Video Transcript: Acts 15-16

Announcer - This is Dr. Craig Keener. And his instruction on the book of Acts,  this is session number 16. Acts chapters 15 and 16.  

Dr. Keener - You may have noticed a few hours ago, I got so excited, oh, my  hair fell out. No, actually I had hair cut. But I had promised you that I would go  on to the last paragraph of Acts 15. And I whetted your appetite for it. And I'm  glad your appetite is whetted because you have to wait just a little bit longer.  Because there's some background that I want to give you about the Jerusalem  decree and the Jerusalem Council. This is a debate that's often been held. And  I, my previous discussion was presupposing my conclusion of this debate. But  the debate is whether the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 is the same time as  Galatians 2, or some people think it's the same as Galatians 1. Here are some  of the different views Galatians 2:1 - 10 instead of that being Acts 15. It's when  Paul and Barnabas took the took the collection from Antioch to Jerusalem and  Acts 11:30 and 12:25. So by William Ramsay, and is held by many evangelical  scholars and some other scholars today Galatians 2:1 - 10, being the same as  Acts 15 is held by Jay was held by JB Lightfoot, who was a 19th century  evangelical scholar, and by many scholars today, including myself, a number of  evangelical scholars, although not not, perhaps as many as the other view, and  a number of other scholars as well. Perhaps the majority of scholars, but there's  some debate Galatians, 2:1 - 10 is both of them with two different sources.  We're counting differently. That's not my view, I'm just giving you views. Some  say, well, we don't we don't care about Acts at all. And so Galatians 2 doesn't  have anything to do with any of them. And then some say it's Acts 15 plus  amount of elements, perhaps from Acts 11, or somewhere else. Here are the  arguments favoring it being the famine visit of Acts 11:30. I'm going to give you  those arguments and then give you the reasons why. Why I'm not persuaded by  them. You're of course free to hold your own view. Paul would not have omitted  the famine visit in Galatians. Well, there's no reason to mention it in Galatians.  After all, he's emphasizing his independence from the apostles. They may have  been in hiding at that point, if it's chronologically the same as in Acts and if it  was delivered to the elders, there's there's no reason to, to mention it. Well, they say well, why not mention the decree? If the decree had already happened by  the time that Galatians was written? Well, regardless of when you date  Galatians, it's also not mentioned in I Corinthians and Romans, which surely  come after the decree of the council was made. Also, Act specifies the range of  the decree, it's to Syria, and Cilicia it didn't go as far as Galatia when the decree was made, it wasn't an issue yet in Galatia. The further you go from Jerusalem,  also, the more the appeal to first principles was valuable rather than an appeal  to centralized authority. With some say there's there's too many discrepancies if  you identify the this not with a famine visit with Acts 15. Well, it's even worse.  You have you have more discrepancies. If you identify it with famine visit, you 

know that the comments about the famine visit next are so brief that you can  make comparisons only from silence. There's nothing in common with the  famine visit and Galatians. 2, except that both Barnabas and Saul are present,  which is also true in Acts 15. Further, why would why in Galatians 2, would they  ask them to remember the poor during a famine visit? When exactly that's what  they were doing was remembering the poor. The Galatians 2:10 says they were  asked to remember that. Well, some have argued and I think this is a this is a  reasonable argument. And I'm not saying this position is not a reasonable  position, that probably most of my friends hold it. Anyway. Revelation in  Galatians 2:2, they've identified that with the prophecy in Acts 11:28 to 30. But if  you look in the context in Galatians, the phrasing of revelation or revealing in  Galatians, 1:12 and 16 reform refers to Paul's own encounter with Christ and So when he's speaking of going up because of a revelation in Galatians, 2 2 is  probably speaking of the gospel that was revealed to him that he's defending in  Galatians. 2, 1 - 10. Another argument that's been made for Galatians 2  identified with a famine visit is that it allows for an earlier date of Galatians. Well, the problem is, it sounds more like it's from the period and Paul's life is Romans, although somewhat earlier than Romans, not the same period is I and II  Thessalonians. So if you're trying to do it based on date, actually, it might be  easier to argue the other way. In Acts 15, the conflict had just reached Antioch  in Syria, it hadn't yet reached Galatia. And that's where the decrees is only  addressed to Syria and Cilicia and not to Galatia. Sixth argument, they say,  Well, maybe Acts 15, which talks about circumcision and so on, revisits an  earlier subject that was raised during the famine visit. In logic, you have  something called Ockham's Razor, where the simplest solution tends to be the  best. The simplest solution is the Galatians. 2 and Acts 15, which address the  same topic are the same visit, rather than saying, well, maybe this topic was  broached in the famine visit earlier, where it's not mentioned. And that's why it's  mentioned later on. Here are some arguments. Besides the arguments have  been giving against the famine visit view, here's some arguments for why it  represents Acts 15. the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 is the same as Galatians,  2:1 - 10. First of all, Titus is mentioned Galatians. 2:1 - 3. Paul mentioned some  is known to the Galatians. Probably Titus was a Galatian. If not, he was probably with Paul on his visit there, but probably was Galatian Acts 11 and 12 took place  before Paul's missionary journeys. So the famine visit would have been before  Titus, his conversion if he was Galatian. Acts 13 and 14 was that first, what's  often called a missionary journey. Titus was therefore probably not yet converted when the famine visit took place, but he was surely converted. After you know,  by the time you go through the the ministry in Galatians, 13 and 14, he was  surely converted by Acts 15. Also, there are a number of commonalities between Acts 15 and Galatians. 2, both both councils, so to speak at the same basic  object, both have the same basic outcome. Paul's mission is recognized in both 

