Acts 16:7
After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
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(7) 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.

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.Mysia - This was a province of Asia Minor, having Propontis on the north, Bithynia on the east, Lydia on the south, and the Aegean Sea on the west.

They assayed - They endeavored; they attempted.

Into Bithynia - A province of Asia Minor lying east of Mysia.

7. After they were come to Mysia—where, as being part of Roman Asia, they were forbidden to labor (Ac 16:8).

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. After they were come to Mysia,.... Another country in Asia Minor. It is divided by Ptolomy (a) into two parts; superior Mysia is bounded by Dalmatia on the west, by Macedonia on the south, by part of Thrace on the east, and by part of the river Danube on the north; inferior Mysia is bounded on the west with part of the river Ciaber and the Danube, on the south with part of Thrace, on the north with the turn of the river Tyra, and on the east with the Euxine Pontus; but this was the European Mysia: the Mysia which seems here intended, was divided into the lesser Mysia by the Hellespont, and had Troas on the south; and into the greater Mysia by Olympus, which was bounded on the west with the lesser Mysia and Troas, on the east with Bithynia, and on the south with Asia, properly so called. By Pliny (b) it is called Aeolis, and so Jerom says (c), it was in his times; sometimes it is called Abretta and Abrettina, and of later years Thya, or Thyria: some suggest it has its name of Mysia from Mysus, the brother of Car (d), the father of the Carions; but according to the Talmudists, it had its name from Meshech, the son of Japheth, 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.
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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