This woman and her household were among the first persons in Europe to accept Christianity as a result of the apostle Paul’s activity at Philippi in about 50 C.E. Originally she lived at Thyatira, a city in Asia Minor known for its dyeing industry. Later, at Philippi in Macedonia, Lydia sold purple, either the dye or garments and fabrics colored therewith. It appears that she was the head of her household (this could include slaves and servants), and therefore, she was possibly widowed or single.—Ac 16:14, 15.
“A worshiper of God,” Lydia probably was a Jewish proselyte. It may be that there were few Jews and no synagogue at Philippi so that on the Sabbath day she and other devout women assembled by a river outside the city. When the apostle Paul preached to these women, Lydia listened attentively. After being baptized along with her household, she entreated Paul and his companions to stay with her, saying: “If you men have judged me to be faithful to Jehovah, enter into my house.” Such genuine offer of hospitality simply could not be refused. The writer of Acts, Paul’s traveling companion Luke, adds: “She just made us come.”—Ac 16:11-15.
Later, after Paul and Silas were released from prison, they again went to the home of Lydia. There they encouraged the brothers and then left Philippi.—Ac 16:36-40.
Perhaps at least partly because of Lydia’s hospitality, Paul wrote to the Philippians: “I thank my God always upon every remembrance of you in every supplication of mine for all of you, as I offer my supplication with joy, because of the contribution you have made to the good news from the first day until this moment.”—Php 1:3-5.