Acts 16:40
And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.
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(40) They comforted them, and departed.—Lydia’s house appears to have been the meeting-place of the brethren, as well as the lodging of the Apostle and his party. As the third person is now resumed, we may infer that St. Luke remained at Philippi, Timothy accompanying the other two. It would seem from Acts 20:2 that the Evangelist made Philippi the centre of his evangelising work for many years. Under the care of the beloved physician, the good work went on, and we may probably trace to his influence, and to Lydia’s kindness, the generous help which was sent to St. Paul once and again when he was at Thessalonica (Philippians 4:15-16), and, probably, at Corinth also (2Corinthians 11:9). Long years afterwards he cherished a grateful memory of the men and women who had laboured with him at Philippi. Among these we may think of the Clement, of whom he thus speaks, possibly identical with the Flavius Clemens, who occupies a prominent position among the apostolic fathers, and was traditionally the third Bishop of Rome. (See, however, Note on Philippians 4:3.)

Acts 16:40. And they went out, &c. — The servants of Christ, being honourably cleared from every crime by this public release, left the prison quietly, and went to the house of Lydia — With whom they had lodged before; and when they had seen the brethren — The disciples whom they had made; they comforted them — By rehearsing what God had done both for them and by them, in prison; and exhorted them (as the word also signifies) to steadfastness in the faith, and such exemplary conduct as Christianity always requires, and was peculiarly suitable to their present circumstances; and then they departed — Though many circumstances now invited their stay at Philippi; yet they showed great wisdom in complying with the request of the magistrates, that they might not seem to express any degree of obstinacy or revenge, or give any suspicion of a design to stir up the people.

We may observe here, that of all the churches planted by Paul, this at Philippi seems to have loved and respected him the most. The sufferings he had undergone in their city, for the sake of giving them the knowledge of the gospel, more precious than gold, greatly endeared him to them. Accordingly, while he was at Thessalonica, they sent him money twice, that, by making the gospel without expense to the Thessalonians, they might give the more heed to the things which Paul spake, when they found him a teacher of a different character from the Greek philosophers, who taught only for hire. They likewise sent him money during his first imprisonment at Rome, that he might want nothing necessary for him. In short, the injurious treatment which Paul and Silas met with in this first city of Europe, where they had preached, was abundantly compensated by the readiness of mind with which many of its inhabitants received the gospel; and by the excellent disposition which they showed after their conversion, in the great love which they all along expressed toward their spiritual father.

16:35-40 Paul, though willing to suffer for the cause of Christ, and without any desire to avenge himself, did not choose to depart under the charge of having deserved wrongful punishment, and therefore required to be dismissed in an honourable manner. It was not a mere point of honour that the apostle stood upon, but justice, and not to himself so much as to his cause. And when proper apology is made, Christians should never express personal anger, nor insist too strictly upon personal amends. The Lord will make them more than conquerors in every conflict; instead of being cast down by their sufferings, they will become comforters of their brethren.They comforted them - They exhorted them, and encouraged them to persevere, notwithstanding the opposition and persecution which they might meet with.

And departed - That is, Paul and Silas departed. It would appear probable that Luke and Timothy remained in Philippi, or, at least, did not attend Paul and Silas. For Luke, who, in Acts 16:10, uses the first person, and speaks of himself as with Paul and Silas, speaks of them now in the third person, implying that he was not with them until Paul had arrived at Troas, where Luke joined him from Philippi, Acts 20:5-6. In Acts 17:14, also, Timothy is mentioned as being at Berea in company with Silas, from which it appears that he did not accompany Paul and Silas to Thessalonica. Compare Acts 17:1, Acts 17:4. Paul and Silas, when they departed from Philippi, went to Thessalonica, Acts 17:1.

40. And they went out of the prison—Having attained their object—to vindicate their civil rights, by the infraction of which in this case the Gospel in their persons had been illegally affronted—they had no mind to carry the matter farther. Their citizenship was valuable to them only as a shield against unnecessary injuries to their Master's cause. What a beautiful mixture of dignity and meekness is this! Nothing secular, which may be turned to the account of the Gospel, is morbidly disregarded; in any other view, nothing of this nature is set store by:—an example this for all ages.

and entered into the house of Lydia—as if to show by this leisurely proceeding that they had not been made to leave, but were at full liberty to consult their own convenience.

and when they had seen the brethren—not only her family and the jailer's, but probably others now gained to the Gospel.

they comforted them—rather, perhaps, "exhorted" them, which would include comfort. "This assembly of believers in the house of Lydia was the first church that had been founded in Europe" [Baumgarten].

