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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Acts 16



Verse 1

came . . . to = arrived at. Greek. katantao. Occurs nine times in Acts, four times in Paul"s epistles. Always accompanied by eis, except Acts 20:15.

named = by name.

Timotheus. From this time closely associated with Paul in the ministry (Romans 16:21). He was probably one of his converts at his previous visit (Acts 14:7). Compare my own son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2). In six of Paul"s epistles Timothy is joined with him in the opening salutation. His name, which means honour of God, or valued by God (time and theos), suggests the important part he was to take in the revelation of God"s eternal purpose.

son. Greek. huios. App-108.

certain. Texts omit.

and believed = a believer. Greek. pistos. App-150. Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5), as well as her mother Lois, had instructed Timothy in the Holy Scriptures from his infancy (2 Timothy 3:15).

Greek : i.e. a Gentile (Greek. Hellen). His influence doubtless prevented Timothy"s being circumcised when eight days old.

Verse 2

well reported of = borne witness to. Greek. martureo. See p. 1511.

at = in. Greek. en. App-104.

Verse 3

would Paul have = Paul purposed. Greek. thelo. App-102.

go forth. Greek. exerchomai.

because of. Greek. dia. App-104. Acts 16:2.

quarters = places.

knew. Greek. oida. App-132.

was = was by race. Greek. kuparcho. See note on Luke 9:48.

Verse 4

went through = were going through. Greek. diaporeuomai. Occurs elsewhere Luke 6:1; Luke 13:22; Luke 18:36, Romans 15:24.

decrees, or edicts. Greek. dogma. Occurs also Acts 17:7. Luke 2:1. Ephesians 2:15. Colossians 2:14.

keep = observe, or guard. Greek. phulasso.

ordained = decided. Greek. krino. App-122.

of = by, as in Acts 16:2.

apostles, &c. App-189.

Verse 5

And so, &c. = The churches indeed therefore.

churches. App-186.

established. Greek. stereoo. See note on Acts 3:7; Acts 14:22. A medical word.

faith. App-150.

daily. Greek. kath" (App-104.) hemeran, i.e. day by day.

Verse 6

Now, &c. The texts read, "They went through".

the region of Galatia = the Galatian country.

forbidden = hindered.

the Holy Ghost. App-101.

preach = speak. Greek. laleo. App-121.

word. Greek. logos. App-121.

Asia. See note on Acts 2:9.

Verse 7

After they were = Having.

to = down to. Greek. kata. App-104. to the border of Mysia. Revised Version "over against".

assayed = were attempting. Greek. peirazo. See Acts 15:10.

into. Greek. kata, as above, but the texts read eis.

Bithynia. The province of Bithynia and Pontns, lying on the S. E. shores of the Propontis (Sea of Marmora), and the south shore of the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea)

the Spirit = the Holy Spirit. App-101. The texts add "of Jesus", but it was the same Spirit Who sent Paul and Barnabas forth from Antioch (Acts 13:2, Acts 13:4), and had already hindered Paul and Silas (verses: Acts 16:6, Acts 16:7). The Spirit promised by the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:33. John 16:7).

Verse 8

Troas. Alexandreia Troas, the port on the coast of Mysia, about thirty miles south of the Dardanelles. Now Eski stamboul.

Verse 9

vision. Greek. horama. See note on Acts 7:31. It has been suggested that Paul had met Luke, and that it was he who was seen in the vision.

appeared to = was seen by. Greek. horao. App-133.

in = through. Greek. dia. App-104. Acts 16:1.

There stood, &c. = A certain (Greek. tis. App-123.) man (Greek. aner. App-123.), a Macedonian, was standing.

prayed = praying. App-134.

Verse 10

after = when.

had seen = saw. Greek. eidon. App-133.

we. Here Luke comes upon the scene.

endeavoured = sought.

assuredly gathering. Greek. sumbibazo. See note on Acts 9:22.

the Lord. App-98., but the texts read "God".

for to . . . them. Literally to evangelize them. Greek. euangelizo. App-121.

