After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They assayed to go into Bithynia.—The verse describes very vividly the uncertainty produced day by day by this conflict between human plans and divine direction. Bithynia, lying to the north, had, like Pontus, a considerable Jewish population scattered along its shores, and they were inclined to take that as their next field of labour. They were led on, however, as before, westward and not northward. There is no record of any considerable halt in this stage of their journey, and they probably found few favourable openings in a district which, for great part of the way, presented only unimportant villages. The use of the archaic form “assayed” for “essayed,” or “attempted,” calls for a word of notice. (Comp. Acts 9:26.)
The Spirit suffered them not.—The better MSS. and versions give the reading, “the Spirit of Jesus,” which is of some dogmatic importance, as confirming the doctrine that the Spirit stands in the same relation to the Son as to the Father, and may therefore be spoken of either as the Spirit of God, or of Christ (Romans 8:9), or of Jesus.
They assayed - They endeavored; they attempted.
they assayed—or attempted
to go into—or, towards.
Bithynia—to the northeast.
but the Spirit—speaking as before.
suffered them not—probably because, (1) Europe was ripe for the labors of this missionary party; and (2) other instruments were to be honored to establish the Gospel in the eastern regions of Asia Minor, especially the apostle Peter (see 1Pe 1:1). By the end of the first century, as testified by Pliny the governor, Bithynia was filled with Christians. "This is the first time that the Holy Ghost is expressly spoken of as determining the course they were to follow in their efforts to evangelize the nations, and it was evidently designed to show that whereas hitherto the diffusion of the Gospel had been carried on in unbroken course, connected by natural points of junction, it was now to take a leap to which it could not be impelled but by an immediate and independent operation of the Spirit; and though primarily, this intimation of the Spirit was only negative, and referred but to the immediate neighborhood, we may certainly conclude that Paul took it for a sign that a new epoch was now to commence in his apostolic labors" [Baumgarten].Mysia; a little country near Troas.
Bithynia; another province nigh unto the same place, over against Thracia, bordering upon the Black Sea.
The Spirit; the Spirit of Jesus, or of God, as some copies read.
Suffered them not; the journeyings of them that preached the gospel, as well as their words, were directed by God; they might not say, Do, or Go, but according to the will of God. Genesis 10:2 for they say (e) Meshech, , "this is Mysia"; Pliny observes (f), that there are some authors who assert that the Mysians, Brygians, and Thynnians came out of Europe, from whom they are called Mysians, Phrygians, and Bithynians, in Asia. The inhabitants of Mysia were very despicable; hence the proverb, "ultimus Mysorum", "the last of the Mysians" (g), is used for a very mean and contemptible person. The apostle was willing to preach to the wise and unwise, and disdained not to carry the Gospel to the meanest part of mankind.
They assayed to go into Bithynia; another country in Asia Minor; it makes one province with Pontus, and has the same boundaries; Pontus being at the east, and Bithynia at the west: it was bounded on the north with the Euxine sea, on the east with Galatia, on the south with Asia properly so called, and on the west with the Propontis; according to Pliny (h) it was called Cronia, afterwards Thessalis, then Maliande, (perhaps Mariandyne), and Strymonis; and Herodotus (i) reports, that the Thracians going into Asia were called Bithynians, who were first called (as they say) Strymonians, inhabiting Strymon; according to Jerom (k), it was formerly called Bebrycia, then Mygdonia, and Phrygia Major, and by the river Iera, or, as Pliny calls it, Hieras, is divided from Galatia; to which agrees Solinus (l) who says it was before Bebrycia, afterwards Migdonia, and now Bithynia, from Bithynus the king; the king; though others say, it was so called from Bithyne, a daughter of Jupiter;
but the Spirit suffered them not; the Alexandrian copy, and Beza's most ancient copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions read, "the Spirit of Jesus": so that it was not an evil spirit, or Satan, that hindered them, who sometimes did; but they were under the direction and guidance of the divine Spirit, called, in the preceding verse, the Holy Ghost; however, the Gospel was preached here afterwards, and churches formed; of which See Gill on 1 Peter 1:1.
(a) Geograph. l. 3. c. 9, 10. (b) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 30. (c) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. E. (d) Herodotus, l. 1. c. 171. (e) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 10. 1.((f) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 32. (g) Ciceron. Orat. 24. pro. L. Flacco, p. 785. (h) Ib. (i) Polymnia, c. 75. (k) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 95. L. (l) Polyhistor. c. 54.After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 16:7. κατὰ τὴν Μ.: “over against Mysia,” R.V., i.e., opposite Mysia, or perhaps, on the outskirts of Mysia, cf. Acts 27:7, and Herod., i., 76, κατὰ Σινώπην, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 194, Wendt, p. 354 (1888), and Gifford, u. s., p. 13. If we read εἰς for κατά (2), it means that they endeavoured to go out of Asia into the Roman province Bithynia on the north, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 195.—ἐπείραζον: for a similar use of the verb cf. Acts 9:26, Acts 24:6.—τὸ Πνεῦμα, add Ἰησοῦ, see critical note. Doctrinally, the expression shows that the Spirit may be called the Spirit of Christ, Romans 8:9, or of Jesus, no less than the Spirit of God, Rom., l. c., Matthew 10:20; see Westcott, Historic Faith, p. 106.7. were come to Mysia] The Greek scarcely says this. The preposition would be better rendered over against. The course of the journey seems to have been through Galatia and Phrygia, until they got so far to the west as to be opposite to, and on the borders of, Mysia. From this point they were inclined to go north into Bithynia, rather than further to the west, but were again hindered of their intention.
they assayed] i.e. ‘made the attempt,’ ‘tried.’ Cp. Coverdale’s Works (Parker Soc.), p. 113: “As long as the physician hath any hope of the recovery of his patient, he assayeth all manner of means and medicines with him.”
but the Spirit suffered them not] The oldest authorities read “the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not.” In like manner (Romans 8:9) the “Spirit of God” is called also the “Spirit of Christ.” Cp. also Galatians 4:6; Php 1:19; 1 Peter 1:11.Acts 16:7. Μυσίαν, Mysia) as being a part of Asia.—[ἐπείραζον, they tried) If they had been accustomed to use casting of lots, they would not have neglected to try the matter (put it to the proof) in this way, at least in this place.—V. g.]—Βιθυνίαν, Bithynia) a province distinct from Asia: 1 Peter 1:1. Otherwise they would not have tried [assayed: viz. after having been forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach in Asia].—οὐκ εἴασε, suffered them not) just as in Asia.Verse 7. - And when for after, A.V. and T.R.; come over against (κατὰ) for come to, A.V.; and the Spirit of Jesus for but the Spirit, A.V. and T.R. But the phrase, "the Spirit of Jesus," occurs nowhere in the New Testament, and is on that account very improbable here, though there is considerable manuscript authority for it. It is accepted by Meyer and Alford and Wordsworth, following Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, etc.
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