WHAT DOES ACTS 16:14 TRULY MEAN?


EDITED


WHATS DOES ACTS 16:14 TRULY MEAN?



 

Here is Acts 16:14 from the King James Version of the Bible. I have emphasized the phrase “WHOSE HEART the Lord OPENED” in order to show how some Christians INTERPRET this verse to try and support what they come to believe.

 

Acts 16:14 from the King James Version of the Bible.

 

“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”

 

So then, when you emphasize the phrase “whose heart the Lord OPENED” it makes it SEEM like there can be no other possible interpretation of this verse. And when you read this verse with a presupposed belief in a church doctrine, then it seems almost impossible for this verse to mean anything else than what your church denominational doctrine dogmatically demands that it MUST mean.

Therefore, Calvinist Christians along with Reformed Theology Christians, use Acts 16:14 to try and support their belief that God chose ONLY certain people to be saved. And according to their interpretation of the scriptures, if you are not one of those so-called chosen people to be saved before the foundation of the world, then it is impossible for you to be saved. In other words, according to Calvinism or Reformed Theology, God ONLY opens the hearts of those whom he as PREDESTINED to be saved and hardens the hearts that he PREDESTINED to be lost. And, therefore, according to Calvinism or Predeterminism, it is IMPOSSIBLE for those who are supposedly predestined to be lost to BELIEVE the gospel.

 

So then, this study in God’s word is to learn the TRUE meaning of this verse by taking a CLOSER look at this verse in its context. You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, almost every verse in the Bible can have more than just one single interpretation. Even some of the verses that SEEM like a statement of fact with absolutely no interpretation needed can sometimes have another interpretation that may have been overlooked.

So what I would like to do is for you, the reader and seeker of the truth, is to have three tables. I use the word table as an analogy for laying all your “cards on the table”. This is an expression that is used to be upfront and honest with God, yourself, and others. So what I mean by this is to put all the verses that you use to support what you believe on ONE table. A table could be a literal table or a file drawer or a column on a piece of paper having three columns. Simply list all these verses that support what you believe in one column.

Then on ANOTHER table or column, I want you to place all the verses used by others that SEEM to contradict what you believe and teach. The third table or column will be empty or blank for the moment when you first begin with an honest and open-minded examination of what you have come to believe. The third table will be used to hold all the verses that can NO LONGER be used as ironclad positively undeniable proof to YOU that seem to support what you have come to believe and teach to be Biblical.

Now, instead of trying to explain away what OTHERS believe and teach we are going to be open and honest with ourselves to seek ONLY what the Bible itself teaches. And in order to do this, it may be necessary to revisit the verses that we use to support our OWN church denominational teaching.

 

And in this case, since Acts 16:14 is used to try to prove PREDESTINATION in the way that Reformed Theology Christians teach, then I want all my Reformed or Calvinist brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ to do your best to NOT read INTO Acts 16:14 your own predetermine belief.

 

Let us read Acts 16:14 in the immediate close context which is just a few verses before and after the verse in question. The verse in question is the verse you desire to know the true meaning according to what the rest of the Bible teaches us IN SIMPLICITY. If the gospel is not taught in simplicity then it may very well be ANOTHER gospel that the Apostles of Jesus Christ did NOT teach.


 

Please read 2 Corinthians 11:3,4.



 

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is IN Christ.

4.  For if he that comes preaching ANOTHER Jesus, (That did NOT die on the cross for the sins of the WHOLE world) whom WE have NOT preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or ANOTHER gospel, (Where God predestined certain specific people to be lost and there is nothing that they can do to be saved) which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.”

 

 

Let us now read Acts 16:14 in its close immediate context by reading Acts 16:13-15.

 

“And on the Sabbath, we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont (Or accustomed) to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted there. (Now, obviously, by the content of the next two verses, Paul was expounding on the scriptures that prophesied of Jesus as being the Messiah to these women who were assembling together to pray to Yahweh. So this is the subject of these verses)

14.  And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

15.  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If you have judged ME to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”

 

Please notice that both the woman named Lydia AND her HOUSEHOLD was saved and baptized but yet we do not see any mention of the Lord OPENING the hearts of those of Lydia’s household so that they would be able to respond to the gospel of salvation. Also notice the salutation that Lydia gives to Paul saying, that forasmuch as you have found me to be faithful to the Lord to baptize me and my family, then I bid you to come and stay in my home. The Greek word translated as “IF” also means “FORASMUCH”.

