Scripture: Acts 16:6-15, 40
Can you name someone who has been a blessing to you or greatly influenced your life? Share the circumstances of your interaction with this person.
This program is set up as a dialogue between the leader and the women. If you have a large group, divide the women into smaller groups with leaders in each to promote interaction. Today we are going to look at one woman of influence in the Bible. Her name is Lydia, and her story is found in Acts 16:6-15, 40. Let’s read it together.
What do you learn about Lydia from these verses in Acts?
- Where does Lydia live?
She lived in Philippi, a Roman colony and a leading city of Macedonia.
- How does Paul and his companions happen to be in that city?
Paul had a vision of a man begging him to come to help them.
- Once there, where would Paul have normally gone on the Sabbath?
To the synagogue. Since he didn’t, it would seem that there was not a requisite quorum of ten reliable males to form a synagogue.
- Where do we first meet Lydia?
Outside the city gate by a river.
- What was she doing there?
Meeting with the other women who were praying.
- It is generally understood that she was a Gentile adherent of Judaism. What statement leads us to this conclusion?
It states that she was a worshiper of God.
- What else do we know about Lydia?
She was a dealer in purple cloth. This infers that she was a successful businesswoman. We read further that she owned a house and had servants.
- She listened to Paul’s message. How did she respond?
She opened her heart, and she and her whole household were baptized.
- What did she persuade Paul to do?
To come and stay at her house.
- When Paul was arrested, did this change Lydia’s reaction to him?
No, she once again invited Paul and his companions to her house.
What Do You Think?
- Paul, Timothy, and Silas started out on their second missionary journey. After they decided on the route, what happened?
The Spirit of Jesus stopped them (Verse 7). Have you made plans that seemed to be good, but they were stopped? How did you respond or feel?
- What happened next?
Paul had a vision of man from Macedonia begging him to come and help them.
- What was Paul’s reaction?
He listened and concluded that God had called them to preach the gospel in that area.
- How do you think Paul felt when they got there only to discover that there weren’t enough men to have a quorum for a synagogue? What would you have done? Would you have concluded you were mistaken and left? Did Paul question God?
Considering the place of women in those days, how do you think Paul felt when he found no men, only a group of women by the river praying?
- What does this teach us?
That to God gender is not important. Lydia was seeking and God opened her heart to the message about the Savior.
- Whose lives were changed because Paul listened to God and made this trip to Macedonia?
Lydia and her household all became believers and were baptized. Paul commanded the spirit to come out of the slave girl, changing her life. The jailer and his entire household became believers.
What Lessons Can We Learn from Lydia’s Life? (Acts 16:11–13)
- If you could no longer gather to worship in a physical building, where would you meet?
Park, virtually online or in someone’s home.
- Read Acts 16:14. What does this verse tell us about Lydia? What do you think are the most important characteristics?
Construct a sentence about yourself similar to this one about Lydia. Which of these things you list about yourself do you consider your most important characteristics?
- Acts 16:14. What do you think is meant by the words, “The Lord opened her heart to respond?”
Lydia responds to the gospel message with two actions. What are they?
- She and her whole household are baptized, and she opens her home to Paul and his companions.
When Paul and Silas got out of prison, they immediately went to Lydia’s home. Do you think this posed a danger for Lydia?
- What did Paul and Silas do at Lydia’s house following their time in prisons.
They encouraged the believers but didn’t complain that they had been unjustly imprisoned.
From this portion of scripture, I think we can conclude that God’s plans are often not our plans. His plans are better than ours and we need to follow His leading. It was during this visit that the church was established in Philippi, possibly with Lydia’s home as the headquarters. Paul later wrote a letter to the church there that is recorded in the book of Philippians. In this letter he expressed his great love for the believers there.
The Lydia Project
Choose a family who has come to the corps for social service and invite the women to prepare a special gift basket for them. Include in the basket information about women’s ministry and invite them to attend the meetings.