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Bible Commentaries
Acts 16

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary

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A.M. 4057. A.D. 53.

(1,) Paul, finding Timothy at Lystra, circumcises him, takes him for his assistant, and, visiting the churches, delivers to them the decrees of the council, Acts 16:1-5 .

(2,) The Holy Ghost prohibits their preaching in the proconsular Asia and Bithynia; they are directed by a vision to go to Macedonia, Acts 16:6-12 .

(3,) Lydia, being converted at Philippi, entertains them kindly, Acts 16:13-15 .

(4,) Paul casts out a spirit of divination from a young woman, for which he and Silas are scourged and imprisoned, Acts 16:16-24 .

(5,) While they sing praises to God in the prison, the prison-doors are opened by an earthquake; and the jailer, after being on the point of murdering himself, is converted and his family, Acts 16:25-34 .

(6,) Paul and Silas oblige the magistrates to liberate and dismiss them honourably, as Roman citizens, Acts 16:35-40 .

Verses 1-3

Acts 16:1-3. Then When he had passed through the regions of Syria and Cilicia; came he to Derbe and Lystra At which places he had preached the gospel in his former progress. And a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus As Paul ( 2Ti 3:10-11 ) speaks of Timothy as having been a witness of his sufferings at Lystra, and we read nothing of any remarkable sufferings which he endured in this his second progress through these parts, it is probable that Timothy was converted by him in his former journey, and was a spectator of what he then suffered at Lystra,

(see chap. Acts 14:19-20,) and that Paul then began to have some acquaintance with him. The son of a certain believing Jewess, but his father was a Greek These circumstances are mentioned as worthy of note, because he afterward became a very considerable person in the church, as well as a faithful and useful friend to the apostle. Who was well reported of, &c. Was spoken of; by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium As an eminently serious and devout young man, who had been remarkable for his early piety, having been trained up by his good mother and his grandmother in an acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures from his childhood, 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15. Him would Paul have to go forth with him As an assistant in his work, being directed herein by the Holy Ghost, 1 Timothy 1:18; and, to qualify him for the office, he conferred on him the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and had him solemnly set apart for the ministry by the presbytery, or eldership, of Lystra, 1 Timothy 4:14. For, in his former journey, he and Barnabas had ordained elders in every city. Withal, designing to employ Timothy in preaching to the Jews, he circumcised him; because he knew the Jews would not have respected him as a teacher, if they had taken him for an uncircumcised Gentile. This is that Timothy, whose teachableness and tears made such an impression on the apostle’s mind, that he never forgot them, 2 Timothy 1:4; who attended Paul in many of his journeys; and who, in respect of his love to Christ, and zeal for the advancement of the gospel, was like-minded with Paul, Philippians 2:20; so that he was his genuine son; and, as a son serveth with his father, so he served with the apostle in the gospel. On all which accounts, he was of such consideration among the disciples, and also so exceedingly esteemed by Paul for his knowledge and piety, that he allowed him to join him in some of those epistles which he wrote to the churches: while, at the same time, the apostle so greatly honoured him, as to write to him two most excellent letters, found in the canon of Scripture, which bear his name.

Verses 4-5

Acts 16:4-5. And In order that peace might be secured among the brethren in these parts, and no unnecessary burden might be imposed upon the Gentile converts, through the arts of any Judaizing teachers; as Paul and his companions went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep Committed to the custody of each church an exact and attested copy of the decrees, made by the council at Jerusalem. See Acts 15:29: for, although these decrees were written in the form of a letter to the brethren of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, they belonged equally to all the Gentile converts everywhere. And so were the churches established, &c. The several churches where they came, being watered by such faithful labourers, and encouraged with so favourable a decision of the grand point then in question, were much confirmed in their adherence to the Christian faith; and increased more and more in number daily For the burdensome yoke of the law of Moses being now broken, a great obstacle to the conversion of the Gentiles was removed.

