[4], Paul and his companions may have been surprised to see a group made up of only, or mainly, women at the prayer-house. However, even though dying (and also tanning) often involved the use of unclean materials, that didnt stop the Israelites and Jewish people using dyed (and also leather) products including purple (Hebrew: argaman; Greek: porphyra). Thank you for writing. Thyatira was the capitol of the industry and renowned for its purple dyes. That was the first internal problem confronted by the early church, and it came out of the culture. This does not mean she played a minor role in Pauls ministry or in the New Testament. Maybe Lydia was responsible for helping to establish a congregation in her hometown. (Academia.edu), Lydia and the Place of Prayer in Philippi "If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my home." On the practical side, Lydias experience of running a largish household and of running a business would have been useful in managing and caring for a congregation. She was originally from the city of Thyatira, in the Roman province of Asia, across the Aegean Sea from Philippi. Acts 16:15 mentions her conversion to the Christian faith. It is helpful to flesh out more about their lives, cultures, and the ancient language aspects relevant to the extant texts we read in English today. There Paul met Lydia, a Gentile who became the first Christian convert in Europe: "One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. Thank you for this paper Marg I enjoyed it immensely for devotions this morning. I think theres a bit (or a lot) of sexism in all of us. Paul's missionary methods (pp. Paul and his party may have spent several weeks staying with Lydia (cf. We learn in Acts 16 that, while born and reared to believe in the gods and goddesses of Thyatira, Lydia did not worship the pantheon of gods venerated in her hometown. Your research is much appreciated. The book of Acts records eyewitness accounts of the early Church from Christ's resurrection until about A.D. 60. I really like reading more about the roles of women in the Early Church. Carrie Underwood Sings 'Go Rest High On That Mountain' to Honor Vince Gill, What We Can Do Today to Reach People in Need, 10 Ways to Deal with the Difficult People in Your Church, 7 Ways to Study the Bible Like Billy Graham, 30 Morning Prayers to Start Each Day with God. Thyatira, Lydias home town, was well-known for the production of dye from madder roots. [25] I wonder if Jesus and Paul were sent on their journeys because God saw the hearts (and heard the possible prayers) of these women who were ready to put their trust in Jesus as Messiah. Most likely from the details given about Lydia, we can come to a few conclusions. It was large enough to accommodate Paul and his fellow missionaries (who included Silas, probably Timothy, and perhaps Luke and others) as well as her own household. But, Paul discusses, referencing the Hebrew scriptures, that the Gentiles will understand, whereas, the Jews wont. (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1982); and Susan Mathew, Women in the Greetings of Romans 16.1-16: A Study of Mutuality and Womens Ministry in the Letter to the Romans (London; New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013), 54-63. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the . While it is true that Jesus seemed to have a fondness and special compassion for the poor, there is a place in the church for the wealthy. She left her home country and established her business in Philippi, in a different country, even on a different continent. Thank you, James. She was already a person open to the word of God, a worshiper of God. She was a seller of purple and a worshiper of God. Purple dye was a symbol of power and honor in the ancient world, and it was the most expensive and sought after dye in the Roman world. Well dive more into the importance of this later, but readers should take note that not every regular Gentile or Jew got a chance to wear this special color two millennia ago. This is the story of Lydia in the Bible. There were a few who followed Jesus who came from the wealthy class. artillery avalanche control jobs. While its sometimes frustrating to feel like I have the same conversations again and again about women in church leadership, it is certainly encouraging to see change! If she were well off, she may have given him money or supplies for his further journey on the Egnatian Way, an important Roman highway. We need to note a few things. Lydia was a region on the west coast of Asia Minor, supposedly named for legendary king Lydos. This album contains scenes from the funeral service from St. David's Anglican Church to the Cemetery in Plymouth, Tobago which was attended by relatives, friends and members of the People's National Movement. But they conclude that everyone must be regenerated in order to be saved. Lydia no longer lives in Thyatira when Paul meets her, but rather, in the city of Philippi, a city in Macedonia. I am preaching a lecture on Women in Acts in the fall and so appreciated this well written, well researched, and passionate look at a women in scripture who I consider so influential, yet one so easily glanced over. Obviously, I dont believe that. She does it, and her children call her blessed, and her husband praises her. They first traveled to the Roman colony of Philippi, one of the most important cities in Macedonia. This article looks at Lydia who is mentioned in just a few verses in the New Testament. Given Pauls brief stay in Philippi, he seems to have had no problem apparently having Lydia in charge. how does lydia help paul and the early church. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. They inspire me to be a risk-taking leader (appropriate risks, of course.) Cynthia Westfall notes that women in the first-century Roman world, like Lydia, were entering the public sphere in business and as patrons, and they impacted the early church in those roles as well.