Acts 16:13
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there.

English Standard Version
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.

Berean Study Bible
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river, where it was customary to find a place of prayer. After sitting down, we spoke to the women who had gathered there.

Berean Literal Bible
And on the day of the Sabbaths, we went forth outside the city gate, by a river, where there was customary to be a place of prayer. And having sat down, we began speaking to the women having gathered.

New American Standard Bible
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.

King James Bible
And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women gathered there.

International Standard Version
On the Sabbath day, we went out the city gate and walked along the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We sat down and began talking to the women who had gathered there.

NET Bible
On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the side of the river, where we thought there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down and began to speak to the women who had assembled there.

New Heart English Bible
On the Sabbath day we went forth outside of the gate by a riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down, and spoke to the women who had come together.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And we departed on the Sabbath day outside the gate of the city on the riverside, because there was seen there a house of prayer, and when we sat, we were speaking with the women who had gathered there.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
On the day of worship we went out of the city to a place along the river where we thought Jewish people gathered for prayer. We sat down and began talking to the women who had gathered there.

New American Standard 1977
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And on one of the sabbaths we went out of the city by a river side, where it was customary to pray; and we sat down and spoke unto the women who gathered there.

King James 2000 Bible
And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a riverside, where prayer was accustomed to be made; and we sat down, and spoke unto the women who met there.

American King James Version
And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spoke to the women which resorted thither.

American Standard Version
And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women that were come together.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And upon the sabbath day, we went forth without the gate by a river side, where it seemed that there was prayer; and sitting down, we spoke to the women that were assembled.

Darby Bible Translation
And on the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where it was the custom for prayer to be, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had assembled.

English Revised Version
And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which were come together.

Webster's Bible Translation
And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spoke to the women who resorted thither.

Weymouth New Testament
On the Sabbath we went beyond the city gate to the riverside, where we had reason to believe that there was a place for prayer; and sitting down we talked with the women who had come together.

World English Bible
On the Sabbath day we went forth outside of the city by a riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down, and spoke to the women who had come together.

Young's Literal Translation
on the sabbath-day also we went forth outside of the city, by a river, where there used to be prayer, and having sat down, we were speaking to the women who came together,
Study Bible
Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi
12From there, we went to the Roman colony of Philippi, the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river, where it was customary to find a place of prayer. After sitting down, we spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14Among those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.…
Cross References
Acts 9:20
Saul promptly began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, declaring, "He is the Son of God."

Acts 13:14
And from Perga, they traveled inland to Pisidian Antioch, where they entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and sat down.

Acts 16:16
One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl with a spirit of clairvoyance, who earned a large income for her masters by fortune-telling.
Treasury of Scripture

And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spoke to the women which resorted thither.

on.

Acts 13:14,42 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, …

Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in to them, and three sabbath days …

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the …

Acts 20:7 And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together …

sabbath. Gr. sabbath-day. where.

Luke 13:10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.

and we.

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, …

Acts 21:5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our …

Matthew 5:1,2 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he …

Matthew 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together to him, so that he went …

Luke 4:20,21 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down…

John 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the …

spake.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel …

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there …

Colossians 1:23 If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved …

(13) By a river side, where prayer was wont to be made.--Better, where an oratory (i.e., a place of prayer) was established. The word, which was the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew "house of prayer" (Matthew 21:13), is used in this sense by Josephus (Vit. p. 54), (see Note on Luke 6:12), and was current among the Jews at Rome. Where they had no synagogue, and in a military station like Philippi there was not likely to be one, the Jews frequented the river-banks, which made ablutions easy, and often succeeded in getting a piece of ground assigned for that purpose outside the walls of the city. Juvenal (Sat. iii. 11-13) notes this as one of the instances of the decay of the old faith of Rome:

"The groves and streams which once were sacred ground

Are now let out td Jews."

The local meaning is seen in another line from the same writer (Sat. iii. 296):

"Ede, ubi consistas, in qu te quro, proseuch?"

["Say where thou dwell'st, and in what place of prayer

I am to seek thee?"]

The oratories, or proseuch, thus formed, were commonly circular, and without a roof. The practice continued in the time of Tertullian, who speaks of the "orationes litorales" of the Jews (ad Nat. i. 13). The river, in this instance, was the Gangites. Finding no synagogue in the city, and hearing of the oratory, the company of preachers went out to it to take their part in the Sabbath services, and to preach Christ to any Jews they might find there.

We sat down, and spake unto the women.--The fact that there were only women shows the almost entire absence of a Jewish population. Possibly, too, the decree of Claudius, expelling the Jews from Rome (Acts 18:2), was enforced, as stated above, in the colonia, which was as a part of Rome, and as Jewesses would not be likely to have settled there without their husbands or brothers, it is probable that the women whom St. Paul found assembled were, like Lydia, proselytes who desired to remain faithful to their new faith, even in the absence of any settled provision for their instruction. Women thus placed would naturally welcome the presence of strangers who, probably, wore the garb of a Rabbi, and who showed when they sat down (see Note on Acts 13:14) that they were about to preach. We note that here also the narrator speaks of himself as teaching. (See Note on Acts 16:10.)

