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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
Acts 16



Verse 1

Derbe and Lystra. He had visited these cities before, and been exposed to great danger through the hostility of the Jews.

Verse 2

Which; which disciple,--Timotheus.

Verse 3

And circumcised him. Although a Gentile convert was under no obligation to submit to this rite, still he was at liberty to do so, if he judged it expedient on any account.

Verse 4

Decrees; relating to the duties of Gentile converts, as expressed in the letter contained in the Acts 15:19-29.

Verse 10

We. Here Luke, the author of this history, first uses a form of expression implying that he was Paul's companion in those journeys.

Verse 11

To go to Macedonia it was necessary to cross the Egean Sea.--Samothracia; an island in that sea.--Neapolis; a port of Macedonia.

Verse 13

By a river side. Philippi was remote from Jerusalem, and the few Jews who resided there appear to have had only this place of retirement and prayer, instead of the customary synagogue, within the city.

Verse 14

Of--Thyatira; from Thyatira. Her residence at this time was at Philippi. (Acts 16:15.)

Verse 15

Her household; her family.

Verse 16

Went to prayer; were going to the place of prayer, mentioned in Acts 16:13, on some occasion subsequent to their meeting with Lydia.--Soothsaying. It scarcely need be said that these powers of divination were pretended. Paul treats the case as one of demoniacal possession.

Verse 22

Rent of their clothes; that is, the clothes of Paul and Silas, preliminary to the punishment. The case is different from that recorded Matthew 26:65, where the judge rent his own clothes as an expression of affected abhorrence for the prisoner's guilt.

Verse 24

Stocks; a wooden instrument, with holes, into which the feet were secured in a constrained and painful position. Under these circumstances, prisoners could not sleep. It is necessary to observe this, in order to understand the full force of the statement, that at midnight Paul and Silas were occupied in singing praises.

Verse 27

Would have killed himself; dreading the terrible punishment which he might have incurred.

Verse 31

And thou shalt be saved. The brevity, simplicity, and directness of this reply are, in the circumstances, singularly beautiful. Enough at that moment to have his faith directed simply to the Savior, with the assurance that this would bring to his soul the needed and sought salvation,--the how being a matter for after teaching.

Verse 33

Was baptized. Probably at the same fountain, since it took place "straightway," the one washing the stripes on his part being immediately succeeded by the baptism of the keeper "and all his" on theirs.

Verse 37

Being Romans. The Roman laws gave to Roman citizens many peculiar and exclusive privileges, and the government punished severely any infraction of them. Over the natives of the conquered provinces, the magistrates exercised a far more arbitrary and irresponsible power. This privilege of Roman citizenship pertained not merely to Rome, but to many other places, on which the freedom had been conferred; and it might be purchased by individuals for money. See the dialogue between Paul and the Roman chief captain. (Acts 22:25-29.)--And fetch us out. They demanded this as an act of public acknowledgment that they had beet unjustly condemned.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Acts 16:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 30th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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