What does Acts 16:5 mean?
ESV: So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
NIV: So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
NASB: So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
CSB: So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
NLT: So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.
KJV: And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
NKJV: So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Verse Commentary:
When Paul and Barnabas travelled through Galatia in central modern-day Asia Minor to plant churches, they found an effective routine. They first entered synagogues and explained how Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the Jewish prophecies of the Messiah. The synagogue audiences included Jews as well as God-fearing Gentiles who worshiped the Jewish God but hadn't fully converted to Judaism by being circumcised. People from both groups believed the message and accepted Jesus as their Messiah. Paul and Barnabas stayed long enough to establish churches and anoint elders to lead the congregations in their absence (Acts 14:1–23).

After Paul and Barnabas returned home to Syrian Antioch, Jewish Jesus-followers who still identified as Pharisees arrived. They were horrified to see a mix of Jews and Gentiles living life and eating meals together. They quickly convinced some of the Jews that eating with uncircumcised Gentiles was still a sin. They also threatened the Gentiles, saying they needed to convert to Judaism to worship the Jewish Messiah (Acts 15:1).

Paul pushed back strongly—to the point that he publicly confronted Peter, who was visiting from Jerusalem, when Peter stopped eating with the Gentile Christians (Galatians 2:11–14). There is some question as to the exact order in which these various events occurred. The elders of the church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to ask for a formal ruling from the leaders there. James and Peter agreed with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Silas and Judas Barsabbas back to Antioch with Saul and Barnabas and a formal letter from the church in Jerusalem. The letter explained that Christians do not have to be circumcised or follow the Mosaic law. But the Gentiles should be reminded to be sexually pure, and they should avoid eating blood and meat sacrificed to idols. These are not requirements for salvation, but so the Jewish Christians will feel more comfortable being in community with them (Acts 15:2–35).

In between Paul and Barnabas' return to Antioch and their departure for Jerusalem, Paul apparently heard this same false teaching had spread in the churches they planted in Galatia. He wrote the letter to the Galatians to reaffirm circumcision is not necessary for salvation; the only reason Pharisees cared about it was because eating with uncircumcised Gentiles would cost their reputation among the non-Christian Jews (Galatians 6:12). Now, he and Silas are in Galatia, presenting the council's letter. Knowing decisively that salvation is through faith, not works, only serves to strengthen the Galatians' convictions, and grow their congregations.
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.
Accessed 6/16/2024 1:59:33 AM
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