Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 16:14-32
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 16:14-16
vs14-16: “And a certain woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth (the color of Roman togas) from the city of Thyatira (a city in Asia Minor that specialized in dyeing purple cloth), a Gentile who worshiped God (Ac 13:43-50; 17:4, 17), was listening, and the Lord opened her heart to understand and receive the things spoken by Paul. And as she and her household were baptized, she invited us to be guests in her home, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay,’ and she urged us so strongly, she prevailed. And it happened as we were going out to the place of prayer a certain young slave girl, having the spirit of Python (divination), came out to meet us, who brought much (financial) gain to her masters by falling under a spell and giving prophetic messages.”

Monday: Acts 16:16
v16 (continued): “Python” was the name given to a mystical serpent associated with the oracle of Delphi in Greece. Greek mythology believed that when a priestess breathed the vapors that arose from an opening in the ground at Delphi, she was actually breathing vapors from the rotting body of this serpent which had been slain by the god Apollo. They believed these vapors somehow induced a drugged trance which allowed the god Apollo to possess the spirit of the priestess and then speak through her. People went to Delphi and paid money to receive guidance from this oracle. By telling us the slave girl had the “spirit of Python,” Luke is explaining that in a manner similar to the oracle at Delphi, she would fall into a trance and channel a voice from the spirit realm (a demon). By coming to her the people of Philippi believed they were receiving guidance from the “gods” without traveling 150 miles south to Delphi.

Tuesday: Acts 16:17-21
vs17-21: Luke said, “This woman, following behind Paul and us (as we walked), cried out saying, ‘These men are slaves of the most high God, who announce to you a way of salvation.’ She continued doing this over the course of many days, but Paul became very troubled, and turning to the spirit said, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out from her!’ And it came out in the same hour. When her masters saw this, the hope of gain went out of them, and seizing Paul and Silas, they dragged them into the market (to make an accusation against them) before the local authorities. And bringing them before the two men who governed the colony, they said, ‘These men are disturbing (stirring up) our city, being Jews, and they announce customs which are not lawful for us, as Romans, to receive, nor do.’”

Wednesday: Acts 16:22-26
vs22-26: “And the crowd rose up in support against them, and the two officials (who governed the colony) tore their garments off them and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After striking them many times (2Co 11:23 “beaten times without number”), they threw them into prison ordering the jailer to guard them securely. The jailer, having received such an order, threw them into the innermost jail cell and secured their feet into the stocks. Toward the middle of the night Paul and Silas were praying a hymn to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was an earthquake so great that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and all the doors were opened at once, and all the bonds were loosened.”

Thursday: Acts 16:27-28
vs27-28: “Having been awakened from sleep and seeing that the prison doors had been opened, the jailer drew his sword and was about to kill himself, assuming the prisoners had escaped. But with a loud voice Paul shouted, ‘Do not harm yourself for we are all here.’” According to Roman law, this jailer would have forfeited his own life for having allowed his prisoners to escape (W. Robertson Nicolle, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Eerdmans, Vol. 2, p. 351, 1983). In this man’s case, his judgment might have been even more severe (he may have been facing some form of torture before being executed) because he had been specifically instructed to guard them securely (v23).

Friday: Acts 16:27-28
vs27-28 (continued): Luke notes that the man was asleep at the time of the earthquake (v27). Had he been awake and moved quickly to the gate, he might have been able to keep the unarmed prisoners inside, or at least to shout for help. Regardless of how much blame the man deserved, it’s obvious that he was terrified at the prospect of what would be done to him when it was discovered that his prisoners had escaped. He felt suicide was his better option, so by calling out, Paul mercifully prevented him from taking his own life. And Paul apparently had enough influence over the rest of the prisoners to keep them from trying to escape. In this remarkable scene we’re watching God’s love at work. Paul and Silas are showing an amazing amount of compassion to a man who had earlier chosen to put their feet in stocks (v24), and Roman stocks were actually an instrument of torture.

Saturday: Acts 16:29-32
v29: Notice: it was not until this moment that the jailer finally called for lamps to be brought in, which may mean the scene we just observed (vs26-28) took place in the dark. This may explain why he did not realize the prisoners had remained in their cells, and it may mean that Paul was not able to see what the jailer was doing. He may have only perceived that the man was about to commit suicide by hearing a sword being drawn and the anguished tone in the man’s voice. When lamps arrived, “the jailer rushed into Paul’s cell and he began to tremble and fell down in front of Paul and Silas.” vs30-32: “And escorting them outside he said, ‘My masters (“lords”), what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe upon the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved, and your household,’ and they spoke the Word of God to him, along with all those who were in his house.”

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