the leaders agree in both the Gentiles need not be circumcised. Peter was  involved. And James was involved. And as mentioned before, of course, Paul  and Barnabas were involved just as they were in the famine visit. Granted, there are some omissions, but you can't argue from silence. I mean, Luke is not  bound to mention everything Paul mentions or vice versa. Luke knows Paul's  collection. He mentions it in 24:17, but almost completely omits it is not relevant  to his account. Because it's not it's not his point. It's not what he's going to be  stressing we can we could we could talk about why that is. Personally I think it's  probably because it didn't achieve all the Paul was hoping that it might achieve  namely the the reconciliation of Jewish and Gentile churches, or perhaps  because it was just a non issue with the time that Luke was writing so many  other things had happened, that were more significant. Maybe the Jerusalem  church itself was not so much of an issue at that point. Anyway, Luke knows  Paul's collection, but he almost completely omits it is not relevant to his story.  Joseph Fitzmyer, a leading commentator on Acts, points out that none of the  differences is quote significant enough to undermine the substantial agreement  of the two reports. So what this gives us then is multiple attestation to the  Jerusalem Council. That answers those who think that Acts 15 is Luke's fiction  to make it look like the church could get along. Well, actually, they did come to a  kind of consensus in Galatians 2, even though it had to be revisited under  unfortunate circumstances, when Peter visited in Antioch in 2:11 - 14 in  Galatians. So moving moving on now to Paul and Paul returning to the mission  field, Paul and Barnabas returning the mission field but not together. God uses  by the way, if that was all confusing, you don't have to worry about it. Just the  nature of this course is Just take, take what you find useful and use it. But  anyway. This section 15:36-41 reminds us that God uses real, which means  fallible people. In this case, it was Barnabas's strength, and Paul's strength  came into conflict. Both of their gifts came into conflict because sometimes our  greatest strength is our greatest weakness, if we're not careful to watch out for  it, Israelite literature reported the failings of heroes even during the epic period  judges is full of that. By now, it was also standard for Greco Roman biographers. Well, even before this, it was standard for Greco Roman biographers to admit  heroes weaknesses, Greek epic had been doing that for a long time. You know,  Achilles and Agamemnon have this conflict. And anyway, it wasn't something  that they normally swept under the rug. And yet we see God's blessing. On the  on the new Paul and Silas team that go out. Probably the the Barnabas and  Mark team as well. As they went on to Cyprus, they went back to revisit a place  where they had connections. Paul had a vision to reach new areas. He wasn't  willing to take somebody who wasn't totally committed and he didn't trust Mark.  Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance Mark had matured, as we  normally do. So they split in the the language that's used here in Greek, it was a  rather severe split, doesn't mean that they became perpetual enemies. Paul's 

letters he later cites Barnabas, as somebody who worked with him. He's not  hostile to him. But they couldn't work together at this point in their lives. So they  split and yet, God, God use that. And God bless this, this new ministry team of  Paul and Silas. And it was also providential. Because probably unlike Barnabas,  who doesn't have a Roman name, Silas apparently is also a Roman citizen. And that's going to help in Philippi, where Paul and Silas can point out that the  Roman citizens in 16:37. But none of this means that the split, which wasn't a  planned split, for strategic reasons, it was a split because they had some major  differences between them. None of this means that that was good. Because you can contrast it with the preceding context, mean, look at how God brought about consensus in the council. And then look at how the the split right after the  council. But in Acts 16, we're going to find out that the Paul, Paul does want at  least a younger person to work with them. Not Mark, but he's going to get  Timothy instead. And Timothy is from the region that he's previously  evangelized. He goes north, probably through Cilicia. Although for some reason  Luke doesn't recount that much, perhaps things hadn't gone as well in Cilicia.  But in any case, he goes north, apparently the season is well enough that he  can he can cross the Taurus Mountains. In winter, that would be very difficult.  But there's a pass in the Cilician gates where you could get through the  mountains, especially when it wasn't winter. And he he goes back to the region  that he previously evangelized with, with sight with Barnabas there. Paul is now  in the lead himself. He doesn't have Barnabas with him. And he hasn't had to do this by himself before going into a new region. So he starts by going back and  confirming the churches that are already there, which was very important thing  to do. And in one of these places, in Lystra apparently he finds Timothy, who is a believer, he's been a believer since Paul was there before he was he was raised in with the knowledge of the Torah. But he was raised in Judaism by his mother,  not by his father, who apparently even though fathers were supposed to take the lead in religion in the Roman Empire, apparently didn't mind. The mother raising  the child in Jewish faith but wouldn't let him be circumcised, which was  considered brutal and uncivilized by by many Greeks and Romans. His father  was a Gentile. Now Judeans believed, normally the intermarriage with Gentiles  invited God's wrath. Some of diaspora Jews were less strict, especially in a  place like Lystra or Derbe where there weren't very many Jews to begin with. I  mean, you had a limited number of options. So, chapter 16. In verse 3, we see  that Timothy's Gentile father, probably forbad him to be circumcised. The Jewish people then would view him as a Gentile. According to later Talmudic law, if your mother's Jewish, you count as Jewish, but his mother that will probably wasn't in effect yet at this point. And also, he hadn't been circumcised. So Jewish people  would probably view him as a Gentile Gentiles would view him as too Jewish to  be Gentile. And so for the sake of mission, Paul standardizes, his status, which  was an important thing in the ancient world, where people talked about, I mean, 

the rabbi's laid it out, well, if your what is your status based on your parents  status in terms of Judaism, Roman law, I just had to decide, well, what is your  status with regard to Roman citizenship based on your parents and so on, so he standardizes it for the sake of the mission. Now, keep in mind, this is the Same  Paul who according to Galatians, 2 wouldn't let Titus be circumcised. But there's a difference. One was for the sake of defending the gospel of showing the  Gentiles don't have to be circumcised. The other is for the sake of mission is for  the sake of contextualization. So we have to make a distinction between what  we do for mission. And what we do is a requirement for salvation. We can't add  requirements to salvation, other than being in Christ, we can't add requirements  to being part of God's covenant people, Paul would remind us of that. And  James would seem to agree by the way he handles Amos other than being in  Christ. But for the sake of mission, there are sacrifices we're willing to make.  And this was a painful sacrifice, they wouldn't be able to travel right away after  that either. I have to give it a few days. But anyway. So now the mission team is  augmented. It's got Silas, and it's got Timothy. They press into a new region.  And Paul isn't hearing positive guidance from the Holy Spirit. So they're moving,  they're doing something, but they don't have. It seems direct guidance about  exactly what they're supposed to do. They may have been sharing Christ along  the way, but they don't know what they're doing. And this is kind of embarrassing now that Paul is leading the team. Sometimes life can be like that, where we  don't know exactly what God wants us to do. But we're trusting that he will let us know. Paul gets some negative guidance, but is not getting too much positive  guidance, much of Phrygia in that was in the southern Roman province of  Galatia. Well, the Roman province, the southern part of the Roman province of  Galatia. North Galatia was less populated, it doesn't appear in Acts. We have no evidence that it appears in Galatians, either a number of scholars have argued  that Paul actually ministered in North Galatia and it's just left out of Acts. And  that coincidentally, when Paul Paul doesn't mention South Galatia, even though  it appears in Acts, and even though most of the other places he went and Acts  appear in his letters. Most scholars today recognize that that's not true. Paul  went to South Galatia there's no reason to go to North Galatia to minister. It had  a lower population. It was less advanced in terms of Roman colonies. It didn't  have a very high Jewish population at all, as opposed to the southern part of the province of Galatia. People say well no, Paul must be speaking of ethnic  Galatians, as opposed to Phrygians ethnic Galatians being in North Galatia.  However, he usually uses titles of provinces. So when Paul says you Galatians  he's talking about the provenance of Galatian, which did include much of  Phrygia, where he had ministered clearly in the book of Acts, and those who are  experts on Anatolia, the interior of Anatolia, not just William Ramsay, but also  Stephen Mitchell, who's the leading Anatolian archaeologist today. And Barbara  Levesque, who was probably leading Anatolian archaeologists, previous 

generation, Anatolian archaeologists agree that Paul went to South Galatia not  North Galatia And again, that's convinced also the majority of New Testament  scholars. So Paul is still in South Galatia and Phrygia and Galatia. In verse 6,  verses 6 and 7, we see he gets negative guidance. He is forbidden by the Holy  Spirit to go in certain directions, he's forbidden to go to Asia know what Asia  means. Here is the Roman province of Asia. He's already in Asia. In fact, the  Gospel originated in Asia, it originated in, in Galilee, in Jerusalem, which,  according to Greek and Roman standards, that was, that was Asia, near Africa.  So there was a major Roman road that went west from where he was to this  Roman province of Asia, in Western Asia Minor, a western Turkey today. Well,  he's forbidden to go that way. Sometimes God's no is a temporary No. Later on,  there's a huge revival there. Paul wasn't ready for that yet. So he's got to be  trained in smaller places first. God can do it whatever way he wants. But in any  case, the next place he goes, the text says in verse 7, that it was over against  Mysia translated different ways. But probably that's the closest way of  translating ‘katah’ there, that it the place where he's at, he could turn right to go  to the Bithynia in the north, or he could turn left to go to Mysia and Asia, the  Roman province of Asia in the West, but he was forbidden to do that. So he  travels through Mysia in verse 8. Now, some translations say by Mysia, but  through Mysia, probably captures it better. Although some of these labels were  used different ways by different people, but probably go through this Mysia  because he proceeded northwest to Troas, which is in Northwest Mysia. Now  Troas was very important Roman colony in this period. Its full name is  Alexandria Troas may have had 100,000 people, which was very, very large by  ancient standards. It was a Roman colony. So again, had connections with  Rome. It does appear in Paul's letters, although we don't have a letter to the  Trojans or something like that. It's near Old Troy. If you're familiar with Homer's  Iliad, and Greek literature in general, but Homer's Iliad was kind of like, the  Greeks regarded it kind of as their canon, their their literary basis for for other  things. It speaks to the Trojan War that took place. Well, this is legend, but some some, there probably was a Trojan War. But you know, the details a lot of the  details in the Iliad are legendary, but often estimated around 1186, 1196 BCE. So, you know, a millennium or more before this time. So the Trojan War, was  understood from a Greek and Roman perspective, is a European invasion of  Asia. The whole way we talk about continents today is really kind of a  Eurocentric convention in the sense that the Greeks defined everything to their  east as Asia, every themselves and to the west, that was Europe, and to the  south of the Mediterranean Sea. That was Africa. Of course, they didn't know  about the continents of the Americas that were named after Amerigo Vespucci a  long time after that. So the boundary between the Greek world and what  became the Persian world, and you know, what they consider the Asian world  was the boundary between Greece and what's now Turkey, and the place where

they usually invaded. And this is true also for Alexander the Great, who saw  himself as a new Achilles trying to do something similar to the Trojan War. They  saw themselves as Europe invading Asia or Greece invading Asia. Well, here  Paul comes to Troas. And God is going to do something that readers in the  ancient Mediterranean world may have viewed as the opposite. Now by this  time, cultures had spread both ways. After Alexander Greek culture was  influenced by Asia and Asian culture or Western Asian culture was influenced by Greece. But in any case, despite the cultural overlap, Greeks and Romans were still using these geographic dividers. And so now launching out from Troas into  Macedonia, we have Asian faith, spreading into Europe. But as opposed to this  being a militant conquest, this is bringing the good news of peace. And now the  influence is positively going the other way, not from conquerors. But the good  news of salvation coming from Asia, into Europe. And, of course, Judaism, and  Christianity were seen as Asian faiths. We can speak of him as Middle Eastern  faiths, but Western Asian faiths. Now, here we have some confusing guidance,  the Holy Spirit had been forbidding them. They're not getting positive guidance  yet where to go. But finally, in Troas, Paul as a dream, or a night vision. And he  and the others gathered together. And they interpreted together and conclude  that the dream must mean that they're to go into Macedonia. Paul sees a man of Macedonia in the dream saying, Come over to Macedonia and help us. How  does he know that this is a man of Macedonia? People sometimes argue from  the man's distinctive clothing or, you know, there could be various reasons. But  certainly one reason that he would know that the man is a man of Macedonia is  because the man says, Come over to Macedonia and help us. And people have  speculated Who is this man of Macedonia, maybe Alexander the Great, you  could recognize from statues? Or maybe some have speculated maybe it's  Luke. But actually, it doesn't give us any clue. Probably, if it were one of those  that would tell us just, it's a man of Macedonia says come over to Macedonia  and help us maybe it's the Philippian jailer, but then again, they'd be Luke would tell us if it were that so in any case, they they go, they sail for Philippi. Now, later on, Paul will go to Asia, there'll be a huge, huge revival there. But it's not time  yet. God's timing is important, as well as God's calling. Guidance was going to  matter. It's good. They're not just wandering at this point, it's good. They have at  least a dream to go on. A dream may not seem like a whole lot sometimes. But  they have to have something to hold on to. They get beaten in Philippi. They get  beaten in Thessalonica. They get chased out of Berea basically, they get run out of Macedonia, it's really good to know that you have at least some guidance  when you go into situations of difficulty, say, well, the Lord wanted me to be  here. So it's all right. And that's what they had to have. Well, they they sail from  Troas. And the voyage takes only two days, which means it's the right time of  year they have favorable winds later on and Acts it's going to take them about  six days for the reverse voyage because of the seasonal winds and because 

they're going in the opposite direction. But and that's that all fits what we know  about wind patterns and so on respective times of year, but it says that they  pass Samothrace. Samothrace is about halfway through. There's a huge  mountain there that would let you identify Samothrace from a distance. This is a  two day voyage. They may have anchored in Samothrace overnight.  Samothrace was known for the mysteries of the cabiri and so on, but they  probably didn't do much in Samothrace, their goal is to get to Macedonia. And  so we read about that in chapter 16, verses 11 - 20, as they are coming into  Philippi. And we read about the the initial response in Philippi, in verses 11 - 15.  As I mentioned, not in the Samothrace would be visible. That would be the first  port it was about halfway. But finally when they come to Macedonia, they come  to the Neapolis. That was one of the two best ports of South Macedonia. The  other was Thessalonica, which we'll come to in chapter 17:1, Neapolis was the  port city that are the port town that directly served Philippi. It was a the two day  voyage indicated favorable winds as I mentioned, except during winter, sea  travel was quicker and less expensive. And at this point, you know, you don't  you don't have that far to travel. This is one of the closest points where you  could travel from Asia to Macedonia. They were perhaps moving about 100  miles a day when they came there. Neapolis Philippi was about 10 miles to the  northwest across Mount Symbolum. And this was the eastern end of the  Egnatian way. The western end was the Adriatic port Dyrrhachium on the the  other side of Greece, or north of Greece, from which one could sail to Italy.  Philippi had been a proud Roman colony since 42 BC, when they say a proud  Roman colony. They they emphasized using Latin having Latin inscriptions, for  instance, very much devotion to Diana. Well, traditionally, Macedonians were,  they identified more with Greeks, and she would have been called Artemis. But  in in Philippi, she was Diana, they were very emphatically identified with the  Roman culture. If you were a citizen of Philippi, which not all residents were  probably Lydia's not, if you were a citizen of Philippi, you were thereby an  honorary citizen of Rome. That's part of what it meant to be a Roman colony,  even if you've never been there. That's why when Paul writes to the Philippians  and Philippians 3:20, he can speak of our citizenship being in heaven, because  the Philippians certainly understood what it meant to be a citizen of a place that  they'd never lived. Now Philippi, even though it was a Roman colony, because of some of the Roman Civil Wars earlier, and Rome's earlier conquest of  Macedonia, but it was more an agricultural than a commercial center, unlike  many of the urban areas that Paul visited, but it was a it was still it was a colony. It was a place that Paul wanted to minister. Thessalonica was Macedonia's  capital, but Philippi. Here, Luke calls it a first city of the province. Now,  sometimes people use first to mean the top one. But all over the place I found in ancient literature, including, for instance, in Strabo's geography is he's talking  about different cities, you'll speak of this as a first city and this is the first city, 

meaning it's a chief city, it's a major city. Philippi was a major city of the  province, one of the most eminent there alongside Thessalonica. Paul and Silas  are looking for some connection, they don't have a synagogue there. But they  they suppose that if there's anybody here who practices Judaism, it's going to  be near water, because that's where you would, you would have to practice your washing of hands and so on ceremonial illustrations for your prayer time. So  they go looking for place of prayer, place of prayer, the terminology could mean  a synagogue, but Luke usually says synagogue when he means that. So  apparently, there's no building here. What they find is some women, normally, at  least according to later tradition, you need a quorum of at least 10 Jewish men  to make up a synagogue. I know there's a synagogue where I used to visit in  one in one town, and I couldn't count because I'm not Jewish. So to get a  quorum of 10, Jewish men, sometimes they didn't have enough. Actually, this  was a reformed synagogue. So they may have counted the women sometimes  too, but sometimes they didn't have enough to hold service. So they had to call  some people on the phone and have them come out so they could have their  quorum. But in any case, at least, it needed to be held in a pure place near  water. And excavations, show the importance of that to ancient synagogues. If  you didn't have enough people to have a synagogue, at least you could have a  prayer meeting. Well, so they go out by the river, according to verse 13. Looking  for for them. Now, what river do they mean? Well, the nearest actual River was  the Gangites. It's a tributary of the Strymon River. It's about one and a quarter  miles or over two kilometers from Philippi. So it was more than the Sabbath  days journey by Pharisaic standards. Some others have suppose that it's the  creek Krenides on on one side of the on one on the one side of the city. Some  others have supposed it's a dried up stream on the then wasn't dried up on the  other side of the city, where in fact there's a tradition that there's a church there  the tradition that this is where it happened. I'm inclined to think it probably was  near the river Gangites that given the fact that they didn't even have a quorum.  These women were probably not too concerned about Pharasiac standards in  Judea about a Sabbath days journey And Paul's more concerned to reach  people than about not walking more than 2000 cubits. So they go there, and  they do find them. It says that it's outside the city gate, or all these proposals are outside the city gate, probably the city gates here, if we're talking about the  Gangites, probably is the colonial archway of Philippi, through which the Via  Egnatia, the, the Roman road that ran from the Italian side of north of Greece,  through Macedonia, from which you could catch sea to Troas it was a major east west conduit between between Rome and and Asia Minor in terms of land land,  mostly land journey that ran through Philippi and went out to the Gangites. In  16:14, they find these women there, and women tended to be more open to non  local faiths, to Asian faiths and so on, because they had less status to lose by  not following local faiths. Conservative Romans often complained about this, 

they complained that women were pursuing Eastern religions, by which they  included Judaism and the Christian movement. Josephus says that far more  women than men followed Judaism. This applied naturally to full converts for  whom circumcision can be a painful experience as an adult, presumably for  

