|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:16-24 Satan, though the father of lies, will declare the most important truths, when he can thereby serve his purposes. But much mischief is done to the real servants of Christ, by unholy and false preachers of the gospel, who are confounded with them by careless observers. Those who do good by drawing men from sin, may expect to be reviled as troublers of the city. While they teach men to fear God, to believe in Christ, to forsake sin, and to live godly lives, they will be accused of teaching bad customs.
Verse 21. - Set forth for teach, A.V.; it is for are, A.V.; or for neither, A.V. Romans; in a special sense, as members of a colony.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And teach customs,.... The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read in the singular number, "custom or law"; referring to the doctrine of salvation by Christ, in whose name the spirit of divination was cast out of the maid, and whom they took for a new deity; and so concluded that the apostle and his company were introducing a new religious law or custom, the worship of another God:
which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans; for the city of Philippi was a Roman colony, and so the inhabitants of it called themselves Romans; or these men might be strictly such, who were transplanted hither; and with the Romans, it was not lawful to receive, observe, and worship, a new or strange deity, without the decree of the senate (l).
(l) Tertull. Apolog. c. 5. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans—Here also there was a measure of truth; as the introduction of new gods was forbidden by the laws, and this might be thought to apply to any change of religion. But the whole charge was pure hypocrisy; for as these men would have let the missionaries preach what religion they pleased if they had not dried up the source of their gains, so they conceal the real cause of their rage under color of a zeal for religion, and law, and good order: so Ac 17:6, 7; 19:25, 27.
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