Acts 16:6-10

6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.

7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.

8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

gone through (v.6) = itinerated through —  with stops for preaching

Phrygia and the region of Galatia (v.6) — the Phrygian region of the province of Galatia

forbidden (v.6) = lit. “prevented”

The selective principle in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures is clearly seen in verses 6 and 7. Paul’s whole ministry in Galatia is passed over with a few words, evidently because an account of it would not be in line with the special purpose of the Acts. In his letter to the Galatians we learn that “on account of infirmity of the flesh” he had preached the gospel to them at the first (Galatians 4:13). The exact nature of the illness that detained him among the Galatians is not stated, though it seems to have been some severe eye trouble (Galatians 4:15; 6:11). However that may be, we know that even in his illness he plainly set forth Christ crucified among them (Galatians 3:1) and that his energy and faithfulness were richly rewarded by the esteem and affection lavished upon him by those whom he had won to Christ (Galatians 4:14-15). — Stam, page 32.

Asia (v.6) — Later, Paul spent three years in Ephesus, the capital of Asia.

come to Mysia (v.7) — They traveled through part of Asia, but, evidently, did not stop to preach.

Mysia (v.7) — a district in the northwest part of Asia Minor bordering on the Hellespont and the Propontis, and included in the Roman province of Asia (see Acts 2:9). The missionaries traveled mainly in a northerly direction till they arrived “opposite to Mysia,” on the border of the Asian province, with the intention of entering the province of Bithynia. They were, at that juncture, almost due east of Troas. — Walker, page 343.

tried (v.7) = kept attempting

Bithynia (v.7) — The Roman province. It lay northeast of Asia and northwest of Galatia, on the borders of the Propontis and the Black Sea. It is mentioned again in 1 Peter 1:1. A Roman road ran into it from Asian Phrygia, which the missionaries must have been following. So far as we know, Paul never preached in Bithynia. — Walker, page 344.

passing by Mysia (v.8) = skirting Mysia — passing through without preaching. Troas was in Mysia.

Troas (v.8) — Or, more fully, “Alexandria Troas,” a city of Mysia on the Aegean coast, opposite the island of Tenedos. The district surrounding it bore the same name, but was commonly known as “the Troad.” Antigones built a city there, near the site of the ancient Troy, but it was refounded in 300 B.C. by Lysimachus and named “Alexandria Troas” after Alexander the Great. It passed into Roman hands in 133 B.C. and Augustus made it a Roman colony. We read of it again in Acts 20: 5-6; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Timothy 4:13). Arrived there, the missionaries had the Aegean Sea before them, with Europe awaiting them beyond. — Walker, page 345.


Macedonia (v.9) — The Macedonians were akin to the Greeks, but more hardy and less civilized. Their country was a region in the center of the Balkan Peninsula. Under Philip (360-336 B.C.) and his son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.) they became the predominant power and conquered the Persian Empire, carrying their victorious arms east as far as India. They were finally subjugated by Rome, and in 147 B.C. Macedonia was formed into a province of the empire, including portions of Illyria and Thessaly. Its capital was Thessalonica (Acts 17:1). — Walker, page 345.

we (v.10) — Luke joins Paul’s group, perhaps in a medical capacity as Paul’s personal physician.

An addition had been made to the party at Troas in the person of Luke, the author of Acts. This is evident, not only from the grammatical change from “they” to “we” in verse 10, but also from the fact that at this point Luke’s simple historical style gives place to the autoptical style of writing, i.e., that of personal observation. The arrival of Luke at this time may well be traced to the apostle’s illness while among the Galatians. Later Paul called him “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) referring not merely to the fact that he was a physician, but to the affection with which he was regarded as a physician — probably most of all by Paul himself — for benefits received. This is another indication of the dispensational change which has taken place since Pentecost (See Acts 5:12-16 and cf. Romans 8:22-23).

Here Luke accompanies Paul to Macedonia and Philippi, after which he appears to be absent again. But when Paul returns to Macedonia later we detect Luke’s presence again by that same change of pronoun from “they” to “we.” From here on he appears to have remained with Paul to the close of the Acts record.

Luke’s presence was to prove a great help to the apostle in his journeys as the dispensation of miraculous demonstrations passed away. Almost the last word we hear from Paul, in prison at Rome, is “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11). — Stam, pages 36-37.

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