The First Three Philippian Converts
Acts 16:12
And from there to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony…

1. They are representatives of three different races — the one an Asiatic, the other a Greek, the third a Roman.

2. In the relations of everyday life they have nothing in common: the first is engaged in an important and lucrative branch of traffic; the second, treated by law as a mere chattel without any social or political rights, is employed by her masters to trade on the credulous superstition of the ignorant; the third, equally removed from both, holds a subordinate office under government.

3. In their religious training they stand no less apart. In the one, the speculative mystic temper of Oriental devotion has at length found deeper satisfaction in the revealed truths of the Old Testament; the second, bearing the name of the Pythian god, the reputed source of Greek inspiration, represents an artistic and imaginative religion, though manifested in a very low and degrading form; while the third, if he preserved the characteristic features of his race, must have exhibited a type of worship essentially political in tone. The purple dealer and proselyte of Thyatira, the native slave girl with the divining spirit, the Roman jailer, all alike acknowledge the supremacy of the new faith. In the history of the gospel at Philippi, as in the history of the Church at large, is reflected the great maxim of Christianity, the central truth of the apostle's preaching — that here "is neither Jew nor Greek," etc. (Galatians 3:28).

4. The order of these conversions is significant: first the proselyte, next the Greek, lastly the Roman. Thus the incidents in their sequence, no less than in their variety, symbolise the progress of Christianity throughout the world. Through the Israelite dispersion, through the proselytes whether of the covenant or the gate, the gospel message first reached the Greek. By the instrumentality of the Greek language, and the diffusion of the Greek race, it finally established itself in Rome, the citadel of power and civilisation, whence directly or indirectly it was destined to spread over the whole world.

(Bp. Lightfoot.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

WEB: and from there to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia, the foremost of the district, a Roman colony. We were staying some days in this city.

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