Contemporary English Version
Timothy Works with Paul and Silas
16 Paul and Silas went back to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a follower named Timothy. His mother was also a follower. She was Jewish, and his father was Greek. 2 The Lord’s followers in Lystra and Iconium said good things about Timothy, 3 and Paul wanted him to go with them. But Paul first had him circumcised, because all the Jewish people around there knew that Timothy’s father was Greek.
4 As Paul and the others went from city to city, they told the followers what the apostles and leaders in Jerusalem had decided, and they urged them to follow these instructions. 5 The churches became stronger in their faith, and each day more people put their faith in the Lord.
Paul’s Vision in Troas
6 Paul and his friends went through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them preach in Asia. 7 After they arrived in Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not let them. 8 So they went on through[b] Mysia until they came to Troas.
9 During the night, Paul had a vision of someone from Macedonia who was standing there and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we began looking for a way to go to Macedonia. We were sure that God had called us to preach the good news there.
Lydia Becomes a Follower of the Lord
11 We sailed straight from Troas to Samothrace, and the next day we arrived in Neapolis. 12 From there we went to Philippi, which is a Roman colony in the first district of Macedonia.[c]
We spent several days in Philippi. 13 Then on the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to a place by the river, where we thought there would be a Jewish meeting place for prayer. We sat down and talked with the women who came. 14 One of them was Lydia, who was from the city of Thyatira and sold expensive purple cloth. She was a worshiper of the Lord God, and he made her willing to accept what Paul was saying. 15 Then after she and her family were baptized, she kept on begging us, “If you think I really do have faith in the Lord, come stay in my home.” Finally, we accepted her invitation.
Paul and Silas Are Put in Jail
16 One day on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl. She had a spirit in her that gave her the power to tell the future. By doing this she made a lot of money for her owners. 17 The girl followed Paul and the rest of us and kept yelling, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are telling you how to be saved.”
18 This went on for several days. Finally, Paul got so upset that he turned and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I order you to leave this girl alone!” At once the evil spirit left her.
19 When the girl’s owners realized that they had lost all chances for making more money, they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them into court. 20 They told the officials, “These Jews are upsetting our city! 21 They are telling us to do things we Romans are not allowed to do.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack on Paul and Silas. Then the officials tore the clothes off the two men and ordered them to be beaten with a whip. 23 After they had been badly beaten, they were put in jail, and the jailer was told to guard them carefully. 24 The jailer did as he was told. He put them deep inside the jail and chained their feet to heavy blocks of wood.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God, while the other prisoners listened. 26 Suddenly a strong earthquake shook the jail to its foundations. The doors opened, and the chains fell from all the prisoners.
27 When the jailer woke up and saw that the doors were open, he thought that the prisoners had escaped. He pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! No one has escaped.”
29 The jailer asked for a torch and went into the jail. He was shaking all over as he knelt down in front of Paul and Silas. 30 After he had led them out of the jail, he asked, “What must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Have faith in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved! This is also true for everyone who lives in your home.”
32 Then Paul and Silas told him and everyone else in his house about the Lord. 33 While it was still night, the jailer took them to a place where he could wash their cuts and bruises. Then he and everyone in his home were baptized. 34 They were very glad that they had put their faith in God. After this, the jailer took Paul and Silas to his home and gave them something to eat.
35 The next morning the officials sent some police with orders for the jailer to let Paul and Silas go. 36 The jailer told Paul, “The officials have ordered me to set you free. Now you can leave in peace.”
37 But Paul told the police, “We are Roman citizens,[d] and the Roman officials had us beaten in public without giving us a trial. They threw us into jail. Now do they think they can secretly send us away? No, they cannot! They will have to come here themselves and let us out.”
38 When the police told the officials that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, the officials were afraid. 39 So they came and apologized. They led them out of the jail and asked them to please leave town. 40 But Paul and Silas went straight to the home of Lydia, where they saw the Lord’s followers and encouraged them. Then they left.
- 16.3 had him circumcised. . . Timothy’s father was Greek\itw : Timothy would not have been acceptable to the Jews unless he had been circumcised, and Greeks did not circumcise their sons.
- 16.8 went on through: Or “passed by.”
- 16.12 in the first district of Macedonia: Some manuscripts have “and the leading city of Macedonia.”
- 16.37 Roman citizens: Only a small number of the people living in the Roman Empire were citizens, and they had special rights and privileges.