Flexibility in the Ministry

“You have to be flexible. If you have a plan and just blindly follow ... More


Paul and Silas traveled by land to Derbe and then on to Lystra where Timothy was enlisted as an assistant for Paul (v. 1). Timothy’s mother was Jewish, but his father was Greek. Due to his mixed heritage, Timothy had not been circumcised. To avoid offending the Jews, Paul decided to circumcise Timothy. This might seem like a compromise on Paul’s part as he just debated this very issue in Jerusalem. Timothy, as the uncircumcised son of a Jewish woman, would have been viewed as an apostate Jew by other Jews. The Jerusalem Council had declared freedom for the Gentiles from the Law of Moses but had not freed the Jews in the same way. 

Moving on from the churches he had previously planted, Paul attempted to pioneer new territory for the Lord. Asia and Galatia were Roman provinces in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Phrygia was a geographical region that separated the two. Paul would eventually make it to Ephesus, the capital of Asia (Acts 19), but for mysterious reasons the Holy Spirit would not allow Paul to go there directly (v. 6). Turning northward, Paul tried to enter Bithynia, a Roman province in northern Asia Minor. Once again, he was prevented by the Holy Spirit (v. 7). Traveling west through Mysia, a geographical region in northwest Asia, Paul arrived in the city of Troas (v. 8) where he received the “Macedonian call.” A man appeared to him in a dream with an urgent plea, “Come over to Macedonia, and help us” (v. 9). Macedonia was a Roman province located in northern Greece. Immediately they sought passage across the Aegean Sea, eager to preach the Gospel (v. 10). Struggling with open and closed doors is a healthy part of the Christian life. 

Samothrace was an island, and Neapolis was a port city (v. 11). Philippi was a landlocked Roman colony (v. 12) the citizens of which had the full rights of Roman citizens. There was no synagogue in Philippi but there was a handful of women who met for prayer down by the riverbank. At the meeting, Paul met Lydia, a successful businesswoman from Thyatira (vv. 13-14). As Lydia listened to Paul, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted Christ. She immediately gave evidence of her conversion by being baptized and opening her home to the missionaries (v. 15). Presumably her home became the meeting place for Christians. 


Notice how Lydia opened the door to her household, and learn how we can do the same, whether we are a man or a woman, young or old.

Acts 16:1-15 (English Standard Version)

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