What does Acts 16:2 mean?
ESV: He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.
NIV: The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
NASB: and he was well spoken of by the brothers and sisters who were in Lystra and Iconium.
CSB: The brothers and sisters at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him.
NLT: Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium,
KJV: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
NKJV: He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.
Verse Commentary:
Paul and Silas are in Galatia, the district in central modern-day Asia Minor, encouraging the churches Paul had planted with Barnabas. Part of that encouragement is letting the Gentile Jesus-followers know that, despite the insistence of Jewish Christian Pharisees, they do not have to be circumcised (Acts 15). While in Lystra, the two meet a young man named Timothy. His mother is Jewish, and his father is Greek (Acts 16:1). He's well respected by his fellow believers, something which factors into his growing leadership role in the church (1 Timothy 4:12–16).

The district of Galatia is named after the 10,000 Gallic mercenaries and their families who were invited to stay by Nicomedes in the first century BC. During Paul's first trip to Iconium, he and Barnabas managed to plant a church, but the unbelieving Jews riled up the Gentiles and the city leaders. When Paul and Barnabas heard they were planning on stoning them, they fled to Lystra (Acts 14:1–7).

Lystra was a market town about a day from the main road. The town was a Roman colony settled by Augustus' Roman veterans, and the townspeople spoke more Latin than Greek. The first time Paul was there, the people had confused him with Hermes and Barnabas with Zeus; they then tried to offer sacrifices to them. Shortly after Paul and Barnabas convinced them to stop, the people were convinced by Jews from Pisidian Antioch and Iconium to stone Paul and leave him for dead (Acts 14:8–23).

Knowing that the churches in Lystra and Iconium are doing well would have been a great encouragement to Paul. Encountering Timothy, Paul's "true child in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:2), is even better.
Verse Context:
Acts 16:1–5 records Paul doing something we might not have expected. He is with Silas in modern-day Asia Minor, telling the churches he had planted that the leadership in Jerusalem agrees Gentile Christians do not have to be circumcised. In Lystra, Paul meets a young Jewish man named Timothy—and promptly circumcises him. This is not a matter of salvation, but so older Jewish believers don't hassle the young church leader in the future (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul brings Timothy along, and the three continue visiting the churches in Galatia and Phrygia before picking up Luke and heading across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia (Acts 16:6–10).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 16 follows Paul and Silas as they take the letter of Acts 15 into modern-day Asia Minor and Macedonia. They collect Timothy in Lystra and Luke in Troas. In Philippi, they meet Lydia and baptize her family. After expelling a demon from a fortune-telling girl, city officials illegally beat and imprison Paul and Silas. An earthquake frees them of their chains, but they stay and bring the jailer and his family to Christ. The next morning, Paul and Silas refuse to leave quietly, politely insisting that their civil rights have been violated. The officials apologize, and Paul, Silas, and Timothy go to Thessalonica.
Chapter Context:
Acts 15 ends with Paul and Silas spreading the news that Gentile Christians don't have to be circumcised. Acts 16 begins with Paul circumcising a Jewish man, Timothy, to prevent difficulties in preaching to older Jews as the boy grows into church leadership. Paul's second missionary trip finds the church growing east, into Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth (Acts 16:11—18:18). On his way back to Syrian Antioch, Paul will stop by Ephesus and soften the Jews for the extended ministry of Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos. During his first trip, Paul planted churches and ordained elders; in his second, he commissions more missionaries.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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