Verse 11

loosing. See note on Acts 13:13.

came, &c. = ran direct. Greek. euthudromeo. Only here and Acts 21:1. i.e. ran before the wind.

Samothracia. The highest in elevation of the northern AEgean islands, midway between Troas and Philippi.

next. See note on Acts 7:26.

Neapolis. The harbour of Philippi, distant about ten miles away. The first European soil trodden by Paul It had taken two days with a favourable wind. Compare Acts 20:6.

Verse 12

Philippi. The scene of the decisive battle which ended the Roman republic 42 B.C.

the chief city, &c. Literally the first of the district, a city of Macedonia, a colony. Amphipolis had been the chief city, and was still a rival of Philippi.

colony. Greek. kolonia. Only here. A Roman military settlement. The word survives in the names of some places in England, e.g. Lincoln. These colonies were settlements of old soldiers and others established by Augustus to influence the native people. Hence the significance of Acts 16:37.

abiding. Greek. diatribo. See note on Acts 12:19.

Verse 13

on the sabbatb = on the (first) day of the sabbaths. See note on John 20:1.

out of. Greek. exo, without.

city. The texts read "gate".

by a river side = beside (Greek. para. App-104.) the river. No art. because the river (the Gangas) was well known to Luke.

where, &c. The texts read "where we reckoned prayer would be". See note on Acts 14:19.

prayer. Greek. proseuche. App-134. Here a place of prayer.

spake. Greek. laleo. App-121.

unto = to.

resorted thither = came together.

Verse 14

seller of purple. Greek. porphuropolis. Only here. The celebrated purple dye was made from the murex, a shell-fish. Referred to by Homer.

Thyatira. On the Lycus in Lydia. Inscriptions of the guild of Dyers at Thyatira.

which worshipped = one worshipping. Greek. sebomai. App-137. No doubt a proselyte.

God. App-98.

heard = was hearing.

opened = opened effectually. Greek. dianoigo. Only here, Acts 17:3. Mark 7:34, Mark 7:35. Luke 2:23; Luke 24:31, Luke 24:32, Luke 24:45.

Verse 15

baptized. App-115.

besought. Greek. parakaleo. App-134.

judged. Greek. krino. App-122.

faithful. Greek. pistos. App-150.

abide. Greek. meno. See p. 1511.

constrained. Greek. parabiazomai. Only here and Luke 24:29. Hindered in Asia their first convert is an Asiatic.

Verse 16

damsel. Greek. paidiske. See note on Acts 12:13. read "a spirit, a Python". The Python was a serpent destroyed, according to Greek Mythology, by Apollo, who was hence called Pythius, and the priestess at the famous temple at Delph was called the Pythoness. Through her the oracle was delivered. See an instance of these oracular utterances in Pember"s Earth"s Earliest Ages, ch. XII. The term Python became equivalent to a soothsaying demon, as in the case of this slave-girl who had an evil spirit as "control". She would be nowadays called a medium. The Lord"s commission in Mark 16 was to cast out demons (Acts 16:17). To say that the girl was a ventriloquist, who was disconcerted, and so lost her power, shows what shifts are resorted to in order to get rid of the supernatural.

masters = owners. Greek. kurios. App-98.

gain. Greek. ergasia = work; hence, wages, pay. Only here, Acts 16:19; Acts 19:24, Acts 19:25. Luke 12:58. Ephesians 4:19.

soothsaying = fortune-telling. Greek. manteuomai. Only here. In Septuagint used of false prophets. Deuteronomy 18:10. 1 Samuel 28:8, &c.

Verse 17

The same = This one.

followed . . . and = following persistently. Greek. katakoloutheo. Only here and Luke 23:55.

cried = kept crying, i.e. the demon in her. Compare Matthew 8:29. Luke 4:33.

men. Greek. anthropos. App-123.

servants = bond-servants. Greek. doulos. App-190.

Most High God. See note on Luke 1:32 and compare Mark 5:7. Not necessarily a testimony to the true God, as the term was applied to Zeus.

shew = proclaim. Greek. katangello. App-121.

us. The texts read "you".

salvation. Compare Luke 4:34, where a demon testifies to the Lord, to discredit Him.

