Acts 15:36-16:40 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Vision and Prision
Comments for Study 18

Acts 15:36-16:40
Memory Verse: 16


I. The Disagreement between Paul and Barnabas (15:36-16:5)

>1. How long has it been estimated that Paul and Barnabas knew each other and worked together? (9:26-27)

* Acts 9:26-27 "When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus."

* Paul meet Christ on the road on Antioch and thus became a Christian in 35 A.D., five years after Pentecost.

* Paul and Barnabas meet when Paul went to Jerusalem in 35 A.D. just after his conversion.

* Paul and Barnabas taught for several years in Antioch until they went on a missionary journey together.

* Paul and Barnabas missionary journey was in from 46 to 48 A.D. after which they both taught again at Antioch.

* The Jerusalem counsel earlier in this chapter was in either 49 or 50 A.D.

* This chapter was less than a year after the Jerusalem counsel.

>What did they agree to do? (36)

* Acts 15:36 "Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing."

* "Some time later" -less than a year after the counsel.

* "Paul said to Barnabas" -Paul was the one who initiated this. The first visit was initiated by the Holy Spirit during a prayer and fasting meeting. Nowhere does it say that the Holy Spirit spoke through anyone. However, this does not mean that God blessed it.

* Since this is less than a year after the counsel it is possible that Paul was thinking about the importance of the letter from Jerusalem to the Gentiles. Paul was probably moved to share it with the believers he and Barnabas lead to Christ over ten years earlier.

* "and see how they are doing" -It appears that they had not received any news from them for some time.

>2. What problem arose? (37-38)

* Acts 15:37-38 "Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work."

* "Barnabas wanted to take John" -Mark John was a nephew of Barnabas. Mark might have traveled with Paul and Barnabas from Jerusalem though he is not mentioned.

* "John, also called Mark" -John is his Jewish name. Mark is his Greek name.

* "Paul did not think it wise to take him" -Paul and Barnabas was friends, co-workers in the Lord, mature in the faith, wise in the Scriptures, well versed in the way of love and grace, gracious and kind. Yet even with all of these they did not agree on everything. Problems happen between all and every while we are in this world. This is why we wait for the coming kingdom of God.

* "he had deserted them" -During the first missionary journey. See study 15 for more information on why it is believed he deserted them.

>How do we know that this wasn't a small thing? (39-41)

* Acts 15:39-41 "They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches."

* "such a sharp disagreement" -The only other place this is used is in Hebrews 10:24. Such sharp disagreements are possible between mature brothers in the Lord. Since this was Paul's idea and since Jesus specifically called him as an apostle to the Gentiles he would be the head of this missionary journey as what happened in early days of the first mission. Since Barnabas was the head of the Antioch church it is possible that he believed that his idea to bring John Mark must be obeyed. Paul does say in his letter to Galatians that Barnabas at first was lead astray by the Pharisees believers from Jerusalem. (2:13) There is a possibility that his being wrong and Paul being right caused some division too. Underneath their sharp argument I believe is a battle for leadership. Often a break up such as this is a battle for leadership. I doubt if you will every hear a pastor and a prominent Bible teaching in a church say this about this passage because power struggles are often trouble for all congregations from then until now. Read any good biography and/or denomination history and you will see this. I once read in a history book concerning a congregation from a town near my hometown that the deacons of a church was so upset with a new priest that they ripped off the doors of the church building and said they would keep them off until he agreed with them. I believe that this is why the apostle John wrote so extensively about the love of God and love for each other.

* "they parted company" -Nowhere does it say that Paul and Barnabas ever got together again.

* "Barnabas took mark and said to Cyprus" -Barnabas was from Cyprus. We never hear of Barnabas again. We do hear of Mark again, by Paul, asking for him to join his ministry.

* "Paul took Silas" -It is possible that this is the same Silas who came from Jerusalem with the letter. Though it says "they were sent off" to Jerusalem it is possible that he returned to Antioch or never went back to Jerusalem. The missing verse 34 is from some manuscripts that says that Silas stayed in Antioch.

* "through Syria and Cilicia" -Syria is a Roman providence with Antioch within its borders and the name coming from the Greek shortening of Assyria. Paul's hometown, Tarsus is in the Roman territory of Cilicia.

>What does this tell us about how God works in spite of our weaknesses?

* Ephesians 1:11 "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,"

* Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

* 2 Corinthians 5:5 "Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

* Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

* 2 Corinthians 13:8-10 "For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down."

>When is the next time we hear of Mark? (Col. 4:10, and 2 Tim. 4:11, Phm. 1:24)

* Colossians 4:10 "My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)"

* 2 Timothy 4:11 "Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry."