baby as well. But adults tend not to remember that experience so much.  Although there was a person at the synagogue that told me, you know why there are so few Jewish alcoholics today is because we put a little bit of wine on their  tongue before we circumcised him as a baby. And, and you grew up thinking,  Boy, if it hurt that much, I don't want to do it too much anyway. But he was  joking. But Josephus pointed out that there were far more women than men that  followed Judaism that was not only for full converts, but that was also for, for  sympathizers with Judaism again, they had less to lose. So it's not surprising  that the people that they find here are women. Well, women often had been  restricted in Greek culture, not so much in Macedonia, where they are, but in  general, but the one sphere where even Greeks gave women any public  responsibility. When I say Greeks, I'm thinking more of Attica, like the Athenian  culture, as opposed to Sparta, but the one sphere where, where Greeks gave  women any public responsibility, especially with religion, and women were  heavily involved here in the Diana cult in Philippi. And Macedonian women  historically had been freer than Greek women anyway. Well, Paul's teaching  women and focusing on women, some Judeans would deem that suspicious, in  fact, if you had enemies, and you had women as your supporters, as Jesus did,  back and Luke 8:1-3, and of course, the previous passage where the woman is  washing his feet in 7:36-50. Conservative Judeans look down on that and  anybody who didn't like you would look down on that they would use that as a as a cause of complaint. When some Pharisees had some women's supporters,  people who have been like Pharisees complained about that and said, Ah, you  see, you're catering to women. But in any case, Paul reaches the people who  are there to be reached, and starts starts where he can start. Lydia was from  Thyatira it says God opened her heart for the gospel. Lydia was from Thyatira,  verse 14. Lydia was a common name, but it especially fits somebody from  Thyatira because Thyatira was in ancient Lydia. And if somebody had, for  example, servants who had been bought from a region in Lydia, they'd  sometimes nicknamed the servant, Lydia, or give that give that name Thyatira  was known for dyers guy dyers, guilds and textiles and inscriptions show that  other Thyatirian business agents also sold purple dye and Macedonia. So it's  not surprising that this would be Lydia's occupation. And often they were  becoming prosperous in doing so. Even though the majority of Macedonians  were poor. There were some very rich Macedonians, and this was a very  profitable trade. The name and the trade suggest to many scholars that she may have been a freed woman. Now when we speak about things like this, we're  talking about levels of probability. She may have been a freed woman that is a 

former slave freed freed persons often continued to work as agents in their  former slave holders businesses. And that was true we know from inscriptions of many traders in purple dye, but many of them were freed persons. So that may  also be true of Lydia. By this period, women were sometimes engaged in  business. And even slave women could become managers just like slave men  could be. Probably, she was well to do, probably when I say probably she was  well to do. And she could have been marginally well to do as a slave even  because slaves were often allowed to hold some money on the side technically  belonged to the slave holder. But Roman law actually allowed the slaves to  control it to a great degree, provided the slave holder did, which normally was  the case with managers who, if the slave manager had had their own income,  however, much more likely that she'd be a freed person, or she could be just  free, but probably a freed person. Now, she was probably well to do as a seller  of purple that had been a luxury good in the Mediterranean world, and to the  east, and Persia as well. It had been a luxury good in the Mediterranean world  for over 1000 years. And the main source of purple dye, especially as a luxury  good, was the Murex shellfish near Tyre, you would have to crush a lot of this  mollusk to squeeze out the purple from it. And then that was used to on  garments, you might have to squeeze 1000 of them to get just a bit of purple  garment. So that's why it was so expensive. That was the main source of purple. And naturally, since it was based on the squeezed gunk of mollusks, the purple  dye didn't smell very good. But that was alright. It was a status symbol, people  were willing to endure the smell for the sake of the status symbol. And so that  was a normally trade in something very, very wealthy. Now, there was also some imitation purple. And some of that was based on some things that were available in Asia Minor, you had you had the kermes oak, from which you could get red  dye. And also near Macedonia, you had you had a way you could get imitation  purple. So she may not have been selling the most expensive form of purple. In  this period. She may have been selling something cheaper. But in any case,  she's probably well to do because you would you would be handling a lot of  money doing any of this. She's not a maker of purple dye. It's not going to be  stinky, like Simon the tanner's home. But she's a seller of things dyed with  purple. So hospitality, Paul, until he met Lydia, he and Silas and Timothy and  Luke, who's with him at this point, may have been staying at an inn until then,  that was certainly not ideal. Certainly, it was better to find hospitality from  another Jewish family. That's normally how it was done. That's how Jesus had to do it. But if you had nowhere else to go, you would have to go to an inn. Inns  were notorious for immoral inn owners who sometimes even could rob people  when people were out they could steal things. Inns were also notorious in  Jewish culture for their immorality, because a lot of times you'd have a tavern  which wasn't considered immoral itself, but the barmaids of a tavern, who were  often slaves who had been rescued from the trash heaps as babies. Now they 

were raised as slave prostitutes, they would serve as prostitutes in the rest of  the inn. So this wasn't an ideal place for Jewish people to stay. And there also  were problems with things like bedbugs. So you read about those, actually, in  the Acts of John, in the late second century, it's a novel. It's my favorite of a  

novelistic Acts, where you have all these, all these bedbugs, and John wants to  get rid of them. So he commands them in the name of the Lord. And you're  expecting fire to come down from heaven and devour the bedbugs, but I like this no fire, he just commands them and they line up single file and go out of the  room. But in any case, hospitality was a major value in the ancient  Mediterranean world, major value. In the in, in Judaism, even even more so than many other cultures. Lydia provides hospitality. It was considered an Honor  actually to provide hospitality for a man or woman of God. So she functions as  their patron or their benefactor, not patron in the most technical Roman sense,  but patron in the in the more general way in which New Testaments scholars use it today not not like somebody who's in the Roman Republic who was running  for office and, and have these clients follow him around to make it look like he  had a great retinues some more people would vote for him. But but in the more  general way in which we use it, she she functions as a benefactress or a patron. Very similar to what you see in II Corinthians 4 8 - 11, where the Shunamite  woman says, Hey, let's let's make a room for, for this this man of God to stay  with us, Elisha. And in somewhat, although a bit less voluntarily for the widow of  Zarephath. And I Kings 17. Apparently, she's the head of her household. There  may be a man there has just, you know, kind of laid back. But apparently she's  the head of the household. And perhaps this means she has many servants, she could be a widow. But as a free person, she just may have not chosen to get  married, she would she would have a great deal of choice about what she would have done. But there would be many people there. This if somebody were  looking for a cause for scandal, oh, they're staying with a woman? Well, they're  not staying with her alone. I mean, there's a whole bunch of them. And there's a  whole bunch of you know, her household is there. But this would still be  something that accusers would use a scandal just like Jesus having women  following along with his disciples as he's teaching. There's, it's pretty clear from  the descriptions we get of Jesus and Paul, that these were highly moral people,  but sometimes for the sake of the Gospel, even, they did have to break some  traditional boundaries. Not that this was never done, this was done. It's just if  you had enemies they they might look for cause for slander, but that's not what  they get slandered for in Philippi. They get slandered for something else. So  we're going to look at exorcisms and economics 16:16 - 22. Sometimes people  have ulterior motives for accusing you of things, especially if it costs them  something. We're here we have a slave girl. Paidiski, probably very young. That  term is used a couple other places and Luke Acts. It's used for Peter's critic back and Luke 22:56. Who says, you also a Galilean, I saw you with Jesus. It's also 

