Acts 28: 16-31 New International Version (NIV)
16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.
25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”  [b]
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!
Welcome to Episode #87 of the Sunday Scripture Podcast!
We’re in a series for the summer that will walk through the Book of Acts and today we continue with Chapter 16.
Acts 16:1-5 New International Version (NIV)
1 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Quote #1 by N.T. Wright
“A few weeks ago I had to choose a new close colleague to work with. It was difficult. There were some splendid people to choose from. Together with trusted friends and wise advisors, I prayed for God’s guidance, I did as much homework as I could, I prayed some more. I called some key leaders together and we prayed for wisdom. We met some of the likely candidates. So much talent, so much giftedness, so many possibilities. We could see ourselves working with this person, with that person, with the other one too. Eventually the choice came back to me. Wright, N.T.. Acts for Everyone, Part Two: Chapters 13-18: 2 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 56). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
Acts 16:6-10 New International Version (NIV)
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Quote #2 by N.T. Wright
“Two hundred miles on foot takes two or three weeks at the very least; what did the little company think they were doing, and where did they suppose they were going? This must have been something of a testing time for all of them, with Paul and Silas establishing a partnership, and Timothy, as the younger colleague, getting to know them but wondering what on earth he had let himself in for. It’s one thing to trust God’s guidance when it’s actually quite obvious what to do next. It’s something else entirely when you seem to be going on and on up a blind alley.” Wright, N.T.. Acts for Everyone, Part Two: Chapters 13-18: 2 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 58). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
Acts 16:11-15 New International Version (NIV)
11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Quote #3 by N.T. Wright
“the word Paul preached was in Lydia’s case tapping at a window that was already open. In came the light, into her heart came the message of the Lord, and she and her household were baptized. Then, realizing that Paul and his companions would be much better off in establishing a ministry if they were resident in someone’s home than if they were staying in an inn somewhere, she insisted on inviting them to stay with her. She already had a ‘household’, and now had four more guests. Wright, N.T.. Acts for Everyone, Part Two: Chapters 13-18: 2 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 63). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
So in this story we have…
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