Author: Ron Graham

Book of Acts

Acts 16:1-15
—Verse by verse

This page is a verse by verse study of Acts 16:1-15. These verses describe Paul’s second missionary journey as far as Philippi, and the conversion of Lydia..

Acts 16

Timothy joins Paul and Silas in Paul’s second journey.

Verses 1-3

¶ "Paul came to Derbe and Lystra. Behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy. His mother was Jewish and a believer. Timothy’s father, however, was a Greek. The brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium spoke very highly of Timothy. Paul wanted Timothy as a companion on his journey. So Paul took Timothy and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts; for they all knew that Timothy’s father was a Greek." (Acts 16:1-3).

NoteCIRCUMCISION: To circumcise means to cut around and remove the foreskin of the penis. This was a covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 17:9-14) so is practised by Jews as a religious rite.

Circumcision was not required by the gospel, because the gospel recognises an inward circumcision (Romans 2:25-29). When one becomes a Christian, one is enabled by Christ to put off the old person; the guilty conscience; the sinful desires. This is what counts.

Verses 4-5

¶ "As Paul, Silas, and Timothy went on their way through the cities, they delivered the decrees which the Christians were to keep and which had been decided by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily." (Acts 16:4-5).


With this progress report (Acts 16:4-5). Luke concludes his description of the spread of Christianity into Cyprus and areas south of Galatia. Paul has completed his first missionary journey and set out on his second. He has revisited churches in Syria and Cilicia. In the fifth section of Acts, Paul travels through Galatia. Paul is then directed by the Holy Spirit to go further afield, over into Macedonia and Greece.

Verses 6-8

¶ "When Paul, Silas, and Timothy had gone through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had reached a point opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not allow them to go there either. So, Passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas." (Acts 16:6-8).

Paul called to Philippi by the vision of the Macedonian.

Verses 9-12

¶ "At Troas, a vision appeared to Paul in the night. There was a man of Macedonia standing, begging him, “Come over into Macedonia and help us.” When Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go out to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to the people there. So we set sail from Troas; we made a straight course to Samothrace; and the day following to Neapolis; and from there to Philippi. Now Philippi is a Roman colony and a major city of Macedonia. We stayed some days in this city." (Acts 16:9-12).

The conversion of Lydia at Philippi.

Verses 13-15

¶ "On the Sabbath day we went outside of the city to the riverside, where we supposed that people would meet for prayer. There we sat down, and spoke to the women who had come together. One woman was named Lydia. She was a merchant of purple fabric. She came from the city of Thyatira. Lydia was one who worshiped God. When she heard us, the Lord opened her heart to heed the things which were spoken by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and stay.” So she persuaded us." (Acts 16:13-15).

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ico Acts 16:16-40

—A verse by verse study of Acts 16:16-40. These verses describe Paul’s experiences and work with Silas in Philippi, including the conversion of the Philippian jailer. Touch the button title to go to that page.