13 “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.” (Acts 16:13–15)
Having settled in the City of Philippi, Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke prepared to observe the weekly Sabbath. They went outside of the city gate and went to the riverside. The reason for this was because they reasoned there would be a place for prayer by the water since there was no synagogue in Philippi.
Dr. R.C. Sproul explains that, “According to Jewish practice, at least ten men were required to from a synagogue. Failing that, a place of prayer could be established outdoors, preferably near water. Although various local and indoor pagan religions flourished in Philippi, the city likely had no Jewish synagogue for instruction in Israel’s Scriptures and prayer to the true and living God.”
When the four men arrived at the riverside, they happened upon several women who had gathered to worship the LORD. Luke records that one of the women who heard them sharing the Gospel was Lydia. She was from the City of Thyatira, was a seller of purple goods, and was also a worshipper of the One, True God.
Thyatira was located across the Aegean Sea from Athens. Purple cloth was extremely expensive. Therefore, it is likely that Lydia was a successful businesswoman. It is also likely that she owned a large house. The reason for this conjecture will be seen later. There is a very good indication that the Gentile Lydia had already embraced Israel’s monotheistic faith along with the morality of the Mosaic Law.
What happened to Lydia was nothing less than the God ordained miracle of conversion. We will examine her conversion when next we meet. Lydia’s story may well provide you a biblical insight into your own conversion to Christ.
Until next time, Soli deo Gloria!