Acts 16:7

ESV And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
NIV When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
NASB and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them;
CSB When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
NLT Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there.
KJV After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

What does Acts 16:7 mean?

For the first part of Paul and Silas's missionary journey, they visited churches Paul and Barnabas had planted during Paul's first missionary voyage (Acts 13:1—14:23). Besides seeing Paul's old friends, they shared a letter from the leadership in Jerusalem. This missive affirmed salvation is by grace through faith alone and gave instructions for how Gentile and Jewish Jesus-followers could more comfortably live in community (Acts 15:22–29).

The two men had intended to continue west to the province of Asia on the western end of modern-day Asia Minor. The news about Jesus' offer of salvation had not yet infiltrated the cities there, although some had known John the Baptist (Acts 19:1–7). The Holy Spirit redirected them, however. In response, they tried to head north, into Bithynia, the province along the southern coastline of the Black Sea. But God wants them to bypass the rest of the peninsula and continue west, across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia (Acts 16:9–10).

So, they travel to Troas. At that point, the pronouns in the gospel change from "they" to "we." Luke, the author of the book of Acts, will have joined the team.

Neither Asia nor Bithynia will be neglected for long. Paul will stop by Ephesus on his way home, and Apollos, Priscilla, and Aquila will share the gospel there (Acts 18:19–21, 24–28). On Paul's third missionary voyage, he will return to Ephesus and firmly establish the church (Acts 19). Asia is home to the seven churches of Revelation 2—3 as well as Colossae.

Bithynia will host two major councils that will determine significant matters of our own orthodox theology. The members of the Nicene Council in 325 wrote the initial draft of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, finalized in AD 381. The creed affirms the Trinity, the universal church, and the bodily resurrection of both Jesus and believers. The Council of Chalcedon in AD 451 firmed up the church's understanding of the hypostatic union. This is the teaching that Jesus is fully man and fully God, two natures in one Person. The council also determined the autonomy of churches: specifically stating that the Church of Rome had no authority over the Church in Constantinople. This ruling eventually led to the Schism between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Mysia is a territory in northwest Asia that includes the major port Troas. It's not clear here if "the Spirit of Jesus" means the Holy Spirit or if Jesus more directly communicated with either Paul or Silas, both of whom were prophets (Acts 13:1; 15:32).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: