Witness in Macedonia: The Philippian Jailer

While in Macedonia, Paul and his companions go to a place of prayer and meet a businesswoman named Lydia. The Lord opens her heart, and she responds to Paul’s message. Our study begins at this point.

Getting Started
Tell of a time you shared the gospel with another person in your everyday experience.

  1. Read Acts 16:16–34. On their journey to a place of prayer, Paul and his companions meet a young woman [verses 16–18]. How is she described? What is she saying and why would this trouble Paul so much? What place do you think this woman held in society?
  2. Why were the owners of the slave girl angry with Paul and his companions? What charge do they bring against them? What were Paul and Silas saying from the clues in verse 17? How might this message have sounded to Roman ears? Does the gospel threaten anyone’s vested interests on your campus?
  3. Describe how Paul and Silas were persecuted for preaching the gospel in verses 22–24. How might they be feeling now? In verse 25, how is the response of Paul and Silas to their persecution different from the way most people would react?
  4. Picture yourself as a fellow prisoner of Paul and Silas. What would you be wondering or feeling? Describe what happens to the prison in verse 26. What does this tell us about God?
  5. What is the jailer’s initial reaction to the earthquake? Why does he react this way [verses 23–24, 27]? What does the jailer realize in verse 30? Why is the question he asks such an urgent one?
  6. How do Paul and Silas respond to his question in verses 31–32? In the light of all that has happened, how does the jailer then respond?

In Closing
How do the happenings in Acts 16:16–34 motivate you to share the gospel where you are? How does this account encourage you to move out of your comfort zone on campus?

“Witnesses to Jesus” Bible Studies are available at Acts Bible Study.

Many thanks to those who gave their time to the writing and editing of these studies: the InterVarsity® staff authors (mentioned with each study); Kathy Burrows (design); Jeff Yourison (layout editor); and Shelley Soceka and Judy Yourison (proofreaders).—Bob Grahmann, editor

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