* Philemon 1:24 "And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers."

* Paul eventually acknowledged that he was wrong about Mark and asked for his help. He accepted him and found him useful. Mark must have been encouraged by this, for being rejected by Paul on this trip must have been hard to accept. Yet, what could he say, he had deserted them, except that he would no do so again.

* Mark's life should be a comfort to us. He witnesses so much and was willing to venture on a mission journey only to leave early. Yet later Paul asked for him and he was used by God to write one of the four gospels. Our failure to complete a task that we are called to is not the end of our walk with Jesus. Our failures are used by Jesus to help a realize ourselves so that we can change. Jesus does not throw away anyone just because he fails. Rather, Jesus excels at using the weak, cleansing the dirty, perfecting the imperfect, and using mud to make great works of art. Jeremiah 18:1-4 states, "This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him." And Isaiah 64:8 states, "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." And Isaiah 45:9-12 states, "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'? Woe to him who says to his father, 'What have you begotten?' or to his mother, 'What have you brought to birth?' "This is what the Lord says-- the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshalled their starry hosts."

II. The Gospel Spreads (1-15)

>3. Who did Paul meet as he began his travels?

* Acts 16:1-2 "He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him."

* Paul is traveling from east to west. He is revisiting the towns that he and Barnabas pioneered on the first missionary journey.

* "Derbe" -Paul had entered this town from the opposite direction during the first missionary trip. See study 15 for a description of the town.

* "Lystra" -Paul had also entered this town from the opposite direction during the first missionary trip. See study 15 for a description of the town. Paul had nearly been stoned to death in this town. It is possible that after being stoned Paul was brought to Timothy's house before he left the next day. This is only speculation since it is not stated anywhere. Paul left the next day after being stoned on that trip. See quote from 2 Timothy below.

* "a disciple named Timothy lived" -Timothy was similar to Paul. Paul was also half Jew by his mother. Perhaps Paul saw in Timothy a younger version of himself. Timothy would be Paul's companion, scribe, and aid for a long time.

* Paul wrote to Timothy, "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." (2 Tim. 1:5)

* "Iconium" -The third town in Galatia that Paul and Barnabas had visited during their third missionary journey.

* Nothing is reported to be going wrong and went wrong in this area. The Holy Spirit was working in the people of these congregations. The gospel was spreading. (5)

>What did he have Timothy do? Why?

* Acts 16:3 "Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek."

* "so he circumcised him" -Paul did what to Timothy what he had so strongly argued against.

* "because of the Jews" -Paul remembered the trip, the opposition in Antioch, and the voices in Jerusalem by the Messianic Pharisees, he did not want this issue to cause a problem.

* Paul and Timothy knew that they were saved by grace through faith.

>How does this differ from what the letter they delivered said?

* Acts 16:4-5 "As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers."

* Having a letter saying the Gentiles didn't need to be circumcised and then doing that to Timothy seems funny, but I was not nearly stoned to death.

* John Calvin wrote, "Therefore there was respect had of men, whereas the matter was free before God. Wherefore, the circumcising of Timothy was no sacrament, as was that which was given to Abraham and his posterity, (Genesis 17:13;) but an indifferent ceremony which served only for nourishing of love, and not for any exercise of godliness." (Calvin's Commentaries)

* Matthew Henry wrote, "(Paul) knew Timothy was a man likely to do a great deal of good among them, being admirable qualified for the ministry, if they were not invincibly prejudiced against him; and therefore that they might not shun him as one unclean..."

* We can learn that although we are free in Christ we should abstain from that which we are free to do and not do in order that others may be saved and not be hindered in their faith.

>What does it show about Paul's desire for his Jewish brothers?

* Paul did not want to put any obstacle in the way of them and others from receiving the gospel.

* Paul wrote, "Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." (1 Cor. 9:19-23)

>4. Where did they travel?

* Acts 16:6a "Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia"

* "the region of Phrygia" -Phrygia was a subregion of Galatia, and her people often were slaves or servants. The area remained relatively undefined but contained Antioch of Pisidia, Laodicea, and at times, Iconium. Some of the Phrygians were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and heard the gospel in their native language (Acts 2:10; compare 18:23). (Holman Bible Dictionary)

>Where not and why? See map showing these providences locations.

* Acts 16:6b-7 "having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to."

* "having been kept by the Holy Spirit" -Luke does not record how this was done, but we can assume it was through a word to either Paul, Silas, or Timothy, or perhaps one of the believers in the region.

