Acts 16:16-40 : Easy-to-Read Version
Paul and Silas in Jail
16One time something happened to us while we were going to the place for prayer. A servant girl met us. She had a special spirit* in her. This spirit 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. 17This girl followed Paul and us. She said loudly, "These men are servants of the Most High God! They are telling you how you can be saved!" 18She 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. 19The men that owned the servant girl saw this. These men knew that now they could not use her to make money. So they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them into the meeting place of the city. The city officials were there. 20The men brought Paul and Silas to the leaders and said, "These men are Jews. They are making trouble in our city. 21They are telling the people to do things that are not right for us. We are Roman citizens and cannot do these things." 22The people were against Paul and Silas. Then the leaders tore the clothes of Paul and Silas and told some men to beat Paul and Silas with rods. 23The men beat Paul and Silas many times. Then the leaders put Paul and Silas in jail. The leaders told the jailer, "Guard them very carefully!" 24The jailer heard this special order. So he put Paul and Silas far inside the jail. He tied their feet between large blocks of wood. 25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing songs to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly, there was a big earthquake. It was so strong that it shook the foundation of the jail. Then all the doors of the jail opened. All the prisoners were freed from their chains. 27The jailer woke up. He saw that the jail doors were open. He thought that the prisoners had already escaped. So the jailer got his sword and was ready to kill himself.* 28But Paul shouted, "Don't hurt yourself! We are all here!" 29The jailer told someone to bring a light. Then he ran inside. He was shaking. He fell down in front of Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them outside and said, "Men, what must I do to be saved?" 31They said to him, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved--you and all the people living in your house." 32So Paul and Silas told the message* of the Lord to the jailer and all the people in his house. 33It was late at night, but the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Then the jailer and all his people were baptized.* 34After 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. 35The next morning, the leaders sent some soldiers to tell the jailer, "Let these men (Paul and Silas) go free!" 36The jailer said to Paul, "The leaders have sent these soldiers to let you go free. You can leave now. Go in peace." 37But Paul said to the soldiers, "Your leaders did not prove that we did wrong. But they beat us in front of the people and put us in jail. We are Roman citizens,* [so we have rights]. Now the leaders want to make us go quietly. No! The leaders must come and bring us out!" 38The soldiers told the leaders what Paul said. When the leaders heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens,* they were afraid. 39So they came and told Paul and Silas they were sorry. They took Paul and Silas out of jail and asked them to leave the city. 40But when Paul and Silas came out of the jail, they went to Lydia's house. They saw some of the believers there and comforted them. Then Paul and Silas left.
spirit A spirit from the devil that gave special knowledge. kill himself He thought the leaders would kill him for letting the prisoners escape. message, Good News The news that God has made a way for people to have their sins forgiven and live with him forever. baptized A Greek word meaning to be immersed, dipped, or buried briefly under water. Roman citizens Roman law said that Roman citizens must not be beaten before their trial.