Verse 13. - Sabbath day for sabbath, A.V.; we went forth without the gate for we went out of the city, A.V. and T.R. (πύλης for πολέως); we supposed there Was a place of prayer for prayer was wont to be made, A.V.; were come together for resorted thither, A.V. By a river side. By the river side is the natural way of expressing it in English. The river is not the Strymon, which is a day's journey distant from Philippi, but probably a small stream called the Gangas or Gangites, which is crossed by the Via Eguatia, about a mile out of Philippi. The neighborhood of water, either near a stream or on the seashore, was usually preferred by the Jews as a place for prayer, as affording facility for ablutions (see Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 14:10, 23; and other passages quoted by Alford). The phrase, οϋ ἐνομίζετο προσευχὴ εῖναι, should be rendered, not as in the R.V., but more nearly as the A.V., where a prayer-meeting(of the Jews) was accustomed to be held; i.e. this particular spot was the usual place where such Jews or proselytes as happened to be at Philippi met for prayer. It also appears from Epiphanius (' Hear.,' 80, § 1, quoted by Alford) that the Jews usually had their προσευχαί, whether buildings, or open spaces, ἔξω πολέως, outside the city. The wayside crosses are of the nature of προσευχαί. And on the sabbath,.... That is, as the Syriac version renders it, "on the sabbath day"; the Jewish sabbath, the seventh day of the week; though the words may be rendered, "on a certain day of the week" agreeably to Acts 20:7 where the first of the sabbath means the first day of the week; but be this as it will, on this day,

we went out of the city by a river side; perhaps the river Strymon, which was near; the Alexandrian copy and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version read,

without the gate; and the Syriac version, "without the gates of the city"; all to the same sense: it looks as if there was no synagogue of the Jews in this place, or otherwise the apostle and his companions would have gone into that, according to their custom; and this the rather seems to be the case, since it is so particularly remarked, that at Thessalonica, the next place they stayed at there was one, Acts 17:1 and the reason might be, because that Philippi being a Roman colony, the Jews were not suffered to have one in it; wherefore Paul and his company, whether on the Jewish sabbath, or on any other day of the week, took a walk out of the city; either for the sake of a walk, or rather to converse together, and consider what was to be done, or to look out for an opportunity to preach the Gospel; and they came to a place,

where prayer was wont to be made; or as the words may be rendered, "where was thought to be a place of prayer"; a "proseucha", an oratory, or a place built and made use of for prayer; that is, as they walked along, they saw a place, which in their opinion looked like a religious house, or a place for prayer, and so made up to it, where they found some persons assembled together on that account: this sense is confirmed by several versions; the Vulgate Latin version reads, "where there seemed to be prayer", and so reads Beza's most ancient copy; and the Syriac version is very express, "for there was seen" , "an house of prayer"; to which agrees the Arabic version, "we went out to a certain place, which was thought to be a place of prayer"; to which may be added the Ethiopic version, "and we thought there was prayer there"; and that the Jews had their oratories, or prayer houses, is certain; See Gill on Luke 6:12 and that these were without the cities, and in the fields, appears from a passage of Epiphanius (f), who says,

"there were anciently places of prayer, both among the Jews, "without the city", and among the Samaritans, there was a place of prayer at Sichem, which is now called Neapolis, "without the city", in the field, about two stones distance, in form of a theatre, open to the air, and without covering, built by the Samaritans, who in all things imitated the Jews:''

and if these were commonly built by fountains and rivers, and as some think, in imitation of Isaac, who went out into the field, "to meditate"; which the Chaldee paraphrase renders, "to pray"; and is also in the same place said to come, as the Jerusalem paraphrase renders it, "to a well", or "fountain", Genesis 24:62 then this clause may be rendered, "where it was usual for a prayer house to be": and then the sense is, there being no synagogue in the city, the apostle and those with him went out of it, to the river side, to look out for a prayer house; where such places were wont to be built, and they accordingly found one:

and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither; who seem to have been Jewish women, who met here to attend public prayer, there being no religious worship of the true God in the city; and among these worshippers of God was Lydia, hereafter mentioned; and worship not being begun, the apostle and his companions sat down among them, and entered into some religious conversation with them, and took the opportunity of preaching the Gospel, which was what they wanted, and were seeking after.

(f) Contr. Haeres. Tom. 2. l. 3. Haeres. 80. 13. on the sabbath day—the first after their arrival, as the words imply.

we went out of the city—rather, as the true reading is, "outside of the (city) gate."

by a river-side—one of the small streams which gave name to the place ere the city was founded by Philip of Macedon.

where prayer was wont to be made—or a prayer-meeting held. It is plain there was no synagogue at Philippi (contrast Ac 17:1), the number of the Jews being small. The meeting appears to have consisted wholly of women, and these not all Jewish. The neighborhood of streams was preferred, on account of the ceremonial washings used on such occasions.

we sat down and spake unto the women, etc.—a humble congregation, and simple manner of preaching. But here and thus were gathered the first-fruits of Europe unto Christ, and they were of the female sex, of whose accession and services honorable mention will again and again be made.16:6-15 The removals of ministers, and the dispensing the means of grace by them, are in particular under Divine conduct and direction. We must follow Providence: and whatever we seek to do, if that suffer us not, we ought to submit and believe to be for the best. People greatly need help for their souls, it is their duty to look out for it, and to invite those among them who can help them. And God's calls must be complied with readily. A solemn assembly the worshippers of God must have, if possible, upon the sabbath day. If we have not synagogues, we must be thankful for more private places, and resort to them; not forsaking the assembling together, as our opportunities are. Among the hearers of Paul was a woman, named Lydia. She had an honest calling, which the historian notices to her praise. Yet though she had a calling to mind, she found time to improve advantages for her soul. It will not excuse us from religious duties, to say, We have a trade to mind; for have not we also a God to serve, and souls to look after? Religion does not call us from our business in the world, but directs us in it. Pride, prejudice, and sin shut out the truths of God, till his grace makes way for them into the understanding and affections; and the Lord alone can open the heart to receive and believe his word. We must believe in Jesus Christ; there is no coming to God as a Father, but by the Son as Mediator.
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