute certainty of future good (as the blessed hope of the Lord's sure return in Titus 2:13 - see note). However in this verse hope is used as it is by the secular world conveying the sense of "I hope so".
Profit (ergasia from ergázomai = to toil, work) refers here to their work in the sense of their business or trade (they "traded" in fortune telling) and in the sense of that which brings gain or income. (See this nuance in Acts 16:16, 19; Acts 19:24).
Seized (epilambanomai from epí = upon + lambáno = to take) means to make the motion of grasping or taking hold of something. To lay hold of or to seize upon anything with the hands, to take hold of or grasp, with focus upon the goal of motion seize for help, injury, attainment or any other purpose, catch, lay hold upon, take hold of.
Market place (agora) is the town-square where the people assembled in public. It can also refer to a market or thoroughfare or a broad street. Here it refers to a forum or a market place where things were exposed for sale and where assemblies and public trials were held (See similar use in Mk 7:4; Acts 16:19; 17:17)
Judaism was not a prohibited religion (the cult of the emperor being the official religion), but propagating it was regarded as a menace. Paul and Silas were regarded as Jews, since, at this time, the Romans considered Christianity to be a Jewish sect.
MacArthur adds this note…
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 civil rights which were zealously guarded. Non-citizens had no civil rights, and were subject to the whims of both the multitude and the magistrates.
Bruce comments that…
Rose up (sunephistemi from sún = together + ephistemi = stand upon, be at hand, stand before, by or over) means to join in an uprising or join in an attack. Here Luke adds the preposition katá which means against so the idea is that the crowd made an assault together against them. This same verb describes the assembly rises up against Moses also the servant of the Lord…
The chief magistrates tore their robes off them - Moved by the incited crowd and the false accusations, the magistrates acted rashly and did not investigate the matter fully as they should have. Their neglect later brought them embarrassment for it was imprison Roman citizens without a trial (and Paul was a Roman citizen).
Chief magistrates (strategos from stratos = an army + ágo = to lead) referred to the highest official in a Greco-Roman city. In other contexts strategos was used to describe a commander responsible for the temple in Jerusalem or captain of the temple (see Acts 4:1, 5:24). More generally it referred to the leader or commander of an army such as a general.
Every Roman colony had two of these men serving as judges. In this case, they did not uphold Roman justice: They did not investigate the charges, conduct a proper hearing, or give Paul and Silas the chance to defend themselves.
Tore off (perirrhegnumi from perí = about + rhegnumi = to break, tear) means literally to tear from around someone, as tearing off fetters or stripping off ones robe by tearing. This verb is used in the NT only of garments of Paul and Silas as the crowd tore off their clothes preparing them to be scourged. The Roman custom was to allow officers to tear off the clothes of criminals before being scourged.
Beaten with rods (rhabdizo from rhabdos = rod for scourging) means to beat with a rod or stick and in the NT is used only of Roman punishment by scourging. This punishment was referred to by the Latin term fustigatio and was distinguished from catigatio (a lashing) and verberatio (flogging with chains). As Paul records (see below) this punishment was inflicted on his body on three separate occasions although this is the only one the NT specifically records in detail.
It is interesting that in the Septuagint, rhabdizo is used of threshing wheat to remove the chaff from the grain…
The magistrates proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods - In Jewish legal tradition, there was a maximum number of blows that could be delivered when beating a person, but the Romans had no such limit. We can rest assured Paul and Silas were severely beaten.
Paul alluded to this (and possibly other similar events) as he defended his ministry to the saints at Corinth asking…
Later in Acts Paul does in fact appeal to his Roman citizenship, once to avoid being scourged (Acts 22:25-29) and another time to force the officials to send him to Rome as he appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:11-12) Festus' suggestion that Paul appear in Jerusalem for trial (Acts 25:9) provoked his appeal to Caesar for he realized that the trial would not be impartial especially in Jerusalem, and that he would be in great danger if he was returned to the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin. The right of appeal was one of the most ancient and cherished rights of a Roman citizen. And to whom ultimately did Paul appeal? To the infamous, nefarious Nero who was emperor at that time (A.D. 54-68)!
They threw them into prison - This event might at first glance seem to signal the end of Paul's ministry in Philippi, but in God's providence it would not be so but would lead to another conversion. God's ways are always higher than our ways. Dear believer, are you in a "dungeon" because of your witness? Take heart from the example of Paul and Silas and by the power of the Spirit, rejoice. And again I say rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks for all things (see notes 1Thess 5:16; 17; 18)
Paul alludes to these hindrances to sharing the gospel in his letter to the Thessalonians writing that…
It is fascinating that here in Acts 16:23 we find the very one who had been throwing Christians into jail, now in jail himself. Luke records…
Bruce commenting on the stocks writes that…
Stocks (xulon) means wood and in some contexts refers to a cross (Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, 1Peter 2:24). In this context xulon describes an instrument that secured the feet (and sometimes the neck and hands) of a prisoner. Stocks were usually constructed of wood with holes to secure the feet. They could also be used as an instrument of torture by stretching the legs apart and causing the prisoner to sit in unnatural positions. The Romans often added chains along with the stocks. Stocks were much used in medieval and later times in the persecution of Christians.
