Acts Chapter 16


(Acts 16:1)
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:
  • This is in Galatia
  • Timotheus perfectly represents the transition from Jew to Gentile in the Church age
  • He was saved and already a disciple of Jesus Christ
  • Notice the parents are unnamed here, but Timothy is not, as is his grandmother Lois and is mother Eunice eventually in 2 Timothy
(2 Timothy 1:5)
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

(Acts 16:2)
Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
  • Reputation is everything
  • Joseph and Daniel are two prime examples of 100% fleshly men who God never said anything bad about them
  • Gamaliel is another who had a good reputation in Acts 5

(Acts 5:34)
Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;

(Acts 16:3)
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.
  • Neither here nor any place else is Paul equating circumcision with salvation in any way, but rather to keep the door open for the Gospel message
  • The purpose here is simple: to not offend the Jews to keep that door open, hence, "because of the Jews which were in those quarters"
  • There would be no other purpose, not even sanctification, as it is merely an outward sign, just like the tongues were-TO JEWS
(Acts 16:4)
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.
  • The decree was, in general, the same theme as in all of Paul's epistles, summarized in Acts 15:20 below...
  • This would accomplish two things, the open door left that way for the Jews, and establishment of strong, faithful churches
  • The delivery would have been by hand, in writing, as letters
(Acts 2:42)
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

DECREE, n. [L. To judge; to divide.]

  1. Judicial decision, or determination of a litigated cause; as a decree of the court of chancery. The decision of a court of equity is called a decree; that of a court of law, a judgment.
  2. In the civil law, a determination or judgment of the emperor on a suit between parties.
  3. An edict or law made by a council for regulating any business within their jurisdiction; as the decrees of ecclesiastical councils.
  4. In general, an order, edict or law made by a superior as a rule to govern inferiors.
    There went a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. Luke 2.
  5. Established law, or rule.
    He made a decree for the rain. Job 28.
  6. In theology, predetermined purpose of God; the purpose or determination of an immutable Being, whose plan of operations is, like himself, unchangeable.

(Acts 15:20)
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

(Acts 16:5)
And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
  • This is discipleship, exponential growth, universally effective, for all times, including today
(Acts 16:6)
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,
  • Galatia is the entire area
  • This is south of them, in Ephesus (Asia Minor)
  • Greek culture, political, lots of trade, educated people
  • The Sovereignty of God leads him away from the south (Ephesus) to the north
(Acts 16:7)
After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
  • No south for him, no north for him
  • He came from the east, so....
  • What is left? WEST
(Acts 16:8)
And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
  • Northwestern Asia Minor
  • "The Troad" was a region of Assos, Troas, and Adramyttium
(Acts 16:9)
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.
  • Again, God is establishing His church
  • This is and was Yugoslavia, ACROSS THE Aegean Sea
  • This is a transition from Asia now into Europe
  • These were known to be dirty, filthy, no good, low down, savage, pagan, heathen, low people
  • Christianization of Europe, then one day to America
(Acts 16:10)
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.
  • Paul springs into action
  • "We"? This includes Luke and others (Silas, Timothy), but probably especially Luke
(Acts 16:11)
Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
  • The coast (Samothracia) and inland a bit (Neapolis)
(Acts 16:12)
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.
  • Founded by Phillip of Macedonia
  • "abiding certain days"......this is a destination for now, for the Holy Ghost to do a work there
  • The Letter to the Philippians
  • "A colony" means is a ROMAN colony (spoke Latin)
(Acts 16:13)
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.
  • There were believers there before they arrived, at a prayer meeting
  • They simply did not know much about the God we know
  • To "resort" simply means "to go to"
(Acts 16:14)
¶ 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.
  • This is a soft heart of flesh, open to the things of the Spirit of God
  • God prophesied through Ezekiel that He would do this to Israel, but apparently that included and still includes today the Gentiles
  • Thyatira is in Revelation, as one of the seven churches
(Ezekiel 11:19)
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

