Acts 16:11-15

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.




Lydia and her friends had gathered at the river on the Sabbath outside the Roman city of Philippi. Whilst Philippi was a leading city in the area of Macedonia in Europe, it is likely that there were not enough Jewish men there to warrant the existence of a synagogue in the city. A minimum of ten men were required for a synagogue to be constituted, no matter how many women there were. Luke records that Lydia was a seller of purple dye, an expensive, highly valued product. He says that Lydia came from Thyatira where the dye and purple fabric was produced. It is interesting to note that a church developed in Thyatira which was one of the seven churches in Revelation (Revelation 2:18-29).

This meeting on the riverbank was part of God’s plan, for He had already redirected Paul from his planned journey to go to Macedonia through a dream (Acts 16:6-10). When Paul told the women the Good News of Jesus Christ, God opened Lydia’s heart to hear what Paul was teaching so that she and her household were baptised.

Lydia, who was a wealthy and influential business woman (a rarity at that time) put her new faith into practice straight away as she invited Paul and his three companions to stay in her home. This was obviously large enough to accommodate several guests at once. In fact, she then extended her hospitality to the new church that formed as it became the place where they gathered for worship and prayer. She used the blessing of a substantial home to help in the church’s growth. Later, when Paul and Silas were released from prison they returned to Lydia’s home where the new church had gathered.

Lydia’s conversion early on in Paul’s visit to the area indicates that she was the first convert in Europe. She was an influential woman, who used her faith and her wealth to promote the Gospel in her city, following the Lord’s guidance without hesitation. She was, indeed, an incredible woman.

To the Group Leader

Please be aware that you may have a woman or women in your
group who suffer abuse, who hide in the group or who are ignored in
some area of their lives. Be sensitive and ready to step in if there are
signs of distress to pray with the women concerned, even if this is
done after the session in private.
Be aware too of married couples where the husband is present and
where the woman is upset.
Pray about any action God wants you to take in regard to such a
situation. It is advisable for women to counsel women and men to
counsel men.


Lydia and her friends met on the bank of the river to worship God. Where do/would you go other than a church building to worship? Why would you choose this place?


  • What has been the predominant call on your life during your walk with God? How have you put it into practice? How do you feel about it?
  • What is the most courageous thing you have ever done for Jesus to spread His love and the good news of the Gospel to others? What made you step forward in faith at this time?
  • Who is the woman of faith you most admire? Why is she so special to you? What influence has she had on your life – either through what you have read, or through personal dealings with her?
  • What does hospitality mean to you? When have you experienced it in unusual circumstances? And when have you been able to offer it unexpectedly?
  • How does Lydia’s gift of hospitality inspire you to offer your own resources to God so He can use them to grow His church in your area?
  • What opportunities is your faith calling you to take so you fulfil His purpose for you in the place where you are at this time? Consider this question in regard to your home, your neighbourhood and your church.
  • It was said ‘You are not here by mistake’. Why has God placed you in this group, your neighbourhood/ workplace/city at this time?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?


Pray for anyone who is struggling within the group and also for all women, at the end of this Women’s Month that they may be set free from abuse. Pray for the men/people who abuse, that they may find help to overcome the need to abuse others in whatever shape that abuse may take. Pray for an overwhelming move of the Holy Spirit for this to take place, especially in cases where you are aware of it happening.

Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.


How can you offer some form of hospitality this week? Be aware of opportunities that God places in your life to reach out to others on His behalf. Report back to the Group next week as to what happened and how you felt about going through this open door.


Acts Chapter 16

The Biblical Lydia: Influential Businesswoman and Evangelist

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