Who was Lydia in the Bible?The Bible only mentions Lydia one time, in Acts 16:11–15:
So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.From this passage, we learn a few things about Lydia. She was from Thyatira but living in Philippi. It's possible that she lived in Philippi as a result of her work. Lydia was a fabric merchant, "a seller of purple goods," and her hometown of Thyatira was notorious for its thriving indigo trade.
Lydia is described as a worshiper of God and was observing the Sabbath at the riverside with other women on the day she heard the teachings of Paul, Timothy, Luke, and Silas. The fact that the women were gathered at the river rather than in a synagogue might indicate that there were not enough Jewish men to open a synagogue in Philippi.
Upon hearing the apostles teaching, Lydia put her faith in Jesus as the Messiah and was baptized. After she was baptized, she hosted the missionaries at her home. Her conversion was the first recorded one in Europe. Later in the Bible, the book of Revelation mentions a church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:18). There is no record of Paul or other apostles going to Thyatira, so it is possible that Lydia brought the gospel of Jesus Christ beck to her hometown. However, there is no way for us to be certain of this.
Paul didn't intend to travel so far west, but the Lord changed his plans and Lydia ended up being saved through this location shift (Acts 16:6–10). Lydia was a lover of God, and her heart was ready to receive the good news of Jesus (John 6:44). Though we don't know the full extent of her salvation's ongoing impact, we do know that Lydia was drawn by the Spirit to receive salvation and immediately began serving others believers with her gift of hospitality.
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