The Berean Expositor
Volume 29 - Page 6 of 208
Index | Zoom
Acts 16: 6-11.
The Vision of the Man of Macedonia.
A | 6-8. NEGATIVE. "Forbidden." |
a | Asia. Preach (Laleo).
"They" (Paul, Silas,
b | Bithynia. Assayed to go.
B | 9-10. "Enlightened." |
c | Vision appeared.
d | Man of Macedonia.
d | Come over and help us.
c | After he had seen the vision.
A | 10, 11. POSITIVE. "Called." |
b | Endeavoured to go.
"We" (Luke
a | Preach (Euaggelizo) unto them.
joins them).
The structure of this section is simple but nevertheless useful. The reader should
notice the unobtrusive way in which Luke indicates, by the use of the pronoun "We", his
presence at Troas, and then on through the journey up to Acts 17: 1, where the pronoun
is again dropped until 20: 5--from which point it continues to the end of the narrative.
The story of the first preaching of the gospel in Europe falls into three parts. First, we
have the closing of doors in Asia Minor, then the opening of the door at Troas, and
finally the entry through that newly-opened door into Macedonia.
From the
contemplation of this record, one great principle emerges, a principle which is true for all
time, and for all classes of the Lord's people: namely, that the leading of the Lord is just
as real when opportunities for service are closed by Him, as when they are opened. Apart
from actually telling the Apostle in plain language that he must cross over to Macedonia,
there does not appear to be any other way in which he could have been led, except by the
use of compulsion, which is quite foreign to the Lord's method of dealing with his
willing servants. There may have been also a need to test this little band, as they start on
such a momentous journey. What was the compelling power that had led them thus far?
An apparent rebuff would try their temper, would test the genuineness of their obedience,
and would indicate whether it was the maturing of their own plans or the ready following
of the Lord's leading that was uppermost in their hearts. There can hardly be a greater
test for whole-heartedness than to have all one's ardour apparently rejected, to be ready
to offer one's self upon the sacrifice and service of the gospel, only to be met with
unexplained prohibitions. Yet all along there have been these seasons of trial. Paul
himself had withdrawn earlier into Arabia; Moses before him had spent forty years in the
desert. Let us remember that a closed door may be the unexpected answer to our prayers.
The writer himself can say without exaggeration that some of the things for which he
cannot be too thankful have been closed doors, even though they were bitterly
disappointing at the time. If rightly accepted, the closed door urges us forward as it did
the Apostle and his company. Being forbidden to "speak the Word in Asia", we can well
understand that there could be no thought of turning back.
Striking northward until they came "over against" (kata) Mysia, they "assayed" to go
into Bithynia. The word "assayed" is, in the original, peirazo, from peiro, "to pierce" or
"perforate", and so "to test" or "make trial". In the Acts we find the word translated