Acts 16:15
And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
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(15) And when she was baptized, and her household.—It does not follow from St. Luke’s condensed narrative that all this took place on the same day. The statement that “her household” were baptised has often been urged as evidence that infant baptism was the practice of the apostolic age. It must be admitted, however, that this is to read a great deal between the lines, and the utmost that can be said is that the language of the writer does not exclude infants. The practice itself rests on firmer grounds than a precarious induction from a few ambiguous passages. (See Notes on Matthew 19:13-15.) In this instance, moreover, there is no evidence that she had children, or even that she was married. The “household” may well have consisted of female slaves and freed-women whom she employed, and who made up her familia. It follows, almost as a necessary inference, that many of these also were previously proselytes. For such as these, Judaism had been a “schoolmaster,” leading them to Christ. (See Galatians 3:24.) We may think of Euodias and Syntyche, and the other women who “laboured in the gospel” (Philippians 4:2-3), as having been, probably, among them. The names of the first two occur frequently in the inscriptions of the Columbaria of this period, now in the Vatican and Lateran Museums, the Borghese Gardens, and elsewhere, as belonging to women of the slave or libertinæ class.

She besought us.—Up to this time the teachers, four in number, had been, we must believe, living in a lodging and maintaining themselves, as usual, by labour—St. Paul as a tentmaker, St. Luke, probably, as a physician. Now the large-hearted hospitality of Lydia (the offer implies a certain measure of wealth, as, indeed, did her occupation, which required a considerable capital) led her to receive them as her guests. They did not readily abandon the independent position which their former practice secured them, and only yield to the kind “constraint” to which they were exposed.

If ye have judged.—The words contain a modest, almost a pathetic, appeal to the fact that the preachers had recognised her faith by admitting her to baptism. If she was fit for that, was she unfit to be their hostess?

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.And when she was baptized - Apparently without any delay. Compare Acts 2:41; Acts 8:38. It was usual to be baptized immediately on believing.

And her household - Greek: her house ὁ οἶκος ἀυτῆς ho oikos autēs, her family. No mention is made of their having believed, and the case is one that affords a strong presumptive proof that this was an instance of household or infant baptism. Because:

(1) Her believing is particularly mentioned.

(2) it is not intimated that they believed.

(3) it is manifestly implied that they were baptized because she believed. It was the offering of her family to the Lord. It is just such an account as would now be given of a household or family that were baptized upon the faith of the parent.

If ye have judged me to be faithful - If you deem me a Christian or a believer.

And she constrained us - She urged us. This was an instance of great hospitality, and also an evidence of her desire for further instruction in the doctrines of religion.

15. And when … baptized … and her household—probably without much delay. The mention of baptism here for the first time in connection with the labors of Paul, while it was doubtless performed on all his former converts, indicates a special importance in this first European baptism. Here also is the first mention of a Christian household. Whether it included children, also in that case baptized, is not explicitly stated; but the presumption, as in other cases of household baptism, is that it did. Yet the question of infant baptism must be determined on other grounds; and such incidental allusions form only part of the historical materials for ascertaining the practice of the Church.

she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord—the Lord Jesus; that is, "By the faith on Him which ye have recognized in me by baptism." There is a beautiful modesty in the expression.

And she constrained us—The word seems to imply that they were reluctant, but were overborne.

And her household; when Lydia had right to baptism, by reason of her faith in Jesus Christ, all her family, whom she could undertake to bring up in the knowledge of Christ, were admitted to that ordinance also; as all the servants, and such others as were born in his house, or bought with his money, were circumcised with Abraham, Genesis 17:12,13. Now the gospel does not contract in any respect, but enlarges, the privileges of believers in all things. And if they might under the law have their children and servants admitted into a covenant with God, (which could not but rejoice religious parents and masters, who value the relation they and theirs have to God, above all earthly things), surely under the gospel none of our families are excluded, unless they wilfully exclude themselves.

She constrained us; as the two disciples that were going to Emmaus constrained our Saviour, Luke 24:29, with all earnest entreaties and loving violence.

And when she was baptized,.... In water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to the commission of Christ, by the apostle, or some one of his companions; by whom she was instructed into the nature and use of this ordinance; and very likely it was performed in that river, by the side of which the oratory stood, where they were assembled:

and her household; they were baptized also, being converted at the same time; these seem to be her menial servants, who came along with her from her native place upon business, and who attended on her; accordingly the Ethiopic version renders it, "and she was baptized with all her men"; and these were believers, and are called "the brethren", Acts 16:40 hence this passage will by no means serve the cause of infant baptism: whether Lydia was a maid, a wife, or widow, cannot be said; it looks, however, as if she had no husband now, since she is mentioned as a trader herself; and whether she had any children or not, is not certain, nor can it be concluded from this clause, for there are many households that have no children; and if she had young children, it is not likely she should bring them with her to such a distant place, whither she was come upon trade and business: the pleaders for infant baptism must prove that she had children; that these were her household, or part of her household here spoken of; and that they were baptized; or this instance will be of no service to their cause:

