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Extraordinary Women of The Bible (Part 3) - Lydia, The Merchant

Out of all these inspiring women, Lydia may be one that you haven’t yet heard of. We don’t know much about her and her name isn’t mentioned many times in Scripture. What we do know however is that she was an amazing woman.

Who is Lydia?

In Acts 16, Paul and those he was with felt a call to preach in Macedonia after a vision that Paul received. They travelled through a number of cities and finally arrived in Philippi.

On Sabbath they decided to meet with a prayer group by the river and it was there they met Lydia. She was a merchant, from the city of Thyatira, (an Ancient Greek city located in what we now know as Turkey,) that sold expensive, purple fabrics.

A Believer

She was already a believer and had her own relationship with God but she was hungry for more. As Paul spoke, she listened, as Paul taught she allowed herself to soak up the teachings. Her heart was open to the words that God was speaking through His servant Paul that day.

So often we go to church and hear a sermon, go home and carry on like nothing happened. Did you ever think, it’s not supposed to be that way?

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The word of God should change our hearts, it should cut us in places we need to be cut and stir up inside of us the desire and willingness to change our sinful behaviours. That’s why the gospel of Christ is life changing. It’s not just a static message but one that should be processed, digested, sorted and shared.

Bible - Stay Lit Apparel Blog - Lydia - Extraordinary women of the Bible

Lydia understood this and that’s why when she heard this message the words did not just stop at her. What changed her life she realised was also something that would change the lives of others. Verse 15 tells us that as a result of what was heard her entire household made the decision to be baptised.

A servant of God

Lydia recognised the gospel is not something you can be selfish with. What she heard was not just for herself but for her entire family. She wanted each of them to experience the good news and joy that God had given her.

Being the woman that she was, Lydia went on to exhibit the characteristics of what a changed life looks like. First of all she invited Paul, and his companions to her home. The Bible writer puts it like this, “she persuaded us.” You know those aunties, that just won’t let you say no. That’s exactly what comes to mind of when I think of Lydia.

A doer of the Word

Secondly, if you read on in Acts 16, Paul and Silas are imprisoned. (I won’t tell you how they escape, it’s an amazing story you should read for yourself!) After the miraculous escape they find themselves where? At Lydia’s house, where they are encouraged before they continue on with their journey.

I don’t know what Paul preached or what Lydia heard that day but her life was a sermon. She met the needs of others with her kind, caring nature. She was always willing to share what she had, open to the truth and ready to hear what God has to say.

Christianity isn’t about what we say or what others see but about how we live when the doors are closed and the pressure is high. Lydia was a true servant of God and she inspires us to be too.


What truth had God placed on your heart recently?

Feeling inspired? Read part one and part two of this series here

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