Free eBook: Getting Through the Storms in Life

Acts 16; Acts 17

1 Paul came to Derbe. Then he went on to Lystra. A believer named Timothy lived there. His mother was Jewish and a believer. His father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium said good things about Timothy. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey. So he circumcised Timothy because of the Jews who lived in that area. They all knew that Timothy's father was a Greek. 4 Paul and his companions traveled from town to town. They reported what the apostles and elders in Jerusalem had decided. The people were supposed to obey what was in the report. 5 So the churches were made strong in the faith. The number of believers grew every day. 6 Paul and his companions traveled all through the area of Phrygia and Galatia. The Holy Spirit had kept them from preaching the word in Asia Minor. 7 They came to the border of Mysia. From there they tried to enter Bithynia. But the Spirit of Jesus would not let them. 8 So they passed by Mysia. Then they went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision. He saw a man from Macedonia standing and begging him. "Come over to Macedonia!" the man said. "Help us!" 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia. We decided that God had called us to preach the good news there. 11 At Troas we got into a boat. We sailed straight for Samothrace. The next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony. It is an important city in that part of Macedonia. We stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate. We walked down to the river. There we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered together. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia. She was from the city of Thyatira. Her business was selling purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to accept Paul's message. 15 She and her family were baptized. Then she invited us to her home. "Do you consider me a believer in the Lord?" she asked. "If you do, come and stay at my house." She succeeded in getting us to go home with her. 16 One day we were going to the place of prayer. On the way we were met by a female slave. She had a spirit that helped her to tell ahead of time what was going to happen. She earned a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. 17 The woman followed Paul and the rest of us around. She shouted, "These men serve the Most High God. They are telling you how to be saved." 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became upset. Turning around, he spoke to the spirit. "In the name of Jesus Christ," he said, "I command you to come out of her!" At that very moment the spirit left her. 19 The female slave's owners realized that their hope of making money was gone. So they grabbed Paul and Silas. They dragged them into the market place to face the authorities. 20 They brought them to the judges. "These men are Jews," her owners said. "They are making trouble in our city. 21 They are suggesting practices that are against Roman law. These are practices we can't accept or take part in." 22 The crowd joined the attack against Paul and Silas. The judges ordered that Paul and Silas be stripped and beaten. 23 They were whipped without mercy. Then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received his orders, he put Paul and Silas deep inside the prison. He fastened their feet so they couldn't get away. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying. They were also singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a powerful earthquake. It shook the prison from top to bottom. All at once the prison doors flew open. Everybody's chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up. He saw that the prison doors were open. He pulled out his sword and was going to kill himself. He thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 "Don't harm yourself!" Paul shouted. "We are all here!" 29 The jailer called out for some lights. He rushed in, shaking with fear. He fell down in front of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out. He asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus. Then you and your family will be saved." 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him. They also spoke to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night, the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Right away he and his whole family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house. He set a meal in front of them. He and his whole family were filled with joy. They had become believers in God. 35 Early in the morning the judges sent their officers to the jailer. They ordered him, "Let those men go." 36 The jailer told Paul, "The judges have ordered me to set you and Silas free. You can leave now. Go in peace." 37 But Paul replied to the officers. "They beat us in public," he said. "We weren't given a trial. And we are Roman citizens! They threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and personally lead us out." 38 The officers reported this to the judges. When the judges heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they became afraid. 39 So they came and said they were sorry. They led them out of the prison. Then they asked them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house. There they met with the believers. They told them to be brave. Then they left.
1 Paul and Silas passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia. They came to Thessalonica. A Jewish synagogue was there. 2 Paul went into the synagogue as he usually did. For three Sabbath days in a row he talked about the Scriptures with the Jews. 3 He explained and proved that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am telling you about is the Christ!" he said. 4 His words won some of the Jews over. They joined Paul and Silas. A large number of Greeks who worshiped God joined them too. So did quite a few important women. 5 But the Jews were jealous. So they rounded up some evil fellows from the market place. Forming a crowd, they started all kinds of trouble in the city. The Jews rushed to Jason's house. They were looking for Paul and Silas. They wanted to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But they couldn't find them. So they dragged Jason and some other believers to the city officials. "These men have caused trouble all over the world," they shouted. "Now they have come here. 7 Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all disobeying Caesar's commands. They say there is another king. He is called Jesus." 8 When the crowd and the city officials heard this, they became very upset. 9 They made Jason and the others give them money. They wanted to make sure they would return to the court. Then they let them go. 10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 The Bereans were very glad to receive Paul's message. They studied the Scriptures carefully every day. They wanted to see if what Paul said was true. So they were more noble than the Thessalonians. 12 Many of the Jews believed. A number of important Greek women also became believers. And so did many Greek men. 13 The Jews in Thessalonica found out that Paul was preaching God's word in Berea. So they went there too. They stirred up the crowds and got them all worked up. 14 Right away the believers sent Paul to the coast. But Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. 15 The men who went with Paul took him to Athens. Then they returned with orders that Silas and Timothy were supposed to join him as soon as they could. 16 Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens. He was very upset to see that the city was full of statues of gods. 17 So he went to the synagogue. There he talked with Jews and with Greeks who worshiped God. Each day he spoke with anyone who happened to be in the market place. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic thinkers began to argue with him. Some of them asked, "What is this fellow chattering about?" Others said, "He seems to be telling us about gods we've never heard of." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus. He was telling them that Jesus had risen from the dead. 19 They took him to a meeting of the Areopagus. There they said to him, "What is this new teaching you're giving us? 20 You have some strange ideas. We've never heard them before. We want to know what they mean." 21 All the people of Athens spent their time talking about and listening to the latest ideas. People from other lands who lived there did the same. 22 Then Paul stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus. He said, "Men of Athens! I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 As I walked around, I looked carefully at the things you worship. I even found an altar with TO AN UNKNOWN GOD written on it. Now I am going to tell you about this 'unknown god' that you worship. 24 "He is the God who made the world. He also made everything in it. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn't live in temples built by hands. 25 He is not served by human hands. He doesn't need anything. He himself gives life and breath to all people. He also gives them everything else they have. 26 From one man he made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And he decided exactly where they should live. 27 God did this so that people would seek him. Then perhaps they would reach out for him and find him. They would find him even though he is not far from any of us. 28 'In him we live and move and exist.' As some of your own poets have also said, 'We are his children.' 29 "Yes, we are God's children. So we shouldn't think that God is made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn't a statue planned and made by clever people. 30 In the past, God didn't judge people for what they didn't know. But now he commands all people everywhere to turn away from their sins. 31 He has set a day when he will judge the world fairly. He has appointed a man to be its judge. God has proved this to all people by raising that man from the dead." 32 When they heard Paul talk about the dead rising, some of them made fun of it. But others said, "We want to hear you speak about this again." 33 So Paul left the meeting of the Areopagus. 34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed in Jesus. Dionysius was one of them. He was a member of the Areopagus. A woman named Damaris also became a believer. And so did some others.
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