One day, Paul and his companions traveled to Philippi. On the Sabbath day, they went to the riverside where people normally prayed. When they arrived at the riverside, women were gathered, and Paul and his companions sat down to chat with them. One of the women there was Lydia. She was a seller of purple cloth. Since purple cloth was worn by royalty and the elite, she was presumably rich. Lydia worshipped God, and as she listened to Paul, God opened her heart to receive what he said about Jesus Christ. Lydia became a believer in Jesus Christ, and she and all her household were baptized. Afterward, she insisted that Paul and his companions reside in her home. Eventually, Paul and Silas moved on to minister to others, but they would return to Lydia’s house to stay while in that area.
Source: Acts 16:11-15, 40
In the city of Joppa lived a woman named Tabitha, who was also known by the Greek name Dorcas. She was a believer in Jesus Christ. She was very generous, always helping people and giving money to those in need. One day, Tabitha became ill, and eventually, she died. Because she had done so much for people, people mourned over her greatly. When the believers heard that Peter was in a nearby city, they called for him to come. Peter went. When he arrived, he went to the place where they had laid her, and the mourners showed Peter the many things Tabitha had done for them. She had made many coats and other garments for the people. Peter put the mourners out of the room, and then, he knelt and prayed. After praying, Peter told Tabitha to stand up. She opened her and eyes and stood up. When others in Joppa heard what happened, many believed in Jesus Christ.
Source: Acts 9:36-43
Priscilla and her husband Aquila were tentmakers. Also, they were believers in God, and they opened their home up to other believers in God, eventually establishing a church within their home. Besides working with her husband in the profession of tentmaking, Priscilla and her husband ministered together. One day while in the synagogue, they heard a man named Apollos speak boldly about Jesus Christ. This man was from Alexandria and very educated in the scriptures. Although he spoke boldly and truthfully, he only understood the way by which John the Baptist had taught. Thus, Priscilla and her husband pulled him aside and taught him the way through Jesus Christ, and he gained a better understanding. Later, Apollos would go on to help many others better understand Jesus Christ.
Source: Acts 18:1-3, 18-19, 24-28; Romans 16:3-5
Philip’s Four Daughters
Philip was chosen as one of the seven chosen to serve as what we reference as deacons today. Also, he was an evangelist. He is known for his assistance in helping the Ethiopian eunuch understand Jesus Christ. Philip had four unmarried daughters, and like him, they had received spiritual gifts from God. All four daughters were prophetesses.
Source: Acts 6:1-7; Acts 8:26-40; Acts 21:7-9
- One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. Acts 16:14-15 ESV
- Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. Acts 9:36 ESV
- Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Acts 18:24-26 ESV
- On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. Acts 21:8-9 ESV
- All the women listed were believers of Jesus Christ but different in some ways. How were they different? How were they alike?
- In the church, you can have a diversity of gifts, personality types, abilities, and statuses? How important is it to have diversity within the church?
- Do you think some people expect all women and girls to act a certain way or be a certain way? Why or why not?
- Do you think people’s different experiences affect what Jesus means to them? Why or why not?
- How do you think people like Lydia best contribute to the church?
- How do you think people like Tabitha best contribute to the church?
- How do you think people like Priscilla best contribute to the church?
- How do you think people like Philip’s four daughters best contribute to the church?
- Looking at the listed women, who do you identify with most and why?
- How do you think you can help promote diversity within the church, and what impact do you think it can/will have?
- Anyone can become a believer of Jesus Christ.
- God can use anyone to build his church.
- God desires diversity within the church.
- Everyone has something to contribute to the church.
Father God, thank you for the diversity of gifts, abilities, personality types, and statuses within the church. Together, we can do great things for you. Show us how we can work together to promote your kingdom and share your love with others. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.
In today’s church, how do you see people’s diversity working together for the good of God’s kingdom?