used for Rhoda, the, the servant in the house of Mary John Mark's mother, back  in chapter 12:12-13. The her name means rose. She's she's very positive, a very positive figure, contrasted here with the figures kind of ambivalent. She's being  exploited by her slave holders. Those are the ones who are really the negative  figures here, but she's also being exploited by them because she's being  exploited by spirit. As far as as far as Luke's view of women. Some have said,  Luke is trying to suppress this female voice what's, you know, when Paul  commands her to be silent, it's exactly parallel to what we have in Luke 4,  where you have a male demoniac, crying out, and in Jesus silences him in the  synagogue, it's exactly parallel to that. So it's not that he's silencing women. You remember the women Proclaimers at the tomb. Lydia and her household appear very favorably here. And also Rhoda. I mean, there's humor in that narrative  about Rhoda. But the humor, some people have said it's at Rhoda's expense.  It's not she's the only one who knows the truth in that narrative. It's at Peter's  expense, and especially the expense of the other people in the household,  Rhoda is comparable to the women at the tomb in Luke 24, who tell the truth  and initially are not believed? Well, Paul initially does nothing. Because perhaps  he doesn't want to stir up the trouble that, in fact, does ensue once he does cast out the spirit. But she's she's going around saying these men are servants of the Most High God. And you think well, that's not harmful, it's actually correct. But in  a Gentile context, that could mean you know, there are many gods and these  are, you know, relativizes, who they are. But it also, you don't want a demon  testifying for you. Just like Jesus didn't want a demon testifying about his identity in Luke 4 and cast it out. So finally, Paul cast it out. He spiritually liberates her  physically. She's still a slave to her masters, but she's spiritually liberated. And  on account of that is we're about to see she becomes worthless economically to  her masters afterwards. So perhaps Lydia and the others could carry on what  Paul had done and physically liberate her afterward. As they probably could  afford to buy her freedom at this point, she's been spiritually liberated. Hopefully  she can become a member of the church. But slaves could, could participate in  these things anyway, in their, in their free time, as far as the slaveholders were  concerned, normally, in fact, in the second century church we Pliny, the governor of Bithynia actually says that two of the two of the leaders in the church that he's interrogating under torture, are slaves. But they appear to have been Deacons  of the of the church, depending on you translate the language but but slaves  were able to, actually that's why often the church had to meet early in the  morning to before official duties began. But in any case, spirit of a Pythoness  this literally is what is what said in this passage. She translations opens the spirit of divination. And that's what it means. But the spirit of divination was very  powerful spirit of divination, a pythoness. That was the term that was applied to  the Delphic oracle of Apollo, to the Priestess of the Delphic oracle of Apollo. She was called a Pythoness, she was mantic. That is, she prophesied in a frenzy. Or 

at least it's often said to have been a frenzy. The Oracle at Delphi was so  famous, even even Herodotus talks about how Croesus This was many  centuries earlier, in the time of Cyrus king of Persia. Croesus was the king of  Lydia. And he wanted to know if he could make war in this nation or that nation.  And so, he, he inquired of different Oracle's to find out which Oracle would be  most accurate. And the Oracle of Delphi was able to tell him what he had hidden under his bed. So he said, this one's very accurate. So he sent to them and he  said, Okay, I want to make war against the king of Persia, against the Persians  and Medes Cyrus, so shall I make war or not? And the response came back,  make war, and you will destroy a great kingdom. Well, unfortunately, Croesus  didn't catch the ambiguity. In that response. He did make war against Cyrus, and he was defeated. And his kingdom became part of the Persian Empire. And as  he was being burned at the stake, he said, Oh, now, I understand. Yes, I  destroyed a great kingdom, my own and according to Herodotus, Cyrus said,  What's What's he saying? I want to hear about this. And when he when he  heard about it, he said, No, no, bring bring Croesus here don't burn him at the  stake. And so he said, Yeah, that's good. I liked it. I like to hear the story.  Anyway, may not all be true, but that's how the story goes. In any case, the  Delphic priestess of Apollo was famous. You had some other famous Oracle's,  the Oracle of Zeus, Dodona with the oak there. And you had also, Apollo was  famous as a prophetic deity Delos, the supposed site of his birth, and so forth,  but but it's especially Delphi that was the most famous of all. Now, she was a  virgin she had to be young. So, again, that fits the age of probably this, I guess,  paidiske. That's not saying something negative towards, towards young virgins.  Contrast the virgins of Acts 21, the four virgin daughters of Philip Who, who do  prophesy, and because of the normal age of when they use the phrase virgins,  they're probably in the young teens actually. But in any case, they're viewed very positively but she is captive to a different kind of prophetic spirit, not the Spirit of  God. It was said that she would sit the Pythoness not not this woman here but  the Pythoness in Delphi would sit on a tripod, and that there would these  mephitic vapors that would come up archeology shows that probably that's not  true. But in a case, supposedly, these inspired the the woman and then the  priests would have to interpret they would have to arrange her wording, make it  more eloquent, make it more poetic, and sometimes, if necessary, make it more  ambiguous, just in case but Luke and depicts the Pythoness's possession in  very graphic terms, not everybody agrees with that, but it does appear  elsewhere in ancient literature, that she would become frenzied, her hair would  stand up on the edge and so on, and she was possessed by the spirit of, of  Apollo. Now the reason she was called Pythonesss was named after the  Pythian. Apollo, who was the slayer of the great dragon Python. And you can  probably read about that in certain revelation commentaries and Revelation 12.  But anyway, this is not to say that this young lady had ever been in Delphi 

