1 When Paul came to Derbe and [then] to Lystra, he met a certain disciple named Timothy, whose mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek [i.e., Gentile]. 2 This young man had a very good reputation among the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted him to travel with him [on a preaching mission] so he had him circumcised in order to avoid prejudice by the Jews in that area, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. 4 And as they traveled through the towns [of Asia Minor] they presented [to each church] the requirements they were to observe that had been decided on by the apostles and elders of the Jerusalem church. 5 So, the churches [of the region] were being [spiritually] strengthened in the faith and grew in number daily.
6 And then Paul, Silas, Timothy [and perhaps others by now] traveled through the districts of Phrygia and Galatia [i.e., provinces of central Asia Minor] because [an inspired message from] the Holy Spirit would not permit them to proclaim the message in Asia [i.e., the westernmost province of Asia Minor]. 7 When they came near Mysia [i.e., a northwestern province of Asia Minor] they attempted to travel into Bythinia [i.e., a northern province of Asia Minor] but [an inspired message from] the Holy Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to, 8 so they went on through Mysia and came down to Troas, [i.e., a seaport on the Aegean Sea, from which they sailed over to Europe]. 9 Then one night [while asleep] Paul had a vision [i.e., an inspired dream] in which a man from Macedonia [i.e., northern Greece] stood in front of him begging, "Come over to Macedonia to help us." 10 After seeing [the man in] the vision, we immediately made every effort to go to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news [about Jesus] to the people there. [Note: This is first use of "we" and "us" in the book of Acts and indicates that Luke, the writer of Acts, joined the party at this point. See 1:1 with Luke 1:1-3].
11 After setting sail from Troas we headed straight for Samothrace [i.e., an island in the Aegean Sea] and the next day we went on to Neapolis [i.e., a seaport in Macedonia], 12 and from there to Philippi, a city of the principal district of Macedonia, [which was] a Roman colony. We stayed in this city for a number of days. 13 On a [particular] Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to a place beside a river where we thought people gathered for prayer. We sat down and began speaking [about the Lord] to some women who had gathered there. 14 A certain woman named Lydia, from the town of Thyatira, who sold purple cloth [for a living], was there. She was a worshiper of God and when she heard us [telling about salvation through Christ], the Lord opened her heart to respond to the message being spoken by Paul. 15 And when she was immersed [into Christ], along with her household [i.e., possibly relatives and/or employees] she urged us, saying, "If you consider me to be a faithful disciple of the Lord, come and stay at my house." And she insisted that we go [to her house].
16 At a later time, when we were going to that [same] place of prayer, we met a certain young woman who was dominated by an [evil] spirit, [claiming to be] able to tell people's fortunes. This [claimed] power was the source of considerable income for the girl's slave-owner. 17 She followed Paul and us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Supreme God and they are proclaiming to you the way to be saved." 18 And she kept this up for a number of days. But Paul was very disturbed [over what she was doing] and [finally] turned [to her] and said to the spirit [in the girl], "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And the evil spirit did come out [of her] immediately.
19 But when the girl's slave-owners saw that their prospects for income [from her activities] were [now] gone, they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them to the open shopping market, in front of the authorities. 20 And when they brought them before the city officials, they made this charge [against them]: "These Jewish men are causing too much trouble in our city, 21 and they are teaching people to observe customs which we Romans are not permitted to accept or practice."
22 Then the large crowd began attacking them, and the city officials had their clothes ripped off and ordered them to be beaten. 23 After beating them severely, they threw them in jail and ordered the jailor to have them securely guarded. 24 After receiving these orders, the jailor threw them into the maximum security cell and had their feet securely fastened in wooden restraints.
25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God while the [other] prisoners listened. 26 Suddenly there was a terrible earthquake which violently shook the foundation of the jail. Immediately all the [cell] doors swung open and everyone's chains fell off. 27 The jailor, who was awakened from sleep [by the commotion] saw the jail doors open so drew his [short] sword and prepared to kill himself, assuming that all the prisoners had escaped. [Note: He would have faced a humiliating execution himself if he had allowed capital offense criminals to escape. With that prospect in view, it was considered honorable by the Romans for a person to commit suicide].
29 The jailor called for torches [to be brought], then rushed in [to the cell block], shaking with fear, and fell down [on his knees] before Paul and Silas. 30 After bringing them out [of the jail area] he said, "Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved?"
31 Paul and Silas said, "You and your family can be saved if you [all] believe in the Lord Jesus." 32 Then they [continued to] speak the message of the Lord to him and everyone [else] in his household. 33 The jailor immediately took Paul and Silas, and cleansed [and soothed] their wounded [backs] and then he and his [believing] household were immersed [into Christ]. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and prepared a meal for them. So, he and everyone in his household, who had believed in God [and were immersed], rejoiced greatly.
35 The next morning the city officials sent their officers [to the jailor] with the message, "Release those men."
36 The jailor then informed Paul [of the officials' decision], saying, "The city officials have decided to release you so you may leave the jail [if] you go peacefully."
37 But Paul responded to the officials, "These city officials had us innocent Roman citizens publicly beaten and thrown in jail. Are they now trying to release us privately? No indeed! Let the officials themselves come and [publicly] release us."
38 So, the officers reported what Paul had said and the city officials became fearful when they learned that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So, they came and appealed to them [to leave peacefully]. Then the authorities themselves accompanied them out [of the jail] and asked them to leave the city. 40 When Paul and Silas left the jail they went to Lydia's house and, after seeing the brothers [and sisters gathered there] and encouraging them, they went on their way.