she besought us, saying, if ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord; this she said, not as doubting whether they had so judged of her, but as supposing it, and taking it for granted, that they had; wherefore she reasons upon it, and argues from it; and the sense is this, that seeing the apostle and his company had judged her to be a believer in Christ, by admitting her to the ordinance of baptism; and she had shown her faithfulness to him, by submitting to it, according to his will; therefore she earnestly entreated them to take up their residence at her house, whilst at Philippi: saying,

come into my house, and abide there; her faith soon worked by love; and by the fruits of righteousness which followed upon it, it appeared to be true and genuine: and she constrained us; Paul and Silas, and Timothy and Luke, and whoever else were in company; she not only invited them, but obliged them to go with her; she would take no denial, and by her arguments, entreaties, and importunity, as it were forced them, and prevailed upon them to go with her.

{9} And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

(9) An example of a godly housewife.

Acts 16:15. Καὶ ὁ οἶκος αὐτῆς] Of what members her family consisted, cannot be determined. This passage and Acts 16:33, with Acts 18:8 and 1 Corinthians 1:16, are appealed to in order to prove infant baptism in the apostolic age, or at least to make it probable. “Quis credat, in tot familiis nullum fuisse infantem, et Judaeos circumcidendis, gentiles lustrandis illis assuetos non etiam obtulisse eos baptismo?” Bengel. See also Lange, apost. Zeitalt. II. p. 504 ff. But on this question the following remarks are to be made: (1) If, in the Jewish and Gentile families which were converted to Christ, there were children, their baptism is to be assumed in those cases, when they were so far advanced that they could and did confess their faith on Jesus as the Messiah; for this was the universal, absolutely necessary qualification for the reception of baptism; comp. also Acts 16:31-33; Acts 18:8. (2) If, on the other hand, there were children still incapable of confessing, baptism could not be administered to those to whom that, which was the necessary presupposition of baptism for Christian sanctification, was still wanting. (3) Such young children, whose parents were Christians, rather fell under the point of view of 1 Corinthians 7:14, according to which, in conformity with the view of the apostolic church, the children of Christians were no longer regarded as ἀκάθαρτοι, but as ἅγιοι, and that not on the footing of having received the character of holiness by baptism, but as having part in the Christian ἁγιότης by their fellowship with their Christian parents. See on 1 Cor. l.c. Besides, the circumcision of children must have been retained for a considerable time among the Jewish-Christians, according to Acts 21:21. Therefore (4) the baptism of the children of Christians, of which no trace is found in the N.T. (not even in Ephesians 6:1, in opposition to Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 192), is not to be held as an apostolic ordinance (Origen, in ep. ad Rom. lib. v.: “Ab apostolis traditione accepit ecclesia”), as, indeed, it encountered early and long resistance; but it is an institution of the church,[54] which gradually arose in post-apostolic times in connection with the development of ecclesiastical life (comp. Ehrenfeuchter, prakt. Theol. I. p. 82 f.) and of doctrinal teaching, not certainly attested before Tertullian, and by him still decidedly opposed, and, although already defended by Cyprian, only becoming general after the time of Augustine in virtue of that connection. Yet, even apart from the ecclesiastical premiss of a stern doctrine of original sin and of the devil going beyond Scripture, from which even exorcism arose, the continued maintenance of infant baptism, as the objective attribution of spiritually creative grace in virtue of the plan of salvation established for every individual in the fellowship of the church, is so much the more justified, as this objective attribution takes place with a view to the future subjective appropriation. And this subjective appropriation has so necessarily to emerge with the development of self-consciousness and of knowledge through faith, that in default thereof the church would have to recognise in the baptized no true members, but only membra mortua. This relation of connection with creative grace, in so far as the church is its sphere of operation, is a theme which, in presence of the attacks of Baptists and Rationalists, must overstep[55] the domain of exegesis (Matthew 18:14; Mark 10:13 ff.; Matthew 28:19; John 3:6; Romans 6:3 f.; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21[56]), and be worked out in that of dogmatics, yet without the addition of confirmation as any sort of supplement to baptism.

εἰ κεκρίκατε] if ye have judged. This judgment was formed either tacitly or openly on the ground of the whole conduct of Lydia even before her baptism,—the latter itself was a witness of it; hence the perfect is here entirely in order (in opposition to Kuinoel, Heinrichs, and others), and is not to be taken for the present.

εἰ, in the sense of ἐπεί, is here chosen with delicate modesty. Comp. Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 195.

με πιστ. τ. Κυρ εἶναι] that I am a believer in the Lord (Christ), i.e. giving faith to His word and His promise, which ye have proclaimed (Acts 16:13-14). Comp. Acts 16:34; Acts 18:8, where Bengel well remarks: “Ipse dominus Jesus testabatur per Paulum.”

παρεβιάσατο] Comp. Luke 24:29; 1 Samuel 28:23. The use of this purposely-chosen strong word, constraining, is not to be explained from the refusal at first of those requested (Chrysostom, Bengel, comp. Ewald), but from the vehement urgency of the feeling of gratitude.

[54] It is the most striking example of the recognition of historical tradition in the evangelical church. Comp. Holtzmann, Kanon u. Tradit. p. 399 ff.

[55] Comp. Martensen, d. christl. Taufe u. d. baptist. Frage, Gotha 1860, ed. 2, and Dogmat. § 255.

[56] See also Richter in the Stud. u. Krit. 1861, p. 225 ff.

Acts 16:15. ὁ οἶκος: as in the case of Cornelius, so here, the household is received as one into the fold of Christ, cf. Acts 16:33 and Acts 18:8. We cannot say whether children or not were included, although we may well ask with Bengel: “quis credat in tot familiis nullum fuisse infantem?” but nothing against infant baptism, which rests on a much more definite foundation, can be inferred from such cases, “Baptism,” Hastings’ B.D., p. 242. Possibly Euodia and Syntyche and the other women, Php 4:2-3, may have been included in the familia of Lydia, who may have employed many slaves and freed women in her trade.—εἰ κεκρίκατε: almost=since you have judged me, viz., by my baptism; or εἰ if instead of ἐπεὶ chosen with delicate modesty.—μείνατε: this has been called the first instance of the hospitality which was afterwards so characteristic of the early Church, and enforced by the words of St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. John alike; 1 Peter 4:9, Romans 12:13, 1 Timothy 5:10, etc., 3 John 1:5, cf. Clement, Cor[294], i., 17, and see Westcott on Hebrews 13:2, Uhlhorn, Charity in the Early Church, pp. 91, 325, E.T.; “Hospitality” in B.D.2, and Smith and Cheetham, Dict. of Christ. Antiq. Another trait is thus marked in the character of Lydia, the same generosity which afterwards no doubt made her one of the contributors to the Apostle’s necessities, as a member of a Church which so frequently helped him.—παρεβιάσατο: only used by St. Luke, once in Luke 24:29, in the same sense as here, cf. LXX, 1 Samuel 28:23, Genesis 19:9, 2 Kings 2:17; 2 Kings 5:16 (A omits). The word expresses urgency, but not compulsion (in classical Greek it is used of violent compulsion). The word may imply that Paul and his companions at first declined, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:9 (so Chrys., Bengel), although on occasion he accepted the aid of Christian friends, Php 4:15, and the hospitality of a Christian host, Romans 16:23; or it may refer to the urgent entreaty of Lydia in expression of her thankfulness.

[294] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

15. and her household] Of a like baptizing of a household see below (Acts 16:33), and also cp. Acts 11:14. We are not justified in concluding from these passages that infants were baptized. “Household” might mean slaves and freedwomen.

and abide there] Like the two disciples who followed Jesus (John 1:38) Lydia was anxious to have the teachers, whose lessons she found so suited to the needs of her opened heart, near unto her.

she constrained us] Used only by St Luke in N. T. here and Luke 24:29 of the two disciples at Emmaus. The force used was that of a prayer which would hear no “Nay.”

Acts 16:15. Οἶκος, her household) Who can believe that in so many families there was not a single infant? and that the Jews, who were accustomed to circumcise their infants, and the Gentiles, to purify their infants by washings (lustrations), did not also present them for baptism?—παρεκάλεσε, she besought) The mind of believers clings to those by whom they have been converted.—εἰ, if, seeing that) It expresses in this passage, not doubt, but the force of making petition.—κεκρίκατε, ye have judged) They had so judged, in the fact that they had conferred baptism on her.—παρεβιάσατο, she constrained) For the sake of avoiding appearance of evil, they did not immediately comply, lest they should seem to have come into Macedonia for the sake of livelihood.

Verse 15. - When she was baptized; showing that St. Paul, as St. Peter (Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 10:47), as Philip (Acts 8:38), as Ananias (Acts 22:16), as our Lord himself (Mark 16:16), had put holy baptism in the very forefront of his teaching (camp. Hebrews 6:2). And her household (comp. ver. 33; 1 Corinthians 1:16; 2 Timothy 4:19). This frequent mention of whole households as received into the Church seems necessarily to imply infant baptism. The exhortations to children as members of the Church in Ephesians 6:1, 2, and Colossians 3:20, lead to the same inference. Come into my house, etc. A beautiful specimen of true hospitality; comp. 1 Peter 4:9; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Timothy 5:10 3John 5-8; also 2 Kings 4:8-10, where, however, the Greek word for "constrained" is ἐκράτησεν, not as here παρεβίασατο, which only occurs elsewhere in the New Testament in Luke 24:29. In the LXX. it is used in 1 Samuel 28:23; Gem 19:3 (Cod. Alex.) 9 (in a different sense); 2 Kings 2:17; 2 Kings 5:16. Her large hospitality does not bear out Chrysostom's remark as to her humble station of lift,. Acts 16:15Constrained (παρεβιάσατο)

Only here and Luke 24:29, on which see note. The constraint was from ardent gratitude.

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