necessarily, it's just to say that if she's said to have the spirit of a Pythoness, this is no minor demon. I mean, this is a high power demon, maybe not Legion, but  this is a high power demon. And verse 17, her message, these are servants of  the Most High God, well, they were servants of the Most High God most high  God is common in Jewish texts, it's in the Bible. But it also appears in pagan  sources, it can refer to the Jewish God, or it can refer to Zeus. So there's a  degree of ambiguity there. And in a Gentile context, in in pagan magic, the  supreme god, who was often identified with the Jewish God was seen as the  most powerful. And so in magic, Jewish people would like to invoke this most  high God. And she says they they are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.  Well, interestingly enough, even though the demon may be stirring up trouble.  God can sometimes even use the demons testimony for good we see that next  chapter 19 mean, you don't want to go listening to demons, and don't want to go assuming the demons will always tell the truth. I mean, that's why they're  demons that but anyway. But, you know, the Star of Bethlehem I mean, you're  the Magi or astrologers that are looking at the stars. That's forbidden in  scripture. But sometimes God will use something, even something pagan. And  how does he use this will later on when the jailer asks Paul and Silas? What  must I do to be saved? Where did he get that language saved? will probably  he'd heard the charge that this the story that this this young woman had been  going around, proclaiming that they proclaim the way of salvation, and now he  believes them after the earthquake and then staying there 16:18 exorcists often  tried to use the names of higher spirits to evict lower spirits. And we see that in  chapter 19:13, where the seven sons of Sceva tried to invoke the name of Jesus who Paul preaches. But they don't have the right to use that name. Paul,  however, does have the right to use that name and here Acts gives us a sample  of one of his actions. In that regard. Paul uses Jesus name that is Paul acts as  Jesus' shaliach, as his agent speaking for, for Jesus, he, on behalf of Jesus, the  representative of Jesus, he commands the spirit to come out and it comes out.  Now, some some people who are more skeptical, they will make fun of people  who believe in spirits at all, or demons at all. But it's interesting that  anthropologists have widely documented spirits possession trance. Now,  anthropologists, many probably still most don't believe that these are actual  spirits. Some, some today are more open to at least using indigenous  understandings and seeing that's our business's view with indigenous  understanding not to evaluate it. But anthropologists have widely documented  possession trance, to the extent that denial of possession trances is regarded as the anthropological equivalent of being a flat earther 74% of societies have spirit possession beliefs, and this is this is from a source in the 1970s it's could be  higher now as they've studied more societies. It's higher in some areas than  another's. There are some different cultural expressions of it in different  societies, although a lot of them look very suspiciously like what we see in the 

Gospels and Acts. But there's a consistent psychophysiological substrate when  trance states occur. Anthropologists typically define it as any altered state of  consciousness, indigenously or locally interpreted as in terms of the influence of  an evil spirit or sorry, not an evil spirit often has a good spirit. Many people  locally interpreted, but an alien spirit. There's an altered neurophysiology during  possession trance where people have been tested with hyper arousal and so  on. tested by EEG readings. Now I don't want you to think that all cases of hyper arousal are due to that there are other causes that other causes of trance states even but you know, I'm ADD it It's probably one reason you hear me talking very quickly. The other reason is I'm trying to get through it quickly. So I can cover as  much material as possible. But you know, there are different kinds of brain  activity. But you have an altered neurophysiology, that does typify this  possession trance, even if sometimes you can have it during other things that  are not due to that possession behaviors. Raymond Firth, an anthropologist, and I would happen to my screen here, but Raymond Firth says that, that  sometimes, it's been hard for the anthropologist to persuade himself today we'd  say himself or herself, that it's really the same person as before, whom is  watching, we're confronting so so marked is the is the personality change in  their behavior and change in the pitch of their voice and so on. Jorum Mugari  was a traditional African exorcist in traditional religion before he became a  Christian. So he had some stories to tell me about things that he witnessed that  that should have been humanly impossible, were actually possessed persons  kind of moved up the wall on their backs, almost like a snake and onto the  ceiling, which should be humanly impossible from what we know of the human  body. And then he was converted to Christianity and now he's now he's, he's did his master's degree at Gordon Conwell, and now he's doing his his PhD in the  UK. I think maybe he's finished it by now, in some cases, and I mentioned this  because of some cases like Legion and the demoniac in the case of the seven  sons of Sciva, in Acts 19, this is not all cases, but in some cases, possession,  trance is expressed in violent behavior, such as banging one's head, jumping  into the fire, you also have that Mark 9, cutting themselves in places like  Indonesia, from which I have this very nice shirt. firewalking or immunity to pain,  sometimes, it also can be expressed in violence towards others. Now, some of  those things can happen under other kinds of circumstances to now obviously  people can be violent without having a demon. And people can have altered  states of consciousness due to other things too. I mean, we are state your  consciousness is altered when we're asleep, as well. But something that clearly  signals the demon although it doesn't always happen when there's a demon  present and probably doesn't usually happen. There are certain occult  phenomena, like the person being able to slither up a wall which is physically  impossible. Certain occult phenomena, many supposed cases of demon ism  may be merely personality disorders or just physical ailments. But some are 

