Macedonian Adventures

Acts 16:6-15

Paul and his party began to move throughout Asia, but as they went along and passed through various towns with potential as mission fields, the Spirit held them back; we should take note that they obeyed the Spirit, even though they didn’t understand why He was keeping them from proclaiming the Gospel. Finally, Paul learns in a vision that their target was not Asia as he had expected, but Macedonia.

We should take careful notice that right after mentioning this vision, Luke suddenly begins writing in the first-person plural: “We”. Up to this time, it has always been “they”. Most commentators and I’ll include myself in their number, believe that Luke joined Paul’s missionary team at this point. So, it was on to Macedonia…

Upon arrival they headed for Philippi, the leading city in the area and as Luke put it, “a Roman colony”. We might expect the group to head for the synagogue on the Sabbath day, but this was a “Roman colony” and it would be reasonable for us to infer that there wasn’t a synagogue there for them to go to. Whatever the case may be, they headed outside the city to the river seeking a place of prayer. When they arrived, they found, of all things, a group of women, one of whom was a woman named Lydia. Macedonia was unusual in the first century in that within this province, women actually had legal rights. They could initiate divorce, enter into binding legal contracts, engage in trade and own property, among other things, and as Luke tells us, Lydia was a merchant from Thyatira who dealt in the fine purple cloth for which that city in Asia Minor was so famous. It would also seem from the text that Lydia was not only a businesswoman, but a successful one, having a house in Philippi large enough to house the missionary party.

She also believed in God.

Lydia accepted Paul’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ and was baptized on the spot. Following this, she insisted that Paul and the rest of his party stay in her home, which would have been quite a relief for them, not to mention a testimony to her faith.

The Macedonian adventure had gotten off to a good start, but as we will see, this was not going to be a cake walk…


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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6 Responses to Macedonian Adventures

  1. After this, the church in Philippi always held a special spot in Paul’s heart. They also supported him through the years. I wonder if Lydia had anything to do with that…

  2. Loving and serving the Lord is never a cake walk, is it?! Wonderful post as always. Thanks.

  3. hearmorefromgod says:

    I love learning this about the history and culture of Bible times. what are your references for the Roman colony info and about women,s rights? Glad your like at DailyBiblePrayer brought me here again. :). May you sense and see God,s mighty power at work in your own life. And may that build your faith and strengthen your testimony!

    • Don Merritt says:

      As a primary source you might want to check out the writings of Aulus Didius Gallus. A good secondary source to start with would be Victor P. Funish, “Corinth in Paul’s Time – What Can Archaeology Tells Us?” Biblical Archaeology Review, 15, 1988, 16-17 or a good Commentary on 1 Corinthians, such as the College Press NIV Commentary by Richard E. Oster, Jr.

  4. hearmorefromgod says:

    Thank you, will do!

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