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Free Bible Version - Acts

Acts 16

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1Paul went first to Derbe, and then on to Lystra, where he met a believer by the name of Timothy. He was the son of a Jewish Christian mother, and his father was Greek.
2The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
3Paul wanted Timothy to travel with him, so he circumcised him because the Jews in the area all knew that Timothy's father was Greek.
4As they went through the different towns they gave them the requirements the apostles and elders in Jerusalem had said should be observed.
5The churches were strengthened in their trust in the Lord and every day their numbers increased.
6They traveled through the districts of Phrygia and Galatia, since the Holy Spirit prevented them from going to the province of Asia to speak the word.
7When they arrived at the border of Mysia they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to enter.
8So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
9There Paul saw in vision during the night a man from Macedonia standing up, pleading with him, “Please come over to Macedonia and help us!”
10After Paul saw this vision, we immediately made arrangements to go to Macedonia, since we concluded that God had called us to share the good news with them.
11We set sail from Troas and made straight for Samothrace. The next day we went on to Neapolis,
12and from there to Philippi, the most important town in Macedonia, and also a Roman colony. We stayed in this city for several days.
13On the Sabbath day we went out of the town gates down to the riverside where we thought people would come to pray. We sat down and talked with the women that had gathered there.
14One of them was called Lydia, who sold purple cloth from the town of Thyatira. She worshiped God, and she listened to us. The Lord opened her mind to what Paul was saying, and she accepted what he told her.
15After she and all her household were baptized, she pleaded with us, “If you really think that I'm truly committed to the Lord, then come and stay at my house.” She kept on insisting until we agreed!
16One day when we were going down to the place of prayer we met a slave girl possessed by an evil spirit. She earned her masters a great deal of money by fortune-telling.
17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us around, shouting, “These men are the servants of Almighty God. They are telling you how to be saved!”
18She went on doing this for several days. This bothered Paul so he turned around and told the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to leave her!” The spirit immediately left her.

19But when her masters saw they had lost their means of making money, they grabbed hold of Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace.
20They brought them in front of the magistrates, and accused them: “These Jewish men are causing a great disturbance in our town,” they said.
21“They're advocating things that are illegal for us as Romans to accept or to practice.”
22The crowd joined together in an attack on them. The magistrates tore off Paul and Silas' clothes, and ordered them beaten with rods.
23After giving them a severe beating, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them locked up.
24The jailer followed his orders. He threw Paul and Silas into the inner cell and shackled their feet in the stocks.
25Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
26Suddenly a tremendous earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. Immediately all the doors flew open and everyone's chains fell off.
27The jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison wide open. He drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
28But Paul shouted out, “Don't hurt yourself—we're all still here!”
29The jailer asked for lights to be brought and rushed in. Shaking with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.
30He escorted them out and asked them, “Sirs, what do I have to do so I can be saved?”
31“Trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your whole household,” they replied.
32Then they shared the word of the Lord with him and everyone who lived in his house.
33Even though it was late at night he bathed their wounds, and he was baptized right away, along with all his family.
34He took them home and had a meal prepared for them. The jailer and his whole family were full of joy because they trusted in God.
35Early the next day the magistrate sent officials to the jailer, telling him, “Release those men.”
36The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have sent word to release you. So you can leave, and go in peace.”

37But Paul told them, “They publicly beat us without a trial—and yet we're Roman citizens! Then they threw us in prison. Now they want to quietly let us go? No, they should come themselves and release us!”
38The officials went back and reported this to the magistrates. When they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens they were really worried,
39and went to apologize to them. They escorted them out and begged them to leave town.
40So Paul and Silas left the prison and went to Lydia's house. There they met with the believers, encouraged them, and then went on their way.