Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 16
Dear brothers and sisters,
In the Bible study on the 16th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:
- Timothy joins Paul and Silas
- Paul’s vision of the man of Macedonia
- Lydia’s conversion in Philippi
- Paul and Silas in prison
Timothy joins Paul and Silas
Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple called Timothy lived. He was a disciple with a Jewish mother and a believer with a Greek father. The believers in Lystra spoke well of him, so Paul wanted him to join him. Because everyone knew of his Greek father, he had Timothy circumcised. We see that the main reason for his circumcision was to let people know that he was truly a believer. Although after Jesus died on the cross for our sin, circumcision was no longer required, he did it to show believers that he was truly a child of God. He made this decision to honor God, because by this people could see that he was truly devoted to God. We see that while they travelled from city to city that the churches were strengthened and grew in numbers. Sometimes God will require us to make steps in faith, so that it will help others to grow closer to God. So, I pray that we are also willing to make decisions that can help others to also grow in faith. Never feel to good to make decisions in your life, if you know that God will use that act of faith to help others to grow in faith as well.
Paul’s vision of the man of Macedonia
In this part of Acts 16 we see how important it is to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God didn’t just gave us the guidance of the Holy Spirit for fun, but because this Gods way of protecting us.
We see that they were travelling through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, but that they were kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. We see that they reached the border of Mysia, but that they were stopped from entering Bithynia. Instead of forcing to go in they passed Mysia and entered Troas.
During that night Paul received a vision from God about a man from Macedonia to come over and help them. Not until this vision Paul and his travelling companions decided that God gave them approval to Macedonia.
For us it is also important to wait for God to get approval to do His work on His time and not our own time. If we do this, than we will see that it will be blessed when we undertake something.
Lydia’s conversion in Philippi
After the vision they travelled to Philippi in the region of Macedonia. They stayed there for a couple of days and on the Sabbath, they went outside the city gate to the river, where they expected to find a place for prayer. We see that they found woman there and they started to talk with them. One of the woman was Lydia. She was a worshipper of God and God opened her heart to respond to the message of Paul. She and her members of her household were baptized and after that she invited them to stay at their home. See how they continuously followed the Holy Spirit and through this God provided for them.
I pray that we all follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that God can protect us and guide us to the right place and persons we need in our work for God.
Paul and Silas in prison
At one moment Paul and Silas went to the place of prayer and were followed by a slave that was possessed by a fortune-telling spirit. With this spirit she earned a lot of money for her owners. She kept shouting the reason that Paul and Silas were there: that they were servants of the most high God, who were telling everyone the way to be saved.
She continued to do this for days and after a while Paul became annoyed by this and addressed the spirit in her directly and commanded the spirit in the name of God to leave her, which it did. See how we can command spirits to leave as long as we do it in the name of God!
After this the spirit left her and she could no longer tell the future. This made her owners very angry and they captures Paul and Silas. See how not everyone will be happy when we save people in the name of Jesus. They brought them to the magistrates and told everyone that they were causing problems and soon they had people joining them and they got the magistrates to strip them and flog them. Afterwards they were thrown in jail.
Instead of being in despair they used their time in prison to pray and sing hymns to God, which other prisoners could also hear. How beautiful and amazing that God will use everything in our life to His benefit! At that moment an earthquake took place and all doors were opened of the prison and the guard was about to kill himself afraid of the repercussions on his life. But Paul immediately told him not to do it, because all prisoners were still there. This had such an impact on the guard that he went to Paul and Silas and asked how he could be saved. They told him to believe in the Lord. See how God let all this happen so that this guard could be saved and become a Christian! Wow!
That same night he and his household were baptized and they were taken to the house of the guard were they were treated for their injuries and got also food. The next day the magistrates ordered him to release Paul and Silas so they could leave. but Paul did not agree with this, because as Roman citizens they were punished and thrown in jail without a (fair) trial. Because the magistrates knew they were wrong and hoped that Paul and Silas would leave quietly, so that they would not be embarrassed by their actions.
Know that God will make sure that if we have to suffer because of our work for God, that God will make sure that the people that do us harm, will be the ones that will be punished for it. After they appeased by the magistrates they went to the house of Lydia were they first encourage them, before they left.
God is so good!