Bible Study Moment
Beginning in Acts 16:11, the rest of the chapter is about Paul’s (and the group with him) time in Philippi in Macedonia.
After days of being followed by a woman that is described as having a spirit in her that enables her to predict the future who has been shouting “These people are servants of the Most High God! They are proclaiming a way of salvation to you!” Paul is annoyed and casts the spirit out of her. Our modern ways tend to discount the idea of being possessed by spirits but there seems to be something to this story, because those who have been making money off this woman now recognize that she can no longer predict the future, therefore they can’t exploit her in that way anymore. And these men grab Paul and Silas and proceed to stir up the crowd into a riot so that the authorities arrest and beat Paul and Silas.
Paul and Silas spend the night in jail praising God and singing hymns, becoming the inspiration for a verse in “The Old Time Religion” (It was good for Paul and Silas). This seems a little ironic since the message Paul is preaching is a new one within his old-time religion.
An earthquake occurs, freeing the prisoners. The jailer is about to kill himself (the punishment for allowing prisoners to escape) until Paul stops him by telling him that they are all still there. The jailer tends to the needs of Paul and Silas by cleaning their wounds and feeding them, while they tell him of Jesus and baptize him and his household.
The next morning the authorities want to quietly release Paul and Silas, but Paul won’t have it. He tells them that they are Roman citizens and therefore shouldn’t have been beaten without being found guilty of a crime, so he won’t leave quietly. They escort them out and beg them to leave Phillippi.