and departed—but not all; for two of the company remained behind (see on [2038]Ac 17:14): Timotheus, of whom the Philippians "learned the proof" that he honestly cared for their state, and was truly like-minded with Paul, "serving with him in the Gospel as a son with his father" (Php 2:19-23); and Luke, "whose praise is in the Gospel," though he never praises himself or relates his own labors, and though we only trace his movements in connection with Paul, by the change of a pronoun, or the unconscious variation of his style. In the seventeenth chapter the narrative is again in the third person, and the pronoun is not changed to the second till we come to Ac 20:5. The modesty with which Luke leaves out all mention of his own labors need hardly be pointed out. We shall trace him again when he rejoins Paul in the same neighborhood. His vocation as a physician may have brought him into connection with these contiguous coasts of Asia and Europe, and he may (as Mr. Smith suggests, "Shipwreck," &c.) have been in the habit of exercising his professional skill as a surgeon at sea [Howson].

Ac 15:41-16:5. Visitation of the Churches Formerly Established, Timotheus Here Joining the Missionary Party.

41. he went through Syria and Cilicia—(See on [2030]Ac 15:23). Taking probably the same route as when despatched in haste from Jerusalem to Tarsus, he then went by land (see on [2031]Ac 9:30).

Entered into the house of Lydia; of whom, Acts 16:14. They do not shun dangers, so as to neglect their duty. They comforted them, in respect of the tribulation they had endured, and were still to endure; or exhorted them to prepare for suffering, and to submit unto God in it, and to make a holy use of it.

And they went out of the prison,.... In a public manner, with great honour and reputation, at the request of the magistrates that put them there:

and entered into the house of Lydia; whom Paul had baptized, Acts 16:14. The word "house" is rightly supplied, for the sense is not, that they went into the country of Lydia, as some have been tempted to think; but they went to the woman Lydia, whose heart the Lord had opened, and was become a disciple and follower of Christ; they went to her house it being in the city of Philippi, where she now abode,

and when they had seen the brethren: the men of Lydia's house, her servants, who were converted, and had been baptized with her, and are therefore called brethren; and whomsoever else they might have been instrumental in the conversion of, who might meet them in Lydia's house: in Beza's above mentioned copy, it is here added, "they declared what the Lord had done for them"; they related the earthquake and the effects of it, and how they had been useful for the conversion of the jailer and his family, who had been baptized by them, and by what means they were released from prison; all which they ascribe to the Lord, who has all power, and the hearts of all in his hands: and thus,

they comforted them; with what God had done for them, or exhorted them: to cleave to the Lord, to continue in the faith, and abide by the truths and ordinances of the Gospel:

and departed; that is, out of the city of Philippi; this is wanting in the Syriac and Arabic versions here, but is placed in the beginning of the next chapter: and now these two families, Lydia's and the jailer's, laid the foundation of a Gospel church in this city of Philippi, and which continued for ages after; Erastus, of whom mention is made in Acts 19:22 is said to be bishop of this church, and it may be also Epaphroditus, for there were more bishops than one in this church in the apostle's time, Philippians 1:1, in the "second" century there was a church, to which Ignatius and Polycarp are said to send epistles; and there are epistles to the Philippians which go under their names, that are still extant: in the "third" century, Tertullian (o), among other churches, makes mention of the church at Philippi, as sound in the faith; and in the "fourth" and "fifth" centuries we read of a church in this place; in the "seventh" century, when it went by the name of Chrysopolis, there was a church in it, and a bishop of it, who was present at the sixth council in Constantinople; there were Christians dwelling here in the "ninth" century (p).

(o) De praescript. Heret. c. 36. (p) Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 6. & cent. 5. c. 2. p. 6. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3, 5. cent. 9. c. 2. p. 4.

{22} And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

(22) We may avoid dangers in such a way that we never neglect our duty.

Acts 16:40. Before they comply with the ἐξελθεῖν τῆς πόλεως (Acts 16:39), the apostolic heartfelt longing constrains them first to repair to the house of Lydia, to exhort (παρεκάλεσαν) the new converts assembled there that they should not become wavering in their Christian confession. And from this house grew the church, to which, of all that Paul founded, he has erected the most eulogistic monument in his Epistle—in this sense also the first church which he established in Europe.

ἐξῆλθον] Only Paul and Silas, as they alone were affected by the inquiry, appear now to have departed from Philippi. Luke at least, as the use of the third person teaches us, did not go with them. Paul left him behind to build up the youthful church. Whether, however, Timothy (Acts 16:1 ff.) also remained behind, cannot be determined. He is not again named until Acts 17:14, but he may nevertheless have already departed from Philippi, and need not necessarily have rejoined them till in Beroea or Thessalonica.


