10 Life-Lessons from Lydia in the Bible

There are a few women mentioned in the New Testament as part of Apostle Paul’s ministry and Lydia is one of them.

She was a true believer with strong faith who played a vital role in the early church.

Her life-changing encounter with Apostle Paul and the actions she took afterward make her a unique woman of faith. She’s recognized as the first convert to Christianity in the city of Philippi, a Roman colony.

The Story of Lydia in the Bible is packed with lessons that we can learn from this amazing woman and apply in our lives today. Let’s take a look at her journey.

a woman of biblical times representing Lydia inviting a group of people into her home

The Story of Lydia

There are a few women New Testament who played a role in the ministry of Jesus and the early church. We know of Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and other women who gave their resources to support Jesus and his disciples in supporting them and their ministry (Luke 8:1-3).

Then there’s Lydia who played a role in the early church and life of Apostle Paul. The Story of Lydia in the Bible is found in Acts 16:9-15. In Apostle Paul’s journey as a missionary, the Holy Spirit had closed the door for him to preach in Asia Minor.

While they were at a seaport of Troas, Apostle Paul had a vision of a man calling him to come to Macedonia to help them. He concluded that the Lord wanted them to preach the word in that place.

So they sailed across the Aegean Sea to the city of Philippi. This was a leading city of Macedonia, a colony of the Roman Empire. On the Sabbath day, Apostle Paul and Silas went outside the city gate to the river looking for a place of prayer.

The Jewish men were likely occupied with other things because Paul and Silas found a group of women there and started speaking to them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the women there was Lydia who was from the city of Thyatira.

Lydia was a dealer of purple cloth and a worshipper of God. She opened her heart to the Good News of the Gospel message. She was baptized along with the members of her household.

She made her the first person to be converted to Christianity in the city of Philippi. Lydia’s conversion and that of her family was a public declaration and confession of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Afterward, she went on to persuade Apostle Paul and Silas to stay at her home for a few days. Sometime later, Paul and Silas were falsely accused of disturbing the city and arrested.

They continued to worship and praise God while in prison and miraculously God showed up, chains came loose, prison doors were open, and the jailer who saw this believed in the power of God and was converted (Acts 16:16-34).

Paul and Silas were released from prison the next day and told to leave the city. Before they did though, they went to Lydia’s home a second time and encouraged and fellowshipped with the people gathered there.

This showed that Lydia’s house was open to believers and became a meeting place for the European church.

a woman in biblical times dressed in a purple robe at the market

Who Was Lydia

The name Lydia comes from the Greek word “ludia.”  It is a name commonly given to females that has multiple meanings.  It can either mean someone “from Lydia, Greece” or it can mean “noble one.” 

Lydia was a region on the west coast of Asia Minor. The meaning of the name Lydia in Hebrew means a standing pool. Her name is taken from her place of origin, Thyatira in the western province of Lydia.

Now let’s talk about her business. What does it mean that Lydia was a seller of purple? Tyrian purple was the most expensive dye in the ancient world. It was used by those who were rich and by royalty as well. So, it was costly and derived from rare sources. It was a symbol of luxury and wealth.

Lydia of Thyatira had moved to Philippi which was a leading city in that district of Macedonia. The Bible doesn’t mention whether she had a husband or not but we do know that she had a household which could have been family members and servants.

She could invite people to her own home making her a woman with financial means who had servants. Her business which involved dealing with the rich in society likely made her wealthy.

What does Lydia represent in the Bible? She represents the people who believe in God but have not yet opened their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ.

She reminds us that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6) we should accept him as the Son of God. To be a true believer you need to allow him as the Savior to rule in your heart and life and ultimately through him we will inherit eternal life.

woman wearing a purple robe and scard looking at items at the town market

Lessons from Lydia in the Bible

What does the story of Lydia teach us? There are rich and valuable lessons we can learn from Lydia who is regarded as the first Gentile convert. We can apply these to our daily lives.

Have an Open Heart

Lydia had an open heart to Paul’s message. She teaches us not to hesitate or harden our hearts but to respond in obedience to the word of God.

“As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice,  do not harden your hearts  as you did in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15 NIV

Practice Hospitality

She was a hospitable woman. Lydia’s house was open to the Apostle and his companion and later to the church.

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 NIV

Whether you have a big or small house, your own house or not, the Bible encourages us to be hospitable and share what we have with those in need.

There is a blessing and reward in being hospitable and generous.

There are different ways to serve

Lydia’s story teaches us that we can serve God in different ways.

Some like Apostle Paul were full-time missionaries and Lydia had a successful business.

You can have a job, be a businesswoman, or be a pastor but we all have a role to play in building God’s kingdom.

Act on the Opportunities You Have

She seized the opportunities God gave her. She was the first person in Philippi to invite Paul and Silas to her home.

She knew that they were visiting and this was an opportunity to fellowship and learn from them and deepen her knowledge of God.

Be Courageous

She was a bold woman who courageously lived her faith. A short while after meeting Apostle Paul and Silas, they were arrested.

The early church faced persecution and arrest, and some were even killed.

For Lydia to publicly display her faith through baptism and inviting Christians to her home, she showed courage.

Carry Out the Great Commission

Lydia of Thyatira teaches us to share the Gospel with others around us that we know and love through our actions and words. Once she became a follower of Jesus, she shared the message of God with her entire household and they too were baptized.

When Jesus went back to heaven, he left us with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). All of us have a role to play in leading others to Christ and sharing our testimonies.

This can be through sharing godly content on our social media platforms or by inviting someone to church.  

Looking for some Bible study worksheets specifically for studying the Women of the Bible? These worksheets have 5 study and reflection questions that you can download and print for free!

Use Your Influence for the Kingdom

The story of Lydia in the Bible offers an excellent model for Christian leadership, influence, and godly living.

We can use our skills to minister to others in God’s house and our community.

Community is Important

Lydia’s life teaches us the importance of meeting with other believers and having good friends who share our faith.

When Apostle Paul found her, she was in a place of prayer with a group of women.

We are encouraged, strengthened, and grow spiritually when we meet regularly with others.

Listen and Obey the Holy Spirit

The story of Lydia teaches us to recognize the Holy Spirit leading us and obey the direction.

Apostle Paul was led to the Roman colony of Philippi through a vision.

The Holy Spirit also closed the opportunity in Asia Manor. If he had not listened, he wouldn’t have met Lydia.

Lydia bible study questions mockup
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Why was Lydia admired in the Bible? She was quick to receive the Gospel message and open her heart to the Lord. She is regarded by Bible scholars as the first convert on the European continent.

While Lydia is mentioned in only a few passages in the Book of Acts, she left an impact on the early church.

She was a powerful and successful businesswoman of means who used her resources to glorify the Lord.

The Story of Lydia Bible Study

The Story of Lydia in the Bible contains valuable lessons from her life and her ministry that we can apply today.

She played an important role in Apostle Paul’s ministry and her name will always be remembered and admired.

Be sure to read about other amazing women in the Bible such as Deborah, Esther, and Jael.

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