Philippi was not on his planned itinerary—God appeared to Paul in a vision. A man from Macedonia appealed to Paul saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (16:9).
This vision caused Paul to change his travel plans. He arrived in Philippi and, on the first Sabbath day after his arrival, searched out the obvious place where worshippers would gather—a synagogue. Apparently, Philippi did not have one, so he went to the next place where God-fearers and seekers would assemble—the bank of the Gangites River. Here Paul gathered with a group of mostly women.
Some observations about the city of Philippi include the following:
The city was known for its natural springs as well as gold and silver mines. It held commercial importance being near the seaport at Neapolis and its location on the trade road known as the Via Egnatia.
Perhaps most significantly, Philippi was a Roman Colony—a miniature Rome. Latin was the official language, coins were stamped in Latin, and the inhabitants were considered to be Roman citizens. The soil of Philippi was considered to be the soil of Rome.
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