Acts 16:1 a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus
"Timothy may have been about eighteen when Paul...added him to the missionary group on its way west to Greek lands. Perhaps Paul earlier converted his family on the first mission as he visited Lystra, Timothy's home (Acts 16:1) ... Whenever he was baptized, Timothy was well respected by the priesthood leaders in the area when Paul added him to the second mission (Acts 16:2). Nothing is known of Timothy's father beyond his being Greek. But Paul remembered Timothy's first 'sincere faith' (2 Tim. 1:5, RSV), which he received from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5). His mother was Jewish and an early convert (Acts 16:1). Thus, Paul protected him against Jewish hostility by having him circumcised (Acts 16:3) ... Paul could not do his work without delegation and assignment. And no one was more constantly used and trusted than Timothy, whom he called his 'true child in the faith' (1 Tim. 1:2, RSV) or his 'beloved child' (2 Tim. 1:2, RSV) ...Timothy's history is virtually the history of Paul's missions. Paul added Timothy's name to the opening of seven letters and mentioned his trustworthiness in two others. Paul had many powerful companions, but not one continued to be closer to him." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 316.)
Acts 16:3 Paul...took and circumcised him because of the Jews
"Although Paul was opposed to circumcision as essential for salvation and he emphatically declared that it was not needful for Titus to be circumcised (Gal. 2:1-3), soon after the Jerusalem council Paul circumcised the young Timothy before taking him as a companion on the second mission (Acts 16:1-3). This action provides an insight into Paul's thinking. He saw a difference between necessity and convenience. With Titus, the question was whether or not circumcision was essential for salvation; thus, Paul opposed it. With Timothy it was a matter of rendering him acceptable to the non-Christian Jews where he would do missionary work. Paul was willing to allow circumcision as a concession, but not as a requirement, so that the Jews would be willing to listen to Timothy teach the gospel. This distinction reveals something of Paul's mind and method." (Robert J. Matthews, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, edited by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 41.)
Acts 16:6 they...were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia
Bruce R. McConkie
"Here the Lord commands his missionaries not to preach the gospel in Asia or Bithynia, but instead to go to Macedonia. Why? It is simply a matter of sending missionaries where there are more receptive people. Of course those in Asia and elsewhere were entitled to hear the truth; all men are; but every man in his day and time and season. The Lord establishes his own system of priorities and since the laborers are few and cannot be everywhere, they are sent, by revelation, to those peoples who in God's wisdom deserve to hear the truth first." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2: 147.)
Acts 16:9 There stood a man...saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us
Spencer W. Kimball
"To me, the labors of Paul have always been thrilling to read. To read of the gospel being carried into new lands-to Cyprus, to lands known today as Turkey, Greece, and Italy-has brought proof of the gospel's impact on all people. Do you recall how in the timetable of the Lord, 'a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us'? (Acts 16:9.) It is the same in our time. The spirit of the Macedonian is all about us. Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before-farther geographically, and farther in density of coverage. Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, 'Come over ... and help us.' He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relative. She might be someone you met only yesterday. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray as did Peter, 'And now, Lord ... grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.' (Acts 4:29.)" ("Always a Convert Church: Some Lessons to Learn and Apply This Year," Ensign, Sept. 1975, 2)
Acts 16:10 we endeavoured to go into Macedonia
After fifteen chapters, the author of Acts, Luke, now begins to use the pronoun, "we." The beloved physician herein becomes one of Paul's associates, making him an eyewitness to most of the rest of the story. At this point, the missionary entourage is made up of a foursome: Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke. However, only Paul and Silas are beaten and put into prison (v. 19-23).
"The 'we' begins in Acts 16:10, it ends when Paul leaves Philippi (Acts17:1) ...Here, then, we see that Luke was St. Paul's companion from Troas on his second apostolic journey, he was with him at Philippi, accompanied him to Jerusalem, and, so far as we know, never left him again till his martyrdom in Rome.
"How pathetic are those words, almost the last ones written by the great Apostle shortly before his death, and addressed to his friend Timothy from the gloomy dungeon in which he was incarcerated in the imperial city of Rome: 'For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me' (II Tim. 4:10, 11). This faithful friend and companion was nearly always by his side, and we feel no wonder, therefore, at the deep attachment which Paul had for his 'beloved physician,' whose character he had once summed up some six years previously in the words-'the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches'-(II Cor. 8:18). It is pleasant, too, to think that the medical skill and attention of this devoted friend must have been as great a source of comfort to the aged, feeble and sick Apostle, as we are sure that his companionship was a source of consolation to him during all the many trials of his later life." ("St. Paul's Companions in Rome." by Col. R. M. Bryce-Thomas., Improvement Era, 1908, Vol. Xii. December, 1908. No. 2 .)
