The Apostle Paul: Not a Hair will Perish from any of You.

33 “As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.”  35 And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.” (Acts 27:33–38 (ESV)

While in the midst of surging seas, and debilitating despair felt by the crew and others, the Apostle Paul encouraged those around him to eat. The passengers and crew had not eaten anything for two full weeks. This was not only because of the violent storm, but probably also by the accompanying seasickness people were certainly to experience.

Paul prayed for the meal and everyone ate and were encouraged. Luke notes that there were 276 people on board. This indicates that the ship was an ocean going vessel and not a relatively smaller fishing boat one would find on the Sea of Galilee.

Following their meal, the people then threw the rest of the wheat cargo into the sea. This served to further lighten the ship so it would ride high on the surface of the water.

The phrase, “not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you,” was a common Jewish expression. In fact, Jesus used it when He explained to His disciples that they would encounter troubles as His disciples.

Luke 21:12-17 records Jesus, on the night prior to His crucifixion, saying to the disciples, 12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.”

One author comments, “How do you explain this promise in light of all the trials Jesus predicts in this chapter. Among other things, he says that the leaders will lay hands on them; persecute them; deliver them up to synagogues and prisons; bring them before kings and governors; delivered up before parents, brothers, relatives and friends; be put to death; and, to top it all off, they will be hated by all for the name of Jesus (Luke 21:12-17). After all of that, Jesus then says, “But not a hair of your head will perish.” How could he say that? Did he not just say that some would die (v 16)? Is Jesus not contradicting everything he said? No, not at all. The life that is promised here is more than mere physical life.”

Whatever you may be facing, do not despair. Do your best, and trust God for the rest.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Apostle Paul: When Driven by the Sea.

27 “When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. 28 So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms. 29 And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.” (Acts 27:27–32 (ESV)

Imagine being on a ship at sea in the midst of a raging storm for two full weeks. What an ordeal. This was the case with those on this ship bound for Rome. One can sense that the people involved were hungry, sick, weak, and overwhelmed with despair because of their circumstances.

However, Paul was a rock of faith. This means that Paul trusted in, was committed to, dependent upon, and completely worshipful of the Lord Jesus Christ. This faith, trust, commitment, dependence and worship in the LORD did not change or alter his circumstances, or those with him, but provided him with great resilience and courage while in the midst of his circumstances. Additionally, Paul knew that God was in sovereign and providential control of his circumstances.

Luke’s first-hand account goes into great detail; as one would expect a first-hand account to be. Luke notes that the seasoned sailors on board began to sense that they were near land. Perhaps this was because they heard the waves breaking on the rocks near the shore.

As such, they began to take soundings, which was the means to determine the depth of the sea. The sailors observed that the water was becoming shallower. A fathom is approximately six feet. Therefore, the ship was encountering a water’s depth that decreased from 120ft to 90ft. However, this also meant that the ship might crash upon the nearby rocks. The sailors dropped four anchors from the stern, or rear, of the ship to keep it from drifting. Then the sailors prayed. I wonder if they prayed a variation of the classic Bretton fisherman’s prayer: “Dear God, be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.

Author Lynne Baab writes, “What component of your life feels like a wide sea: overwhelming, scary, hard to navigate, with storms that might arise any moment? Is it a health issue for you or someone you love? A relationship challenge? A job or financial issue? Something political? I love the power of the metaphor here, acknowledging that we often feel that our boat in the wide sea is just too small for safety. We need God’s help because on our own, some components of life are just too overwhelming. We need a sense of God’s enfolding, God’s arms holding us up, because some aspects of life are just too scary. We need God’s guidance because the sea looks the same in every direction.”

While the apostle rested in the unfolding arms of the Savior, some sailors decided to take matters into their own hands; regardless of who it hurt. Some attempted to drop the ship’s lifeboat and scurry to freedom and potential safety, leaving the others to their peril. Paul declared to the centurion and the soldiers, ““Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.”

I submit that the third stanza of John Rippon’s hymn, How Firm a Foundation, applies. Meditate upon it today.

When through the deep waters I call you to go
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow
For I will be with you, your troubles to bless
And sanctify to you your deepest distress

Soli deo Gloria!   

The Apostle Paul: The Apostle’s Encouraging Words.