[8]. 4:11; Phlm. She has both a practical job and a heavenly one here on earth. Here are four things about worship in the early church we can glean from what God reavealed in Scripture. Fairchild, Mary. [3] Like many Jewish places of worship, this prayer-house was located by a water source. When Paul left earth in the end of his life he not only left some church plants, he left the DNA of a movement that would eventually spread to the extent that even the Roman Empire itself would surrender to Christianity (for better or worse). God rerouted Paul and friends and also ensured that Lydia would be in the right place at the right time to encounter Paul and hear the good news of Jesus. Thank you so much for the information about Lydia. This lead to the conversion of her and her family. Deuteronomy 29:4 It was located on a major commercial and military highway, the second most important one in the Roman Empire. The meaning of the name Lydia in Hebrew means a standing pool. As you mention for Lydia, Proverbs 31 makes no mention of this virtuous wife checking with her husband before doing anything. We know the Lord opened Lydias heart (Acts 16:14b NIV), and so it is probable the Spirit gave her spiritual gifts and abilities to help her in ministry (cf. The thankful, healed Samaritan leper is also presented in a favourable light (Luke 17:11-19). Or youre put off by the sermon title. David Limbaugh is a lawyer, nationally syndicated columnist, political commentator, and the author of ten bestsellers, including Jesus on Trial, The Emmaus Code, The True Jesus, and Jesus is Risen. Second,Lydia may have experienced the Diaspora, or a diaspora of sorts, if she had to travel from Thyatira to Philippi. Most of us have a lot of unlearning to do. But I noticed something different between the two. 26; 27:16; 36:8, 35-37). The footnotes are informative too. First, she was in a posture to receive the gospel. 1452) Other inscriptions show that some Jewish women were called elders and mothers of synagogues. Luke, the author of Acts, called Lydia a seller of purple goods. He tells his readers that he is "a Hebrew of Hebrews.". Chapter 2 records the beginning of the Church. Purple symbolised royalty and prestige. 65581. They were not silent in the churches or ineffective in evangelism. Her wealth allowed her to live independently in a spacious house. Freedwomen in the East also frequently sold luxury items such as purple dye. Keener, Acts, (Google Books). Priscilla and Aquila were also good friends of and ministry partners with Paul (Romans 16:3). Your email address will not be published. The Jews would not walk through____________ because they despised the people who lived there. See Judges 8:26, Ezekiel 27:7 & 16, Jeremiah 10:9, Esther 1:6, and Revelation 18:11-17. Anyway, Im excited to see your well thought out, well presented exegesis, and will likely be spending much time reading your articles. These verses, all in Acts chapter 16, tell us quite a bit about her and the important part she played in the Philippian church. Lydia presumably told members of her household, who followed her lead and were baptised with her. And purple is used in a metaphor for the beloveds beautiful hair (Songs 7:5). Lydias wealth is also indicated by the fact that she seems to have been the owner and mistress of her own home. This meant that there were very few Jews in the city, because it only required ten men to establish a synagogue. Acts 8:3; 9:1ff; 22:4). Because of the wealth she accrued (at the very least, a modest enough wealth for a larger household) she helped. Timothy had recently joined Paul (Acts 16:1-3), but he is not mentioned by name during Pauls episode in Philippi. But in Acts 16, God opened her heart. I guess you could say that I am a complementarian now leaning toward egalitarianism. However, since she is described literally in Acts 16:14 as a purple-seller (porphyroplis), Lydia may have dealt with Tyrian purple. The usual word for a purple dyer was porphyrobaphos. [8] Cynthia Westfall, Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostles Vision for Men and Women in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2016), 268. I look forward to seeing what you do with her story. Only members of the royalty and other wealthy people could afford this cloth, because the dye was so expensive to make, and so it was a prosperous trade. Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She came to be viewed as a saint by many Christian denominations. (2021, September 8). According to v.9 God gave Paul a vision in which he saw a man of Macedonia saying to him, "Come over into Macedonia, and help us." Taking this to be God's directive, Paul and his team immediately went to the port at Troas and they found a ship all ready to sail to Macedonia. Timothys name inexplicably reappears in Acts 17:14-15 when the missionaries are in Berea. Lydia was a businesswoman, "a dealer of purple cloth" from Thyatira. I dont identify as a Calvinist, but I believe the new birth or regeneration (renewal) that Jesus made possible is essential for salvation. Convinced that he had to preach the gospel to the entire world, Paul visited important cities, following the commercial routes of the time. Luke may not have ministered on his own; he may have ministered as Pauls companion. I also have relevant Categories and Tags under the headings of each article that link to more articles. Acts 16:19-22). She probably gave of her own resources to help support its ministries. The Samaritan woman gave Jesus well water, but He gave her ______ water. The account is enriched by historical details of the social and cultural realities of those times. She was also a religious seeker. After all, the rich young ruler in Luke 18 doesnt receive an explicit name reference. The girl was most