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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - ACTS 16
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    CHAPTER 16

    PAUL'S SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY.
    Ac 15:41-18:22.

    Ac 15:41-16:5. VISITATION OF THE CHURCHES FORMERLY ESTABLISHED, TIMOTHEUS HERE JOINING THE MISSIONARY PARTY.

    41. he went through Syria and Cilicia--(See on Ac 15:23). Taking probably the same route as when despatched in haste from Jerusalem to Tarsus, he then went by land (see on Ac 9:30).

    1-5. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra; and, behold, a certain disciple was there--that is, at Lystra (not Derbe, as some conclude from Ac 20:4).
    - named Timotheus--(See on Ac 14:20). As Paul styles him "his own son in the faith" (1Ti 1:2), he must have been gained to Christ at the apostle's first visit; and as Paul says he "had fully known his persecutions which came on him at Lystra" (2Ti 3:10, 11), he may have been in that group of disciples that surrounded the apparently lifeless body of the apostle outside the walls of Lystra, and that at a time of life when the mind receives its deepest impressions from the spectacle of innocent suffering and undaunted courage [HOWSON]. His would be one of "the souls of the disciples confirmed" at the apostle's second visit, "exhorted to continue in the faith, and" warned "that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Ac 14:21, 22).
    - the son of a certain . . . Jewess--"The unfeigned faith which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois" descended to "his mother Eunice," and thence it passed to this youth (2Ti 1:5), who "from a child knew the Holy Scriptures" (2Ti 3:15). His gifts and destination to the ministry of Christ had already been attested (1Ti 1:18; 4:14); and though some ten years after this Paul speaks of him as still young (1Ti 4:12), "he was already well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium" (Ac 16:2), and consequently must have been well known through all that quarter.
    - but his father was a Greek--Such mixed marriages, though little practiced, and disliked by the stricter Jews in Palestine, must have been very frequent among the Jews of the dispersion, especially in remote districts, where but few of the scattered people were settled [HOWSON].

    3. Him would Paul have to go forth with him--This is in harmony with all we read in the Acts and Epistles of Paul's affectionate and confiding disposition. He had no relative ties which were of service to him in his work; his companions were few and changing; and though Silas would supply the place of Barnabas, it was no weakness to yearn for the society of one who might become, what Mark once appeared to be, a son in the Gospel [HOWSON]. And such he indeed proved to be, the most attached and serviceable of his associates (Php 2:19-23; 1Co 4:17; 16:10, 11; 1Th 3:1-6). His double connection, with the Jews by the mother's side and the Gentiles by the father's, would strike the apostle as a peculiar qualification for his own sphere of labor. "So far as appears, Timothy is the first Gentile who after his conversion comes before us as a regular missionary; for what is said of Titus (Ga 2:3) refers to a later period" [WIES]. But before his departure, Paul
    - took and circumcised him--a rite which every Israelite might perform.
    - because of the Jews . . . for they knew all that his father was a Greek--This seems to imply that the father was no proselyte. Against the wishes of a Gentile father no Jewish mother was, as the Jews themselves say, permitted to circumcise her son. We thus see why all the religion of Timothy is traced to the female side of the family (2Ti 1:5). "Had Timothy not been circumcised, a storm would have gathered round the apostle in his farther progress. His fixed line of procedure was to act on the cities through the synagogues; and to preach the Gospel to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. But such a course would have been impossible had not Timothy been circumcised. He must necessarily have been repelled by that people who endeavored once to murder Paul because they imagined he had taken a Greek into the temple (Ac 21:29). The very intercourse of social life would have been almost impossible, for it was still "an abomination" for the circumcised to eat with the uncircumcised" [HOWSON]. In refusing to compel Titus afterwards to be circumcised (Ga 2:3) at the bidding of Judaizing Christians, as necessary to salvation, he only vindicated "the truth of the Gospel" (Ga 2:5); in circumcising Timothy, "to the Jews he became as a Jew that he might gain the Jews." Probably Timothy's ordination took place now (1Ti 4:14; 2Ti 1:6); and it was a service, apparently, of much solemnity--"before many witnesses" (1Ti 6:12).

    4, 5. And as they went through the cities, they delivered . . . the decrees . . . And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily--not the churches, but the number of their members, by this visit and the written evidence laid before them of the triumph of Christian liberty at Jerusalem, and the wise measures there taken to preserve the unity of the Jewish and Gentile converts.

    Ac 16:6-12. THEY BREAK NEW GROUND IN PHRYGIA AND GALATIA--THEIR COURSE IN THAT DIRECTION BEING MYSTERIOUSLY HEDGED UP, THEY TRAVEL WESTWARD TO TROAS, WHERE THEY ARE DIVINELY DIRECTED TO MACEDONIA--THE HISTORIAN HIMSELF HERE JOINING THE MISSIONARY PARTY, THEY EMBARK FOR NEAPOLIS, AND REACH PHILIPPI.

    6-8. Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia--proceeding in a northwesterly direction. At this time must have been formed "the churches of Galatia" (Ga 1:2; 1Co 16:1); founded, as we learn from the Epistle to the Galatians (particularly Ga 4:19), by the apostle Paul, and which were already in existence when he was on his third missionary journey, as we learn from Ac 18:23, where it appears that he was no less successful in Phrygia. Why these proceedings, so interesting as we should suppose, are not here detailed, it is not easy to say; for the various reasons suggested are not very satisfactory: for example, that the historian had not joined the party [ALFORD]; that he was in haste to bring the apostle to Europe [OLSHAUSEN]; that the main stream of the Church's development was from Jerusalem to Rome, and the apostle's labors in Phrygia and Galatia lay quite out of the line of that direction [BAUMGARTEN].
    - and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost--speaking by some prophet, see on Ac 11:27.
    - to preach the word in Asia--not the great Asiatic continent, nor even the rich peninsula now called Asia Minor, but only so much of its western coast as constituted the Roman province of Asia.

