Acts 16:21
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans."

King James Bible
And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

Darby Bible Translation
and announce customs which it is not lawful for us to receive nor practise, being Romans.

World English Bible
and set forth customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans."

Young's Literal Translation
and they proclaim customs that are not lawful for us to receive nor to do, being Romans.'

Acts 16:21 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And teach customs - The word "customs" here ἔθη ethē refers to "religious rites or forms of worship." See the notes on Acts 6:14. They meant to charge the apostles with introducing a new religion which was unauthorized by the Roman laws. This was a cunning and artful accusation. It is perfectly evident that they cared nothing either for the religion of the Romans or of the Jews. Nor were they really concerned about any change of religion. Paul had destroyed their hopes of gain; and as they Could not prevent that except by securing his punishment or expulsion, and as they had no way of revenge except by endeavoring to excite indignation against him and Silas for violating the laws, they endeavored to convict thorn of such violation. This is one among many instances, Where wicked and unprincipled people will endeavor to make religion the means of promoting their own interest. If they can make money by it, they will become its professed friends or if they can annoy Christians, they will at once have remarkable zeal for the laws and for the purity of religion. Many a man opposes revivals of religion, and the real progress of evangelical piety from professed zeal for truth and order.

Which are not lawful for us to receive - There were laws of the Roman empire under which they might shield themselves in this charge, though it is evident that their zeal was; not because they loved the laws more, but because they loved Christianity less. Thus, Servius on Virgil, Aeneid, viii. 187, says, "care was taken among the Athenians and the Romans that no one should introduce new religions. It was on this account that Socrates was condemned, and the Chaldeans or Jews were banished from the city." Cicero ("DeLegibus," ii. 8) says, "No person shall have any separate gods, or new ones; nor shall he privately worship any strange gods, unless they be publicly allowed." Wetstein (in loco) says, "The Romans would indeed allow foreigners to worship their own god, but not unless it were done secretly, so that the Worship of foreign gods would not interfere with the allowed worship of the Romans, and so that occasion for dissension and controversy might be avoided. Neither was it lawful among the Romans to recommend a new religion to the citizens, contrary to what was confirmed and established by the public authority, and to call off the people from that. It was on this account that there was such a hatred of the Romans against the Jews" (Kuinoel). Tertullian says that "there was a decree that no god should be consecrated unless approved by the senate" (Grotius). See many other authorities quoted in Dr. Watson's "Apology (Defense) for Christianity."

To observe - To do.

Being Romans - Having the privileges of Roman citizens. See the notes on Acts 16:12.

Acts 16:21 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Riot at Philippi
'And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20. And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21. And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23. And when they had laid many
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Lydia, the First European Convert
WE MAY LAUDABLY EXERCISE CURIOSITY with regard to the first proclamation of the gospel in our own quarter of the globe. We are happy that history so accurately tells us, by the pen of Luke, when first the gospel was preached in Europe, and by whom, and who was the first convert brought by that preaching to the Savior's feet. I half envy Lydia that she should be the leader of the European band; yet I feel right glad that a woman led the van, and that her household followed so closely in the rear.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

The Martyrs of Lyons and vienne (Ad 177)
Many other martyrs suffered in various parts of the empire under the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Among the most famous of these are the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, in the south of France (or Gaul, as it was then called), where a company of missionaries from Asia Minor had settled with a bishop named Pothinus at their head. The persecution at Lyons and Vienne was begun by the mob of those towns, who insulted the Christians in the streets, broke into their houses, and committed other such outrages against
J. C. Roberston—Sketches of Church History, from AD 33 to the Reformation

Scotland and Ireland
The only thing which seems to be settled as to the religious history of Scotland in these times, is that a bishop named Ninian preached among the Southern Picts between the years 412 and 432, and established a see at Whithorn, in Galloway. But in the Year of St. Ninian's death, a far more famous missionary, St. Patrick, who is called "the Apostle of Ireland," began his labours in that island. It is a question whether Patrick was born in Scotland, at a place called Kirkpatrick, near the river Clyde,
J. C. Roberston—Sketches of Church History, from AD 33 to the Reformation

Cross References
Esther 3:8
Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not observe the king's laws, so it is not in the king's interest to let them remain.

Matthew 12:2
But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath."

Acts 16:12
and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days.

Acts 16:20
and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, "These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews,

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