Acts 16:16-40

The Roman rulers put Paul and Silas in prison

16 One day, we were going to the place where people prayed to God. On the way there, we met a slave girl. A bad spirit was living inside her. This spirit told her what would happen soon. People gave her masters a lot of money when she told them about these future things. 17 She followed Paul and all of us. She was shouting, ‘These men are servants of the powerful God who is over all! They are telling you how God can save you!’

18 The slave girl continued to do this for many days. After some time, Paul became angry. So he turned round and he said to the bad spirit, ‘I am using the authority of Jesus Christ! I command you to leave this woman!’ When Paul said that, the spirit left her immediately.

19 Her masters now knew that the girl could not get money for them any more. So they took hold of Paul and Silas and they pulled them to the market place of the city. They took them to stand in front of the leaders of the city. 20 They asked the important officers to judge them. They said, ‘These men are Jews. They are causing much trouble in our city. 21 They are teaching people to obey strange ideas. We are Roman people. We cannot agree with these laws. They are not right for us to do.’

22 A lot of people quickly came together there. They started to attack Paul and Silas. So the important officers said to their soldiers, ‘Tear the clothes off Paul and Silas. Then hit them with sticks!’ 23 The soldiers hit Paul and Silas many times. Then they took hold of them and they pushed them into the prison. The officers said to the prison guard, ‘Lock the prison door carefully so that these men cannot get free.’

24 The prison guard did what he had been told to do. He put Paul and Silas in a room in the middle of the prison. He put their feet between big heavy pieces of wood so that they could not move their legs.

25 At midnight, Paul and Silas were praying. They were also singing songs to praise God. The other people in the prison were listening to them. 26 The ground under the prison suddenly shook strongly. Immediately, all the prison doors opened. The chains that held the people in the prison all fell off. 27 The prison guard woke up. He saw that the prison doors were open. He thought that all the people in the prison had become free. He decided that he should kill himself. So he pulled out his sword.

16:27The guard thought that the people in the prison had run away. He knew that this would be a very bad thing for him. If this had happened, the leader of the soldiers would kill him. So he decided to kill himself.

28 Paul shouted very loudly to him, ‘Do not hurt yourself! We are all still in here!’

29 The guard said, ‘Bring me some lights.’ Then he ran to the prison room where Paul and Silas were. He was very frightened. He went down on his knees in front of them. 30 Then he led Paul and Silas out of the prison. He said to them, ‘Masters, what must I do so that God will save me? Tell me!’

31 Paul and Silas said to him, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and then God will save you. He will save you and the people who live in your house, if they believe too.’ 32 Then Paul and Silas went to the guard's house. They spoke God's message about the Lord Jesus to him and to all the people in his house. 33 In the middle of the night, the man took care of them. He washed their bodies where the soldiers had hurt them. Immediately after this, Paul and Silas baptized the man and his whole family. 34 The man gave them some food to eat in his house. The guard and all his family were very happy because now they believed in God.

35 The next morning, the important officers sent their police to the prison with a message for the guard. They told him, ‘Let those men go free.’ 36 The guard went to Paul and he told him, ‘The city officers have sent a message to me. They said, “Let Paul and Silas go free.” So now you can leave the prison. Nobody will hurt you any more.’

37 But Paul spoke to the police who had brought the message. He said, ‘The city officers did not find that we had done anything wrong. But they commanded their soldiers to hit us with sticks in front of everybody. We are citizens of Rome but they still did this to us. They even put us into prison. Now they want us to leave the prison and go away. They want to send us away secretly. We will not agree! The Roman officers must come here to the prison themselves. Then they must lead us out for everyone to see.’

38 The police returned to the city officers. They told them what Paul had said. The officers now understood that Paul and Silas were citizens of Rome. This made them very afraid. 39 So they went to see Paul and Silas in the prison. They told Paul and Silas that they were very sorry. Then they led Paul and Silas out of the prison. They asked them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas left the prison, they went to Lydia's house. There they met the other believers. They spoke to the believers to make them strong. Then Paul and Silas left Philippi.

16:40Luke did not go with Paul and Silas when they left Philippi.