Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 16: 6-13
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 16:6, 7
v6 (continued): The eastern part of the Roman province of Galatia and the western part of the province of Asia were populated by the descendants of an ancient kingdom called Phrygia (“Phrygia,” The New Bible Dictionary, J.D. Douglas ed., Erdmans, 1971, pp 994-995). So when Luke says “they went through the Phrygian and Galatian countryside…” (literal) he may be describing the same geographical area in two ways. The area can be called Phrygia because the Phrygian people lived there, or Galatia because it lay within the political boundaries of Galatia. v7: As they traveled north, the road skirted along the eastern border of a rugged hill country called “Mysia” (“Mysia,” The New Bible Dictionary, p 856). Mysia was the name given to the northern portion of the Roman province of Asia. The road continues north until it arrived at the city of Nicea, which was at the southern border of a heavily populated area around the Black Sea called “Bithynia.”

Monday: Acts 16:7
v7 (continued): When they attempted to go farther into Bithynia, Luke says “the Spirit of Jesus” did not permit them to do so. In the previous verse (v6) he identified the Holy Spirit as the One who prevented them from going into Asia, yet here it is Jesus who guides them. While it is certainly true that the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Jesus, and for that matter, the Spirit of the Father all dwell within us (Ro 8:9, 11), Luke is probably not trying to make a theological statement about the Trinity here. Rather, it is much more likely he is describing the manner in which God’s guidance was communicated in that particular situation. Apparently, Jesus spoke to one or more of them through a dream or vision telling them to stop traveling into Bithynia and to turn around and go back to the road that led west toward the Aegean coast. In one way or another, they believed He personally came to direct them (Ac 9:10; 18:9, 10).

Tuesday: Acts 16:8
v8: From Nicea, this road ran along the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara and then followed the Aegean coast south, passing through the port-city of Troas (near ancient Troy). Nearly the entire journey from Nicea to Troas which was over 250 miles, ran along the northern border of Mysia. Luke uses a word here which means they “went beside” Mysia, meaning they didn’t travel into the interior of the province or stop to minister. During this portion of their journey it appears they were not aware of a particular destination, but kept moving forward, and when they took a wrong turn, God corrected them. At Troas this method of guidance changed. Paul received a vision directing them to go to northern Greece.

Wednesday: Acts 16:9, 10
v9: The vision which appeared to Paul may have continued reappearing during the course of the night. In it he saw a Macedonian man beckoning him to come near and saying to him, “Come over into Macedonia (northern Greece). Run to our rescue!” v10: Up until now, Luke has been reporting events that involved Paul, Silas and Timothy but he was not personally part of these events, but here in verse ten he begins to include himself in the story. Instead of telling us what “they” did, he describes what “we” did, meaning it was here in the city of Troas that he joined them.

Thursday: Acts 16:10
v10 (continued): We don’t know that Troas was Luke’s hometown, but we do know that when they set sail from there he was with them. From verse ten through verse 17 Luke includes himself, and he will do so again in Acts 20:5-15; 21:1-18 and 27:1-28:16. Since it was quite clear that Paul and his team had not known earlier that they would travel through Troas (Ac 16:6, 7). Luke could not have been someone they already knew and had arranged to meet there. They must have either converted this Greek physician (Col 4:14) during their stay in the city or met him and discovered he had been converted by someone else prior to their arrival. In either case, they considered him already mature enough to join them on, at least, part of their mission. And their confidence in him turned out to be well-placed. He would continue with Paul for years, and later on when others abandoned Paul during his final trial in Rome, Luke remained loyal (2Ti 4:11).

Friday: Acts 16:10, 11
vs10-11: Luke says, when Paul saw this vision, “…we immediately sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize them. And setting sail from Troas, we had a good run (favorable winds that allowed the ship to sail straight to where they were headed) to Samothrace (about 70 miles north), and then, on the following day, into Neapolis (about the same distance).” Neapolis was located on the northeast coast of Macedonia and served as a harbor for Philippi, which was about 10 miles inland. A very important highway ran through Neapolis called the Via Egnatia (Egnatian Way). It was a paved and carefully maintained military road which ran from Dyrrachium on the Adriatic Sea eastward all the way to what is today called Instanbul (Turkey). It served as Rome’s main land route across northern Greece, and Paul and his team traveled west on it from Neapolis to Philippi, and then to Thessalonica.

Saturday: Acts 16:12, 13
vs12-13: In spite of the fact that it was located in eastern Macedonia, Philippi had been the site of an important battle in Roman history. There, in 42 B.C., Antony Octavian (Augustus) and Lepidus had defeated Brutus and Cassius, the assassins of Julias Caesar (A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the N.T., Broadman Press, 1930, Vol 3, p 249). To honor that victory the city was declared a “colony,” which meant it became a military outpost and its citizens had all the same privileges as the citizens of Rome. Luke also says it was a leading city of its district. Macedonia had been divided into four districts after Rome conquered it in 167 B.C. (F.F. Bruce, In the Steps of the Apostle Paul, Kregel 1995, p 32). Then he adds, “…we were staying some days in this city, and on Sabbath days we went outside the (city) gate by a river, where we thought there would be prayer, and sitting down we spoke to the women who had come together.” 

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