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Bible Commentaries
Acts 16

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The Conversion Of The Jailer Acts Sixteen

There are people that we meet that change our life forever. Such was the case when Paul visited Derbe and Lystra. There he began his association Timothy. Timothy's father was a Greek. His mother and grandmother were Jews that had become Christians. Their influence on Timothy was great. ( 2Ti_1:5 )

Paul desired Timothy to join his missionary team. He had Timothy circumcision because of the Jews that were in those parts. He did not feel that this was necessary for Timothy's salvation, but he thought it might help his work among the Jews.

Paul and his company went through Phrygia and Galatia strengthening the churches. The Holy Ghost did not allow then to go to Asia or Bithynia. So they came down to Troas. At Troas Paul heard a man from Macedonia saying, "Come over into Macedonia and help us."

Paul faced a difficult situation at Philippi. His trouble started when he cast an evil spirit out of a young girl. The masters of this girl had made great profit from her power. They were angry when she was healed. Paul and Silas were abused and imprisoned because of this. The jailer was commanded to keep them safely.

While Paul and Silas were singing and praying an earthquake opened the prison doors. The jailer was amazed that no one had escaped. He and his family learned the truth and were baptized into Christ in the middle of the night.

Verses 1-5

The beginning of Paul's acquaintance with Timothy Act_16:1-5 : When Paul traveled to Derbe and Lystra he met a disciple named Timotheus or Timothy. Later Paul wrote two New Testament books to this great servant of God. In these letter Paul addressed him as a young man. "Let no man despise thy youth." ( 1Ti_4:12 ) Timothy was a man of piety with great ability for service in God's kingdom.

Paul had Timothy circumcised, not as a matter of Law, but as a matter of expediency to help in their work. He did this because the "Jews would neither have heard him preach, nor would have any connection with him, had he been otherwise."

As Paul and Silas went from place to place they delivered the letter expressing the judgments of the brethren from the Jerusalem meeting concerning circumcision for Gentiles. The work of the missionary team and the letter from Jerusalem resulted in churches being made strong in the faith and increasing in number daily.

Verses 6-12

The call Paul received to come to Macedonia Act_16:6-12 : The Holy Spirit did not allow the missionaries to go to Asia, or to Bithynia. God had chosen to send His servants to Macedonia. The gospel would later spread to Asia as evidenced by the seven churches in Asia. ( Rev_1:1-20 ; Rev_2:1-29 ; Rev_3:1-22 ) There are times when certain areas are ripe for harvest for God. At that time Macedonia was ready to receive the word of life.

The journey to Macedonia carried Paul to Troas. There Paul had a vision of a man saying, "Come over into Macedonia and help us." This man was begging for someone to teach his people concerning the Christ. Macedonia was the first place in Europe where the gospel was preached. Today the field is vast and ripe for harvest in many places of the world.

Luke included himself among those that went to Macedonia to preach. The brethren were certain that God had sent them there with the gospel. They left Troas by ship and went to Samothrace. The next day they went to Neapolis. Neapolis was a seaport town in Macedonia, a few miles east of Philippi. From there they went to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony. Philippi was a colony, that is a city or province that was planted or occupied by Roman citizens.

Verses 13-15

The conversion of a good woman named Lydia Act_16:13-15 : On the Sabbath the missionary team went out by the river to a place of prayer and talked to the women there. This was a simple place of worship. Likely before and after the regular service the missionaries taught the women the gospel. One of the women they taught was a God-fearing woman named Lydia.

Lydia was a seller of purple. She was from the city of Thyatira. She had a heart that was open to God's message. In total faith and trust she and her whole family were baptized into Christ without delay. She constrained these preachers to come and be guests at her house. This showed both great hospitality and a strong desire to learn more.

Verses 16-40

The conversion of the Jailer in Philippi Act_16:16-40 : At a place of prayer in Philippi Paul and Silas came across a girl that had a spirit of divination. Her masters made a lot of money from her power. She followed Paul and Silas saying, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." After being troubled by this many days Paul commanded the evil spirit to come out of her.

When her masters saw that their means of gain was gone they took Paul and Silas before their rulers and charged them with teaching rules of living that were unlawful. They were whipped and put in the inner prison with chains on their feet. A jailer was charged to watch them. About midnight they were singing and praying in the hearing of the other prisoners. An earthquake opened the prison doors and caused all the shackles to fall off. The jailer thought the prisoners had escaped. He started to kill himself. Paul cried, "Do thyself no harm: for we are all here." This is good advice to anyone contemplating suicide. The jailer then saw that all the prisoners were still there.

With much fear he fell down before Paul and Silas and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" He was told, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." But, you cannot believe without hearing so they spoke unto him and to those in his house the word of the Lord. After learning how to become a Christians the jailer and his family were all baptized immediately. Baptism was so important that they were baptized "the same hour of the night." After their baptism into Christ they were filled with great joy.

The authorities sent word to let these men go. Paul refused to leave because he was mistreated as a Roman citizen. The authorities were full of fear when they learned that Paul was a Roman. They came and took them from prison and begged them to leave town. Paul and Silas went to the house of Lydia, saw the brethren, comforted them, and departed.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 16". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/acts-16.html. 2014.
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