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Bible Study: Acts 16

Chapter 16: Acts 16:1- 40, earth-shattering worship

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for preserving the Bible in a written form in so many different languages of the world for our benefit. Thank You for knowing each one of us by name, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-5, Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed, but his father was a Greek, 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. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Paul met Timothy when he came to Derbe and Lystra. Timothy had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. He was a person with good character and reputation. Paul recruited Timothy into his missionary team and circumcised him so as not to offend the Jews. Paul, Silas, and Timothy visited the churches in Galatia, strengthening the believer’s faith and multiplying the disciples.

VV 6-10, 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, 7 after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 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. 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.

They traveled through Phrygia and Mysia and wanted to go north to Bithynia but the Holy Spirit directed them to Troas. Paul saw a vision of a Macedonian man begging him to go to Macedonia. So, he traveled west to Macedonia, Northern Greece, Europe. From verse 10 onwards, Luke used the plural pronouns, we and us instead of, they and them. Luke had joined Paul’s missionary team in Troas and included himself in the narrative. “We” includes Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke.

VV 11-13, 11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis, 12 and from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony, and we were in that city abiding certain days. 13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made, and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

From Troas in Asia Minor, Paul and his team, entered Macedonia, Northern Greece, Europe, and passed through Samothrace, Neapolis, and Philippi. Philippi was a Roman colony without a synagogue because it did not have 10 Jewish males living there. So, on the Sabbath, they went to the riverside to pray and met some women there.

VV 14-15, 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 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.

Paul preached to Lydia, a businesswoman who sells purple cloth, from Thyatira. The Holy Spirit convicted Lydia to believe in Jesus and Paul baptised her. Lydia invited Paul and his team to stay in her house. Lydia was the first European woman Christian convert.

VV 16-19, 16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.

17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, these men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 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. 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.

Paul and his team encountered a demonised slave girl in Philippi. She followed the team for many days and kept repeating that they were servants of the Most high God. Paul exorcised and delivered her from demon-possession. This enraged her masters because she could not earn money for them anymore. They dragged Paul and Silas by force into the court.

VV 20-24, 20 And brought them to the magistrates, 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. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them, and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely, 24 who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

They reported Paul and Silas to the judges and charged them for causing trouble and teaching unlawful customs to the Romans. The judges were furious and sentenced them to jail and beating with rods, 2 Corinthians 11:25. They kept Paul in an inner jail and fastened their feet with chains.

2 Cor 11:25, ‘’Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have been in the deep’’.

VV 25-28, 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God, 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. 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. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, do thyself no harm, for we are all here.

At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, sang, and worshiped God in the prison. The worship was so powerful that an earthquake ensued. The prison doors flew opened and the prisoner’s chains fell off. The Philippians jailor wanted to commit suicide but Paul stopped him assuring him that no one had escaped.

VV 29-34, 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? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

The Philippians jailor trembled before Paul and Silas asking what he should do to be saved. Paul and Silas replied that he and his family would be saved if they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul and Silas preached the gospel to the jailer and his family and baptised them. The jailor invited Paul and Silas to his house.

VV 35-37, 35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, let those men go.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. 37 But Paul said unto them, they have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison, and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily, but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

In the morning, the judges released Paul and Silas. Paul told them that he and Silas were Roman citizens and what they did to them was unlawful. Paul insisted for the judge to come to the prison and sent them off officially.

VV 38-40, 38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates, and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. 39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. 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.

The judges were afraid when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They came and begged Paul and Silas to leave the city. They went to Lydia’s

house and left the city.

Application:

Who is your Paul? Who is your Timothy? If you are a mature Christian, you should find a Timothy to mentor him/her in the faith. If you are young in the faith, you should look for a Paul to mentor you in the faith.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for healing, protection, salvation, justification, sanctification, and the promise of eternal life. We pray for those who have not believed and received Jesus to do so and be saved, in Jesus’ name, Amen.