16 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. 2The believers at Lystra and Iconium said good things about Timothy. 3Paul 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. 4Paul 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. 5So the churches were made strong in the faith. The number of believers grew every day.
Paul’s Vision of the Man From Macedonia
6Paul 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. 7They came to the border of Mysia. From there they tried to enter Bithynia. But the Spirit of Jesus would not let them. 8So they passed by Mysia. Then they went down to Troas.
9During 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!” 10After 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.
11At Troas we got into a boat. We sailed straight for Samothrace. The next day we went on to Neapolis. 12From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony. It is an important city in that part of Macedonia. We stayed there several days.
13On 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. 14One 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. 15She 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.
Paul and Silas Are Thrown Into Prison
16One 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. 17The 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.” 18She 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.
19The 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. 20They brought them to the judges. “These men are Jews,” her owners said. “They are making trouble in our city. 21They are suggesting practices that are against Roman law. These are practices we can’t accept or take part in.”
22The crowd joined the attack against Paul and Silas. The judges ordered that Paul and Silas be stripped and beaten. 23They were whipped without mercy. Then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24When he received his orders, he put Paul and Silas deep inside the prison. He fastened their feet so they couldn’t get away.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying. They were also singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly 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.
27The 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!”
29The jailer called out for some lights. He rushed in, shaking with fear. He fell down in front of Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them out. He asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus. Then you and your family will be saved.” 32They spoke the word of the Lord to him. They also spoke to all the others in his house.
33At that hour of the night, the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Right away he and his whole family were baptized. 34The 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.
35Early in the morning the judges sent their officers to the jailer. They ordered him, “Let those men go.” 36The jailer told Paul, “The judges have ordered me to set you and Silas free. You can leave now. Go in peace.”
37But 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.”
38The officers reported this to the judges. When the judges heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they became afraid. 39So they came and said they were sorry. They led them out of the prison. Then they asked them to leave the city. 40After 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.
About New International Reader’s Version (1998)
The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) was developed to help early readers understand the Bible. Begun in 1992, the NIrV is a simplification of the New International Version (NIV). The NIrV uses shorter words and sentences so that those with a typical fourth grade reading level can comprehend what they are reading. The chapters have been separated into shorter sections and most have titles that clearly indicate what the section is all about. The NIrV will be a valuable translation to those for whom English is a second language. The NIrV still relies on the best and oldest copies of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts for its translation, guaranteeing that those who read it are getting the actual Word of God.
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