* "the province of Asia" -A Roman designation to the area to the south of Galatia with the Mediterranean Sea as its west and south borders, and is often refered to as Asia Minor. Ephesus was the leading city. The team of three must have started to travel north because of this development.

* "Mysia" -Northwest region of Asia Minor (see above). The New Testament mentions several cities in this region: Adramyttium (Acts 27:2); Assos (Acts 20:13-14); Pergamum (Rev. 1:11; 2:12); and Troas (Acts 16:8,11; 20:5,6; and 2 Cor. 2:12; and 2 Tim. 4:13).

* "they tried to" -Paul had his plans and ideas. God had others. 1 Peter mentions believers from there. (1:1)

* "Bithynia" -A Roman district in northern Asia Minor (see above).

* "Holy Spirit... Spirit of Jesus" -Even though Jesus and the Holy Spirit are separate identities of the trinity; yet because they are identical being one God, I can only assume that these are one and the same with different emphasis for reasons no commentary I've read explains. Some note the difference sighting other places the names of God is interchanged, but do not explain why. I write now only what the Spirit carries me as I do many places in these comments.

>What was the only direction left?

* Acts 16:8 "So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas."

* At this point the Roman roads went in all four compass directions. They came from the south east. They were kept from going north east and south. The Black Sea was due north. East was the only direction left due to the Holy Spirit's work.

* "passed by Mysia" -They did not stop in the region. It is possible that they traveled along the coast of the Black Sea which was the northern boarder of Mysia.

* "Troas" -A coastal city in Mysia. It was the east most point in Mysia.

>5. How did the vision confirm where the Lord was having them go?

* Acts 16:9-10 "During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them."

* "During the night" -Paul must have wondered what was going on. He wanted to go this way and then that way. Continually the way he wanted to go was blocked. No witnessing is reported to happen up to this point. The only positive note of the journey was delivering the letter to the congregations that he had already been at. Months must have passed by since he left Antioch, and that on a perhaps discouraging note. At this time he might have had begun to question this mission journey's success.

* "Paul" -as the leader he received the vision.

* "had a vision" -This was nor real, but a representation of spiritual reality, a need of the Macedonian people to hear the gospel.

* "a man" -Paul did not know him.

* "Macedonia" -Now the northern most providence of Greece and the east edge of Europe. Macedonia is the link between the Balkan peninsula to the north and the Greek mainland and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.

* "begging him" -There was some there that needed to hear the word of God, the good news of the kingdom of God.

* "we" -Luke had joined them at this point. The only indication is that he used the word "we" for the first time in this historical account.

* "got ready at once" -Paul was glad to receive direction and orders from the Lord.

>Why do you think Paul needed to see this vision? (15:36)

* He originally left to strengthen and visit the churches he and Barnabas visited on their first missionary journey. He also wanted to deliver the letter.

* After the two mission directives above Paul didn't know for sure what to do next. When he meet Jesus on the road to Antioch many years earlier he knew he was called to be a missionary to the Gentiles. But specifics were not given.

* Paul also did not want to go back to Antioch at this time.

* Up until this time Paul had been in areas that contained people who had been in Jerusalem during Pentecost. Now he was going to go into areas that as far as he knew had never heard of Jesus and only a few Jews were known to live.

>What does this tell us about the Lord's desire and way of working?

* When Jesus calls us he has a plan for us. However, he does not reveal the details to us for several reasons. As we go along in life we should seek his will for us through prayer, fasting, and everyday obedience.

* God will often help us find his will if we seek him. Sometimes when we pray he may say, "Yes," others, "No," others, "Wait," other times through dreams and visions, and other times through those who have authority over us.

* Even at this time for Paul, he did not know what city only the Roman district.

>6. Where did they end up?

* Acts 16:11-12 "From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days."

* Paul and his associates, sailing from Troas via the island of Samothrace, arrived in the city seaport of Neapolis (today Kavalla), the most important port of eastern Macedonia, and went ten miles (16km) inland to Philippi.

* "Philippi" -Many retired Roman legionaries lived there and very few Jews. Ten adult males were required to start a synagogue. There were not that many for no synagogue was known to be there. Since there was so many retired Roman soldiers it is no wonder there were very few Jews.

* "Roman colony" -special districts in the Roman empire where mostly Roman's lives. A Roman colony was self-governed with the same city privileges as Rome free from Roman taxes. They were little Rome.

* "several days" -Must have been less than a year.

>What did they do on the Sabbath?

* Acts 16:13 "On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there."

* "outside the city gate to the river" -A quiet place.

* "we expected to find" -Someone must have told them that Jews gathered there.

* "a place of prayer" -This must have been a custom place for Jews to meet on the Sabbath.