21 “Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.” (Acts 27:21–26 (ESV)

Remember when Paul counseled the centurion, the captain, and the ship’s owner not to set sail for Rome (Acts 27:9-11)? He said prior to the voyage that if they did set sail the journey would be one of injury and much loss; not only of cargo but also of human lives.

While the ship, crew and passengers were in the midst of a storm of hurricane proportions (Acts 27:13-20) and all hope was lost, Paul stood up among his fellow travelers and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.” More than saying “I told you so,” Paul sought to encourage the discouraged, to bring comfort where there was obvious despair, and to provide hope in place of hopelessness.

He continued by saying, “22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’  25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.”

The angel of God had communicated to Paul three pieces of information. First, Paul would reach Rome. Second, all those within the ship would survive the journey. Third, the ship must be run aground on some nearby island.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “With these words, Paul unreservedly identifies himself with the One, True God in the presence of polytheistic and superstitious sailors and criminals.”   

Paul remained confident that God was providentially working throughout life’s situations and circumstances. He trusted in the LORD. Do we?

Have a blessed day as you trust in the sovereign and providential LORD of heaven and earth.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Apostle Paul: The Storm at Sea

13 “Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. 14 But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. 15 And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. 17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along. 18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19 And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.” (Acts 27:13–20 (ESV)

Dr. Joel Beeke writes, “Nothing is more practical than the doctrine of providence, for it engenders faith and godly fear.”

The providence of God is the active outworking of God’s sovereignty in everything we experience in this life: whether we be believers in Christ or unbelievers without Christ.  

Dr. Burk Parsons comments, “There are no good providences or bad providences, happy or hard providences, but simply providence.”

Through the life of the Apostle Paul, the providence of God is conspicuously evident. None more so than during Paul’s journey to the city of Rome, which Luke records in Acts 27-28.

As we continue our study, Paul and his companions set sail from the island of Crete. It was mid-autumn of the year and not the best time to be traveling upon the open sea of the Mediterranean. However, in spite of Paul’s warning that doing so was dangerous (Acts 27:9-10) the captain of the ship, along with the ship’s owner and the centurion, decided to weigh anchor and set sail for the Cretan port of Phoenix.

It wasn’t long before a tempestuous wind, called a northeaster struck the ship. While the captain attempted to say close to land, the ship was driven uncontrollably by the wind.

The word “tempestuous” refers to a whirlwind of hurricane force. In other words, a typhoon. Typhoons and hurricanes are a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originate over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation. The weakest tropical cyclones are called tropical depressions. If a depression intensifies such that its maximum sustained winds reach 39 miles per hour, the tropical cyclone becomes a tropical storm.  Once a tropical cyclone reaches maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher, it becomes either a hurricane or a typhoon.

Forgive me for the meteorological information, but it helps us to understand that what Paul and the others aboard the ship experienced was a horrendous storm. Wave height in such weather conditions can be 37-52 ft.

In today’s text, Luke described all the efforts done to make the ship less vulnerable to the unrelenting elements. The passengers used rope supports to undergird the ship in order to hold the ship’s wooden planks tight. This would help the ship resist the battering waves. They lowered the anchor to slow the ship. When this did not help, the ship’s cargo was thrown overboard in order to make the ship lighter and less prone to hit sand banks. Even the ship’s tackle, which included the main mast and sail, was jettisoned. Nothing helped.

The storm went on for days. Consequently, there was no sun or stars visible which would reveal the ship’s position. Luke stated, “All hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.”

What a scene. Perhaps you have experienced an actual hurricane, whether on land or at sea. Perhaps you have also encountered a storm of life. The storm could have been called cancer, a heart attack, COVID 19, or the death of a loved one. In such a storm of life, you may have been tempted to abandon all hope for God’s deliverance.

Please remember that even in the fiercest of storms, God is in sovereign control. He works all things for the purpose of accomplishing His will (Ephesians 1:11).

More to come.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Apostle Paul: Options.

9 “Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.” (Acts 27:9–12 (ESV)

Docking at Fair Havens on the island of Crete for some time, Paul became concerned because of the lateness of the year. Luke remarked that even the Jewish Fast was over. This mention of the Fast refers the reader the Day of Atonement. It was the only annual Jewish festival which required fasting. It was then, and remains today, observed either in late September or up till mid-October. It was at this time of the year when weather on the Mediterranean became unpredictable and sea travel dangerous.

