Acts 16:11

ESV So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis,
NIV From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis.
NASB So after setting sail from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the following day to Neapolis;
CSB From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis,
NLT We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis.
KJV Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;

What does Acts 16:11 mean?

Reading his writing, it's clear that Luke enjoys narrating a sea voyage. He met Paul, Silas, and Timothy in the port town of Troas on the western coast of modern-day Asia Minor. Now he joins the three on their short sail across the northern Aegean Sea to Macedonia. Samothrace is an island where ships regularly stay overnight instead of risking the open water in the dark. Neapolis is the port on the Macedonian side, about ten miles from Philippi.

Paul's travels—what cities he visits when and where he plants churches—can only be explained by the leading of the Holy Spirit. He spent several years in his hometown of Tarsus. There, he shared the gospel and built a church (Acts 9:29–30). Barnabas called him to Syrian Antioch to help disciple the new Gentile Jesus-followers (Acts 11:25–26). Both cities are on the far northeast coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Paul and Barnabas' first missionary journey took them southwest to the island of Cyprus, then north into center of modern-day Asia Minor (Acts 13:1—14:23). After planting churches there, Paul revisited them twice, establishing leaders and reinforcing their beliefs (Acts 14:24; 16:1–5).

But then, the Holy Spirit led him straight through the western third of the peninsula, by-passing several large, influential cities including Colossae and Ephesus (Acts 16:6–7). Instead, Paul and his team go to Philippi on the border of Macedonia and Greece. From here, Paul will make his way south to Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth. He will briefly stop at Ephesus, but he won't spend any significant time there until his third missionary trip (Acts 16:12—18:21).

Very rarely does the Holy Spirit give us detailed direction as to where He wants us to serve. When He does, however, we should remember how flexible and trusting Paul was. God has a strategic plan for the spread of the gospel into the world (Acts 1:8). Paul willingly follows it.
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