In the rejection of the entire history as history Baur and Zeller (comp. Hausrath) essentially agree; it is alleged to be formed in accordance with Acts 12:7 ff., as an apologetic parallelism of Paul with Peter. But as Philippian persecutions are mentioned also in 1 Thessalonians 2:2, the opinions formed by them concerning the relation of the two passages are opposite. Baur makes 1 Thessalonians 2:2 to be derived from the narrative before us; whereas Zeller, considering the Epistles to the Thessalonians as older, supposes the author of the Acts to have “concocted” (p. 258) his narrative from 1 Thessalonians 2:2.

Acts 16:40. εἰς, see critical notes; they would not leave the city without once more visiting the household out of which grew the Church dearest to St. Paul; see Lightfoot’s remarks on the growth of the Church from “the Church in the house,” Philippians, pp. 57, 58.—ἐξῆλθον: the third person indicates that the narrator of the “We” section, Acts 16:9-10, remained at Philippi, Timothy probably accompanying Paul and Silas. In Acts 20:5 we again have ἡμᾶς introduced, and the inference is that St. Luke remained at Philippi during the interval, or at least for a part of it; and it is reasonable to infer that he laboured there in the Gospel, although he modestly refrains (as elsewhere) from any notice of his own work. The Apostle’s first visit to Philippi represented in epitome the universality of the Gospel, so characteristic of St. Luke’s record of our Lord’s teaching, and so characteristic of the mind of St. Paul. Both from a religious and social point of view the conversions at Philippi are full of significance. The Jew could express his thankfulness in his morning prayer that God had not made him a Gentile—a woman—a slave. But at Philippi St. Paul taught in action the principle which he enforced in his Galatian Epistle, Galatians 3:28, and again in writing to the Colossians 3:11 : “Christ was all and in all”; in Him the soothsaying slave-girl, the proselyte of Thyatira, the Roman jailor, were each and all the children of God, and fellow-citizens with the saints, Lightfoot, Introduction to Philippians; Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, pp. 15, 26, 137 (second edition).

The narrative of St. Paul’s visit to Philippi has been made the object of attack from various quarters. Most of the objections have been stated and met by Professor Ramsay, and a summary of them with their refutation is aptly given in a recent article by Dr. Giesekke (Studien und Kritiken, 1898) described at length in the Expository Times, March, 1898, see also Knabenbauer, pp. 292, 293. The view that the narrative is simply a fiction modelled upon the escape of St. Peter in Acts 4:31; Acts 4:12 is untenable in face of the many differences in the narratives (see the points of contrast in Nösgen, Apostel geschichte, pp. 315, 316). (Schneckenburger in his list of parallels between Peter and Paul in Acts apparently makes no mention of the supposed parallel here.) Zeller’s attempt to connect the narrative with the story in Lucian’s Toxaris, c. 27, is still more absurd, cf. Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte, p. 262 (second edition), and Farrar, St. Paul, i., 501, whilst more recently Schmiedel (1898) attempts to find a parallel in Euripides, Bacchæ, 436–441, 502, 602–628, see Wendt’s note, p. 282 (1899). Weizsäckcr boldly refuses to admit even the imprisonment as a fact, and regards only the meeting of Paul with the soothsayer as historical. But it should be noted that he allows the Apostle’s intercourse with Lydia and his instruction of the women to be genuine historical incidents, and he makes the important remark that the name of Lydia is the more credible, since the Philippian Epistle seems to support the idea that women received Paul and contributed to the planting of the Church (Apostolic Age, i., 284, E.T.). Holtzmann represents in a general manner the standpoint of modern advanced criticism, when he divides the narrative of the events at Philippi into two parts, the one concerned with events transacted under the open heaven, belonging not only to the “We” source but bearing also the stamp of reality, whilst the other part is not guaranteed by the “We” source, and is full of legendary matter. Thus Acts 16:25-34 are dismissed as a later addition, and Ramsay’s fresh and careful explanations are dismissed by Holtzmann as “humbug”! Theologische Literaturzeitung, No. 7, 1899.

