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Acts 16:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

These men are the servants, etc. - It is astonishing how such a testimony could be given in such a case; every syllable of it true, and at the same time full, clear, and distinct. But mark the deep design and artifice of this evil spirit:

  1. He well knew that the Jewish law abhorred all magic, incantations, magical rites, and dealings with familiar spirits; he therefore bears what was in itself a true testimony to the apostles, that by it he may destroy their credit, and ruin their usefulness. The Jews, by this testimony, would be led at once to believe that the apostles were in compact with these demons, and that the miracles they wrought were done by the agency of these wicked spirits, and that the whole was the effect of magic; and this, of course, would harden their hearts against the preaching of the Gospel.

2. The Gentiles, finding that their own demon bore testimony to the apostles, would naturally consider that the whole was one system; that they had nothing to learn, nothing to correct; and thus the preaching of the apostles must be useless to them. In such a predicament is this, nothing could have saved the credit of the apostles but their dispossessing this woman of her familiar spirit, and that in the most incontestable manner; for what could have saved the credit of Moses and Aaron, when the magicians of Egypt turned their rods into serpents, had not Aaron's rod devoured theirs? And what could have saved the credit of these apostles but the casting out of this spirit of divination, with which, otherwise, both Jews and Gentiles would have believed them in compact?

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The same followed Paul … - Why she did this, or under what presence, the sacred writer has not informed us. It may have been:

(1)That as she prophesied for gain, she supposed that Paul and Silas would reward her if she publicly proclaimed that they were the servants of God. Or,

(2)Because she was conscious that an evil spirit possessed her, and she feared that Paul and Silas would expel that spirit, and by proclaiming them to be the servants of God she hoped to conciliate their favor. Or,

(3)More probably it was because she saw evident tokens of their being sent from God, and that their doctrine would prevail; and by proclaiming this she hoped to acquire more authority, and a higher reputation for being herself inspired. Compare Mark 5:7.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Satan, though the father of lies, will declare the most important truths, when he can thereby serve his purposes. But much mischief is done to the real servants of Christ, by unholy and false preachers of the gospel, who are confounded with them by careless observers. Those who do good by drawing men from sin, may expect to be reviled as troublers of the city. While they teach men to fear God, to believe in Christ, to forsake sin, and to live godly lives, they will be accused of teaching bad customs.
Ellen G. White
Reflecting Christ, 218.1

These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. Acts 16:17. RC 218.1

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Ellen G. White
The Retirement Years, 154.3

Giving an account of the last days of Sir Davis Brewster, his daughter writes: “He thanked God that the way of salvation was so simple. No labored argument, no hard attainment, was required. To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ was to live. He trusted in Him, and enjoyed His peace.” The last words of this great man of science were: “Life has been very bright to me, and now there is the brightness beyond. I shall see Jesus, who created all things, who made the worlds. I shall see Him as He is. Yes, I have had the Light for many years. Oh, how bright it is! I feel so safe, so satisfied.” RY 154.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 211-20

This chapter is based on Acts 16:7-40.

The time had come for the gospel to be proclaimed beyond the confines of Asia Minor. The way was preparing for Paul and his fellow workers to cross over into Europe. At Troas, on the borders of the Mediterranean Sea, “a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” AA 211.1

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 212-3

“On the Sabbath,” Luke continues, “we went out of the city by a riverside, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened.” Lydia received the truth gladly. She and her household were converted and baptized, and she entreated the apostles to make her house their home. AA 212.1

As the messengers of the cross went about their work of teaching, a woman possessed of a spirit of divination followed them, crying, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days.” AA 212.2

This woman was a special agent of Satan and had brought to her masters much gain by soothsaying. Her influence had helped to strengthen idolatry. Satan knew that his kingdom was being invaded, and he resorted to this means of opposing the work of God, hoping to mingle his sophistry with the truths taught by those who were proclaiming the gospel message. The words of recommendation uttered by this woman were an injury to the cause of truth, distracting the minds of the people from the teachings of the apostles and bringing disrepute upon the gospel, and by them many were led to believe that the men who spoke with the Spirit and power of God were actuated by the same spirit as this emissary of Satan. AA 212.3

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