Acts 16 Bible Study


Acts 16 Outline


– Paul met Timothy and brought him along on the journey (Acts 16:1-5)

– The Holy Spirit prevented Paul and his companions from preaching in Asia and Bithynia in Mysia (Acts 16:6-8)

– Paul dreamed of a Macedonian man coming to preach the gospel to them (Acts 16:9-10)

– Paul and his companions reached Philippi in Macedonia (Acts 16:11-12)

– Lydia and her household were baptized in Macedonia (Acts 16:13-15)

– A slave fortune telling girl went around proclaiming Paul and Silas were God’s servants, with a mission to tell people how to get saved (Acts 16:16-17)

– Paul cast out the fortune telling spirit from the slave girl (Acts 16:18)

– The slave girl’s owners dragged Paul and Silas into the marketplace (Acts 16:19-21)

– The magistrates had Paul and Silas stripped, beaten and imprisoned (Acts 16:22-24)

– Paul and Silas sung hymns at midnight (Acts 16:25)

– An earthquake occurred and all the prison doors were opened (Acts 16:26)

– The jailer attempted to commit suicide when he saw all the prison doors were opened (Acts 16:27-28)

– Paul and Silas urged the jailer and his household to believe in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:29-33)

– The jailer and his household were baptized (Acts 16:34)

– The magistrate gave permission for Paul and Silas to leave the city (Acts 16:35-36)

– Paul refused to leave unless being escorted out because he was a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37-39)

– Paul and Silas went to Lydia’s house and encouraged the brethren there (Acts 16:40)

Acts 16 Summary


After traveling to Derbe, Paul came to Lystra, where he met Timothy. Timothy was well spoken by the brethren in Lystra and Iconium. Paul was afraid of the Jews in the region so he had Timothy circumcised before taking him on the journey. Timothy had a Jewish mother, who was a believer, and a Greek father. They delivered the letter written by the apostles and elders to the churches as they traveled from town to town. The churches grew in faith and numbers every day.

Paul and his companions was prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching in the province of Asia and Bythynia in Mysia. After they had passed Mysia, they came to Troas. At night, Paul dreamed of a Macedonian man telling him to go there to help them. Therefore, they concluded that God is telling them to preach the gospel in Macedonia.

They sailed to Samothrace, then Neapolis, and then Philippi, which was the city of Macedonia. They went outside the city gate to the river on the Sabbath and started to talk to the women who assembled there. One of them was Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth from Thyatira. Lydia is a believer. When Lydia heard Paul’s message, she and her entire household were saved and baptized. She invited Paul and his companions to stay over at her house.

One day, they happened to encounter a girl who was possessed by a fortune telling spirit. The slave girl had helped her owners earned a lot of money through fortune telling. The slave girl kept going around and proclaiming that Paul and his companions are servants of the Most High God, who came to tell them how to be saved for a number of days. It finally irritate Paul that he commanded the evil spirit to come out of her in Jesus name and the spirit came out of her instantly.

When the owners realized that they lost their money making opportunity, they grabbed Paul and Silas into the marketplace and accused them before the magistrates that they are turning the city into an uproar by supporting unlawful customs for the Romans to practice. The crowd joined in the uproar and the magistrate ordered that Paul and Silas be stripped and beaten. After that, they were put in the prison. The jailer was assigned to watch over them so he put them in the inner cell and their feet were locked in the stocks.

Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns in the prison as other prisoners listened. Suddenly, there was an earthquake and all the prison doors flung open. When the jailer woke up and saw this, he pulled out his sword, wanting to commit suicide but Paul shouted at him and told him they are all here.

The jailer got the lights and rushed in and fell before Paul and Silas. He asked them what must he do to be saved and they told him that he and his household should come and believe in Jesus Christ. The jailer and his household believed in Jesus Christ and were baptized that night. Then, the jailer washed their wounds and prepared a meal for them.

In the following day, the magistrate gave instruction for Paul and Silas to be freed. But Paul refused to leave unless the magistrate come and escort them because he and Silas were Roman citizens and they had no right to imprison them.

The officers reported this to the magistrates and they came to escort Paul and Silas from the prison. After Paul and Silas left the prison, they went to the house of Lydia to meet with the brothers.

