What does Acts 16:8 mean?
ESV: So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.
NIV: So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
NASB: and passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.
CSB: Passing by Mysia they went down to Troas.
NLT: So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.
KJV: And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
NKJV: So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
Verse Commentary:
Paul and Silas have traveled through the province of Galatia in central modern-day Asia Minor. Their primary purpose was to let the Gentiles know they did not have to follow Mosaic law to be saved (Acts 16:4–5). They also met Timothy, a young Jewish man who had been faithfully trained in Judaism and Christianity (2 Timothy 1:5). Paul sees in Timothy a future church leader, so he circumcises the young man and brings him along (Acts 16:1–3).

The next logical step is to spread Jesus' offer of salvation in Asia, the large province on the western third of the peninsula. The province includes the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2—3 as well as Colossae and Troas. The Holy Spirit redirects the trio, however, so they choose to go north, to the province of Bithynia along the southern coast of the Black Sea. Again, they are told no (Acts 16:6–7). Their only options are to backtrack to Galatia or to skirt between the two provinces to the Asian territory of Mysia, to the port town of Troas.

From Troas, they can go anywhere in the Roman Empire. God sends Paul a vision of a man inviting them to take the short trip across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia. They do so and bring the gospel to Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth (Acts 16:9—18:17).
Verse Context:
Acts 16:6–10 records Paul, Silas, and Timothy striking out into new territory. They have visited the churches Paul and Barnabas planted in Galatia and given them the letter from the church in Jerusalem affirming Gentiles do not need to convert to Judaism to follow Jesus. Now they head farther west. The Holy Spirit tells them to bypass Asia and Bithynia—the districts in the far west and far north of modern-day Asia Minor—and cross the Aegean Sea. Jesus' offer of salvation is coming to Macedonia and Greece. They also meet the author of both this book and the gospel which bears his name: Luke.
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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