Verses 6-8

Acts 16:6-8. Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia Greek, διελθοντες δε την Φρυγιαν , και την Γαλατικην χωραν , having passed through Phrygia and the Galatian country, and spoken there what was sufficient, and delivered to the churches in those parts the decrees above mentioned, in order to their establishment in the true faith of the gospel; and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost (probably by an inward dictate) to preach the word in Asia That is, in the proconsular Asia: for, “as all the places mentioned in the former verses lay in Asia Minor, it is evident that the word Asia must be thus understood. The reason for this prohibition seems to have been, that the time for preaching in that province was not yet come. But it is certain that flourishing churches were afterward planted there, particularly at Colosse, Laodicea, Sardis, Thyatira, and Philadelphia. It seems therefore to have been the determination of Providence, respecting Paul and his companions, that, instead of going through this region now, by such a leisurely progress as that in which they proceeded in their former journey, through Pamphylia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, &c., they should hasten to Europe directly, and preach the gospel first in Philippi, which was a Roman colony, and then in the neighbouring parts; while, in the mean time, the Asian provinces, now passed over, might hear some report of it from their neighbours and so be prepared to receive, with greater advantage, the labours of the apostles, when they should return to them, as Paul afterward did, chap. Acts 18:23, &c. By this means the spread of the gospel would, in any given time, be wider than (other circumstances being equal) it would have been, had they taken all the interjacent places in their way.” Doddridge. After they were come into Mysia Which was the most western province of the Lesser Asia, and lay on the coast of the Ægean sea; they assayed to go northward into Bithynia A country bounded on the west by a part of the Propontis and the Thracian Bosphorus, and on the north by the Euxine sea. Probably their intention was to visit the flourishing cities of Nice, Nicomedia, and Chalcedon, and so pass from thence into Europe. But the Spirit suffered them not Forbidding them as before. Many manuscripts and versions of undoubted authority read here, The Spirit of Jesus. And so passing by the Lesser Mysia Which separated Bithynia from the country of Troas; they came to the city Troas A noted seaport, where travellers from the upper coasts of Asia commonly took ship to pass into Europe. Here Paul and his assistants were joined by Luke, (Acts 16:10,) the writer of this history, and a native of Antioch, as is generally believed, who, to the profession of a physician, had joined that of a Christian minister, or evangelist.

Verses 9-10

Acts 16:9-10. And While they were in this place, undetermined, probably, to what coast of Europe they should sail, if, according to their intention, they crossed the sea; a vision appeared to Paul in the night To direct them: it was not a dream, though it was by night. No dream is mentioned in the New Testament, except that of Joseph, and of Pilate’s wife. There stood a man of Macedonia Before him, probably an angel, clothed in the Macedonian habit, or using the language of that country, and representing the inhabitants of it; and prayed him With great earnestness; saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us Against Satan, ignorance, and sin. And after he had seen the vision And given an account of it to his companions; immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia Willingly obeying the heavenly admonition; assuredly gathering From this vision; that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them In that country. This is the first place in which Luke intimates his attendance on the apostle. And here he does it only in an oblique manner. Nor does he throughout the history once mention his own name, or any one thing which he did or said for the service of Christianity; though Paul speaks of him in the most honourable terms, Col 4:14 ; 2 Timothy 4:11; and probably, as the brother whose praise in the gospel went through all the churches, 2 Corinthians 8:18. The same remark may be made on the rest of the sacred historians, who every one of them show the like amiable modesty.

Verses 11-12

Acts 16:11-12. Therefore, loosing from Troas, we came to Samothracia An island in these seas, famous for being the seat of certain religious mysteries, in equal estimation with those called Eleusinian. But it does not appear that they went ashore there, for they landed the next day at Neapolis A seaport town of Macedonia. Nor did they make any stay even there, but went straight to Philippi; because it was the chief city of that part of Macedonia And a Roman colony. Thus Paul, having preached first at Damascus, next at Jerusalem, after that throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles in Syria, Cilicia, and most of the countries of the Lesser Asia, went at length, by the particular commandment of Christ, among the Greek nations, to whom it was proper that the glad tidings of salvation should now be given. For, seeing the gospel was a revelation from the true God, and was supported by great and undeniable miracles, it was fit that it should, in due course, be proposed to those nations who were best qualified to judge of its nature and evidences; because if, upon an accurate examination, great numbers of men embraced the gospel, whose minds were improved by science, and every kind of culture, their conversion would render it indubitable, in after times, that the gospel was supported by those great and undeniable miracles, which the Christian records affirm were performed in every country, by the preachers of the gospel. Besides, God, in his infinite wisdom, was determined that the reigning idolatry should be utterly overthrown in those countries of Europe where it had the greatest support, from the ability and learning of its abetters; that no person might suspect, or affirm, in after times, that idolatry was destroyed, and Christianity established, merely through the ignorance and simplicity of the people among whom it was first preached.

Verses 13-15

Acts 16:13-15. On the sabbath we went out of the city The Jews usually held their religious assemblies (either by choice or constraint) at a distance from the heathen; by a river side The river Strymon, which ran between Philippi and Neapolis; where prayer was wont to be made That is, where the Jews and their proselytes were wont to assemble for prayer. The original expression, which is peculiar and much controverted, ου ενομιζετο προσευχη ειναι , may be rendered, Where a proseucha (or place for prayer) was by law allowed. And we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither At first in a familiar manner; for Paul did not immediately begin to preach. It appears that most or all of the congregation were women; among whom there was one Lydia, a seller of purple, who worshipped the true God After the Jewish manner; a native of Thyatira Who had fixed her residence in Philippi, for the sake of commerce; whose heart the Lord opened The word διηνοιξε , here used, properly refers to the opening of the eyes; and the heart, or mind, has its eyes, Ephesians 1:18. These are closed by nature; and to open them is the peculiar work of God. Lydia, it seems, was so strongly affected with what Paul said, that she embraced the gospel with the full assurance of faith, and with all her heart. And she was baptized It seems, immediately upon her believing, and making a profession of her faith; and her household Those of them that were infants (if any were such) in her right, as her children, the children of believing parents having a right to be admitted to that ordinance; and those that were grown up, through her influence and authority. She and her household were baptized, by the same rule whereby Abraham and his household were circumcised, because the zeal of the covenant belongs to the covenanters and their seed. As it is not probable, that in so many households and families as are said in the New Testament to have been baptized, there was no infant; so, neither is it likely that the Jews, who had so long been accustomed to circumcise their children, would not, when they embraced the gospel, devote them to God by baptism. She besought us Earnestly entreated us. See how the souls of the faithful cleave to those by whom they are gained to God! saying, If ye have judged me faithful to the Lord If you have considered me as being sincere in the profession I have made of believing in the Lord Jesus, and really regard me as a true Christian; come into my house and abide there As long as you stay in this city. This she desired, 1st, To testify her gratitude to them, who had been God’s messengers, and the instruments of his grace to her; imparting the knowledge of salvation, and producing a blessed change in her heart and life. 2d, She desired an opportunity of receiving further instruction. If she could but have them a while in her family, she might hear their heavenly discourse daily, and not only at the place of prayer on sabbath days; in her own house, also, she might not only hear them, but might make inquiries, and receive satisfaction, on many important subjects; and might have them to pray with and for her and her family daily, and thereby bring down the divine blessing upon herself and them. And she constrained us By her importunity. The expression implies that they were reluctant to accept her invitation, being unwilling to be, in any respect, burdensome to the families of their friends, and studying to make the gospel without charge, in order that the unbelievers might have no occasion given them of reproaching the preachers of it as designing, self-seeking men; and that the Christians might have no reason to complain of the expenses of their religion. Lydia’s pressing invitations, however, overcame their reluctancy, and they at last consented to her request, and abode at her house as long as they continued at Philippi, which was many days: see Acts 16:12; Acts 16:18. During this time they laid the foundation of a numerous church, gathered both from among the Jews and the Gentiles; a church which, after the apostle’s departure, increased so exceedingly, that, when he wrote his epistle to the Philippians, they had several bishops, or presbyters, and deacons, Philippians 1:1.

Verse 16

Acts 16:16. As we went to prayer Or to the place of prayer, mentioned before; a certain damsel met us (that is, met Paul and his three companions) possessed with a spirit of divination Greek, εχουσαν πνευμα πυθωνος , having a spirit of Python, or Apollo. This title, it is generally said, was given to Apollo, on account of his having destroyed a monstrous serpent that was called Python; or a person who for his cruelty was surnamed Python, that is, serpent or dragon, from whence Apollo had the name of Pythius. Plutarch tells us, that those who were inspired with this spirit were εγγαστριμυθοι , persons who spake as seeming to send the voice from their bellies; and Galen mentions the same fact. The manner in which Luke relates the story, plainly implies that he thought this to be a real possession, and that Paul himself viewed it in that light. Nor can the girl’s behaviour, or his, or that of her masters afterward, be accounted for, without allowing this to have been the case. It is well known that the Hebrews called the spirit with which such persons were supposed to be agitated, אוב , ob, because the bodies of those who appeared to be possessed by it were violently distended, like leathern bottles full of wine, and ready to burst. Compare Job 32:18-19. Which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying That is, by pretending, with the assistance of a familiar spirit, to discover stolen goods, and to point out the concealed authors of mischiefs, and to disclose the general good or ill-fortune of the persons who applied to her, and their success in particular affairs, with other secrets, for which many ignorant persons, in all countries, are willing to give money. See notes on Deu 18:10-11 ; 1 Samuel 28:7.

Verses 17-18

Acts 16:17-18. The same followed Paul and us Luke, Silas, and Timothy; and cried, saying With great earnestness of voice and gesture; These men are the servants of the most high God, &c. A great truth: but they did not need, nor would accept of, such testimony. And this she did many succeeding days. But, at length, Paul being wearied with so tedious a circumstance, and grieved Under an apprehension that this stratagem of Satan might lead the people to imagine that the preachers of the gospel acted in a confederacy with the evil spirit, to whom the heathen worship was addressed; turned Toward the damsel; and said to the spirit By whose emotion she spake; I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ Whose gospel I preach; to come out of her. And he came out the same hour So that she had never afterward such kind of supernatural agitations, nor pretended to any gift of prophecy for the future.

Verses 19-21

Acts 16:19-21. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone Was vanished with the evil spirit that was cast out. See here of how much evil the love of money is the root! If the preaching of the gospel ruin the craft of the silversmiths, (Acts 19:24,) much more will it ruin that of the soothsayers and fortune-tellers. Hence here is a mighty outcry raised when Satan’s power is broken. The power of Christ, which appeared in dispossessing the woman, and the great kindness done to her, in delivering her out of Satan’s hand, made no impression upon them when they apprehended that they should lose money by it. They caught Paul and Silas Timothy and Luke, it seems, not being so obnoxious to them; and drew them into the market-place With a view to accuse them; unto the rulers Or inferior magistrates, (as the word αρχοντας here means,)

who held their court there. And brought them Τοις στρατηγοις , to the pretors, or commanders of the army, who, it is probable, as this was a Roman colony, possessed the supreme authority in the city: saying, These men, being Jews A nation peculiarly despised by the Romans; do exceedingly trouble our city Disturb it in an insufferable manner; and teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive Being such as would lead us to renounce the gods of our country, and abstain from many things which the Roman laws require. The world has received all the rules and doctrines of all the philosophers that ever were; but gospel truth has something in it peculiarly intolerable to the world; neither to observe, being Romans “Though there was, as yet, no express law of the senate, or of the emperor, against Christians, as such, yet there was an old law of the Romans forbidding them, ‘aut novos deos, aut alienigenas colere,’ either to worship new gods, or the gods of other nations; and requiring them to worship the gods of their country; from which Christianity dissuaded men, not suffering any to worship the gods of their fathers, but requiring them to turn from these dumb idols to the living God, 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Acts 14:15.” Whitby. Perhaps, also, they alluded to something said by the apostle relating to the kingship of Christ, concerning which we know he preached afterward, at Thessalonica, chap. Acts 17:7.

Verses 22-24

Acts 16:22-24. And the multitude rose up against them Excited and inflamed by these accusations; and the magistrates Or the pretors; rent off their clothes That is, the clothes of Paul and Silas; for such was the Roman method of proceeding in such cases. Their magistrates were wont to command the lictors to rend open the clothes of the criminals, and to beat their bodies with rods; as Grotius here observes. And when they had laid many stripes upon them Had severely scourged them; (either they did not immediately say they were Romans, or in the tumult it was not regarded;) they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely Lest, among their numerous friends, a rescue should be attempted; who, having received such a charge A charge so strict, and from persons of such great rank; thrust them into the inner prison Where he thought them perfectly secure; especially as he also made their feet fast in the stocks These were probably those large pieces of wood, in use among the Romans, which not only loaded the legs of the prisoner, but kept them extended in a very painful manner. So that it is highly probable the situation of Paul and Silas here was much more painful than that of an offender sitting in the stocks among us, especially if they lay, as it is very possible they did, with their backs, so lately scourged, on the damp and dirty ground. These multiplied injuries, however, these servants of God, conscious of their integrity, and enjoying a sense of the divine favour, bore not only with entire resignation, but with great joy.

