The City of Philippi

Acts 16:11-40

During the time of the apostle Paul the city of Philippi in Macedonia was home to military veterans of a great battle fought nearby as well as to the very first Europeans who responded to Paul’s message of the good news of Jesus Christ. During his second missionary journey Paul traveled to Troas, just across from Macedonia. There Paul received a vision of a man from Macedonia calling to him for help, so Paul and Silas sailed to the town of Neapolis on the Macedonian coast. From there they headed to Philippi, a leading city in the region, by traveling along the Egnatian Way, the primary Roman road throughout Macedonia. On the Sabbath they went outside the city gates to find a place of prayer, likely along the Krenides River about a mile east of the city. There they shared the gospel with some women who were gathered there, including Lydia of Thyatira, who became a believer. She and her household were baptized, and she invited Paul and his companions to stay at her house. Later as Paul was going again to the place of prayer he encountered a female slave who told fortunes as a way to make money for her owners. Paul cast out the spirit from the woman, which angered her owners, because it destroyed their means of making money from her. The men dragged Paul and Silas before the magistrates at the marketplace, who then ordered Paul and Silas to be beaten and thrown into prison. That night while Paul and Silas sang hymns in their cell an earthquake loosed all the prisoners’ chains and opened the prison doors, but Paul and the other prisoners chose not to flee, leading the grateful jailer to become a follower of Jesus Christ. The next day the magistrates released Paul and Silas, who then visited Lydia and the other believers before leaving for Thessalonica further west along the Egnatian Way. Paul likely revisited the believers at Philippi years later on his third missionary journey (Acts 20:1-2), and he wrote his Epistle to the Philippians sometime during one of his later imprisonments.

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