A Theological Monkey Wrench

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In today’s Bible reading from Acts 16, Dr. Luke says some things that don’t sound right. Actually, based on what many of us have heard in church, it doesn’t sound biblical at all! It doesn’t fit!

In Acts 16:6-7, Dr. Luke tells us,

6They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
7When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.

As Paul and Silas were attempting to do God’s work, God prevents them from even preaching the Gospel! That doesn’t fit with the way we’ve always heard it! Why would God prevent these missionaries from preaching the Gospel?

I don’t know. But I do know that God is God. And I’m not. God is a loving God. And God is all about spreading the fame of His name.

Step back for a moment. Take a deep breath. Remember that we need to get our theology (our understanding about God and His ways) from the Bible and not from what we think we’ve heard in church.

When God prevented these two men from preaching in Phrygia, Galatia, Asia, and Mysia, He may have just been saying that now’s not the time to minister here. Or He may have been saying to Paul and Silas that He’s going to use someone else to reach these people. Or He may have been saying something else. I just don’t know.

Regardless of why, seeing God’s opposition to their plans, Paul and Silas plan to go a different direction. Overnight, Paul has a vision of a man in Macedonia calling for help. The next morning, they set out for Macedonia (Acts 16:10) and God blesses their obedience.


Like I said, I don’t understand why God would forbid His people from preaching the Gospel in this instance. There are a lot of things I don’t understand. But again, God is God and I’m not. And I just have to trust Him to be the God that He is. And I just have to acknowledge my dependence on Someone with Infinite wisdom, Whose plans and thoughts are far beyond mine. (Isaiah 55:9)

Whenever you come across something in the Bible that doesn’t make sense, realize that God is God and you’re not. Ask Him for understanding. But trust Him to be the God that He is.