(Ezekiel 36:26)
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

(Acts 16:15)
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.
  • The only reason to get baptized is that you are saved.
  • She had a heart willing to learn and be discipled.
  • Besought (Beseech): Pleaded, begged, entreated, implored
(Acts 16:16)
¶ 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:
  • Whenever God shows up, the enemy follows soon after
  • These are the birds coming to steal the sown seeds
  • She is accompanied by her devilish, false miracles
  • Fortune tellers still today open $hop worldwide
(Matthew 13:4)
And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

(Mark 4:4)
And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

(Luke 8:5)
A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

(Acts 16:17)
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.
  • This is not an announcement, but rather mocking, taunting arrogance
  • The enemy knows the Gospel
  • To be acceptable as well as effective, it must speak "Christianese"
(Acts 16:18)
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.
  • This is the real cause of the interruption here, devil possession
  • "in the name of Jesus Christ" means Paul has no special power to do this, even as an apostle
  • This is not a formula, but rather an invocation of power only available through the LORD Jesus Christ
(Acts 16:19)
¶ 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,
  • Their source of income was taken away now, so their motive for using the woman is obvious-personal gain
  • This means the object is not to actually help anyone (no benevolence) but to use people to get goods
(Acts 16:20)
And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
  • Truth be told=T-R-O-U-B-L-E
  • The Gospel stops paganism, and stanches the flow of its $$$$
  • They "exceedingly" made money, now they are "exceedingly peeved and are going to "exceedingly" complain
  • to the commerce people, this is now a legal matter
(Acts 16:21)
And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
  • It is all about the local traditions, which are not Christian
  • They recognize that the Gospel has the power to change the whole set of local customs
  • "They are trying to upend the entire Roman Empire!"
(Acts 16:22)
And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
  • Wherever there is a mob, a crowd, truth is a casualty
  • it is now persecution, not prosecution
  • Jesus told them this would happen
(Matthew 23:34)
¶ Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

(2 Timothy 3:12)
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

(Acts 16:23)
And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
  • With fallen mankind comes our stripes
  • With His stripes we are healed of our stripes
  • Our stripes do not save us from our sin. His do. Ours are because we are saved with His stripes and blood and nailing to the Cross
  • " keep them safely", as though they would try to escape on their own, these dangerous men!
(Isaiah 53:5)
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

(Acts 16:24)
Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
  • When one is doing God's work, one can expect persecution-always
  • Sometimes that calling of God is to a jail, the stocks, the executioner (Stephen, many others), court, job loss, etc. See Hebrews 11.
  • Prison inside of a prison, so two sets of locked iron doors
  • Feet locked inside of stocks, guards all around them, impossible odds to escape, right?

(2 Timothy 3:12)
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

(Acts 16:25)
¶ And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
  • Would to God we ourselves had this sort of reaction to our own imprisonment and persecution!
  • Apparently they did not sing very quietly!
  • One thing still worked-their voices in praise!
  • Sometimes, when God calls us, it is to go through a trial in prison, or to be stoned(Stephen), or to be beheaded (John the Baptist, most Christians caught in the Middle East and North African, Asian Muslim countries)or a disease, or horrible loss, so it must be remembered that He called us to this
  • The false teaching today in America is that God calls us to a "Christian" school or a Christian seminary when He calls us.
(Acts 16:26)
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.
  • Obviously this is a supernatural event-what sort of earthquake opens doors and stocks (bands)?
  • Not only were they set free but, like the Gospel accepted, here all who heard it in the prison was set free
(Acts 16:27)
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.
  • The prison warden thinks that the escape is because of something he himself did or did not do
  • he did not draw his sword to kill the escapees at all
  • The reason he would want to kill himself is that the Romans imposed a heavy price for prisoner escape-execution!
  • The same was the reason for the GUARD at the tomb of Jesus, consisting of nine armed men in three rows of three
  • The penalty is crucifixion, something the prison warden wanted to avoid altogether
  • it is what happened when Peter escaped supernaturally in Acts twelve and went to Mary's house
(Acts 12:18-19)
Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter. And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

