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Paul again visited the place of worship by the riverside. This time he saw a slave girl whose body had been taken over by a demon, an evil spirit. She was able to tell people what was going to happen in the future.
Her owners saw they could make some money by having her tell people what was going to happen to them. They were glad the poor girl was possessed by a demon.
As she followed Paul and the others around, the demon in her recognized who they were and shouted, "These men are servants of the Most High God who are telling you the way to be saved."
This went on day after day. Paul felt sorry for the girl and turned around, and in the name of Jesus commanded the spirit to come out of her. (Jesus had told them earlier, when he was teaching them, that they would be able to cast out devils.)
Immediately the evil spirit left her, and she was in her right mind, but she could no longer foretell the future. Her masters could not use her anymore to gain money for them. You can imagine their anger at Paul, who had ruined their fortune telling business.
They grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities, accusing them of causing an uproar and teaching against their way of life.
Then the crowd was stirred up and became angry, and the magistrates (MAJ ih strates), or judges ordered them to be stripped of their clothing and beaten.
They were unmercifully flogged and then, weak and bleeding, they were thrown into an inner cell of the prison and their feet were put in stocks. Their legs were spread wide apart and their feet put through holes in the wooden device which was used for torture as well as for securing the prisoners.
Then a jailer was commanded to guard them. If he failed to keep them in the prison, he would be killed. He had a great responsibility.
Did Paul and Silas moan and complain about being beaten and put in prison? No, the Bible says that about midnight they were praying and singing hymns to God. There were other prisoners in the cell listening to them.
Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and the prison shook. The doors opened and the chains came off all the prisoners, but nobody tried to escape.
However, when the jailer woke up and saw the doors opened, he started to take his own life because he knew he would be killed if his prisoners had escaped.
Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
The jailer was so frightened he was trembling. He called for some lights so he could look inside the cell. He fell down at the feet of Paul and Silas. He said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
They told him to believe in Jesus, and they preached about the Lord to the jailer and the people of his household.
That same hour he took the two men and washed the wounds they had received in the beatings. He knew he had been wrong, and he wanted to do right.
Immediately the jailer and his family were baptized. He brought Paul and Silas to his house and fed them. The whole family was so happy! They were now believers in God.
The next day officers were sent to the jail to tell them to release Paul and Silas. When the judges learned that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. It had been against the law for them to beat and imprison the men. They thought they could just quietly take care of it.
But Paul thought differently. "No!" he said, "Let them come themselves and lead us from the prison."
The judges went to the prison and apologized. They led the men out and begged them to leave the city.
Paul and Silas went back to Lydia's house and met with the believers there. Then they left to go preach elsewhere.
Read the story in Spanish
El Carcelero de Filipina
Read the story in Amharic
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
First Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
(Rest the mouse lightly over the ??? to see the answers in the alternate tags.)
1. What did the demon-posessed girl say about Paul and Silas?
2. Why did her owners become angry at Paul and Silas?
3. What punishment did the judges order?
4. What would happen to the jailer if his prisoners escaped?
5. What did Paul and Silas do in prison at midnight?
6. What was the result of the earthquake?
7. What did Paul shout to the jailer?
8. What was the jailer's question?
9. What was Paul's answer?
10. What happened after Paul preached to the jailer and his family?
11. Why did the judges become afraid?
12. Where did Paul and Silas go when they left the prison?
You can read about Peter in the Bible in
Multiple Choice Test
The Philippian Jailer - Word Search
The Philippian Jailer - Crossword Puzzle
The Philippian Jailer - Word Scramble
Acts 16:30-33 Fill-in the Blanks
A Reason For Reading, Level L: The Jailer's Surprise
By Concerned Group
Discover the key to reading success with values-based stories that make reading FUN! Little Books help teach kids powerful reading strategies that lead to success. NOTE: Levels in Reading reflect student ability, not grade level!In The Jailer's Surprise Paul and Silas witness to the jailer and his family. Level L. 24 pages.
Pablo y Silas: Liverados de la Cárcel (Jailhouse Rock)
By Concordia Publishing House / Concordia Publishing House
La serie Libros Arco tiene las mismas ilustraciones a todo color que hicieron famosa la serie Arch Books. Además cuentan valiosas historias bíblicas. Esta serie no es una traducción; cada historia fue escrita en forma de rima en espaóol. Este libro en particular está basado en Hechos 16:22-40, y es una buena forma de enseñar a los niños la historia de Pablo y Silas. Recomendado para las edades de 5 a 9.
Libros Arco series uses the same full-color illustrations that made Arch Books famous and tells important Bible stories. These books are not a translation; every rhyming story was originally written in Spanish! Based on Acts 16:22-40 this book is a good way to introduce the story of Paul and Silas to kids. Recommended for ages 5 to 9.
Lydia Paul in Damascus
Most Recent Comments ( See more comments on this page ) 2009-08-08
thanks a lot for these Bible lessons. very useful for our kids at church. love the activities that go with the lessons too
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Children's Bible Lessons
David & Goliath
3 Brave Boys
Parable of Talents
Paul's 1st Journey
Paul's 2nd Journey
Paul's 3rd Journey
Paul in Rome
Graphic courtesy of The Bread Site public domain clipart collection
Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin