Sep 1 — Acts 16-17

Acts 16:1-15 — Timothy Joins Paul and Silas, Macedonian Call
Acts 16:16-40 — Paul and Silas in Prison
Acts 17:1-15 — Paul and Silas in Thessalonica and Berea
Acts 17:16-34 — Paul in Athens, Paul Addresses the Areopagus

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One Reply to “Sep 1 — Acts 16-17”

  1. The story of the jailer receiving Christ is one of my favorites from the book of Acts. Paul and Silas were seized and dragged before the magistrates in Philippi after Paul rebuked the spirit that controlled a women to the point where she was becoming a nuisance to their mission: “Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!'” (Acts 16:18). The central theme of this story has to do with the jailer’s conversion, but the environment surrounding the story is interesting.

    According to one commentator: “Philippi had been made a Roman colony so it could serve as a home for retired army veterans after the decisive battle of the second civil war (42 B.C.) and the battle of Actium (31 B.C.).” Link The city was a retirement refuge. Paul and Silas were stirring up trouble in paradise! Later, when we read through Philippians, these details will be helpful.

    The woman referred to in Acts 16:18 was owned by some local businessmen. Once Paul commands the spirit to leave the woman, their business is shot! They incite a riot among and have Paul and Silas “stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison” (16:22-23). The mere fact this was a possibility is interesting to me. Paul and Silas were brining the light of Jesus into such a dark place, one that desperately needed to hear the Gospel of Christ. They were completely unafraid and not the least bit intimidated by the actions of these ruthless magistrates. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them” (16:25). I’m pretty sure I’d be licking my wounds rather than singing hymns! What an amazing testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit. Lord, help me to sing hymns when I’m beaten down by the world!!

    The rest of the story of the jailer is great to read. In the end, “After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them” (16:40). Such an amazing testimony!

    Chapter 17 captures one of the most significant sermons of Paul. Here, “A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him” (Acts 17:18). This was a proud and lofty group that positioned themselves above everyone else. Paul gets the opportunity to address a large gathering and hits them between the eyes, “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious…I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship–and this is what I am going to proclaim to you” (17:22-23). Paul seized the chance to use their customs to proclaim the Gospel. Some believed, others sneered (17:32). The Gospel of Jesus spread as “Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed” (17:33). Lord grant me the ability to observe the present situation and speak to people in a language they can understand so many will hear the great news of salvation through Jesus Christ!

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