Additional Note.—Chap. Acts 16:12, “which is a city of Macedonia, the first of the district,” R.V. This might mean, so far as πρώτη is concerned, that Philippi was the city nearest in the district, and the city which they first reached. Neapolis, which actually came first on the route, was not generally regarded as Macedonian but Thracian; so Lightfoot, Rendall, O. Holtzmann. Or it might also mean that it was “the chief” (A.V.), the leading city of its division of Macedonia (Ramsay). Here again Ramsay sees a proof of St. Luke’s intimate acquaintance with the rivalries of the Greek cities, and of his special interest in Philippi. In B.C. 167 the province Macedonia had been divided by the Romans into four districts, μερίς, and even if this division were obsolete at the time, another would be likely to succeed to it (so Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 158, as against Lightfoot, Phil., p. 50, who takes πρώτη as denoting not the political but the geographical position of Philippi.) At this time Amphipolis was the chief (πρώτη) city of the district to which both it and Philippi belonged, but though Amphipolis held the rank, Philippi claimed the same title, a case of rivalry between two or even three cities which often occurred. This single passage Ramsay regards as conclusive of the claims of Philippi, see St. Paul, p. 207, and Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, ii., 429. As to whether μερίς can be used in the sense of a division of a province, cf. Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 158, and the instances quoted from Egypt, and also Expositor, October, 1897, p. 320, as against Hort’s limitation of the term. Hort, W.H[301], App. 96 (to whose view Rendall inclines, cf. also Zahn, Einleitung, i., p. 375), thinks that μερίδος must be a corruption, and proposes Πιερίδος, Pieria being an ancient name of that part of Macedonia; but he declines to draw any positive conclusion in its favour. Wendt, following Meyer, regards πρώτη as signifying rank, and so far he is in agreement with Ramsay. But as Amphipolis was really the chief town of the district, he contends that πόλις κολωνία might be taken as one phrase (see also Hackett, Overbeck, Weiss, Holtzmann), and so he regards the whole expression as signifying that Philippi is spoken of as the most considerable colony-town in that district of Macedonia, whilst he agrees with Hort and Lightfoot in maintaining that πρώτη is only classical as an absolute title of towns in Asia Minor. This Ramsay allows, but the title was frequent in Asia and Cilicia, and might easily have been used elsewhere, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 156; Holtzmann quite admits that the term may have been applied as in Asian towns to signify the enjoyment of certain privileges. For Ramsay’s criticism of Codex [302], which substitutes κεφαλὴ τῆς Μ. and omits μερίδος altogether, see Church in the Roman Empire, pp. 156, 157, and Expositor, u. s., κεφαλή being evidently substituted because the term πρώτη is ambiguous, and so liable to be misunderstood. Blass himself finds fault with , and also considers πρώτη wrong, not only because Amphipolis was superior in rank, but because Thessalonica was called πρώτη Μακεδόνων, C. T. Gr[303], 1967. But this would not prevent the rivalry amongst other towns in the various subdivisions of the province. Blass reads in β πρώτης μερίδος (a reading which Lightfoot thinks might deserve some consideration, though unsupported, if the original Roman fourfold division of the provinces were still maintained, see above, p. 355), and takes it as referring to Philippi as a city of the first of the four regiones.

[301] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[302] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[303] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

40. into the house of Lydia] Waiting there probably till they were fit to travel farther. But in the midst of the suffering they still exhort and comfort the Christians whom in their stay they had gathered into a church.

How deep the mutual affection which existed between St Paul and these Philippians, his first European converts, is manifest in every line of the Epistle which he wrote to them from Rome in his first imprisonment. They are his greatest joy, they have given him no cause for sorrow, and from first to last have ministered to his afflictions, and made manifest how they prized their “Father in Christ.” The jubilant language of the letter is marked by the oft-repeated “Rejoice in the Lord.”

Acts 16:40. Ἐκ τῆς φυλακῆς, out of the prison) out of the place or state of imprisonment whither they had betaken themselves (Acts 16:34), in order not to cause danger to the gaoler (by staying in his house): or else from the higher part of the house.—ἴδοντες, having seen) They show thereby that they were not forced to be in a hurry.—τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς, the brethren) the companions of their journey, or those recently converted.—παρεκάλεσαν, they comforted them) that they should not be offended (caused to stumble) at adversities.

Verse 40. - Departed; i.e. from Philippi, according to the magistrates' request in ver. 39. This is much clearer in the T.R. and A.V. than in the Revised Text and Version, because the same word, ἐξελθεῖν, is used in both places. The R.T. in ver. 39 - ἀπελθεῖν ἀπὸ destroys the reference, and rather suggests that they merely" went out "of Lydia's house, which they had "entered into." It appears from the first verse of Acts 17. ("they had passed," etc.) that St. Luke stopped at Philippi, and probably made it his head-quarters till St. Paul's last journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem, some six or seven years later (Acts 20:6). What became of Timothy we are not expressly told, only we find him at Beroea in Acts 17:14 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5; and at Corinth (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:6). Probably he accompanied St. Paul, but is not named, being still only a subordinate person in the mission.

Acts 16:40They went out

Note that Luke here resumes the third person, implying that he did not accompany them.

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