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Our Daily Bread - "LED" INTO PRISON - In a vision, Paul saw a man of Macedonia who said, "Come over … and help us." Assured that the Lord Himself had thus called him to preach the Gospel in that area, he and Silas — and evidently Dr. Luke — set out at once for their new "mission field." But what a reception they received! The record tells us that the "multitude rose up together against them" and "beat them" and "thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks." If they would have reacted like many of us today, Paul would probably have complained, "Well, isn't this just fine: led by God into prison! Here we were obedient to the heavenly vision, and this is our reward!"
Was this Paul's attitude? I should say not! Listen to the story in Acts 16:25: "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God." Singing in prison! Paul knew that "all things work together for good to them that love God." With the eye of faith he could see some future good, and in that confidence was happy even while enduring severe trial. When the Lord had accomplished His purpose, demonstrated His power, and saved the jailer and his family, then Paul and Silas were commanded to "depart and go in peace."
Sometimes we find ourselves in troubling situations as the result of our service for the Lord. Doing that which we believe to be right and according to His will, we seem to end up in the "prison" of suffering, hardship, and loss, and are tempted to complain, "Lord, is this what I get for my faithfulness?" Then He comes and assures us that He "doeth all things well," and that Romans 8:28 is still in the Book! When all has been accomplished, we shall be able to look back and clearly see His hand and purpose in it all. "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator" (1 Pet. 4:19).
There's One who will journey beside me,
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Our Daily Bread - When Paul and Silas were imprisoned at Philippi and their backs were raw from beatings, they sang hymns (Acts 16:23-25). They chose the bright color of praise instead of the dark colors of depression, bitterness, and despair.
He gives me joy in place of sorrow;
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One of the most important times to sing praise to God is when we feel imprisoned by the circumstances of life. Like the experience of Paul and Silas in the Roman prison, it is often uncanny how prayer and praise open the doors of our lives to new dimensions of opportunity and spiritual power.
Praying and singing - Beloved if I were unjustly treated like Paul and Silas, I am afraid that too often my first reaction would be to murmur or dispute the charges (see notes Philippians 2:14; 2:15). However instead of complaining to God or even calling on Him to avenge their unjust treatment (see notes Romans 12:17; 18;19;
And to the saints at Ephesus he wrote…
How could they have done what is not natural? Clearly they were men so filled with and controlled by the Spirit that He strengthened their inner man to respond not naturally but supernaturally. When you are in pain, the midnight hour is not the easiest time for worship and praise, but we must remember the truth of what God says about Himself…
God gives songs in the night, Elihu declaring…
The psalmist whose soul is like a deer panting for the water brooks (Ps 42:1 - Spurgeon note) testifies that…
George Müller once said that…
G Campbell Morgan adds that…
Dear downcast believer, please remember that the Word of God teaches that prayer and praise are powerful weapons (Read and be encouraged by the illustration of this principle in 2 Chr 20:1-22)
Singing (humneo from húmnos = hymn; English = hymn) means to celebrate or praise with a hymn.
Humnos (hymnos) is a song or hymn in honor of God. The word humnos also came to mean praise to men. Whereas a psalm is the story of man's deliverance or a commemoration of mercies received, a hymn is a magnificat, a declaration of how great someone or something is (Lu 1:46-55, 67-79; Acts 4:24; 16:25). A hymn is a direct address of praise and glory to God. According to Augustine a hymn has three characteristics: It must be sung; it must be praise; it must be to God. The word "hymn" nowhere occurs in the writings of the apostolic fathers because it was used as a praise to heathen deities and thus the early Christians instinctively shrank from it.
The prisoners and the guards undoubtedly heard much about Christ and His saving gospel through the hymns of Paul and Silas, as well as through their testimony of rejoicing in the midst of suffering.
John Stott quips that…
During Paul's second missionary journey, the apostle and his compatriot, Silas, found their ministry causing a riot, and they felt the brunt of it. Their clothes were torn from them, and they were beaten and thrown into prison. Stress? Yes! Anxiety? Every legitimate reason for it! How did Paul and Silas handle it? What kept them from breaking? Acts 16:25 gives us the answer, "But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God." They turned their focus from the present pressures of their lives to the throne of their sovereign Abba Father -- and the tension was relieved.