* "women who had gathered there" -No men were there.

>How was this different that what Paul had been doing?

* Paul's habit was always to go to a synagogue to preach the gospel. Since there was none they went here hoping and praying for a chance to share the good news.

>7. Who did they meet?

* Acts 16:14 "One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message."

* "purple cloth" -Purple is a hard color to make in those days. Therefore, purple cloth was very hard to get and very expensive. Only the rich wore purple. To this day purple is known as the color of royalty.

* "Lydia" -a Gentile name. She is assumed to be a Jewish convert or most likely one who believed in the God of Israel but had not become Jew (like Cornelius).

* "the city of Thyatira" -In the Roman province of Asia Minor, twenty miles (30km) south-east of Pergamum (in the Hellenistic kingdom of Lydia). Royal purple (crimson) was manufactured there.

* "opened her heart" -The work of the Holy Spirit is to open our hearts. Salvation is always first a work of God.

>What happened?

* Acts 16:15 "When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us."

* "she and the members of her household were baptized" -They must have been there to. Since there were no men there then she was either a widow or unmarried.

* "she invited us to her home" -Jews would never go into a house of a Gentile. However, since the incident at Cornelius' house and Peter's vision of the sheets the Jews had learned that they should not call those who believed in Jesus any different than they.

>Why do you think Paul agreed to go with Lydia?

* Paul knew the hand of Jesus when he saw it by this time. God had called him as an apostle to the Gentiles. He had seen many Gentiles come to the Lord. He had been given a vision of a man convincing him to go to Europe. Though no men were with her. Paul could not refuse the leading of the Lord. He had an open mind to the work of God.

III. Continual Opposition (16-40)

>8. What does verse 16 tell us about Paul's new habit?

* Acts 16:16 "Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling."

* "Once" -going there became a custom for them, perhaps every day or at least every Sabbath. Paul used this prayer meeting place as a place to teach the word of God.

* "to the place of prayer" -This became the meeting place.

* "we were met by" -The demon sent the slave girl (and itself) direct in between the people of God and their meeting place. This was a deliberate attack by Satan.

* "a slave girl" -Roman slavery was widespread. In Rome it is believed that one in ten were free. Since this was a city full of Romans it was a city full of slaves too.

* "who had a spirit" -Demon possession was common during Jesus' ministry.

* "predicted the future" -Since demon can control people's acts, they can tell of something that they plan to do to someone. History is written by God and he reveals it general course, and sometimes even specifics. Demons can used this, adapting the generals to make specific events happen and therefore can use others to predict what they are about to do, unless God stops it from happening.

* "for her owners" -This sorrowful girl was used by the evil spirit and her owner. She might have been feed well, but she was not her own in many ways.

>What did the spirit say?

* Acts 16:17 "This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." She kept this up for many days."

* "followed Paul and the rest of us" -The plan of the evil spirit was to disrupt Paul's ministry.

* "servants" -Paul served willingly. This girl served others unwillingly. If given a chance she would have most likely chosen to be free of her owner and evil spirit.

* "Most High God" -Greeks used this term for the Jewish God. Satan loves to have people believe that he is a god too. Yet he has to acknowledge that there is One God over all.

* "who are telling you" -Jews were allowed by Roman law to practice their religion. However, no one was permitted by Roman law to propagate their religion to Roman citizens.

* "the way to be saved" -Not only a Christian term, but a Hellenistic one too.

>Why do you think Paul was troubled by it? (Mk. 3:11-12) Consider the way a person is saved.

* Acts 16:18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her."

* Mark 3:11-12 "Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was."

* "for many days" -Apparently the evil spirit was going to continue to disrupt the preaching of the gospel.

* "so troubled" -Paul was troubled because the way a person is saved is through hearing and believing the gospel. The gospel is the fact that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead as a firstfruits to those who will follow him in resurrection. When this is believed by faith then a person's sins are forgiven and the Holy Spirit comes and lives with them in the physical body. This women was stopping that from happening by stopping the gospel from being preached.

* Jesus did not permit evil spirit to say this either for the same reason.

* Believing there is a God does not save someone. James wrote, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." (2:9) And we know that they are not saved because they do not put their faith in the true God. They resist him. On the surface someone who does not have good Bible study would say that this women was doing God's work. Good understanding of the word of God reveals the evil spirit's misleading.

* "the spirit left her" -The girl was set free. Her response is not given. Did she become a believer? We are not told.

>9. What accusation was thrown against them? (19-21)

* Acts 16:19-21 "When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."

* "the owners" -must have been Romans.

* "owners of the slave girl" -The girls reaction to what happened is not mentioned.