(Acts 16:28)
But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
  • "If you will notice, we did not run off!"..this includes all other prisoners, unbelieving ones as well
  • "It's not your fault, listen up!"
  • The reason that the guard would have killed himself is that there was a death penalty as it was for allowing prisoners to escape
(Acts 16:29)
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
  • This is one of the best illustrations of the fear of God one can see!
  • Humility ripens and softens a hardened heart, and there are few things to do that like a deadly earthquake
(Acts 16:30)
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
  • this is politeness to the Nth degree
  • The use of the polite term "Sir" was used only eighteen times in Scripture, excluding this one
  • How did he know he had to be saved? It is obvious here that word of the apostles' work was widespread through the Roman empire


(Genesis 43:20)
And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:

(Matthew 13:27)
So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

(Matthew 21:30)
And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

(Matthew 27:63)
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

(John 4:11)
The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

(John 4:15)
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

(John 4:19)
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

(John 4:49)
The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.

(John 5:7)
The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

(John 12:21)
The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

(John 20:15)
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

(Acts 7:26)
And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?

(Acts 14:15)
And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

(Acts 19:25)
Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

(Acts 27:10)
And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.

(Acts 27:21)
But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.

(Acts 27:25)
Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

(Revelation 7:14)
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


(Acts 16:31)
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
  • works, through faith alone
  • This "and thy house" is nothing more than either a prophecy about the man's house, or telling the man that "thy house" must also believe; it is not a guarantee that, if one gets saved, it passes down to the house, which is a rank heresy, used by many to say, "I was raised in a Christian home, ergo I am saved"
(Acts 16:32)
And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
  • Which means "You have to believe what we are about to preach to you, and so here is our message...the Gospel"
  • In other words, it was followed by preaching the Gospel an believing that Gospel, for him and all of his house, not just believing in "something"
(Acts 16:33)
And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
  • The order of events is that they believed first, then were baptized
  • "And all his" means what Paul said would happen, would happen-all of his house believed, so now all of his house are baptized
(Acts 16:34)
And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
  • Perhaps no more being a guard to guard imprisoned, persecuted Christians?
  • Fellowship, with food, with believers, in his house, immediately afterwards.
  • Apparently the preaching was outside of the house, in the yard
(Acts 16:35)
And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.
  • Apparently this was merely an overnight incarceration only, no judge the next day, no long term imprisonment
  • Perhaps they just wanted them to be out so that they could leave and not influence the city any longer, versus being in prison, preaching to prisoners and guards, spreading the Word "unlawfully"
(Acts 16:36)
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.
  • And this was the true motive, "Get out of town! We do not want your kind here! We are losing money because of your gospel!"
  • "Just go quietly, please, without an uproar, as we do not want to disturb the commercial districts."
(Acts 16:37)
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.
  • They had publicly humiliated them as innocent without actual criminal charges, and now want to quietly make this go away
  • They can publicly remove us then, if they want us gone
  • The being Roman part is legally key also, as it was unlawful to do that to a citizen without a trial
(Acts 16:38)
And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.
  • Roman citizens were afforded public trials for defending against accusations
  • This makes the trial public, something (the very thing) they did not want, which was the purpose of getting them off of the street and into prison
  • This trial would be an embarrassment to them, so not going to happen
(Acts 16:39)
And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
  • This is the cover up, easy way around a public trial
  • Their crime? Preaching in the streets, a public thing
      1. In the spiritual realm, resistance in the form of the possessed damsel, feigning acceptance
      2. In the physical realm, harm to the money supply from local businesses
      3. Also in the physical realm, harm to the pagan practices
      4. Also in the physical realm, a danger and disruption to the peace, the "law and order" of the city
(Acts 16:40)
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.
  • There is comfort always is good Christian Fellowship
  • Saying good bye for now, hopefully to disciple her later, hopefully enough time to teach her some things rather quickly
  • Perhaps they left some Scriptures, personal notes of encouragement from God's Word.


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