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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 16

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1He went on to Derbe and then to Lystra, where he found a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish Christian mother and a gentile father, 2well spoken of by the Christians at Lystra and Iconium. 3Paul wanted to take him with him when he left, so he had him circumcised out of consideration for the Jews who lived in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Gentile. 4As they made their way from town to town they handed on the decisions taken by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem and enjoined their observance. 5So, day by day, the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in numbers.

6They travelled through the Phrygian and Galatian region a 16:6 through … region: or through Phrygia and the Galatian region. , prevented by the Holy Spirit from delivering the message in the province of Asia. 7When they approached the Mysian border they tried to enter Bithynia, but, as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, 8they passed through Mysia and reached the coast at Troas. 9During the night a vision came to Paul: a Macedonian stood there appealing to him, ‘Cross over to Macedonia and help us.’ 10As soon as he had seen this vision, we set about getting a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to take the good news there.

11We sailed from Troas and made a straight run to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. Here we stayed for some days, 13and on the sabbath we went outside the city gate by the riverside, where we thought there would be a place of prayer b 16:13 where…prayer: some witnesses read where there was a recognized place of prayer. ; we sat down and talked to the women who had gathered there. 14One of those listening was called Lydia, a dealer in purple fabric, who came from the city of Thyatira; she was a worshipper of God, and the Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul said. 15She was baptized, and her household with her, and then she urged us, ‘Now that you have accepted me as a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.’ And she insisted on our going.

16Once, on our way to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination and brought large profits to her owners by telling fortunes. 17She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, and are declaring to you a way of salvation.’ 18She did this day after day, until, in exasperation, Paul rounded on the spirit. ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her,’ he said, and it came out instantly.

19When the girl's owners saw that their hope of profit had gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the city authorities in the main square; 20bringing them before the magistrates, they alleged, ‘These men are causing a disturbance in our city; they are Jews, 21and they are advocating practices which it is illegal for us Romans to adopt and follow.’ 22The mob joined in the attack; and the magistrates had the prisoners stripped and gave orders for them to be flogged. 23After a severe beating they were flung into prison and the jailer was ordered to keep them under close guard. 24In view of these orders, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.

25About midnight Paul and Silas, at their prayers, were singing praises to God, and the other prisoners were listening, 26when suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken; the doors burst open and all the prisoners found their fetters unfastened. 27The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open and, assuming that the prisoners had escaped, drew his sword intending to kill himself. 28But Paul shouted, ‘Do yourself no harm; we are all here.’ 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and threw himself down before Paul and Silas, trembling with fear. 30He then escorted them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ 31They answered, ‘Put your trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,’ 32and they imparted the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. 33At that late hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds, and there and then he and his whole family were baptized. 34He brought them up into his house, set out a meal, and rejoiced with his whole household in his new-found faith in God.

35When daylight came, the magistrates sent their officers with the order, ‘Release those men.’ 36The jailer reported these instructions to Paul: ‘The magistrates have sent an order for your release. Now you are free to go in peace.’ 37But Paul said to the officers: ‘We are Roman citizens! They gave us a public flogging and threw us into prison without trial. Are they now going to smuggle us out by stealth? No indeed! Let them come in person and escort us out.’ 38The officers reported his words to the magistrates. Alarmed to hear that they were Roman citizens, 39they came and apologized to them, and then escorted them out and requested them to go away from the city. 40On leaving the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met their fellow-Christians and spoke words of encouragement to them, and then they took their departure.

Notes:

a 16:6 through … region: or through Phrygia and the Galatian region.

b 16:13 where…prayer: some witnesses read where there was a recognized place of prayer.

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