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Praying Off the Beaten Path

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Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

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TEXT: Acts 16:13-15

In this passage, we find Paul in the middle of his second missionary journey. Recently, he has attempted to take the Gospel message east into Asia Minor, but found repeatedly doors being shut and the Spirit indicating that they should not move forward in that direction. While they were waiting to find out what they should do next, Paul received a vision of a Macedonian man telling him, "Come over and help us." Taking this as a sign from the Lord, Paul, Silas, and Luke go west into Europe. We know that Luke is with them because his narrative switches from "they" to "we"; he is a partaker in the action of his historical account. They arrive in Philippi, a Roman colony city in Macedonia.

Philippi was the most prominent city in the region. Being a colony city, it was considered a "little Rome," a "Rome away from Rome." It was filled with loyal Roman subjects, many of whom were retired soldiers, who had received rewards from the Roman emperor in exchange for them leaving Italy and reinforcing Roman values by living in an outpost of the Empire. Philippi was also the city where Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius in a decisive battle of the second Roman civil war just a few years prior to the arrival of Paul, Silas, and Luke.

On the first Sabbath after their arrival, we find Paul and his fellow workers heading down to a riverside where Jews gathered for prayer. 

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