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Home » Daily Readings

Paul Welcomed in Philippi

Submitted by on Monday, 18 May 2009No Comment


NAB HomepageThe Day’s Readings

Acts 16:11-15 is from Luke’s travel diary and continues from the previous section of Acts. From Troas, to Samothrace and from there to Neapolis, a fishing town. From Neapolis the company proceeded on foot to Philippi which was about 8 miles away along the Via Egnatia.

Modern maps still show the ancient island of Samothrace. Neapolis is now known as Kavala. The Philippi that Paul visited because a center of commerce during the Byzantine Period, but was gradually abandoned during the Ottoman period. Today it is an important excavation site in Thessaloniki, the co-capital of Macedonia.


Philippi was the location of a Christian community that was close to Paul’s heart. Paul even calls them “my joy and my crown” (Philippians 4:1). The first Christian to be baptized there was Lydia, a business woman engaged in purple dye. An article from BibleLight explains

The colour Purple in scripture is translated from the Hebrew words ‘argaman’ which means purple or red-purple and ‘arg@van’ meaning purple. The colour purple was found for example in the materials used for constructing of the Tabernacle and Temple. We read that God commanded Moses saying:

“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them.” Exodus 26:1


“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.” Exodus 26:31

Apart from Cornelius (Acts 10), Lydia is remembered to have been one of those who welcomed an apostle in her home.

The Greek word ‘porphura’, which refers to purple and the purple fish, a species of shell fish or mussel from which the dye colour is derived. This species was relatively rare and thus the purple dye was quite valuable. Two more Greek words are ‘porphurous’ which means purple or dyed in purple and ‘porphuropolis’ which refers to a seller of purple or fabric dyed in purple. In this context we can think of Lydia to whom Paul preached…

See also “Dye, Dyeing” in the ISBE Online

From these facts we surmise that Lydia must have been wealthy and had a home that could accomodate four guests. She is like the woman who was hospitable to the prophet Elisha (2 Kgs. 4:8). Lydia’s hospitality to Paul is remembered not only by Luke but also through the Church that now stands in the traditional site of her home.


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Acts 16:11-15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
11And sailing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the day following to Neapolis;
12And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were in this city some days conferring together.
13And upon the sabbath day, we went forth without the gate by a river side, where it seemed that there was prayer; and sitting down, we spoke to the women that were assembled.
14And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, did hear: whose heart the Lord opened to attend to those things which were said by Paul.
15And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying: If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
Philippians 4:1
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1Therefore, my dearly beloved brethren, and most desired, my joy and my crown; so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
Exodus 26:1
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1And thou shalt make the tabernacle in this manner: Thou shalt make ten curtains of fine twisted linen, and violet and purple, and scarlet twice dyed, diversified with embroidery.
Exodus 26:31
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
31Thou shalt make also a veil of violet and purple, and scarlet twice dyed, and fine twisted linen, wrought with embroidered work, and goodly variety:

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