* "their hope of making money was gone" -The owners were concerned about their money. They did not care that the girl was saved. When Jesus drove out a legon of demons from a man into a herd of pigs the people reacted the same way. Sinful nature cares for itself at the expense of others. Faith compels us to know that God loves us and will always take care of us, so we love and care for others more than ourselves.

* "they seized Paul and Silas" -What of Timothy and Luke? They must not have been there, or perhaps were not considered the problem.

* "dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities" -Since she was seen as a business venture where else should they bring them? Actually, usually the marketplace was often where the authorities were stationed.

* "These men are Jews" -It is probably that anti-Semitism is displayed, but it is also probable that they needed to establish that these men were not Romans. Paul actually was a Roman, they just concluded by his dialect, mannerisms, and appearance that he was not a Roman.

* "throwing our city into an uproar" -If this were true why didn't the leaders know about it?

* "advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice" -What? The charge against them had nothing to do with the girl for what happened wasn't illegal. So they were charged with a crime that they did not do. They had been meeting outside of the city amongst believers in the Lord God of the Jews. The false and outrageous charge is no surprise to me. In places that I have worked at before many have accused me of doing all kinds of things that I did not do. Christians are treated as Jesus was treated.

>Why do you think the crowd got involved?

* Acts 16:22-24 "The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks."

* No investigation was made into the charges.

* "The crowd joined in" -Why? It is believed that the Romans did not like the Jews. The fact that some where accused of trying to convert Romans to their God was enough to cause a riot. With the Jews disdain for the Romans, not even going into their homes it can we seen why the two group hated each other.

* "the attack" -personal

* "severely flogged" -The Wycliffe Bible Commentary states, "Verse 35 refers to the sergeants or police. This word designates lictors who attended the magistrates. Each lictor carried a bundle of rods with an axe inserted among them, symbolizing the power to inflict capital punishment. Paul and Silas were now beaten by the rods carried by these lictors. Paul tells us that he suffered this indignity on three different occasions. (2 Cor. 11:23) This is the only such incident that Luke records."

* "inner cell" -One of the worse prisons is said to be a "Roman" inner cell at this time.

* "stocks" -adjustable chains so that the prisoner can be made uncomfortable as possible if desired by the jailer.

>What was the real reason they suffered? (9:16)

* Acts 9:15-16 "But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.""

* When we suffer it is for no other reason than because we bear his name unless we are being corrected by the rod and staff of God for a sin we committed.

>10. What was Paul and Silas doing in jail?

* Acts 16:25 "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them."

* "praying and singing hymns" -Amazing under such conditions. This can only happen when we are filled with the Spirit of Jesus.

* "the other prisoners were listening to them" -They did not complain because of an inability to sleep because of the noise. The Lord must have opened their heart to the words being said and sung.

>How were they set free?

* Acts 16:26 "Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose."

* God spoke through a miracle. Everyone had the chance to escape, and yet none did.

>What was the result?

* Acts 16:27-33 "The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized."

* "what must I do to be saved" -Perhaps he had heard of what the slave girl was saying. As mentioned above the phrase was known in the general area even though its meaning is different than the gospel's meaning. Thus, the man asked how could he be saved in the way they preached.

* "you and your household" -The father's influence in that culture and most ancient cultures was great.

* "they spoke the word of the Lord to him" -Luke does not go into detail, but Paul must have told for quite awhile so that the man would have a good understanding of what he was accepting.

* "and all the others in his house" -The congregation in the city was growing amongst complete Gentiles.

>What did the jailer experience? (34)

* Acts 16:34 "The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family."

* "into his house" -The jailers house would be right next to the jail.

* "filled with joy" -A manifestation of the Spirit. I remember the day I came to believe in Jesus. I was filled with unexplainable joy of which I never had experienced before.

>How did Paul use his Roman citizenship?

* Acts 16:35-40 "When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men." The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace." But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out." The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left."

* "Lydia's house" -again pointing to the fact that she was not married. Being what her trade was this house was also her place of business and thus large enough for a lot of people to meet it. She was the exact person that the Lord had chosen for Paul and his company of three disciples to minister to.

* "met with the brothers" -The ministry in this city was perhaps long and very successful. Many men can to know the truth. Paul was very fond of the congregation as his letter to them shows.

* "Go in peace" -Shalom in Hebrew.

* "Roman citizens" -Sure to be a shock to the magistrates. Paul mentioned this so that the new believers including the jailer would not experience persecution from the authorities.

* "requesting them to leave the city" -To "keep the city peace" while at the same time covering up their great blunder.


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