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Lydia of Philippi
Bible Passage Acts 16:11-15
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books Acts, Philippians, Thessalonians.

Lydia of Philippi

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached November 24, 2022

11 Therefore, after sailing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and on the next day to Neapolis;

12 And from there we went to Philippi, which is the primary city in that part of Macedonia, and a colony. And we stayed in this city for a number of days.

13 Then on the day of the weeks we went outside the city by a river, where it was customary for prayer to be made; and after sitting down, we spoke to the women who were gathered together there.

14 And a certain woman who worshiped God was listening; she was named Lydia and was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira; whose heart the Lord opened to receive the things spoken by Paul.

15 And after she and her household were baptized, she besought us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and lodge there.” And she constrained us.


Paul’s mission was itinerant. With some others, he moved from one place to the other to preach the message of God. The text for today is part of Paul’s missionary work in Europe. The use of the pronoun ‘we’ in verse 11 indicates that Luke the author of the book was also joined the team that left Troas for Samothracia.

Samothracia was an island with mountains. They did not stay there. They sailed on to Neapolis in Macedonia. Neapolis was the port for Philippi. Philippi was 16 kilometres (10 miles) away from the coast.

The Romans had divided Macedonia into 4 districts with different rulers. Philippi was ‘a city in the first district in Macedonia’. It was an important city, but it was not the capital. Thessalonica was the capital of Macedonia. Philippi was on a long road called the Egnatian Way.

Luke writes that Philippi was a Roman colony. A Roman colony used Roman law because they were governed by Romans.

Luke’s home appears to have been in Philippi, the city to which the group was now heading (verse 11-12). It seems that Philippi had few Jews and no synagogue, but a group of God-fearers met for prayer at the river bank.

To set up a synagogue, there had to be 10 men or more. This was a Jewish rule. But in Philippi, only women met together. They could not set up a synagogue, so they met by the river.

The missionaries joined with them and made known to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result a cloth merchant named Lydia became a Christian and, through her, her household also believed (verse 13-15).

The Jews thought that men were more clever and important. So it was not usual that the missionaries should join a group of women and teach them. But Paul did it!

Luke, in his gospel tells how Jesus often spoke to women. Jesus cared about women as much as He cared about men. In ancient times, people did not consider women as important. But Luke shows that women are very important to God.

Lydia had her own business. She traded in purple cloth. So the colour that appears in today’s text is purple. Purple was a very expensive colour because it was difficult to make. Purple cloth was a luxury. Only rich people could afford it. So, Lydia was probably wealthy too.

Lydia was described as ‘worshipped God’ which means that she was a God-fearer.

‘The Lord opened her heart’ in verse 14 means that the Holy Spirit was working in her. When a person believes the gospel, the Holy Spirit makes that happen.

We must tell to people the good news about Jesus. We may be able to do this very well. Or we may think that it is difficult to do. But we must remember this: Paul said that the gospel comes ‘not only with words. But it also comes with power. And it comes with the Holy Spirit’ (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

‘She and all the people in her house’ means her family. And it also means the people who worked for her. She probably had a large house. So, she invited the missionaries to stay in her home. That is how the church in Philippi began. It began with just one woman, who accepted Christ as her Saviour. It grew and it became a large church (Philippians 1:1). And its members were generous (Philippians 4:15-16). Your mega church you’re seeing today was started by a few who sacrificed.

🔷 Believers must not fear to start small. Someone must start something and have hope that it grows

🔷 We must be receptive to the message of God as well as be generous to those who carry the message to us

🔷 Women are not inferior; they must not feel so and men must not make them feel so

🔷 We must use our wealth to voluntarily support God’s people and help the work of God

🔷 We must invite others too to taste the Christ we have met and experienced

💥 Pray that everything you begin should grow to help many
💥Pray for Christian women leaders

We should not sit to give excuses but rather make use of whatever we have available to cause a change or start something. With faith, the little beginnings will have wonderful endings by God’s power.

In series Bright Morning Reflections