PaulA Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More and others visit Philippi, where they meet LydiaA rich woman who sold purple goods in the city of Philippi More. God brings her to faith, and a small gathering of believers takes shape in her house.
In Philippi, Paul and his companions go to find a place of prayer on the SabbathSabbath is a weekly day of rest, the seventh day, observed on Saturday in Judaism and on Sunday in Christianity. In the book of Genesis, God rested on the seventh day; in the Gospel accounts Jesus and his disciples are criticized by some for not... More. On the way they come across a number of women on the riverbank. Among them is Lydia, herself a sojourner in Philippi. Lydia is characterized as a “dealer in purple cloth.” This designation puts Lydia among those first-century women who ran a householdA household is a living unit comprised of all the persons who live in one house. A household would embrace all the members of a family, including servants and slaves. In the book of Acts, stories are told of various persons and their households, like... More and a business. It is she who speaks a brief line that encapsulates the social rearrangements that are part of faith in JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More as God’s Christ: “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” Lydia is a woman, probably not of Jewish descent. She is therefore not the ideal hostess for Jewish men who have recently come to town. But she knows that among those faithful to the Lord, those old distinctions cannot prevail. Hospitality, not least at meals, is a primary value of those who assemble in the Lord’s name; it is not optional or a matter of convenience. Such shared space is part of shared faith. Paul and the others do go to stay with her. At the end of the chapter they return to her house to say farewell and offer encouragement to the gathering there (16:40).