Verse 18

did = was doing.

many = for (Greek. epi. App-104.) many.

grieved = worn out with annoyance. Greek. diaponeomai. Only here and Acts 4:2.

command. Greek. parangello. See note on Acts 1:4.

the name. See note on Acts 2:38.

Jesus Christ. App-98.

out of = out from. Greek. apo. App-104.

Verse 19

was gone = came out. Same word as in Acts 16:18. Perhaps the demon rent and tore her in coming out, as in Mark 9:26. Luke 9:42.

caught = laid hold on.

drew = dragged. Greek. helkuo. Compare Acts 21:30, where helko, the classical form, is used, and see note on John 12:32.

marketplace. Greek. agora. Where the courts were held. Latin. forum.

rulers = authorities. Greek. archon.

Verse 20

brought. Greek. prosago. Only here, Acts 27:27. Luke 9:41. 1 Peter 3:18.

magistrates. These were Romans. Greek. strategos. Showing Luke"s accuracy. The magistrates of this colony bore the same title as at Rome, praetors, for which strategos is the Greek rendering, though before this it is applied to the captain of the Temple guard.

being. Greek. huparcho. See note on Luke 9:48.

exceedingly trouble. Greek. ektarasso. Only here. It suggests that a riot was feared.

Verse 21

teach = proclaim. Same as "shew" (Acts 16:17).

customs. Greek. ethos. See note on Acts 6:14.

are = it is.

receive. Greek. paradechomai. Only here, Acts 22:18. Mark 4:20. 1 Timothy 5:19. Hebrews 12:6.

neither. Greek. oude.

observe = do. being. Greek. eimi. Note the distinction. These men, being Jews to begin with . . . us who are Romans, as is well known.

Verse 22

multitude = crowd. Greek. ochlos.

rose up together. Greek. sunephistemi. Only here.

against. Greek. kata. App-104.

rent off. Greek. perirregnumi. Only here.

beat them = beat them with rods. Greek. rabdizo. Only here and 2 Corinthians 11:25. The lictors who attended on the praetors carried rods or staves (rabdos) for the purpose, and were called rod-bearers. Greek. rabdouchos. See Acts 16:35.

Verse 23

stripes. Greek. plege. Four times translated "wound", five times "stripe", and twelve times "plague".

charging. Same as "command" in Acts 16:18.

jailor. Greek. desmophulax, i.e. keeper of the prison. Only here and verses: Acts 16:27, Acts 16:36.

keep. Greek. tereo. Compare Acts 12:5, Acts 12:6.

safely. Greek. asphalos. See note on Mark 14:44.

Verse 24

thrust = cast, as Acts 16:23.

inner. Greek. esoteros. Comparative of eso, within. Only here and Hebrews 6:19.

made . . . fast = made safe. Greek. asphalizo. Only here and Matthew 27:64-66.

in the stocks. Literally unto (Greek. eis. App-104.) the wood.

Verse 25

midnight. Greek. meaonuktion. Only here, Acts 20:7. Mark 13:35. Luke 11:5.

prayed, and = praying. Greek. proseuchomai. App-134.

sang praises unto. Literally were hymning. Greek. humneo. Here, Matthew 26:30. Mark 14:26. Hebrews 2:12. The first two passages refer to the great Hallel. See notes on Matthew 26:30. Psalm 113. If this were sung by Paul and Silas, note the beautiful significance of Psalms 115:11, Psalms 116:3, Psalms 116:4, Psalms 116:15, Psalms 116:17, Psalms 118:6, Psalms 118:29, and in the result, Psalms 114:7. The noun humnoa (hymn) only in Ephesians 5:19. Colossians 3:16.

heard = were listening to. Greek. epakroaomai. Only here. The noun occurs in 1 Samuel 15:22 (Septuagint).

