“Lydia: Woman of Philippi” by Diana Wallis Taylor || Review
Before I get into my review of this book, I want you to know who the real Lydia of Philippi was – because I knew nothing about her. First, let me quote a passage from the book of Acts (Where Lydia’s story is briefly documented. She is first mentioned in Acts 16:13-15, as read here:
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatiranamed Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
The only other time she is mentioned is at the end of the chapter (Acts 16:40):
After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.
Not a lot to go on, but I’ll fill in some of the background information. She was known as a dealer of cloth, clearly a wealthy and capable woman who may or may not have been a widow or free woman, and is widely considered to be the first documented European convert to Christianity.
This is another one of those cases where an under-appreciated, unknown, or often-overlooked Biblical figure has their story expanded on through the form of writing. I’m sorry, but I just LOVE that words have the power to do that. To give life and a deeper meaning to someone who might otherwise just be considered another name on a long list. To take the Bible’s already extraordinary message, and translate it to something that can be received by an wide audience.
Lydia: Woman of Philippi by Diana Wallis Taylor is an intriguing book about a Biblical figure that I had not always considered as important, interesting, or as a relatable example that I could look to in my personal walk with Christ. The thing is, when you add in the narrative that Taylor has created, combined with the cultural significance of the real Lydia’s actions, and of course the context surrounding the story, Lydia becomes an incredible Biblical heroine.
Taylor’s book reminds us of the importance of scripture. For the character of Lydia, having God’s word in her heart and repeating it to herself over and over again keeps her going. The LORD is her STRENGTH! I think that’s something that I rarely see in action. You can go to church, read the Bible, etc., but do you really hide God’s word in your heart, as a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path? Sometimes we forget just how powerful scripture really is.
Her journey to faith is unlike most we read about, because she already believes in God. No one has to convince her that there is a God, she must be convinced that there is a Christ.
Overall, a wonderful Bib. fic. read that left me craving more! (You can bet I went straight to Amazon after reading this, flooding my wishlist with a whole host of other books by Taylor). If you would like to hear more about this book, I HIGHLY recommend that you watch my video discussion of it. Don’t worry, all my videos are spoiler-free, so it’s perfectly fine for you to watch if you haven’t read Lydia: Woman of Philippi yet.
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