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Acts 16 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Timothy Goes With Paul and Silas

16 Paul went to the city of Derbe and then to Lystra, where a follower of Jesus named Timothy lived. Timothy’s mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. The believers in the cities of Lystra and Iconium had only good things to say about him. Paul wanted Timothy to travel with him, but all the Jews living in that area knew that his father was a Greek. So Paul circumcised Timothy to please the Jews.

Then Paul and those with him traveled through other cities. They gave the believers the rules and decisions from the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. They told them to obey these rules. So the churches were becoming stronger in their faith, and the number of believers was growing every day.

Paul Is Called to Macedonia

Paul and those with him went through the areas of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit did not allow them to tell the Good News in the province of Asia. When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not let them go there. So they passed by Mysia and went to the city of Troas.

That night Paul saw a vision. In it, a man from Macedonia came to Paul. The man stood there and begged, “Come across to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we[a] immediately prepared to leave for Macedonia. We understood that God had called us to tell the Good News to those people.

The Conversion of Lydia

11 We left Troas in a ship and sailed to the island of Samothrace. The next day we sailed to the city of Neapolis. 12 Then we went to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city in that part of Macedonia. We stayed there for a few days.

13 On the Sabbath day we went out the city gate to the river. There we thought we might find a special place for prayer. Some women had gathered there, so we sat down and talked with them. 14 There was a woman there named Lydia from the city of Thyatira. Her job was selling purple cloth. She was a worshiper of the true God. Lydia was listening to Paul, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. 15 She and all the people living in her house were baptized. Then she invited us into her home. She said, “If you think I am a true believer in the Lord Jesus, come stay in my house.” She persuaded us to stay with her.

Paul and Silas in Jail

16 One day we were going to the place for prayer, and a servant girl met us. She had a spirit[b] in her that gave her the power to tell what would happen in the future. By doing this she earned a lot of money for the men who owned her. 17 She started following Paul and the rest of us around. She kept shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are telling you how you can be saved!” 18 She continued doing this for many days. This bothered Paul, so he turned and said to the spirit, “By the power of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her!” Immediately, the spirit came out.

19 When the men who owned the servant girl saw this, they realized that they could no longer use her to make money. So they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square to meet with the authorities. 20 They brought Paul and Silas before the Roman officials and said, “These men are Jews, and they are making trouble in our city. 21 They are telling people to do things that are not right for us as Romans to do.”

22 The whole crowd turned against Paul and Silas. The officials tore the clothes off both men and ordered that they be beaten with rods. 23 They were beaten severely and thrown into jail. The officials told the jailer, “Guard them very carefully!” 24 When the jailer heard this special order, he put Paul and Silas far inside the jail and bound their feet between large blocks of wood.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing songs to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake so strong that it shook the foundation of the jail. All the doors of the jail opened, and the chains on all the prisoners fell off. 27 The jailer woke up and saw that the jail doors were open. He thought that the prisoners had already escaped, so he got his sword and was ready to kill himself.[c] 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t hurt yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer told someone to bring a light. Then he ran inside and, shaking with fear, fell down in front of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They said to him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and all who live in your house.” 32 So Paul and Silas told the message of the Lord to the jailer and all the people who lived in his house. 33 It was late at night, but the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Then the jailer and all his people were baptized. 34 After this the jailer took Paul and Silas home and gave them some food. All the people were very happy because they now believed in God.

35 The next morning the Roman officials sent some soldiers to tell the jailer, “Let these men go free.”

36 The jailer said to Paul, “The officials have sent these soldiers to let you go free. You can leave now. Go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to the soldiers, “Those officials did not prove that we did anything wrong, but they beat us in public and put us in jail. And we are Roman citizens.[d] Now they want us to go away quietly. No, they must come here themselves and lead us out!”

38 The soldiers told the officials what Paul said. When they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were afraid. 39 So they came and told them they were sorry. They led them out of the jail and asked them to leave the city. 40 But when Paul and Silas came out of the jail, they went to Lydia’s house. They saw some of the believers there and encouraged them. Then they left.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 16:10 we Luke, the writer, apparently went with Paul to Macedonia but did not leave Philippi with him. (See verse 40.) The first person pronoun occurs again in 20:5-21:18 and 27:1-28.
  2. Acts 16:16 spirit A spirit from the devil that gave special knowledge.
  3. Acts 16:27 kill himself He thought the leaders would kill him for letting the prisoners escape.
  4. Acts 16:37 Roman citizens Roman law said that Roman citizens must not be beaten before their trial.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Acts 16 New International Version (NIV)

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

16 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi

11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 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. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 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.

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 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.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 16:12 The text and meaning of the Greek for the leading city of that district are uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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