In part seven of our sermon series, we focus on Lydia of Thyatira and Philippi. “Lydia” was actually a city in what is now modern-day Turkey; her name being “Lydia” is essentially calling her “the Lydian woman.” Lydia was a “purple dealer”– that is, she dealt in a natural purple dye called Tyrian purple, a color produced by the secretions of sea snails. There is much speculation about Lydia based on the little bit that we hear of her, but many Biblical scholars believe that she was likely an influential woman– perhaps a businesswoman– in charge of her own household in a time where that was exceedingly rare.
Something unique about Acts chapter 16, which details Lydia’s story, is that midway through the narrative, the point of view changes– the writer, Luke, switches from telling the story about others to suddenly telling it in first person. This is because Luke recorded the parts of Acts that he was personally present for in the first person plural, emphasizing his presence for the events.