Acts 16:6

The Macedonian Call

6 And 1they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.

Acts 16:6 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 16:6

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia
(See Gill on Acts 2:10) To which may be added, that this country had its name either from the river Phryx, as Pliny F23 observes, or from the word Phrygios, which signifies "dry"; this being a very dry and sandy country: it was famous for marble stone; hence we read F24 of Phrygian Stone or marble, of which pillars and statues were made: according to Josephus F25, the original of the Phrygians was Togarmah the son of Gomer, and grandson of Japheth, ( Genesis 10:3 ) , whom he calls Thygrammes, and his people from him, Thygrammeans, and who, adds he, as it seems by the Greeks, are called Phrygians. Herodotus F26 reports, that the Phrygians (as the Macedonians say) were called Briges or Brygians, so long as they were Europeans, and dwelt with the Macedonians: but when they went into Asia, together with the country, they changed their names, into Phrygians: of one Philip a Phrygian, whom Antiochus left governor at Jerusalem, mention is made in:

``And he left governors to vex the nation: at Jerusalem, Philip, for his country a Phrygian, and for manners more barbarous than he that set him there;'' (2 Maccabees 5:22)

here dwelt Jews, as appears from ( Acts 2:10 ) and here the apostle preached and made converts.

And the region of Galatia:
in Asia Minor: it had Cappadocia on the east, Bithynia on the west, Pamphylia on the south, and the Euxine sea on the north. The inhabitants of this country were originally Gauls, who under Brennus their captain, came out of some parts of France, and invaded Italy, and came to Rome, and took it all but the capitol; from whence being sallied out upon by the Romans at an unawares, they were obliged to retire; and from thence they sailed into Greece, and went into Asia, into this part of it where they settled, which was first called after them Gallo Graecia, and in process of time Galatia; though some say the Grecians called them Galatians from Gala, which signifies "milk", because of their milky colour: of the Galatians, mention is made in,

``And he told them of the battle that they had in Babylon with the Galatians, how they came but eight thousand in all to the business, with four thousand Macedonians, and that the Macedonians being perplexed, the eight thousand destroyed an hundred and twenty thousand because of the help that they had from heaven, and so received a great booty.'' (2 Maccabees 8:20)

here the Gospel was preached, and many believed; for we afterwards read of disciples both in this country and in Phrygia, ( Acts 18:23 ) and here were churches formed, and to whom the apostles preached, and delivered the decrees of the apostles and elders.

And were forbidden of the Holy Ghost;
not by an articulate voice, but by a secret and powerful impulse upon their minds;

to preach the word in Asia:
that is, in that country which was properly called Asia, or pro-consular Asia, otherwise Phrygia, and Galatia, were provinces in Asia Minor. Beza's most ancient copy, and the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read, "the word of God": the reasons why it was prohibited to be preached here, at this time, cannot be said, and must be referred to the sovereign will of God; it seems, that at this instant, there were no chosen ones to be called by grace, and there was work for the apostle and his companions to do elsewhere, namely, in Macedonia.


F23 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 29.
F24 Pausanias, l. 1. sive Attica, p. 32.
F25 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.
F26 Polymnia, c. 73. Vid. Plin. l. 5. c. 32.

Acts 16:6 In-Context

4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem.
5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Acts 18:23; [Galatians 4:13]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.