Acts 16:12 Philippi...is the chief cit of that part of Macedonia, and a colony
"Philippi was named for its refounder Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, the world conqueror. But a different world conqueror came when Paul arrived with his small missionary group in obedience to the vision of the pleading man of Macedonia (Acts 16:9). ... 'Colony' was a technical term for Romans settled outside Rome. That Philippi was a colony implies that it had civic rights of Rome and the honor of modeling its local government after that of the mother city. The old Roman virtues were loyalty and reliability. These qualities certainly summarize the remarkable faithfulness of the Philippian Christians." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 291)
Acts 16:13 on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made
"Where there was no Synagogue there was at least a Proseuche (Acts 16:13), or meeting-place, under the open sky, after the form of a theatre, generally outside the town, near a river of the sea, for the sake of lustrations. These, as we know from classical writers, were well known to the heathen, and even frequented by them." (Edersheim, Alfred, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 52)
Acts 16:14-15 Lydia...was baptized, and her household
David O. McKay
"If Lydia was the first one baptized, then she has the distinction of being the first person in Europe to accept Christianity. Whether 'her household' means she had children, or whether it refers to her servants or to both we do not know, but they became the nucleus of a thriving branch of the Church in that city, and in Lydia's home town as well." (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 186)
Acts 16:18 Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her
The woman had just announced that Paul and company were servants of God. Her words were absolutely correct-yet Paul rebuked her and cast out the evil spirit. We are reminded of the Savior who rebuked the evil spirits who had confessed that he was the Son of God (Luke 4:41). Why would they rebuke those who testified on their behalf? Because the testimony of truth is to come from the Lord's righteous servants, not from devils whose purpose is to deceive.
In this interesting story, we see another manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. Paul could not have known by her words that she was evil; he could only have discerned that through the Spirit. Hereby, Paul gives us a classic example of the discerning of spirits in its most pure form. Often, we think of this gift as the ability to discern the righteous characteristics of fellow-saints, such as a bishop must have in calling individuals of varying capacities to suitable church callings. However, the discerning of spirits, fundamentally, is the power to discern whether a religious manifestation is from God or otherwise. In the religious fervor of Joseph Smith's day, outlandish spiritual manifestations were very common.
"The Shaker will whirl around on his heel, impelled by a supernatural agency or spirit, and think that he is governed by the Spirit of God; and the Jumper will jump and enter into all kinds of extravagances. A Primitive Methodist will shout under the influence of that spirit, until he will rend the heavens with his cries; while the Quakers (or Friends) moved as they think, by the Spirit of God, will sit still and say nothing. Is God the author of all this? If not of all of it, which does He recognize? Surely, such a heterogeneous mass of confusion never can enter into the kingdom of heaven.
"Every one of these professes to be competent to try his neighbor's spirit, but no one can try his own, and what is the reason? Because they have not a key to unlock, no rule wherewith to measure, and no criterion whereby they can test it...If Satan should appear as one in glory, who can tell his color, his signs, his appearance, his glory, or what is the manner of his manifestation? Who can detect the spirit of the French prophets with their revelations and their visions, and power of manifestations? Or who can point out the spirit of the Irvingites, with their apostles and prophets, and visions and tongues, and interpretations, etc. Or who can drag into daylight and develop the hidden mysteries of the false spirits that so frequently are made manifest among the Latter-day Saints? We answer that no man can do this without the Priesthood, and having a knowledge of the laws by which spirits are governed; for as no man knows the things of God, but by the Spirit of God, so no man knows the spirit of the devil, and his power and influence, but by possessing intelligence which is more than human, and having unfolded through the medium of the Priesthood the mysterious operations of his devices; without knowing the angelic form, the sanctified look and gesture, and the zeal that is frequently manifested by him for the glory of God, together with the prophetic spirit, the gracious influence, the godly appearance, and the holy garb, which are so characteristic of his proceedings and his mysterious windings.
"A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 204-5.)
Acts 16:19 her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone
Paul's rebuke saved him from falling prey to a malicious trap. Although, the details of this artifice are not clear, clearly 'her masters' had made a living off the spiritual gullibility of the masses. But Paul refused to be prostituted by these spiritual pimps.
"Why, we ask, would a woman possessed with an evil spirit bear a positive testimony of the gospel message and the servants commissioned to bear it? Because that testimony would eventually give her credibility among believers, thus placing her in a position to do much harm. Her testimony was not rooted in the revelations of heaven, and no other source for the testimony of Christ is acceptable." (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Watch and Be Ready: Preparing for the Second Coming of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 60)
"They detected the spirit. And although she spake favorably of them, Paul commanded the spirit to come out of her and saved themselves from the opprobrium that might have been heaped upon their head through an affiance with her in the development of her wicked principles, which they certainly would have been charged with if they had not rebuked the evil spirit." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 153.)
