Children's Bible - New Testament - Sherman and Kent




Why Paul Went to Macedonia

After they had stayed at Antioch for some time, Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brothers in all the cities where we have told the good news from the Lord, and see how they are getting on." Barnabas wished to take Mark with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia instead of going on with them to work in Pisidia. So they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him to Cyprus. Paul chose Silas and went away, commended by the brothers to the gracious care of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, encouraging the churches.

He also went to Derbe and Lystra. At Lystra there was a disciple, called Timothy, the son of a Christian Jewess and a Greek father. As he had a good reputation among the brothers at Lystra and Iconium, Paul wished to have him go with him. And the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.

Then Paul and his companions crossed the Phrygian and Galatian country, but were prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching in the province of Asia. When they reached Mysia they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; so passing by Mysia they went down to Troas.

One night Paul had a vision: a man of Macedonia was standing and begging him, "Come over into Macedonia and help us." As soon as Paul saw the vision, we were eager to start at once for Macedonia, believing that God had called us to tell the good news to them. So, setting sail from Troas, we ran straight to Samothrace, and on the next day to Neapolis. From there we went to Philippi, which is the principal city in that part of Macedonia. In that city we spent some days.

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate by the river, where we believed there was a place of prayer. And we sat down and talked to the women who had gathered. Among them was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was already a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her mind, so that she listened to what Paul was saying; and when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you are sure that I am a true believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house." And she made us do so.


Paul and Silas in Macedonia


One day as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us who was under the control of a spirit that made her clairvoyant, so that she brought great gain to her owners by fortune-telling. She kept following Paul and the rest of us, crying, "These men are servants of the Most High God; they proclaim to you the way of salvation." This she did for many days until Paul, unable to stand it longer, turned and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her." And it left her at once.

But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the public square before the city officials. Bringing them before the military rulers, they said, "These are Jews who are making a disturbance in our city; they proclaim customs which it is not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or follow." The mob also joined in the attack upon them, so the military rulers tore their garments off them and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After beating them severely, they threw them in prison and ordered the jailer to be sure to keep them safely. On receiving this strict order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and while the prisoners were listening to them, there was suddenly such a great earthquake that the very foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors were opened and the chains that bound all the prisoners were loosened.

When the jailer suddenly awoke and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Do no harm to yourself, for we are all here!" So calling for lights, the jailer rushed in, and trembling with fear, fell down before Paul and Silas. Then bringing them out of the prison he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They answered, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved." So Paul and Silas preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Then the jailer took them at that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and he and all his family were at once baptized. He then brought them to his house and gave them food to eat, and greatly rejoiced with all his family that they had come to believe in God.

The next morning the city officials sent the police with the order, "Release these men." So the jailer told Paul, "The police have brought an order to have you released; now you may come out and go in peace." But Paul answered, "They have beaten us publicly without trial, although we are Roman citizens, and they put us in prison! Now they are going to send us out secretly! No, indeed. Let them come here themselves and take us out."

The police reported this to the military rulers, who, when they heard that they were Roman citizens, were afraid and came to make peace with them, and when they had brought them out of prison, they begged them to leave the city. So Paul and Silas left the prison, and went to Lydia's house; and after they had seen the brothers and encouraged them, they left the city.

After they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where the Jews had a synagogue. As usual, Paul went in, and for three weeks he argued with them, to prove to them from the scriptures that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead, and Paul said that "this Jesus I proclaim to you is the Christ." Some of the Jews and a large number of God-fearing Greeks and many of the leading women believed and threw in their lot with Paul and Silas.

But the Jews were jealous and got hold of the loafers in the market-place, and raised a mob and started a riot in the city. They attacked Jason's house, so as to bring Paul and Silas out before the people, and when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, shouting, "These men who have upset the whole world have come here too! Jason has welcomed them. They do not keep the laws of Csar and declare that some one else called Jesus is king." On hearing this the crowd and the city officials were greatly troubled; but after Jason and the others had pledged to keep the peace, they let them go.

Then the brothers at once sent Paul and Silas away by night to Bera. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue, where the people were of a nobler spirit than at Thessalonica, for they were very ready to hear the teaching about Jesus, and studied their scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed and also prominent Greek women and many men.

As soon as the Jews at Thessalonica learned that God's message was being proclaimed by Paul at Bera, they came there also to stir up the people to riot. Then the brothers at once sent Paul on his way to the sea-coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Bera. The friends who escorted Paul went with him as far as Athens, and left him there, after receiving instructions that Silas and Timothy were to come to him as soon as possible.