Verses 25-28

Acts 16:25-28. At midnight Paul and Silas prayed Doubtless, for their persecutors as well as for themselves; and sang praises unto God Notwithstanding weariness, hunger, stripes, and blood; and the prisoners heard them Heard a song to which they had not been accustomed, and such as had never been heard in that prison before. And suddenly While they were thus engaged; there was a great earthquake A token of God’s favour toward them, and threatening vengeance to their persecutors; so that the foundations of the prison were shaken And probably of the neighbouring buildings also; and immediately By the force of the earthquake; all the doors were opened, and, in the same moment, every one’s bands were miraculously loosed Yet the spirits of the prisoners were impressed with such astonishment, that none of them attempted to escape. And the keeper of the prison Who, it seems, resided in a part of it, not far from the ward where Paul and Silas lay; awaking out of sleep Upon this violent concussion of the earth; and seeing the prison-doors open Was in such consternation, that he drew his sword and would have killed himself If he had not been prevented by the apostle, to avoid a more severe punishment, supposing that all the prisoners had escaped. For by the Roman laws, in that case, the keeper was liable to the same punishment that awaited the criminals who had escaped. But Paul cried, &c. As they were all then in the dark, it is not easy to say how Paul knew of the jailer’s purpose, unless it were by hearing same desperate words that declared it, or by some immediate suggestion from God, which is by no means incredible; with a loud voice Through earnestness, and because he was at some distance; Do thyself no harm Although the Christian faith opens a bright prospect into another life, yet it absolutely forbids, and effectually prevents, a man’s discharging himself from this. For we are all here And none of us will take the opportunity of escaping, while the hand of God is working thus awfully around us.

Verses 29-30

Acts 16:29-30 . Then he, &c. The jailer, greatly terrified by the earthquake, and astonished at Paul’s discovering his purpose to kill himself; called for a light Greek, φωτα , lights, implying, it seems, that on this alarm several of his attendants came with torches, and were present at the inquiry which immediately followed; and sprang in With a violent and impetuous motion, into the inner prison, and, in the presence of his domestics, fell down trembling before Paul and Silas Begging them, doubtless, to forgive the injuries he had been obliged to do them; for he was now convinced that they were, what the possessed damsel called them, even the servants of the most high God, who showed to men the way of salvation. And then, in the most respectful manner, brought them out From the inner prison, in which they were confined; and said, Sirs Κυριοι , a style this in which he did not address them the day before; what must I do to be saved? From the guilt I feel, and the vengeance I fear; probably referring to the testimony of the Pythoness, which had been so often and so publicly repeated. God, however, undoubtedly then set his sins in array before him, and convinced him, in the clearest and strongest manner, that the wrath of God abode upon him. Added to this, probably, “a vast multitude of ideas rushed into his mind at once. He saw by the earthquake the power and displeasure of God; and, together with this, the sweetness and joy of Paul and Silas in their bonds, their willing continuance in prison, when they might easily have escaped, and their generous solicitude for the life of one who had used them so ill, were all circumstances fit to strike powerfully on a mind so passionate as his seems to have been, and might all do their part toward convincing him that these men were indeed divine messengers, and that the divine displeasure was falling on the city, and particularly on himself, for persecuting them. Perhaps some kind and pious words, which Paul and Silas, who took all opportunities of doing good, might have uttered while he was fastening their feet in the stocks, might throw further light on his mind, when recollected amidst such extremity of danger; and, no doubt, the Spirit of God added conviction and energy to all.” Doddridge.

Verses 31-34

Acts 16:31-34. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ Whom it is our office to preach as the great and only Saviour; and confide wholly in him for salvation; loving, obeying, and living to his glory. As Paul had preached a considerable time at Philippi, the jailer, before this, must have heard of Jesus Christ, perhaps oftener than once: thou shalt be saved Now and for ever, from every evil; and thy house too, if they also believe. “The meaning cannot be, that the eternal salvation of his family could be secured by his faith, but that his believing in Christ would be the best security of his family from present danger; and that, if they also themselves believed, they would be entitled to the same spiritual and everlasting blessings with himself; which declaration Paul might the rather add, as it is probable that many of them, under this terrible alarm, had attended the master of the family into the dungeon.” And they spake unto him the word of the Lord That is, Paul declared more fully to them the contents and design of the gospel, giving them a brief account of the person and offices of the Lord Jesus, and of his life, doctrine, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension; all which Silas confirmed by his testimony. And Paul’s discourse on these subjects was so powerfully convincing, that both the jailer, and all the members of his family, became real converts to Christianity, and were baptized straightway. And he took them the same hour, and washed their stripes Which still remained unhealed. It should not be forgotten, that the apostles had not the power of working miraculous cures when they pleased, either on themselves or on their dearest friends. Nor was it expedient they should; since it would have frustrated many wise designs of God, which were answered by their sufferings. And when he had brought them into his house After the solemn rite of baptism had been performed; he set meat before them, and rejoiced In the knowledge which he had obtained of Christ, and the way of salvation through him. Thus faith makes a man joyful, prudent, liberal: believing in God In the one living and true God; a very different being from the gods in which he had before believed. With all his house Who, it seems, were all equally impressed with Paul’s sermon as the jailer himself was. Such were the transactions of this memorable night; and those of the next morning were not much less remarkable.

