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. 2 The believers in the cities of Lystra and Iconium had only good things to say about him. 3 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.
4 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. 5 So the churches were becoming stronger in their faith, and the number of believers was growing every day.
Paul Is Called to Macedonia
6 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. 7 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. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went to the city of Troas.
9 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.