She continued this for many days. Eventually Paul grew so aggravated that he turned and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" And the spirit left her at that very moment.
doemonia, evil spirits, unclean spirits, should here use this exceptional description, seems to imply that either this was the way in which the people of Philippi spoke of the maiden, or else that he recognized in her -phenomena identical with those of the priestesses of Delphi, the wild distortions, the shrill cries, the madness of an evil inspiration. After the manner of sibyls, sorceresses, and clairvoyants of other times, the girl was looked on as having power to divine and predict, and her wild cries were caught up and received as oracles." Remembering the well-established doctrine that the Bible is not given as a revelation of science, medical or other, we are able to recognize in this narrative simply the general opinion of the age concerning spirit-possessions, and we need not affirm that either our Lord, or the apostles, in dealing with such cases, seal for us the truth of this explanation of them. In view of the common sentiment, it was not well that such persons should be allowed to witness to the Christian teachers. Their witness may have been true enough, but it was certainly liable to be misunderstood. no wholly satisfactory explanation has yet been given of the devil-possessions recorded in the New Testament, but this much we may fully admit - there was a remarkable accession of spiritual-evil force in the early Christian age.
I. OUR LORD'S TREATMENT OF THESE PHENOMENA. For the apostles followed the example of their Lord. One striking instance may be referred to (Matthew 8:28-34). Our Lord
(1) delivered the victims from the evil power; making this an illustration of his moral and spiritual mission; and
(2) he resisted the association of his work with the witness of disease, mania, hysteria, or evil possession. It was necessary that every association of the conjurer should be dissociated from Christianity. Its appeal is to the sober reasonings of the mind and the normal and natural demands of the heart. The gospel is for men in their senses; and it properly refused then, and refuses still, all testimony from ecstasy, spiritualism, jugglery, oracle, or any unnatural forms of excitation. A truth may be sadly disgraced and misrepresented and prejudiced by its champions, though it does not therefore cease to be the truth. The witness of evil spirits too certainly bears for men an evil tone, so Christ refused to permit it.
II. THE APOSTLES' TREATMENT OF THESE PHENOMENA. Something may be due to St. Paul's personal annoyance at the constant repetition of these clamorous cries, which hindered his work, and very possibly disturbed him when talking in the proseucha. He may also have felt great pity for the poor suffering girl; but no doubt his chief reason for putting forth the miraculous power entrusted to him was the misapprehension of his character and his work which her witness was likely to produce. Men might be led by her to think that he was possessed by some of the gods, or was a messenger of some of the idols, and so his work would be hindered, as it had been at Lystra. We must remember that the apostles' message was directly antagonistic to paganism and idolatry, and they were right in jealously guarding it from so perilous an association with it. Impress, in conclusion, that Christianity makes its appeal to the intelligence, conscience, and affections; and, then and now, it needs, and it will bear with, no adventitious or questionable aids. - E.T.
These men are servants of the Most High God and show to us the way of salvation.
(J. Fawcett, M. A.)
I. THE CHARACTER OF GOSPEL MINISTERS.
1. They are men(1) Not angels; do not therefore expect angelic attributes of them. One of the greatest hindrances to the work of the Church is the extravagant demands which are made of the ministry. It discourages the men, and induces indolence in the people.(2) They are men having knowledge of human needs, invested with human sympathies, gifted with the faculty of communicating Divine thought in human language.
2. They are servants.(1) A humbling thought. All magisterial airs, all pomp and show, are utterly inconsistent with this character. A servant is a subordinate and has simply to do what he is told.(2) A suggestion of responsibility and labour. What is a servant for but for work? And for the efficient discharge of that work he is held responsible.
3. They are servants of the Most High God.(1) Their office therefore is invested with the loftiest dignity. What greater honour than to be the servant of a sovereign. Our Lord Himself gloried in this title.(2) Their persons are secure. God will protect His servants till they can say, "I have finished my course."(3) Their reward is great; as is to be expected from such a Master. "Be thou faithful," etc.
II. THEIR WORK. "To show the way of salvation."
1. There is a way of salvation.(1) A way to it — i.e., means whereby it may be secured.(a) Repentance — consciousness of being in the wrong way, regret for it, confession of it, and desire to get out of it.(b) Faith. Acceptance of the right way; of Him who is the Way; walking in that Way — i.e., humble dependence on Christ.(2) Salvation itself is a way — a progress from darkness to light, from misery to blessedness, from sin to holiness, from uselessness or injuriousness to usefulness, from earth to heaven, from grace to glory. Salvation is a state, but it is an endlessly progressive state. No matter however high the attainment the saved one is to "forget the things that are behind," etc. So viewed salvation is the right way, the happy way.
2. This way has to be shown.(1) Hence the guide must know it, and not theoretically, from books or from what others have told him; but from being in it. Personal salvation is the essential qualification for a minister, and a guarantee of his competency for his work.(2) Knowing it the guide must show it; by precept and example: simply, clearly, powerfully.
(J. W. Burn.)
The Evangelist.I. THE WORK OF ALL MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL.
1. They are to show the way of salvation. This is the great object they should ever have in view.
2. The way of salvation they are to show is, by faith in Christ.
3. They are to show the way, not the ways of salvation. There never was, and never will be, but one way. This their work implies — They ought to know it themselves.
II. THE APPELLATION HERE GIVEN THEM; WITH THE REASONS OF THEIR BEING SELECTED AND EMPLOYED IN THIS SERVICE. "Servants of God."
1. It denotes that they are sent by Him to this work.
2. The dignity of their office — servants, not of men — of the highest men, but of God — of the most high God. They are employed as mortals; because this method is adapted to our receiving information on the subject with composure.Learn:
1. The guilt of those who neglect a gospel ministry.
2. Be helpers of ministers.
LinksActs 16:18 NIV
Acts 16:18 NLT
Acts 16:18 ESV
Acts 16:18 NASB
Acts 16:18 KJV
Acts 16:18 Bible Apps
Acts 16:18 Parallel
Acts 16:18 Biblia Paralela
Acts 16:18 Chinese Bible
Acts 16:18 French Bible
Acts 16:18 German Bible
Acts 16:18 Commentaries