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[d] 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. (Acts 16:11-15)
Philippi was a colony for retired Roman soldiers, and ruled by them; so, in that sense, it really was autonomous. Any Jews, and other believers in Almighty God, were only allowed to meet for worship outside the city. It was there on the holy day that Paul, Silas and Luke found a meeting place where they told the good news of the Saviour Jesus Christ to the women who gathered.
There God spoke to one of them through Paul’s words. She was a business lady called Lydia, who sold the purple-dyed cloth for which her native region was famous.
It was in this way that a church would come into being. But before that happened there would be trouble. Read on to learn what happened next.