Acts 16:6

ESV And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
NIV Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
NASB They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, after being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia;
CSB They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
NLT Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.
KJV Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

What does Acts 16:6 mean?

Paul, Silas, and Timothy are visiting churches Paul and Barnabas had planted in southern Galatia. They are encouraging the people, correcting any wrong beliefs which have cropped up, and presenting a letter from the leadership of the church in Jerusalem. Jewish Christians who still think of themselves as Pharisees have been trying to maintain their exalted reputation among the non-Christian Jews (Galatians 6:12). They don't want to be seen in community with Gentile believers who never fully converted to Judaism. They insist Gentile Christians must be circumcised and follow the Mosaic law and that, until they do, Jewish Christians need to withdraw from them (Acts 15:1; Galatians 2:11–14). Paul, Silas, and the church in Jerusalem disagree. The letter states Gentile Jesus-followers do not need to be circumcised, but they do need to remain sexually pure and modify their diet so that Jews feel comfortable sharing a meal (Acts 15:22–29).

Galatia is the large region in the center of modern-day Asia Minor, and Phrygia is a small area with less stable boundaries to the west. Phrygia wasn't very autonomous, and its territory typically shifted between western Galatia and eastern Asia. "Asia" is not the giant continent but a sizeable province that takes up the western third of the peninsula. It is home to the cities listed in Revelation 2 and 3 as well as Colossae and Troas.

The team apparently travels north from Phrygia to Mysia in northern Asia with the intent to plant churches in Bithynia, the province in northern Asia Minor on the southern shore of the Black Sea (Acts 16:7). Two cities in Bithynia—Nicaea and Chalcedon—will go on to have great significance in the early church. The Nicene Creed of AD 325, later modified in Constantinople and known as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381, outlines the basics of the Christian faith including the Trinity, the deity and humanity of Jesus, the universal church, and the physical resurrection of the saints. In AD 451, the Council of Chalcedon finalizes the Christian understanding of the one Person and two natures of Christ.

God wants Paul, Silas, and Timothy to head farther west, however, across the Aegean Sea into Macedonia and then south to Greece (Acts 16:9). Paul will stop by Ephesus briefly on his way home to Syrian Antioch (Acts 18:19–21), but it appears Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos will be the first to spend time sharing Jesus' story in Asia (Acts 18:24–28). Paul will concentrate on Ephesus during his third missionary journey, establishing the church more firmly (Acts 19).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: