"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Paul and Silas
Acts 16:16-34 Commentary
by Mitzi J. Smith
Paul and Silas crossed the border into Europe to get to Macedonia, a Roman colony (16:2) because of the invitation they received from a man (aner, biological male), who, in a night vision, pleaded for their help (16:9-10).
In Acts men receive visions, but women do not. Cornelius and Peter both received visions resulting in Peter preaching good news to Cornelius and his household and their subsequent conversion (10:1-44).
But in Acts chapter 16 only Paul receives a vision that orchestrates the encounters between him and two females (and later the jailer and his household) -- Lydia, the leader of a synagogue connected with her household and the nameless slave girl who proclaims oracles inspired by a Pythian spirit (16:11-16). This bias in favor of males fulfills 2:17 where the prophet Joel promises that the young men (neanioi) will have visions (cf. 7:58b where Saul [his Hebrew name; Paul is his Roman name] is referred to as a neanios); the same is not promised for young women. The preacher might note that this narrative an ideo-theological bias and omission does not negate the reality that God deposits dreams and visions in both females and males.
After he met with and spoke to the women who, under Lydia’s ...
| Bible Text
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
2020-21 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 131: Paul and Silas
May 11, 2014
Join Profs. Eric Barreto, Cameron Howard, and Rolf Jacobson for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 4 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the text for May 11, 2014: Acts 16:16-34. Accompanying reading: Luke 6:18-19, 22-23.