Study Guide

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 16

Chapter 16

Paul Meets Timothy

  • Paul's next stop is in Lystra where he meets a Christian named Timothy.
  • Timothy's dad was Greek, which means he was never circumcised, so Paul goes ahead and asks him to have it done. Ouch. Paul thinks it will strengthen their street cred with the Jews they'll meet in their upcoming travels.
  • Paul, Silas, and Timothy travel around the eastern part of the Roman Empire spreading the word and winning converts.
  • One night, Paul has a vision telling him to head to Macedonia. Sure thing!

Paul In Macedonia

  • In Macedonia, Paul meets a wealthy Gentile woman named Lydia who promptly decides that she and everyone who lives in her house will be baptized after talking with Paul. Way to win hearts and minds, Paul.
  • Lydia invites Paul and company to stay with her. What a lovely hostess.
  • One day, Paul and friends meet a slave girl who has a gift for fortune-telling. In fact, her owners make a lot of money from her gift.
  • Every time the disciples pass by her, she yells that they are servants of God who could point you to salvation.
  • Even though this description is accurate, Paul is pretty annoyed by the constant yelling. He orders the fortune-telling spirit to come out of her and, just like that, it's gone.
  • Not surprisingly, the owners of the girl aren't too happy. They were making some cash money off that girl's possession.
  • They drag Paul and Silas in front of the Roman magistrates and tell them that the two are nothing more than Jewish agitators.
  • The magistrates have them stripped, beaten with rods, and thrown in jail. They don't mess around in Macedonia.

It's A Divine Prison Break

  • At midnight, while Paul and Silas are praying in their cell (that's some dedication for you), there's an earthquake. All the cell doors open and the chains fall off the prisoners. God has arranged another prison break.
  • When the jailer wakes up and sees that all the cells are opened he takes out his sword so that he can kill himself for letting prisoners escape on his watch. Yikes.
  • Paul tells him that they're still there and that he should hold off on offing himself. He has so much to live for, right?
  • The jailer is so impressed by the two men that he decides to believe in Jesus, too.
  • The jailer takes Paul and Silas to his house and treats their wounds. Everyone in the whole house decides to believe in God. Pretty impressive.

Apology Please

  • The next morning, the magistrates send word to the jailer to let Paul and Silas go.
  • But Paul, who seems to be feeling a little over-confident after the whole earthquake prison break, tells them no way.
  • After all, Paul says, we're Roman citizens and you beat and humiliated us in public. You're so gonna pay.
  • Okay, so the magistrates totally did not know that and now they're a little freaked out. You do not treat a Roman citizen that way.
  • The magistrates come and apologize to each of them personally. Paul and Silas head back to Lydia's house with their heads held high.
  • Way to play the Roman citizen card.