New Testament Stories My Daddy Told Me
PAUL AND SILAS IN PRISON (Acts 16:25-40)
By Wayne S. Walker
Having been unjustly accused, beaten, and imprisoned, Paul and Silas did not spend their time in the jail feeling sorry for themselves but were singing and praying while the other prisoners were listening. At midnight, there was a great earthquake which shook the entire prison. The prisoners’ chains were loosed and the doors were opened. The jailor was awakened and seeing the shambles assumed that the prisoners had all fled. Knowing that his life would be forfeited for the escapees, he took out his sword and was about to kill himself when Paul called out, telling him not to harm himself because everyone was still there.
The jailor then asked for a light, went on into the prison, and fell down before Paul and Silas. We may not know exactly what was going on through the jailor’s mind at that time, but evidently something that he had either seen in or heard about Paul and Silas caused him to ask them a question. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They told him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. At this point, the jailor probably did not even have enough knowledge to know what to believe, so they preached to him and his family the word of the Lord. As a result of what they said, he took them the same hour of the night to some place where he could wash their stripes, showing his repentance, and then he and his family were all immediately baptized.
The jailor next brought them into his own house and fed them. At this point, it is said that “he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his houseshold.” The next morning, the magistrates sent officers with a message for the jailor to release Paul and Silas. However, Paul pointed out that he and Silas were Roman citizens who had been beaten unlawfully so the magistrates should not try to sweep things under the rug but come themselves openly to apologize. This they did and pleaded with the two men to leave. Paul and Silas returned to Lydia’s house to say good-bye to the brethren and then departed from the city.
- What were Paul and Silas doing in prison?
- What disaster occurred about midnight?
- What did the jailor think when he saw the doors opened?
- What did the jailor start to do?
- What question did the jailor ask Paul and Silas?
- What answer did they give him?
- What did the jailor and all his family do immediately after that?
- What did the magistrates tell the jailor to do the next morning?
- Why was Paul reluctant to leave at first?
- Where did Paul and Silas go before departing from Philippi?