Acts 16:25 at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises
David O. McKay
"The inner prison of a Roman jail was a dark, damp, gloomy dungeon. One writer calls it a 'pestilential cell, damp and cold, from which the light was excluded, and where the chains rusted on the limbs of the prisoners.' But not content with shutting the elders up in such a gloomy hole, 'the jailor made their feet fast in the stocks.' In fastening only their feet, however, he showed a little mercy for there were holes in the stock for the wrists and for the neck also.
"With their backs sore and bleeding, their bodies chilled by the cold and dampness, their legs cramped and aching, hungry and sleepless and surrounded by the blackness of midnight, Paul and Silas who knew they were suffering for the sake of the true Gospel, could rejoice and praise the Lord. This they did at midnight, by praying and singing 'praises unto God.' Their voices rang out through the prison cells; and prisoners, hard hearted and sinful, listened in surprise to the first Christian hymn they had ever heard. The power of the Lord manifested itself not only in the hearts of His true servants, but in the entire prison and the town as well; for 'suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken.' All the bolts and bars at the doors fell from their sockets and the doors of the prison flew open, and 'every one's bands were loosed,' but not a prisoner tried to escape." (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 187-8.)
Acts 16:30 Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Paul's answer to this most important question has, at times, been misconstrued to obviate the need for righteous living and saving ordinances:
"When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned at Philippi, a distressed jailer asked him, 'What must I do to be saved?' Without referring to obedience or repentance or good works, which he himself had so often spoken of, Paul simply answered, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' (Acts 16:30-31.)
"But in a church that also has many ancient and modern scriptural passages stressing works of righteousness and the importance of obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, scriptural passages like Acts 16:31 often give rise to confusion. 'As far as I'm concerned,' one missionary said to his companion, 'when somebody starts quoting Paul on salvation by grace, I just quote James on faith without works being dead [see James 2:17-26] and try to get off the subject as quickly as possible.' Another time, a Sunday School teacher confessed to his class of teenagers, 'Before I joined the Church, I quoted the words of Paul to everyone. Now I just kind of steer away from what he said. I know now how important good works are, so I put the emphasis there.'" (Gerald N. Lund, Jesus Christ, Key to the Plan of Salvation [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 152)
Hopefully, latter-day saints will never feel the need to "steer away" from the writings of Paul. His answer was absolutely correct. Paul never said that believing in Christ was all the man had to do. Indeed, Paul's teachings that same evening (v. 32) must have dealt with the natural consequence of real faith-repentance and baptism-as is evidenced in the jailor's actions (v. 33). Peter was asked the same question but gave a different response. He replied, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.' (Acts 2:38) Yet, Peter's response obviously implied the need for faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, Paul spoke of faith implying the need for repentance and baptism, and Peter spoke of repentance and baptism while implying the need for faith. Both their answers are correct as long as they are not taken out of context. Nevertheless, there are always those unlearned and unstable who would wrest the scriptures to their own destruction (2 Pet 3:16).
Bruce R. McConkie
"Is belief alone enough to bring salvation to the contrite soul? Assuredly yes, if by belief is meant the ringing declaration of him who, baptizing our Lord, then testified: 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life' (John 3:36); or if by belief is meant the pronouncement of Jesus: 'He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do' (John 14:12); or if by belief is meant that pure, perfect faith in Christ which presupposes and in fact cannot exist without the works of righteousness. (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., pp. 78-80; See Heb. 11:1-3.) But belief alone is scarcely the beginning of that course leading to a celestial inheritance if it is isolated as a thing apart, if it is supposed that it does not embrace within its folds both baptism and a subsequent course of enduring to the end. (2 Ne. 31:15-21.) And in the very case at hand, Paul and Silas teach the gospel to the whole group, baptize them, and without question give them the gift of the Holy Ghost, thus starting them out in the direction of salvation. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:151.)
Acts 16:37 They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily?
Paul never wearied of using his Roman citizenship to his advantage (see Acts 22:22-30; 25:11). He has no qualms about embarrassing those who were responsible for his scabbing and weeping wounds. To his oppressors Paul appeared to be a Jew, but he had Roman citizenship by virtue of his birth in Tarsus. This entitled him to due process under Roman law
David O. McKay
"Tarsus, an exceedingly rich and populous city, was a Roman municipium, or free corporation. This means that the freedom of Rome (which ruled all those countries at that time) had been given to the freemen of Tarsus. This freedom had been granted because the men of Tarsus had defended two emperors of Rome during a rebellion against them. Thus, Saul, though a Jew, was a freeborn Roman citizen." (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 144)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Two Romans, citizens of the mightiest empire on earth-entitled thereby to an impartial trial; to an appeal to the emperor; to freedom from degrading punishments, including bonds, scourging, and crucifixion-are here condemned without a trial, scourged without mercy, imprisoned in bonds in a damp and pestilential cell, all for the testimony of Jesus and the hope of a better resurrection." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:151.)