Verses 35-39

Acts 16:35-39. When it was day, the magistrates Or pretors, being terrified, probably, by the earthquake, which had been felt all over the city, and having been informed of the miraculous opening of the prison-doors, which had changed their opinion of Paul and Silas; sent the sergeants Ραβδουχους , the rod-bearers, or lictors; saying To the jailer; Let these men go How different from the charge given a few hours before, and how great an ease to the mind of the jailer! And the keeper told this saying to Paul Being glad that he might release them; adding, Now therefore depart, and go in peace He does not say this as being desirous to be rid of them, but showing that they were at full liberty to go whenever they pleased, to preach the gospel and fulfil their ministry. But Paul said Judging it proper to animadvert on the manner in which they had been used; They have beaten us openly, uncondemned, being Romans Free citizens, as well as themselves; and now they thrust us out privily Without making us any reparation for the injury they have done us. Nay, verily, but let them come themselves and fetch us out And, by their dismissing us openly, let them show the people that they imprisoned us unjustly. Paul does not always plead this privilege of being a Roman; but in a country where they were entire strangers, such treatment, if suffered without animadversion, might have brought upon them a suspicion of their having been guilty of some uncommon crime; and so have hindered the success of the gospel. Now when the pretors heard that they were Romans, they were afraid of being called to an account for their conduct toward them, well knowing that even to have torn the garments of a citizen, and much more to have scourged him, especially thus publicly, and without hearing his defence, was a crime which might have exposed them to very high penalties, if the person injured had entered a complaint against them in the legal forms. They came Therefore, in their own persons, to the prison where Paul and Silas were, and besought them Not to resent the injury that had been done them, or, as the word παρεκαλεσαν , here rendered besought, is rendered in the next verse, they comforted them, namely, by acknowledging their innocence, and commending the patience and fortitude with which they had borne the punishment so rashly inflicted upon them, as well as by other kind and conciliating speeches. And brought them out With the most respectful treatment; and desired them to depart out of the city With all convenient speed, to prevent any of those popular tumults which might be the consequence of their longer abode in it.

Verse 40

Acts 16:40. And they went out, &c. The servants of Christ, being honourably cleared from every crime by this public release, left the prison quietly, and went to the house of Lydia With whom they had lodged before; and when they had seen the brethren The disciples whom they had made; they comforted them By rehearsing what God had done both for them and by them, in prison; and exhorted them (as the word also signifies) to steadfastness in the faith, and such exemplary conduct as Christianity always requires, and was peculiarly suitable to their present circumstances; and then they departed Though many circumstances now invited their stay at Philippi; yet they showed great wisdom in complying with the request of the magistrates, that they might not seem to express any degree of obstinacy or revenge, or give any suspicion of a design to stir up the people.

We may observe here, that of all the churches planted by Paul, this at Philippi seems to have loved and respected him the most. The sufferings he had undergone in their city, for the sake of giving them the knowledge of the gospel, more precious than gold, greatly endeared him to them. Accordingly, while he was at Thessalonica, they sent him money twice, that, by making the gospel without expense to the Thessalonians, they might give the more heed to the things which Paul spake, when they found him a teacher of a different character from the Greek philosophers, who taught only for hire. They likewise sent him money during his first imprisonment at Rome, that he might want nothing necessary for him. In short, the injurious treatment which Paul and Silas met with in this first city of Europe, where they had preached, was abundantly compensated by the readiness of mind with which many of its inhabitants received the gospel; and by the excellent disposition which they showed after their conversion, in the great love which they all along expressed toward their spiritual father.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Acts 16". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/acts-16.html. 1857.
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