ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Paul in travelled on to Derbe and then to Lystra.
A disciple named Timothy lived there,
whose mother was a believer of Jewish origin but whose father was a Greek.
As the believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him,
Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him.
So he took him and, because of the Jews of that place
who all knew that his father was a Greek,
he circumcised him.
As they travelled from town to town,
they delivered the decision of the apostles and the elders in Jerusalem, for the people to obey.
Meanwhile, the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in numbers every day.
They travelled through Phrygia and Galatia,
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia,
they tried to go on to Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to do this.
So, passing by Mysia,
they went down to Troas.
There one night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and begged him,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us!”
When he awoke,
he told us of this vision and we understood that
the Lord was calling us to give the Good News to the Macedonian people.
So we put out to sea from Troas and sailed straight across to Samothrace Island,
and the next day to Neapolis.
From there we went inland to Philippi,
the leading city of the district of Macedonia, and a Roman colony.
We spent some days in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate to the bank of the river
where we thought the Jews would gather to pray.
We sat down and began speaking to the women who were gathered there.
One of them was a God-fearing woman named Lydia from Thyatira City, a dealer in purple cloth.
As she listened,
the Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying.
After she had been baptised together with her household,
she invited us to her house,
“If you think I am faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my house.”
And she persuaded us to accept her invitation.
as we were on our way to the place of prayer,
we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination
and gained much profit for her owners by her fortune-telling.
She followed Paul and the rest of us shouting,
“These people are servants of the Most High God.
They will make known to you a way of salvation.”
The girl did this for several days until Paul was annoyed.
Then he turned around and said to the spirit,
“In the name of Jesus Christ,
I command you, come out of her!”
The spirit went out of her that very moment.
When her owners realised that all the profits they expected had gone,
they seized Paul and Silas
and dragged them into the marketplace before the local authorities.
And when they had turned them over to the officials, they said,
“These people are Jews and they disturbing our city.
They have come here to introduce customs
which are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.”
So they set the crowd against them
and the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas
and ordered them to be flogged.
And after inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison,
charging the jailer to guard them safely.
Upon receiving these instructions,
he threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
and the other prisoners were listening.
Suddenly a severe earthquake shook the place,
rocking the prison to its foundations.
Immediately all the doors flew open and the chains of all the prisoners fell off.
The jailer woke up to see the prison gates wide open.
Thinking that the prisoners had escaped,
he drew his sword to kill himself,
but Paul shouted to him,
“Do not harm yourself!
We are still here.”
The jailer asked for a light, then rushed in,
and fell at the feet of Paul and Silas.
After he has secured the other prisoners,
he led them out and asked,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved.”
Then they spoke the word of God to him and to all his household.
Even at that hour of the night,
the jailer took care of them and washed their wounds;
and he and his whole household were baptised at once.
He led them to his house,
spread a meal before them
and joyfully celebrated with his whole household his newfound faith in God.
The next morning the officials sent police officers with the order,
“Let those men go.”
So the jailer said to Paul and Silas,
“The officials have sent an order for you and Silas to be released. You may leave and go in peace.”
But Paul said to him,
“They flogged us publicly,
and jailed us without trial,
men who are Roman citizens;
and now they want to smuggle us out secretly?
Let them come themselves and lead us out.”
The police officers reported this to the officials,
who were afraid when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens.
So they came and apologised to them,
took them out and asked them to leave the town.
Once outside the prison,
Paul and Silas went to Lydia’s house
where they met and encouraged
the brothers and sisters,
and then departed.