Remaining at Fair Havens for the winter was not advisable because its bays were open to the sea, which made ships vulnerable to the effects of upcoming winter storms. Consequently, it was dangerous to either stay or to sail.    

Regarding the matter of continuing the journey, Paul stated, ““Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” However, the advice from a prisoner was not viewed with much respect or consideration. Luke recorded that the centurion paid more attention to the captain and the owner of the ship than to the Apostle Paul.

Therefore, the majority opinion was to set sail for the Cretan Harbor called Phoenix. It was 40 miles to the west of Fair Havens. The captain’s intention was to sail for Phoenix and spend the winter there.

There are times in our lives when instead of action, it is best to be still and know that the LORD is God (Psalm 46:10) and to rest and wait upon Him. It is not always easy to do, but it is always the wisest thing to do.

More to come. Have a blessed day in the LORD.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Apostle Paul: Paul Sails for Rome

And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.” (Acts 27:1–8 (ESV)

Acts 27 is the penultimate chapter of the Acts of the Apostles and is Luke’s inspired account of the Apostle’s Paul journey to the imperial city of Rome. Throughout Luke’s narrative, we witness the providence of God at work.

Following the events recorded in Acts 26, and after an unspecified amount of time, the arrangements are completed to set sail for Rome. Paul, along with other prisoners, is delivered to a centurion named Julius. It was he who would be in command during the trip.

Do not ignore the personal pronouns Luke used. By using the pronouns “we” and “us” (Acts 27:2-4), Luke inserted himself into the narrative. Luke gave us a first-hand account of what Paul experienced during his journey to Rome because Luke, and Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica (Acts 27:2), accompanied the apostle.

The voyage began pleasantly enough with the intention to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia (Acts 27:2). The first port of call was Sidon. It was there that Julius allowed Paul to visit some of his friends (Acts 27:3). Apparently, Julius trusted Paul enough to know that he would not attempt an escape.

Departing from Sidon, sea travel became more difficult due to the prevailing northwest winds (Acts 27:4). This led the ship’s captain to sail under the shelter of the island of Cyprus. It appears that the voyage occurred during either late summer or early autumn (Acts 27:9).  

The ship now traveled upon the open sea until it reached the city of Myra, located in the province of Lycia (Acts 27:5). It was there that Julius transferred his prisoners to a grain ship from Alexandria, Egypt (Acts 27:6; 38), which was conveniently bound for Rome. Sailing northwest to the city of Cnidus (Acts 27:7), the freighter then sailed southwest to the Island of Crete, finally landing with difficulty at a harbor called Fair Havens (Acts 27:8).

Throughout the voyage, the providential sovereignty of God is apparent. No matter the obstacles, the Apostle Paul would reach the city of Rome. How sweet to know that no matter the obstacles we believers in Christ face in this life, God causes all things to work together to the good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).

More to come. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!   

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Creation. Part 2.

We will devote each Lord’s Day in 2021 at to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2021. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter Four: Creation. Part 2.

2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female,a with reasonable and immortal souls,b endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image,chaving the law of God written in their hearts,d and power to fulfil it;e and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.f Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;g which while they kept they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.h

a. Gen 1:27. • b. Gen 2:7 with Eccl 12:7 and Mat 10:28 and Luke 23:43. • c. Gen 1:26Eph 4:24Col 3:10. • d. Rom 2:14-15. • e. Eccl 7:29. • f. Gen 3:6Eccl 7:29. • g. Gen 2:173:8-1123. • h. Gen 1:2628.

Take the time today to read each attribute along with its corresponding biblical reference. You will be blessed and edified.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Apostle Paul: The Truth will set you Free.

30 “Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 26:30–32 (ESV)

Freedom is a much discussed and debated topic; especially in the United States of America where personal freedom is prized by all but sought to be restricted by some. Many people define freedom as their personal sovereignty with no restrictions. It means to do whatever you want to do, no matter who it hurts.

However, true freedom is liberty, independence, and the ability to make responsible choices. With this definition of freedom, we see that it means living responsibly and doing what you ought to do rather than doing only what you want to do.

Within the context of Acts 22-26, Paul was in the custody of the Roman government. He was their prisoner. He was in jail. Politically, lawfully, and technically he was not free. Yet, the incarcerated apostle was freer than the Jews, the Roman Governors Felix and Festus, along with King Agrippa II, his sister Bernice and the Roman garrisons in Jerusalem and Caesarea.