Verse 26

suddenly. Greek. aphno. See note on Acts 2:2.

earthquake. Greek. seismos. See note on Matthew 8:24.

prison. Greek. desmoterion. See note on Acts 5:21. Not the word phulake which occurs in verses: Acts 16:23, Acts 16:24, Acts 16:27, Acts 23:37, Acts 23:40.

shaken. Greek. saleuo. See Acts 4:31.

loosed. Greek. aniemi. Only here, Acts 27:40. Ephesians 6:9. Hebrews 13:5.

Verse 27

keeper of the prison. Same as "jailor" (Acts 16:23).

awaking out of his sleep. Literally becoming awake. Greek. exupnos. Only here. The verb exupnizo only in John 11:11.

drew out = drew.

would have killed = was about to kill. Greek. anaireo. See note on Acts 2:23.

supposing. Greek. nomizo. See note on Acts 14:19.

been fled = escaped. Compare Acts 12:19; Acts 27:42. Roman soldiers were responsible with their lives for prisoners in their charge.

Verse 28

Do thyself no harm = Do nothing (Greek. medeis) evil (Greek. kakos. App-128.) to thyself.

Verse 29

called for = asked for. Greek. aiteo. App-134.

light. Greek. phos. App-130.

sprang in. Greek. eispedao. Only here and Acts 14:14

came trembling = becoming (Greek. ginomai) in a tremble (Greek. entromos). See note on Acts 7:32.

Verse 30

out = outside. Greek. exo.

Sirs. Greek. kurios. Compare App-98. Same as "masters" (Acts 16:16).

to be = in order that (Greek. hina) I may be. This man was under deep conviction of sin, "shaken to his foundations". He was ready to be told of the Lord Jesus Christ. To bid people to believe, who are not under conviction, is vain.

Verse 31

Believe. Greek. pisteuo. App-150.

Christ. The texts omit. Compare Matthew 1:21.

thy house: i.e. on the same condition of faith.

Verse 33

the same = in (Greek. en. App-104.) the same.

washed = bathed them. Greek. louo. App-136.

their stripes = from (Greek. apo. App-104.) their wounds.

straightway. Greek. parachrema. Same as immediately (V. 26). See note on Acts 3:7.

Verse 34

brought. Greek. anago. Same as "loosed", Acts 16:11.

set meat = placed a table. Compare Psalms 23:5.

rejoiced. See noteon "was glad", Acts 2:26.

believing. App-150.

with all his house. Greek. panoiki, an adverb. Only here.

Verse 35

sent. Greek. apostello. App-174.

Serjeants = lictors. Greek. rabdouchos. See Acts 16:22. Only here and Acts 16:38.

Let . . . go = Release. Gr, apoluo. App-174.

Verse 36

told = reported. Greek. apangello. See note on Acts 4:23.

this saying = these words. Greek. logos, as in Acts 16:6.

to, &c. = in order that (Greek. hina) you may be released.

depart = come forth.

Verse 37

unto. Same as "to" in Acts 16:36.

beaten. Greek. dero, as in Acts 5:40.

openly = publicly. Greek. demosia. See note on Acts 5:18.

uncondemned = without investigation. Greek. akatakritos. Only here and Acts 22:25.

Romans = men (Greek. anthropos) Romans. The charge was that they were Jews, introducing alien customs, and the magistrates condemned them without

privily = secretly. Greek. lathra. Only here, Matthew 1:19; Matthew 2:7. John 11:28. Note the contrast, "openly . . . secretly". Figure of speech Antithesis. App-6.

nay verily = no (Greek. ou. App-105.) indeed.

fetch = lead. Same word as in Acts 5:19; Acts 7:36, Acts 7:40.

Verse 38

"words. Greek. rhema. See note on Mark 9:32.

feared = were alarmed. Compare Acts 22:29. They had violated the Roman law by which no Roman citizen could be scourged, or put to death, by any provincial governor without an appeal to the Emperor. Compare Acts 25:11, Acts 25:12.

Verse 39

brought. Same word as "fetch" (Acts 16:37).

desired = were praying. Greek. erotao. App-134.

Verse 40

comforted = exhorted. Greek. parakaleo, as in verses: Acts 16:9, Acts 16:15, Acts 16:39.


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Acts 16:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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