    7. After they were come to Mysia--where, as being part of Roman Asia, they were forbidden to labor (Ac 16:8).
    - they assayed--or attempted
    - to go into--or, towards.
    - Bithynia--to the northeast.
    - but the Spirit--speaking as before.
    - suffered them not--probably because, (1) Europe was ripe for the labors of this missionary party; and (2) other instruments were to be honored to establish the Gospel in the eastern regions of Asia Minor, especially the apostle Peter (see 1Pe 1:1). By the end of the first century, as testified by PLINY the governor, Bithynia was filled with Christians. "This is the first time that the Holy Ghost is expressly spoken of as determining the course they were to follow in their efforts to evangelize the nations, and it was evidently designed to show that whereas hitherto the diffusion of the Gospel had been carried on in unbroken course, connected by natural points of junction, it was now to take a leap to which it could not be impelled but by an immediate and independent operation of the Spirit; and though primarily, this intimation of the Spirit was only negative, and referred but to the immediate neighborhood, we may certainly conclude that Paul took it for a sign that a new epoch was now to commence in his apostolic labors" [BAUMGARTEN].

    8. came down to Troas--a city on the northeast coast of the Ægean Sea, the boundary of Asia Minor on the west; the region of which was the scene of the great Trojan war.

    9, 10. a vision appeared to Paul in the night--while awake, for it is not called a dream.
    - There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us--Stretching his eye across the Ægean Sea, from Troas on the northeast, to the Macedonian hills, visible on the northwest, the apostle could hardly fail to think this the destined scene of his future labors; and, if he retired to rest with this thought, he would be thoroughly prepared for the remarkable intimation of the divine will now to be given him. This visional Macedonian discovered himself by what he said. But it was a cry not of conscious desire for the Gospel, but of deep need of it and unconscious preparedness to receive it, not only in that region, but, we may well say, throughout all that western empire which Macedonia might be said to represent. It was a virtual confession "that the highest splendor of heathendom, which we must recognize in the arts of Greece and in the polity and imperial power of Rome, had arrived at the end of all its resources. God had left the Gentile peoples to walk in their own ways (Ac 14:2). They had sought to gain salvation for themselves; but those who had carried it farthest along the paths of natural development were now pervaded by the feeling that all had indeed been vanity. This feeling is the simple, pure result of all the history of heathendom. And Israel, going along the way which God had marked out for him, had likewise arrived at his end. At last he is in a condition to realize his original vocation, by becoming the guide who is to lead the Gentiles unto God, the only Author and Creator of man's redemption; and Paul is in truth the very person in whom this vocation of Israel is now a present divine reality, and to whom, by this nocturnal apparition of the Macedonian, the preparedness of the heathen world to receive the ministry of Israel towards the Gentiles is confirmed" [BAUMGARTEN]. This voice cries from heathendom still to the Christian Church, and never does the Church undertake the work of missions, nor any missionary go forth from it, in the right spirit, save in obedience to this cry.

    10. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia--The "we," here first introduced, is a modest intimation that the historian himself had now joined the missionary party. (The modern objections to this are quite frivolous). Whether Paul's broken health had anything to do with this arrangement for having "the beloved physician" with him [WIES], can never be known with certainty; but that he would deem himself honored in taking care of so precious a life, there can be no doubt.

    11, 12. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came--literally, "ran."
    - with a straight course--that is, "ran before the wind."
    - to Samothracia--a lofty island on the Thracian coast, north from Troas, with an inclination westward. The wind must have set in strong from the south or south-southeast to bring them there so soon, as the current is strong in the opposite direction, and they afterwards took five days to what they now did in two (Ac 20:6) [HOWSON].
    - next day to Neapolis--on the Macedonian, or rather Thracian, coast, about sixty-five miles from Samothracia, and ten from Philippi, of which it is the harbor.

    12. Philippi . . . the chief--rather, perhaps, "the first"
    - city of that part of Macedonia--The meaning appears to be--the first city one comes to, proceeding from Neapolis. The sense given in our version hardly consists with fact.
    - a colony--that is, possessing all the privileges of Roman citizenship, and, as such, both exempted from scourging and (in ordinary cases) from arrest, and entitled to appeal from the local magistrate to the emperor. Though the Pisidian Antioch and Troas were also "colonies," the fact is mentioned in this history of Philippi only on account of the frequent references to Roman privileges and duties in the sequel of the chapter.

    Ac 16:12-34. AT PHILIPPI, LYDIA IS GAINED AND WITH HER HOUSEHOLD BAPTIZED--AN EVIL SPIRIT IS EXPELLED, PAUL AND SILAS ARE SCOURGED, IMPRISONED, AND MANACLED, BUT MIRACULOUSLY SET FREE, AND THE JAILER WITH ALL HIS HOUSEHOLD CONVERTED AND BAPTIZED.

    12, 13. we were in that city abiding certain days--waiting till the sabbath came round: their whole stay must have extended to some weeks. As their rule was to begin with the GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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