 

Now let us read the LITERAL translation of Acts 16:14.



“And a certain woman named Lydia seller of purple of the city of Thyratira revering the God HEARD OF WHOM the Lord THROUGH OPEN HEART to be heeding the things being spoken BY Paul.”

 

So then, the literal translation simple says that THROUGH OPEN HEART SHE took heed to the words being spoken by Paul concerning Jesus being the MESSIAH. And then Lydia AND her family BELIEVED and they were baptized. So, I myself conclude that the translators INCORRECTLY translated this verse to say that it was the Lord who OPENED her heart. The literal translation does not say that the Lord opened her heart and THEN she heard about the Lord as being the Messiah from the words that Paul was preaching. But rather she was ALREADY worshiping God and in her seeking God her heart was ALREADY OPEN to hearing the TRUTH of the scripture that the Lord, Jesus, was the Messiah.

 

The Greek word translated as “OPENED” is a compound word made up of two Greek words.

Here is what the concordance says.

 

G1272

διανοίγω

dianoigō

dee-an-oy'-go

From G1223 and G455; to open thoroughly, literally (as a first born) or figuratively (to expound): - open.

Total KJV occurrences: 8



And the Greek word “DIA” Strong’s #G1223 means THROUGH the channel of an act. And the Greek word “ANOIGO” Strong’s #455 means OPEN. So together they mean THROUGH the channel of an OPEN heart. There is nothing in the meaning of the word itself to dogmatically demand WHO opened her heart. The SIMPLE meaning to me is that according to the CONTEXT of Lydia ALREADY being in the attitude of prayer and worship that SHE ALREADY had her heart OPENED to the things of God. And then when she HEARD OF WHOM was the Lord from the words that Paul was preaching she took heed to BELIEVE the gospel of SALVATION.

The Greek word translated as “OPENED” in Acts 16:14 is also used in Acts 17:3. So let us now read Acts 17:2-5 where some Jews BELIEVED while other Jews were moved with ENVY and did NOT believe and stirred up trouble for Paul and Silas.

 

Acts 17:2-5.

 

“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and THREE sabbath days REASONED with them OUT OF the SCRIPTURES, (The SIMPLICITY of the gospel of salvation)

3.  OPENING (Strong’s #1223) and alleging (Or PRESENTNG to them for THREE Sabbath days), that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. (You see their eyes were FOCUSED on a DIFFERENT kind of Messiah so they had trouble understanding that the Messiah must first suffer and die on the cross for their sins. And then at his coming again, he would be their warrior King Messiah)

4.  And some of them BELIEVED, (Because Paul did not give up on them and he REASONED with them EXPLAINING The scriptures to them for THREE Sabbath days until at least some of them understood that their Messiah was prophesied in the scripture to suffer first. It was Paul who OPENED up the scriptures to them until some of them BELIEVED) and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women, not a few.

5.  BUT the Jews which believed not, (Or who had not yet become fully persuaded by Paul’s preaching of a suffering Messiah were) moved with envy,(Seeing all the fellow Jews leaving the Jews religion to follow the teachings of the Apostle of Jesus) took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.”

 

So then, the teaching and explaining of the scriptures have the power to OPEN the eyes of understanding and the hearts of people to BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, who laid down his life to suffer and die on the cross for our sin, of his own free will. God did not force Jesus to die for us. Jesus could have called a legion of angels to rescue him at any time but he endured the cross for us so that whosoever of any person in the whole world, who BELIEVES the gospel of salvation, might be saved.

The Greek word translated as open in Acts 16:14 is also used three times in Luke chapter 24 where Jesus EXPOUNDS the SCRIPTURES to his disciples to OPEN the eyes of understanding that it was PROPHESIED in the scriptures that the Messiah should suffer and die on the cross.

 

Please read Luke 24:25-47.

 

“Then he said unto them, O fools, and SLOW of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: (You see, some people are just SLOWER to believe God’s word of truth than other people. It has nothing to do with God hardening their heart. But rather it has more to do with THEM hardening their OWN heart to the truth of God’s word. If so be that it was God hardening their heart so they could NOT believe the truth then every Christian who has been deceived by FALSE teaching could never be freed from false teaching)

26.  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27.  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he EXPOUNDED (Or Jesus EXPLAINED THOROUGHLY)  unto them in all the SCRIPTURES the things concerning himself. (In other words, Jesus INTERPRETED the scripture FOR them one by one until he explained to them every verse concerning himself UNTIL they UNDERSTOOD what he was teaching them. But yet they did not fully understand that it was Jesus who was the one speaking to them as yet)

28.  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

29.  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

30.  And it came to pass, AS he sat at meat with them, he took bread and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

31.  And their eyes were OPENED (Strong’s #1223), and they knew HIM; and he vanished out of their sight. (They already understood the scriptures that Jesus explained THOROUGHLY to them. But they did not recognize that the one teaching them the scriptures was Jesus UNTIL their memory was jogged by Jesus breaking the bread and giving them to eat of the bread.

Now it does not specifically state as a fact that Jesus was serving them communion saying do this in REMEMBRANCE of me. But nonetheless, AS Jesus broke the bread and gave them to eat of that bread they KNEW that it was him, their Messiah. So to me, it was by their seeing the breaking of the bread that OPENED their eyes to see that the man who explained the scripture to them in such detail was the Christ, the Son of the living God the one prophesied in the SCRIPTURES)

32.  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, WHILE he talked with us by the way, and WHILE he OPENED (Strong’s #1223 THROUGH the channel of the act of EXPOUNDING) to us the SCRIPTURES?

33.  And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34.  Saying, The Lord is risen indeed and has appeared to Simon.

35.  And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them IN (Or by way of the channel of the act of the) breaking of bread.

 

36.  And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.

37.  But they were terrified and affrighted and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

38.  And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

39.  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: HANDLE ME (Or TOUCH me) handle me, and see (Or so that your eyes will be OPENED to know by the PROOF of TOUCHING me that I am NOT a spirit); for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have.

40. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.

41.  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, (Or while they did believe that it was Jesus they still yet wondered and their belief did not yet bring them REJOICING. They were a bit SLOW of heart to believe fully all at once. And Jesus perceived that they needed more PROOF that it was truly him who was resurrected with a new glorified immortal body of flesh and bone capable of enjoying a good meal) he said unto them, Have you here any meat?

42.  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb.

43.  And he took it and did eat before them. (In order to OPEN their eyes that it was truly him resurrected from the dead never to die again)

44.  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (So, Jesus EXPOUNDED the SCRIPTURES to his disciples the same as he did to the two men back in verses 25-31)

45  THEN OPENED he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (Through the channel of the act of EXPOUNDING the SCRIPTURES to them one by one UNTIL they understood them)

46.  And said unto them, Thus (Or and that is WHY) it is written, and thus (Or and that is WHY) it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (They were simply SLOW of heart to believe that their Messiah had to suffer and die FIRST for their sins. They were FOCUSED in their MINDS of a mighty warrior Messiah who would free them from bondage and restore the kingdom to Israel. And it took Jesus a LOT of explaining the SCRIPTURES to them before their eyes were OPENED to understand that the scriptures also prophesied of a SUFFERING Messiah FIRST)

47.  AND that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

 



So then, I myself do not find in the scriptures were God MUST open our eyes and hearts FIRST BEFORE we can understand the scriptures. I myself see that it is THROUGH the channel of the act of EXPOUNDING the scripture that is WHAT opens the eyes of people to see the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. I mean to me, if a Christian says that the word of God does NOT have the POWER to save us then those Christians are making a lie against God’s word of TRUTH.


Please read Romans 1:16-22.


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17. For therein (Speaking of the GOSPEL of our salvation, the POWER of God to save whosoever BELIEVES the true gospel of Jesus Christ unto the end) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.

18. For the wrath of God is revealed (BY the preaching of the GOSPEL the coming wrath of God is made known to the unrighteous that God’s wrath will be poured out) from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; FOR (Or BECAUSE that)  God has shown it unto them.

20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21. Because that, when they knew God, (By the very creation of God or by the preaching of the gospel or by the teaching of the law or by their own CONSCIENCE) they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but BECAME VAIN in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”

 

 

To a Calvinist Christian, a person does NOT BECOME vain but rather the Reformed Theology Christians believe that all people, including the so-called elect, are BORN vain and corrupted. But the word of TRUTH says that we are without excuse before God even if we have never heard the gospel because God has given enough evidence of his existence through his creation.

Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly as you CONTINUE to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. Your very eternal life depends upon what CHOICES that you make. So choose wisely according to the SOUND BIBLICAL teaching of the scriptures.

 

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.


 

 

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The NEXT VERSE we will study is Revelation 13:8 in the study called WHAT DOES REVELATION 13:8 TRULY MEAN?