When sheep become tense, edgy, and restless, the shepherd will quietly move through the flock, and his very presence will release the tension of the sheep and quiet their anxieties. Their shepherd is there! And this is what happens when we begin to worship our God and our Lord in song. We move into a consciousness of His presence, and the tension begins to unravel, the tautness of the pressure eases, anxieties become meaningless, for we are reminded that He is there -- our Jehovah Shamah, our all-sufficient sovereign God. He inhabits the praises of His people.
Songs that stir your soul to worship…songs that bring tears of gratitude to your eyes…spiritual songs and making melody in your heart is God's way of delivering you from the stresses of the world.
Suddenly there came a great earthquake - This was no seismological quirk but a genuine miracle, for earthquakes don't cause fetters to drop off of hands and feet! Further there is no evidence that the building itself was demolished. So a most unusual earthquake!
Matthew records a similar even more magnificent opening caused by an earthquake…
John records another notable earthquake (yet future) which marks the midpoint of Daniel's Seventieth Week of Seven Years and the inception of the horrible time for earth called the Great Tribulation…
Everyone's chains were unfastened - compare to similar supernatural releases from jail in Acts…
The jailer was about to kill himself - Roman law stated that if a guard lost a prisoner, he was given the same punishment the prisoner would have received. It follows that the jailer knew that there were some men in the prison who had committed capital crimes and were being held for execution. The jailer would rather commit suicide than face shame and execution.
Luke records a similar fate to the guards who had "allowed" Peter to go free from jail…
Do yourself no harm - How paradoxical that it was the jailer who was the prisoner (spiritually speaking in bondage to sin, self and Satan), not Paul and so Paul not only saved the man's physical life (preventing him from committing suicide), but best of all pointed him to the freedom of an eternal life in Christ.
Trembling with fear (entromos from en = in + tromos = tremor or terror) means to be terrified, quaking or trembling with extreme fear. It pictures a person in a quivering condition because of exposure to an overwhelming or threatening circumstance.
Fell down before (propipto from pros = preposition expressing motion or direction as toward + pipto = to fall) means literally to fall towards or upon something and as here when referring to people means to fall down to or before someone (cf the healed woman in Luke 8:47, the demons before Jesus in Mk 3:11, Luke 8:28)
What must I do? - Is not this the question many ask? What works must I do? How good must I be? And every world religion and cult provides the answer which in one form or another is summed up in the answer you must do "good works" in order to merit heaven (or whatever they refer to as "heaven"). Only Christianity says the work of salvation has already been done by Jesus, the Savior of all mankind but to receive "credit" for His sacrifice in your place, you must receive His free gift by grace through faith (see notes Romans 10:9; 10:10). Trust in the Messiah's finished work on Calvary "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved."! That is the answer to all of mankind's deepest need and most profound question.
The story is told of a wealthy man who, although he was outwardly religious, was not a Christian. He had in his employ an old gardener, a true believer, who tried to show him the emptiness of mere religion without Christ. Now it happened that there was one tree on the rich man's estate which never bore any fruit. However, one day as the owner was walking in his orchard, he saw some beautiful apples hanging on it. Imagine his surprise, especially when he went to pick some and found them to be tied on! The gardener by this simple illustration wanted to point out to his employer the difference between real Christianity and pious sham. Religion without Christ is like a barren tree on which the fruit is merely "tied on"!
Have you ever actually trusted Christ, or are you simply going through the motions? Are those so-called "good works" of yours just "tied on," or are they the genuine fruit of a new life?
W. P. Loveless says it well…
MacDonald wisely comments that…
Salvation comes when a person recognizes their personal state of sinfulness and certain judgment and thus their need for salvation.
David Guzik writes…
Rome held a jailer responsible for his prisoners, and if any escaped, he forfeited his life. Thus, it is possible that the jailer's question is an expression of concern for his own physical life. However, he doubtless had heard Paul and Silas as they witnessed and sang. Paul, in v28, with a loud voice assured the jailer that his life was not in jeopardy. Significantly, it was after Paul's assurance that no one had escaped that the jailer asked the question.
Arthur Pink writes:
Morris commenting on the miraculous deliverance of the prisoners writes that…
Believe - Is in the aorist imperative which conveys a sense of urgency = Do this now. These words must be connected with "believe" as well as "be saved."
You and your whole household - Luke is not advocating salvation by proxy. In other words, he is not saying the jailer's salvation automatically included everyone in his house and that they had no need to respond to the Gospel. The fact is that each member of the household had to personally believe in order to be saved. The example of the head of the household made it easier for them, but they, too, needed to believe to be saved, a salvation which they testified to by being baptized.
Guzik observes that in reading this passage…
Faith can be summarized in the acrostic
We are to forsake all (repent of our sins) and to take Him (by faith turn to God for our salvation) (Acts 20:21).