more extreme when you have objects moving without being touched or flying  through the room, or so on. And I have friends who witnessed some of these  things, and I witnessed some things that I really don't want to talk about because they are really unpleasant. But in any case, exorcism also appears in  anthropological literature. In some cultures, it's considered the only cure for  possession, illness, and psychiatrists and psychologists who don't believe in  spirits. I mean, some do, but probably the majority don't, who don't believe in  spirits debate whether to accommodate local beliefs. among Christians, we see  an exorcism very frequently. Around 74% of Christians in Ethiopia, for example,  claimed to have witnessed exorcisms. My student Paul Mokake, a Baptist from  Cameroon described to me a woman writhing like a serpent as sea spirits were  cast out. Now I don't. And there are others who have described these kinds of  things to me. Locally, they're considered sea spirits or water spirits or river  spirits. That may just be the local tradition, local interpretation. Bible doesn't say, you know, you have sea spirits or whatever. But yeah, they appear to have been spirits of some sort. Nepali pastor Mina KC recounts a case of three sisters who  were mute for three years. Now. I'm in no way is implying that mutinous is  normally caused by by spirits or by demons. You can have physical ailments for  a variety of different reasons. You can also have emotional stress and mental  stress for a variety of different reasons. but we are only built for we're not built  for other personalities to live inside of us. So when you have a spirit, sometimes  it will afflict a certain part of the body or afflict the nervous system afflict the  mind. It's not to say those are the only things that can afflict the body or the  mind. But spirits can sometimes do that. And that was this case. Why would  these three sisters all mute starting at the same time for three years, she cast  out a demon, Pastor, Pastor Mina, Mina KC cast out a demon, and then they  were healed during that. Robin Snelgar, the head of the department of industrial  psychology at Nelson Mandela metropolitan university in Port Elizabeth Well,  earlier in his life, he recounts his own former experience of an alien personality  controlling him. Nothing helped him medicine didn't help. Other kinds of  practices didn't help until spontaneously he was exercised through a Christian  Eusbarina Acosta Estevez in in Cuba, I interviewed her an when I was in Cuba.  She said that back until 1988, she had been invoking spirits I don't know if she  was involved in Santeria, or what but she was invoking spirits she was too sick  to walk pasors prayed for her one day in 1988. She fell back the chairs around  her were thrown back. And the severe heart and kidney malfunctions that were  so severe she couldn't walk, suddenly were healed. And she's still fine to this  day. So when people ask questions about the reality of spirits. Some  anthropologists have explored this. Mostly, they're interested in what local  culture says. But there have been some interesting studies Edith Turner, who's  the widow of a famous anthropologist by the name of Victor Turner. She's the  lecturer in anthropology at the University of Virginia. She's editor of the journal 

anthropology and humanism, during the Zambian traditional African spirit ritual,  not not Christian, they didn't want Christians present. But during a traditional  African spirit ritual in Zambia, she witnessed spirits substance ejecting, she  actually saw this blob come out with her own eyes from the person's back. Now,  she's not approaching this from a conventional Christian perspective, she  actually teaches her students to experience spirits, which most of us as  Christians, would have problems with as much as some other anthropologists  who were not Christians would have problems with but in any case, she believes in the reality of spirits. And she's argued forthrightly for that, and has dealt with  that also among the Inuit population and Alaska and so on. Anthropologist Solon Kimball during fieldwork in Ireland, an apparition began moving toward him, he  put out his hand to protect himself, his hand went through it should know that's  must be hallucination. But later, we discovered that many others had seen the  same figure in the area at times independently. His explanation was, well,  maybe the culture effects even our hallucinations. But again, this was  independent. And so it may actually be something more serious than that.  Globally, the majority of Christians around the world do accept the reality of  spirits. They've convinced an increasing number of Westerners, some of whom  had been close to this, by their experiences. In fact, one Bible translator, in the  area around Peru was, I'm sorry, my, the person who shared this with me was  from Peru, but in, in southern America, among, the traditional people, he was  translating the Bible for them, and, and they believe that there were spirits all  around them. And he said, No, no, those things aren't real. And they said, well,  it's translated in you translate it for us in the Gospel, and Mark, it talks about  them. And he says, no, no, they're not really real. And they responded. They are  all around us, we can see them, you're the only one that can't see them. But our  proper enlightenment reaction to superstition threw out spirits altogether. And  this was pointed out by by a very well known missionary anthropologist, who  said, you know, my theological training helped me understand something about  God. My anthropological training helped me understand about culture and  humans, but it was when I was in India. This is Paul Hebert. When I was in  India. They helped me understand that there's this intermediate realm as well  that our western culture had had gone overboard throwing out the baby with the  bathwater, and a more critical approach is to look at the evidence for each case. Psychiatrist Scott Peck There were a lot of things he could explain  psychiatrically and said that, you know, most things that people think are  demons are just psychological problems. But he encountered two cases that  couldn't be explained any other way than his demons. William Wilson, professor  emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, and many others have said similar things. David van Gelder, Professor of counseling, and this is  published in a counseling journal, there was a 16 year old who was acting like  an animal. And the crucifix that was hanging on the wall fell, and they but it didn't

just fall, the nails actually melted. That's something that's not a psychological  disorder. And so they, he and some other Christians, they were called in as  Christian counselors, Christian psychologists and psychiatrists. They came  together, and they couldn't deal with them in any traditional psychiatric or  psychological ways. Finally, the they said, Okay, well try, try saying Jesus is  Lord, and another voice came out of him, you fools he can't say that. Finally,  they cast it out in the name of Jesus. But as professionals, they recognize this is not epilepsies This is not psychosis. This this had to be a real spirit. David  Instone Brewer, who is a very well known scholar of rabbinic he's a Christian  scholar. Teaches at Tyndale house at Cambridge. He, in earlier times, he was  doing rounds studying to be a psychiatrist before he went into what he's what he does now. And he said that at one time, he was making his rounds in the  hospital and just quietly privately, in his own heart. He was praying for this, this,  this man that he sat down beside in the hospital who seemed to be asleep. He  was just praying that God would help him when the man suddenly bolted upright and pointed in his face and yelled, he's mine, let him alone. He said that was  that was a very interesting experience. Well, all that to say that what we read  about in the New Testament, is very credible. And if you don't believe in spirits,  hopefully you will at least see that those of us who do believe in spirits do have  some reason for doing so. And that it's actually pretty widespread belief in many  parts of the world. But probably most of you who are watching this, already do  believe in this. But anyway, here is just some additional information. To help you  see that what we read about in Acts 16, is very plausible. Now, the upshot of  this is persecution that's not just plausible, but he was also mentioned by Paul in I Thessalonians but what he suffered in Philippi and that we will see in the next  session.  

Announcer - This is Dr. Craig Keener, in his instruction on the book of Acts, this  is session number 16. Acts chapters 15 and 16.

Last modified: Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 2:28 PM