To Speak Or Not To Speak


Does the Lord open and close doors? If so, how can you be sure it is him? Today’s passage shows that even the Apostle Paul could be confused at times in following the Lord’s will and discerning what to do. But, as we’ll see, the Lord always knows what he is doing, and he always does it best!

  • When in your life have you been confused about what God’s will might be?


6And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. When Paul received a “no,” how did he respond? Did he sit and sulk? Did he become bitter? How do you respond when God moves/acts in a way contrary to your wishes?
  2. What is the word of obedience describing Paul in verse 10? Why is the word “immediately” so important? What does it say about Paul’s trust and view of God?
  3. Do the “no’s” of God mean the process is over, or does every “no” have a reason, whether we understand or not (vss. 9-10)?
  4. Has the Lord ever said “no” or “not yet” to something you were praying or hoping for? Can you remember a time that his “no” was a blessing in your life?
  5. We do not really know how Paul was forbidden by the Spirit to speak in Asia, but at times even the Apostle Paul received a “no”. What are the different ways the Lord has impressed things upon you in your life so that you knew his will?


World history would have changed dramatically if the gospel had gone to Asia instead of Europe at this time. The seeds of the gospel in Europe bloomed into Christianity that moved across the Atlantic to America. As believers, you and I are a byproduct of Paul taking the gospel to Europe. And now we have witnessed huge revivals all over Asia… all in God’s perfect timing. I think Paul sensed the Holy Spirit’s direction in these verses because he constantly meditated on Scripture and prayed, saturating his mind and heart with the will of the Lord. We, too, are able to discern the Holy Spirit’s movement and direction when we are constantly in his Word and enjoying deep fellowship with him.

  • Lord, I pray today that my heart and agenda would bow to your direction, as I know your way is always the way!