Acts 16 Paul's Second Preaching Journey
Summary

At the end of chapter 15, Paul and Barnabas decided to visit the churches where they had preached on the first evangelistic trip. Because of a disagreement about taking John Mark with them, they decided to go separately: Barnabas back to Cyprus and Paul back to the areas of Galatia. Paul took Silas with him and at Lystra added Timothy to their company. He was then called to go to Greece. This chapter zeroes in on events at Philippi in Macedonia. Two very different persons are led to Christ: Lydia, a religious woman and the jailor who was holding them prisoners. Paul and Silas were in jail because Paul had cast a spirit of divination out of her and cost her masters to lose their hope of profit from her.

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

16Paul[1] came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2He was well spoken of by the brothers[2] at Lystra and Iconium. 3Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

Question 1

What was Timothy’s background? Why was Timothy not circumcised and why did Paul take him to be circumcised?

The Macedonian Call

6And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10And when Paul[3] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Question 2

Why did Paul go to Greece rather than going to Bithynia?

The Conversion of Lydia

11So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the[4] district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Question 3

What was Lydia’s background and how did she treat Paul after being baptized?

Paul and Silas in Prison

16As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants[5] of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Question 4

What specifically did the masters of the spirit possessed girl do to Paul and Silas?

The Philippian Jailer Converted

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26and 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 bonds were unfastened. 27When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29And the jailer[6] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

35But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

Question 5

How did Paul react to the magistrates who wanted to let him go “in peace?”

People
  • Paul, Silas and Timothy
  • Going to visit churches and preach the gospel

  • Lydia
  • A seller of purple from Thyatira in Asia

  • Spirit possessed girl
  • Troubled Paul

  • Jailor
  • Converted after Paul’s deliverance

  • Magistrates
  • Wanted to see Paul and Silas leave

Places
  • Phrygia and Galatia
  • Visited churches there

  • Macedonia
  • The northern province of Greece

  • Philippi
  • A city of Macedonia where Paul taught the gospel to Lydia and the jailor

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

16Paul[1] came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2He was well spoken of by the brothers[2] at Lystra and Iconium. 3Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

Acts 16:1

Timothy was born to a mixed marriage; thus was half-Jewish and half-Greek. He was from Lystra.


Acts 16:3

Because circumcision was an issue with Jews, to avoid problems Paul had Timothy circumcised.


Acts 16:4

The “decrees” are contained in the letters sent out from Jerusalem (Acts 15:23-29).

The Macedonian Call

6And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10And when Paul[3] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Acts 16:7

Mysia was near the coast of Asia Minor; Bithynia was northeast of Mysia in northwest Asia Minor.


Acts 16:8

Troas was on the northwest tip of Asia Minor about 25 miles south of ancient Troy (2 Corinthians 2:12).


Acts 16:9

Macedonia had been a world power under Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great.

The Conversion of Lydia

11So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the[4] district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Acts 16:11

Samothrace is an island with a 5,577 foot mountain peak halfway from Troas to Neapolis.


Acts 16:12

Philippi was a major city of Macedonia; a Roman city at the time; rich in copper, silver, and gold.


Acts 16:13

These are apparently Jewish worshipers. This place may have served as a synagogue to them.


Acts 16:14

She was a seller of purple cloth, probably produced near her home at Thyatira or Colossae.

Paul and Silas in Prison

16As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants[5] of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

Acts 16:16

“Divination” is translated from a word we would call “Python;” i.e., a snake or dragon that supposedly Inhabited ancient Delphi, originally known as Pythia. Priestesses at Delphi used that name.


Acts 16:17

What she says is true, but her words could be misinterpreted or her motives lessen their influence.

19But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Acts 16:21

These Greeks claim to be concerned about the ethnic and religious influence of these Jewish intruders upon their Roman social environment.


Acts 16:23

This is in effect a caning intended not only to hurt them at once but to be painful afterward.

The Philippian Jailer Converted

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26and 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 bonds were unfastened. 27When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29And the jailer[6] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

Acts 16:33

Their wounds are washed by the jailor. His sins are washed away when he is baptized.


Acts 16:34

Both Lydia and the jailor take Paul and Silas have Paul in their homes (vss. 15 and 34).

35But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

Acts 16:35

The magistrates decide to let them go to avoid any other problem with them.


Acts 16:36

Paul refuses to leave and reports his Roman citizenship.


Acts 16:38

The fearful magistrates beg them to leave after coming personally to speak with Paul.

Perspectives

The gospel was needed in more distant places (Macedonia) and God sent men there.

The gospel applies to both those we might expect (religious Lydia) and those we do not (jailor).

Both Lydia and the jailor were baptized, a necessary component of their salvation.