New American Bible (Revised Edition)
9 During [the] night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, we[a] sought passage to Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
Into Europe. 11 [b]We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace, and on the next day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We spent some time in that city. 13 On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. 14 One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God,[c] listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. 15 After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us.
Imprisonment at Philippi. 16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl with an oracular spirit,[d] who used to bring a large profit to her owners through her fortune-telling. 17 She began to follow Paul and us, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18 She did this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned, and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Then it came out at that moment.
19 When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square before the local authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates[e] and said, “These people are Jews and are disturbing our city 21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.” 22 (A)The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. 24 When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake.
Deliverance from Prison. 25 About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, 26 there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew [his] sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, “Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.” 29 He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” 32 So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. 33 He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once. 34 He brought them up into his house and provided a meal and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the lictors[f] with the order, “Release those men.” 36 The jailer reported the[se] words to Paul, “The magistrates have sent orders that you be released. Now, then, come out and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, even though we are Roman citizens and have not been tried, and have thrown us into prison.(B) And now, are they going to release us secretly? By no means. Let them come themselves and lead us out.”[g] 38 The lictors reported these words to the magistrates, and they became alarmed when they heard that they were Roman citizens.(C) 39 So they came and placated them, and led them out and asked that they leave the city. 40 When they had come out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house where they saw and encouraged the brothers, and then they left.
Paul in Thessalonica. 1 When they took the road through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they reached Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.(D) 2 Following his usual custom, Paul joined them, and for three sabbaths he entered into discussions with them from the scriptures, 3 expounding and demonstrating that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead, and that “This is the Messiah, Jesus, whom I proclaim to you.”(E) 4 Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas; so, too, a great number of Greeks who were worshipers, and not a few of the prominent women. 5 But the Jews became jealous and recruited some worthless men loitering in the public square, formed a mob, and set the city in turmoil. They marched on the house of Jason,(F) intending to bring them before the people’s assembly. 6 [h]When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city magistrates, shouting, “These people who have been creating a disturbance all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them.(G) They all act in opposition to the decrees of Caesar and claim instead that there is another king, Jesus.”[i] 8 They stirred up the crowd and the city magistrates who, upon hearing these charges, 9 took a surety payment from Jason and the others before releasing them.
Paul in Beroea. 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas to Beroea during the night. Upon arrival they went to the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These Jews were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all willingness and examined the scriptures daily to determine whether these things were so.(H) 12 Many of them became believers, as did not a few of the influential Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God had now been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea also, they came there too to cause a commotion and stir up the crowds. 14 So the brothers at once sent Paul on his way to the seacoast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind.(I)
- 16:10–17 This is the first of the so-called “we-sections” in Acts, where Luke writes as one of Paul’s companions. The other passages are Acts 20:5–15; 21:1–18; 27:1–28:16. Scholars debate whether Luke may not have used the first person plural simply as a literary device to lend color to the narrative. The realism of the narrative, however, lends weight to the argument that the “we” includes Luke or another companion of Paul whose data Luke used as a source.
- 16:11–40 The church at Philippi became a flourishing community to which Paul addressed one of his letters (see Introduction to the Letter to the Philippians).
- 16:14 A worshiper of God: a “God-fearer.” See note on Acts 8:26–40.
- 16:16 With an oracular spirit: literally, “with a Python spirit.” The Python was the serpent or dragon that guarded the Delphic oracle. It later came to designate a “spirit that pronounced oracles” and also a ventriloquist who, it was thought, had such a spirit in the belly.
- 16:20 Magistrates: in Greek, stratēgoi, the popular designation of the duoviri, the highest officials of the Roman colony of Philippi.
- 16:35 The lictors: the equivalent of police officers, among whose duties were the apprehension and punishment of criminals.
- 16:37 Paul’s Roman citizenship granted him special privileges in regard to criminal process. Roman law forbade under severe penalty the beating of Roman citizens (see also Acts 22:25).
- 17:6–7 The accusations against Paul and his companions echo the charges brought against Jesus in Lk 23:2.
- 17:7 There is another king, Jesus: a distortion into a political sense of the apostolic proclamation of Jesus and the kingdom of God (see Acts 8:12).