Elder and Bishop have the same Greek word and meaning.
Paul and his companions traveled to Philippi, a Roman Colony in Northern Greece in A.D. 50, on their second missionary journey. They went outside the City to find a place of prayer and began to speak to the women who had gathered there by the River Gangites, for worship to God.
At Philippi, inscribed on arches outside the city, was a prohibition against recognized religions, so Paul knew he would meet Jews gathering outside the city for prayer. There was not be a Jewish Synagogue in this Macedonian City.
One, who was listening was Lydia, from Thyatira, an independent, prominent and successful business woman, who was a dyer and trader of purple cloth, the most expensive material. She was already a worshipper of God. She was a very wealthy woman with a spacious home and employed servants who lived with her. She had been attracted to the moral teachings of Judaism.
Her heart was open as she received and responded to Paul's message of Salvation through Christ. Lydia is the first recorded European convert from Judaism to Christianity.
Lydia obviously still had a hunger for spiritual Truth and she found it in Christ, by hearing The Word of God. She was baptized, and publicly declared her confession of faith in The Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour, and so great was her enthusiasm, her whole household come to know of Christ and all were baptized. Her transformation was evident, she was eager to give the missionary group her hospitality.
Lydia immediately offered Paul and his helpers to stay at her house as guests; it became a common occurrence for Lydia to show hospitality to traveling Christians. Her home became the first European church; she was a full co-labourer with Paul for the Gospel of Christ. She had kindness and integrity in serving the Lord.
Christians met regularly at her spacious home. Later this church group was to send gifts to Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome for the sake of the opportunity of preaching the Gospel to Caesar in 61 A.D. Lydia was not ashamed of Paul when he was in prison in Rome.
Many think that business people are too busy to include God in their lives, but Lydia had found God, according to the Jewish custom, most probably by trading with other cloth dying business families, who were Jewish and she saw their life style was different from that of other nations. From these Jewish business people she learned some of the Jewish faith.
Lydia maintained her zealousness for Christ as well as care for her business industry pursuits, and endeavors. Becoming a Christian did not make her less of a successful business woman. Much of her profit was used to assist Christ's Command to make disciples of the nations.
If Christians are reputable and delligent and honour Him in all their transactions, He will honour them. Many people keep their affection on the treasure of the earth, but Lydia helped God's servants with her finances.
Her generous care for other Christians was part of her new life as well as continuing to trade, selling the purple dye and cloth. She would have assisted greatly in helping towards the growth and support to those who belonged to the first church in Europe.
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