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Our Daily Bread - GOOD QUESTION! -"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved."- Acts 16:30-31
Finding the right questions is as crucial as finding the right answers," says devotional writer Henri Nouwen. Yet how easy it is to run ahead of God's Spirit as we talk to nonbelievers about Christ, giving pre-packaged answers before we listen to their questions.
This tendency was highlighted several years ago when someone scrawled the words "Christ is the answer!" on the side of a building. A cynical passerby added these words: "What is the question?"
Paul and Silas, thrown into prison for the gospel's sake, provoked a deep spiritual question in the heart of their jailer. This wasn't achieved, however, by preaching a three-point sermon at him. Instead, they prayed and sang hymns to God. When an earthquake opened the prison doors and broke their chains, the jailer tried to kill himself, fearing that the would be put to death if his prisoners escaped. But Paul and Silas stopped him by choosing to stay in prison for his sake. At this he cried out, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30).
Today, as then, the Spirit will create the right questions in people's hearts and make them ready for the right answer -- Jesus Christ. -- Joanie E. Yoder
Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love,
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Our Daily Bread - THE BIGGEST DECISION -Decisions! Decisions! Decisions! We're constantly making decisions. Some are trivial, like, "Which outfit will I wear today?" Others are life-shaping, like, "Should I take that job and move my family clear across the country?" But common sense tells us that some are vastly more important than others.
Life's biggest decision is what you do with Jesus.
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C H Spurgeon - Faith's Checkbook - What of My House? - “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”—Acts 16:31
THIS gospel for a man with a sword at his throat is the gospel for me. This would suit me if I were dying, and it is all that I need while I am living. I look away from self and sin and all idea of personal merit, and I trust the Lord Jesus as the Saviour whom God has given. I believe in Him; I rest on Him; I accept Him to be my all in all. Lord I am saved, and I shall be saved to all eternity, for I believe in Jesus. Blessed be thy name for this. May I daily prove by my life that I am saved from selfishness and worldliness and every form of evil.
But those last words about my “house.” Lord, I would not run away with half a promise when thou dost give a whole one. I beseech thee, save all my family. Save the nearest and dearest. Convert the children, and the grandchildren, if I have any. Be gracious to my servants and all who dwell under my roof or work for me. Thou makest this promise to me personally if I believe in the Lord Jesus; I beseech thee to do as thou hast said.
I would go over in my prayer every day the names of all my brothers and sisters, parents, children, friends, relatives, and servants and give thee no rest till that word is fulfilled: “and thy house.”
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They spoke the Word of the Lord - This is why the jailer's household was saved. Sinners must be presented with the Gospel of God in order to respond and believe and be saved. As stated earlier no one becomes a saint (a believer) by proxy or by virtue of their parent's belief in Christ. Each person is called to make a definite, personal statement of belief in Christ's and His good news of salvation by grace through faith.
The jailer took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds -
This is the "about face" supernatural turnaround that one sees when a person is genuinely converted and has a true change in lifestyle. The change in the attitude of the jailer is clearly manifest in washing the wounds of these two prisoners for they were now his brothers in Christ, not his enemies. One evidence of genuine repentance is a desire to make restitution and reparation to those whom we have hurt. Jesus left us the perfect "template" to follow declaring…
Wiersbe poses an interesting question…
Immediately he was baptized - Remember this must have been sometime between midnight and daylight! One wonders how many people have so desired to identify with Christ that they sought baptism irregardless of the hour or circumstances?
And so they were baptized just like Lydia and her household (Acts 16:15) and just like those men and women who responded to Phillip's proclamation of the Gospel…
The jailer rejoiced greatly - The very one who moments before was on the verge of committing suicide, was now rejoicing in his new found faith (and that of his family) in the living God.
Paul was born a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28), which gave him certain rights, including a public hearing. Scourging of any Roman citizen was prohibited by law; the rights of Paul and Silas, therefore, had already been violated.
The Roman forbade the binding or beating of a Roman citizen.
Cicero, in his celebrated Oration against Verres, asserts
Wiersbe offers an excellent thought on why Paul did not wish to leave Philippi secretly writing…
They were afraid - Upon learning of Paul's Roman citizenship, the magistrates were filled with fear, because it was a grave offense to treat Roman citizens as Paul and Silas had been treated.
They are Romans - Paul's father in Tarsus evidently had been awarded Roman citizenship for services to the state, so Paul (and presumably Silas) had been born with such citizenship. Roman citizenship carried with it many privileges and protections established by Roman law.
An interesting question at this juncture is how did Paul and Silas prove their Roman citizenship? Luke is silent on this but the magistrates clearly are convinced.
Williams offers two possible explanations writing that…
Wiersbe reviews this chapter writing that…
Guzik sums up the 2 radically different conversions…