Lydia: Seller of Purple Cloth

Monday, December 10, 2012
Paul teaches Lydia about Jesus. We learned about the purple fabric that Lydia made and why it was so important and expensive.

Review: We learned last week that Barnabas decided to take Mark and go a different direction to preach about Jesus. Paul took Silas and Timothy to travel to other churches and preach about Jesus. Remember, Timothy was younger, about 15 or 16 and his mother and Grandma taught him the Old Testament. Paul taught him about Jesus.
Paul had a vision one night. The man in the vision begged Paul to come to help them in Macedonia, so they left for Macedonia the next day.  
Then, Luke started traveling with Paul also. Read Acts 16:8 & 10. So, we also learned last week that when Luke is traveling with Paul, the Bible says we and us, but when Luke is not with Paul, Luke says them. Remember, we are studying from Acts and Luke wrote it.
There are several photos of today's view of Neapolis and Philippi. These photos, and more are @ and are used with permission by David Padfield.
Philippi felt banner change for the tent and prison for next week
Lesson: Scripture is Acts 16:12-15. Now, Paul has Silas, Timothy & Luke traveling with him. They traveled 10 miles to Philippi. The Roman roads were paved here, and there are still parts of them there now! They had been in Philippi, which is in Macedonia, for some days. On the Sabbath day, they went out of the city gate to the riverside. People gathered together there to pray. The city of Philippi didn't have enough Jewish men to have a synagogue, so the people went to the river to worship.
It was mostly women worshipping there. They would pray, study the Old Testament laws from scrolls and talk about what they had read. This would have been a great privilege to have a man there to teach them.
After they had sat down, they talked to a woman they had met there. One of the women that was there worshipping was named Lydia. She already believed in God and didn't worship idols. She sold purple fabric. Let's talk a little bit about how she made the purple fabric, and why it was so expensive.
I have cut pieces of purple cloth and shells on the front table for the kids to pick up when they come in to class. They do their passports and pick up whatever I have for them so there is not time wasted handing out things. And, if there are choices, like the shells, they can pick before class. And, first come, first picking!
Purple cloth was very expensive. The reason it was so costly was that it was difficult to make. The dye for the cloth came from a shellfish. Purple dye had to be gathered drop by drop from the veins of certain shellfish found only in this area of the Mediterranean.
The little bit of juice was white while it was in the veins of the fish, but when it was exposed to the sun, the liquid changed into bright purple and red colors. It took thousands of seashells to make a yard or two of purple cloth. It took a lot of work to catch enough shellfish to dye even one garment. It was a statement of status, power, and wealth in Roman times.
The beautiful cloth was mainly used by members of the royal families and Roman senators who were required to have a purple band around the edge of their togas, or robes.
 (This info gathered over years of research, and I do not know exact origins.)
Lydia listened to Paul. Lydia and her household were baptized, immediately, and then she begged Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke to go to her house to stay.
This worksheet is a concept chart. As you are reading through Acts 16:11-15 with the students, they can fill in the facts that are stated. This includes the color (w/o logos), black & white and a teacher's answer sheet. Click here to download.
When I make these, I use the Accucut diecut machine to cut the (large) shells for the outside. But, I have included the outside, as you can see, and the inside. Once I glued the outside on, I trimmed a little of the inside so it would look nicer, but that is just me. Because, actually, the kids will be cutting and gluing these, so I won't be trimming theirs. Here is the color printable.

Here is the black and white printable. Please note, though, that I used the same cream shell for the inside because I couldn't find a plain outline of a shell to use, and you couldn't see anything if I used what is available. You can print in grayscale if you want to.
Bible Verse Acts 16:14
Not all are shown.

(These are the same as the visuals but are black & white.)

Passport: Philippi in Macedonia
You can find the free Lydia visuals at Free Bible Images.
(Used with permission)
 Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission.  


  1. Love all your lessons. I use them slot. Thanks for your dedication to teach the Bible.

  2. Thank you for sharing. The images for Lydia really brought the lesson to life. The visuals made it more realistic for the children.


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