likely demented, epileptic, or emotionally unstable. We're talking monikers like the Vanderbilt's, the Astor's, the Kennedy's, and so on. One of those people was a woman named Lydia. Lets take a closer look at the descriptions in Acts 16:14. However, the young trainee may have been with Paul and Silas, the older missionaries, all along. Further, she was baptized and brought salvation to her entire household, an early example of how to win the souls of those closest to us. Your email address will not be published. When Paul and Silas were thrown into a Philippian prison, Lydia visited them and attended to their needs. Romans 15:21 It was a Sabbath Day that you mentioned. St Paul was travelling around ancient Asia Minor, teaching about Jesus and converting Jews and Gentiles. And not only did some wealthy Jewish people wear purple in Jesuss day, Aarons high-priestly garments (especially the ephod, waistband, and breastpiece) were woven from purple yarn (as well as gold, blue, and scarlet yarn) (Exod. See Bernadette J. Brooten, Women Leaders in the Ancient Synagogue: Inscriptional Evidence and Background. Divorce was easy under Roman law and it was common, and in most cases it did not result in any sense of scandal or stigma. I believe that grace is the gift THRU your faith, not a God given faith. Lydias name was not an uncommon one, and it may not provide any real insight into her status or identity. In verse 14, we are introduced to Lydia from the Bible. That was how Lydia listened. Gentiles dont need that. And, in that group, the first person in Europemale or femaleto convert to the new faith, to receive and accept the Good News. Weve been discussing Lydia, but also Cornelius. Lydia may have been a patron of the Jewish community at Philippi. [26] Acts 16:15which begins with, When she and her household (ho oikos auts) were baptisedmakes it clear that it was her household. Anyone includes Jews and Gentiles. As she heard the word of God she was moved to act upon the things Paul was saying. Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ through grace and cannot be earned by human works. It does not seem to have been the usual practice for one of Pauls coworkers to stay with a new church when the rest continued on their journey. Keywords hospitality, spiritual generosity, missio Dei, Lydia, Acts 16, Holy Spirit [7] Compare, for example, the lack of descriptive information about the unnamed men and women in the Macedonian cities of Thessalonica and Berea, mentioned in Acts 14:4 and 12, or even about Jason, mentioned in Acts 17:5-9. Its a word only used twice in the whole bible. Why mention her at all, one may ask. Thank you for taking the pain to do this work and may God almighty reward you beyond your widest imagination. Either that happened to Lydia and her family, or she married someone from Philippi or decided to take her trade there for an unknown reason. [13] For a brief discussion on the likelihood of Lydia being another name of either Euodia or Syntyche, see Davorlin Peterlin, Pauls Letter to the Philippians in the Light of Disunity in the Church (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 128-130. The Word was their primary focus of getting together. Yesterday, someone expressed doubt that a Jewish person would wear purple or sell purple because shellfish are unclean. [18] Other New Testament women, who seem to be homeowners and independent of husbands or fathers, were Martha of Bethany (Luke 10:38), Mary of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12ff), Chloe of Corinth (1 Cor. If Lydia didnt lead the fledgeling church in Philippi, who did? She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. Scriptures to Show How Important Grandparents Are. See Map of Paul's journeys at end of this page.. The Apostle Paul first encountered Lydia at Philippi, in eastern Macedonia. Acts 1:8; 8:1, 4-5ff). Like you, I also believe that we are saved through faith and grace. I was prayed for by my spiritual father during my ordination, and he mentioned that I am Lydia the woman with the purple. [20] In the first decades of the churchs existence, almost all Christian converts were either Jews or they were Gentiles with some kind of affiliation or sympathy with Judaism. She was generous and hospitable, opening her home to traveling ministers and missionaries. Lydia had come from Thyatira, in western Asia Minor, and was a dealer in purple cloth. [22] Other women were patrons of synagogues and were prominent and influential in their Jewish communities. During that time, she would have received (directly and indirectly) a theological and pastoral education from the apostle so that she was equipped to care for the church when Paul moved on to bring the gospel to other Macedonian cities. So she responded immediately, and also insisted that her whole family be baptized as well: When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. In some parts of the Roman Empire, women could play prominent roles in their Jewish communities, especially in places where women already had some social freedoms. Dorcas. We know for sure that Cornelius was a Gentile. (Corinth was on a narrow isthmus that connected southern Greece (the Peleponessus) with . The Samaritan woman told people in her village. I havent heard that Calvinists think that regeneration comes before salvation. She and her household take the first step of obedience and get baptized (Acts 16:15) by Paul. And finally, Lydia may have been a missionary herself. Second, after she and her entire family accepts Jesus Christ and are baptized, they invite Paul and Silas (a ministry companion of Pauls) into their home. All along one may ask ( the Peleponessus ) with many Christian denominations is also in. Tyrian purple is mentioned in just a few verses in the Roman colony of Philippi, a modest enough for. 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