Paul’s freedom was not that he was able to go where, and when he wanted. His freedom was true liberty in Christ. Christ had set Saul of Tarsus free from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin. This was what Paul repeatedly proclaimed to his captors in this context.

John 8:31–38 says, 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

New birth in Jesus Christ (regeneration) is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8). It is accomplished on the basis of the virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not speak of political freedom to the Jews, and neither did Paul to his audiences. True freedom is serving the LORD and not serving sin.

When King Agrippa II said to Governor Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar,” he was speaking in political, lawful and technical terms. What Agrippa did not understand was that Paul was freer than the king could ever hope to be.

Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Freedom in Christ is not seeking justification before God on the basis of one’s good works. Rather, it is resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. All efforts contrary to the person and work of Christ results in personal and eternal bondage. May each of us know the freedom which is found in Jesus Christ alone, by grace alone through faith alone.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Apostle Paul: Out of Your Mind.

24 “And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” 29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” (Acts 26:24–29 (ESV)

What are some typical responses to the Gospel? Well, I have had people become angry at me, shut their front door in my face, dismiss me as making much ado about nothing, and/or tell me their hope for eternal life was that they were baptized as an infant. There have even been some who have repented of their sins and trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Hallelujah!

However, no one has ever told me I was crazy for believing the Gospel that I was either sharing or preaching. Maybe they thought it, but they did not say it. The same could not be said by Paul.

Governor Festus said, in an intense and loud voice, that Paul was insane or a raving lunatic. The governor reasoned that Paul’s great intelligence and education had driven him mad.

Paul rationally answered Festus by saying, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”

Paul backed King Agrippa II into a so-called corner. In other words, the king faced a moral dilemma. If he said that he did not believe the Old Testament prophets, he would make the Jews angry. If he said that he did, Paul would urge him to confess Jesus Christ as the Messiah, which would have angered the Jews even more.

Agrippa tried a delay tactic. He said, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” Repenting of one’s sin and trusting Christ as Lord and Savior does not require a lengthy discussion. Was Agrippa under conviction of his sin? Was he on the verge of conversion? Whatever his condition, he expressed the need to think. It does seem that Agrippa may have used the term “Christian” with a degree of sarcasm or scorn.

Paul responded by saying, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”

Paul’s desire was that for all those who heard the Gospel they would receive Christ and become a believer. This was his fervent hope. May it be our hope as well for all those to whom we share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Apostle Paul: Prison Epistles; Philippians. Part 2.

Philippi was originally known as Krenides (“The Little Fountains”) because of the numerous nearby springs, Philippi (“city of Philip”) received its name from Philip II of Macedon (the father of Alexander the Great). Due to its nearby gold mines, Philip conquered the region in the fourth century B.C. In the second century B.C., Philippi became part of the Roman province of Macedonia.

Philippi existed in relative obscurity for the next two centuries until 42 B.C., when the forces of Antony and Octavian defeated those of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi, thus ending the Roman Republic and ushering in the Roman Empire. After the battle, Philippi became a Roman colony (cf. Acts 16:12), and many veterans of the Roman army settled there.

One commentary states, “As a colony, Philippi had autonomy from the provincial government and the same rights granted to cities in Italy, including the use of Roman law, exemption from some taxes, and Roman citizenship for its residents (Acts 16:21). Being a colony was also the source of much civic pride for the Philippians, who used Latin as their official language, adopted Roman customs, and modeled their city government after that of Italian cities. Acts and Philippians both reflect Philippi’s status as a Roman colony.”

Paul’s description of Christians as citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20) was appropriate, because the Philippians prided themselves on being citizens of Rome (cf. Acts 16:21). The Philippians may well have known some of the members of the palace guard (Phil. 1:13) and Caesar’s household (4:22).

Philippi evidently had a very small Jewish population. Because there were not enough men to form a synagogue (the requirement was for 10 Jewish men who were heads of a household), some devout women met outside the city at a place of prayer (Acts 16:13) alongside the Gangites River. Paul preached the gospel to them and Lydia, a wealthy merchant dealing in expensive purple dyed goods (Acts 16:14), became a believer (Acts 16:14–15). It is likely that the Philippian church initially met in her large home.

More to come. I encourage you to read the Book of Philippians today. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!