Acts 16 Bible Study


1. A strong church should keep on growing

Paul strengthened the churches in different towns as he passed by the regions. A strong church is a church that has Jesus Christ as the foundation. Jesus Christ said he is a stumbling stone to the builders to those who put emphasis on the physical appearance of a temple (Matthew 24:1-2). Jesus said his kingdom is not of the world (John 18:36) so the foundation of the church should not be of the world as well. A strong church does not need to compromise with the world in order to grow in numbers.

2. The Holy Spirit guides us to do God’s plan

Paul wanted to go into the province of Asia, Ephesus and Bithynia in Mysia but the Holy Spirit prevented him from doing so. Abiding by the Holy Spirit, Paul and his companions did not go there. The Holy Spirit did not want Paul and his missionary team to go to Asia because it is not yet God’s timing. There is a time and season for everything to happen (Ecclesiastes 3:1). It is possible that Luke come to join Paul and his missionary team here. Luke was the one that wrote the book of Acts. In John 14:26, the Holy Spirit is our helper and he will remind us God’s words. The Holy Spirit can speak to you personally. He is the small voice in your heart. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit so we should use our body to glorify God in every way (1 Corinthians 6:19).

3. The best gift you can give a person is the gospel

God gave Paul a dream of a Macedonian man asking him to come over and help him. The best gift for a person is Jesus Christ. If you believe in Jesus Christ, you will be saved. God can give you everything you want, as long as what you ask is according to his will (James 4:3; 1 John 3:22; 1 John 5:14) and that you believe you will receive what you ask in prayer (Hebrews 11:6). If you follow God, God will guide you step by step in his plan. God has a wonderful plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). God can speak to us through dreams and visions (Joel 2:28).

4. Be hospitable and kind to one another

Lydia invited Paul and his companions to stay over at her house after she and her household were baptized. Lydia set a good example as a Christian by being hospitable and opening the house to the apostles. As Christians, we should demonstrate hospitality and love one another because loving others sum up all the commandments in the Bible (Hebrews 22:36-40).

5. God’s children has authority to cast out the evil spirit in Jesus name

A fortune telling slave girl kept going around telling people that Paul and his companions were God’s servants who came with a mission to tell the people how to get saved. Paul was annoyed at this and he commanded the evil spirit to come out of the slave girl. Immediately, the evil spirit came out of the slave girl. As God’s children, we have the authority to rebuke and command the evil spirits to get out in Jesus name. When you rebuke the evil spirits in Jesus name, you must believe. If you don’t have faith, the evil spirit won’t leave. In Matthew 18:18, Jesus said whatever we bound on earth shall be bound on heaven and whatever we loose on earth shall be loosen in heaven.

6. Constantly pray and worship Gods with hymns

Paul and Silas prayed and sing hymns in midnight while they were being chained in the prison. Then, God heard their prayers and sent an earthquake which shook the prison’s foundation and open all the jail doors. We should be persistent in praying until we get what we want. You must believe what you pray and be eager to receive it in order for you prayer to be answered. After you pray, you must give thanks to God and claim it as God has already given you (Hebrews 11:6). If you say negative things, your prayer will fall through (James 3:6). In Ephesians 5:19, we should always use psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to speak to one another.

7. Salvation is by God’s grace

The jailer asked Paul and Silas what must he do to be saved. They replied he should believe in Lord Jesus Christ and be saved (Acts 16:30-31). In Romans 10:9, anyone who confess Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead on the third day will be saved. After you have believe in Jesus Christ, you must repent and confess your sins to God so that your sins can be forgiven. We must nail our old selves, the bad habits we are accustomed to live our lives in the past, to the cross and live our lives for Jesus by imitating his likeness (Romans 6:6; Galatians 5:24; Ephesians 4:22-23; Colossians 2:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have difficulty overcoming your bad habits, you can pray to God to give you grace to overcome it.

8. Lay down your all for God

In Acts 16:35-39, Paul and Silas were Roman citizens and the authorities had no rights to put them in prison. Yet, they were stripped, beaten and imprisoned. Although the magistrate has given instruction for Paul and Silas to leave, but Paul did not want to leave without being escorted because his rights had been violated as a Roman citizen. If Paul and Silas had revealed their Roman citizen rights earlier, they would not have met the jailer and the miracle of the prison doors flung open would not have take place and the jailer and his household would not have come to the faith in Jesus Christ. God has his plan in all we do. In Luke 9:62, Jesus said no one who looks back after putting his hand on the plow is fit for service in the kingdom of God. In Luke 14:26, Jesus said that anyone that comes to him and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and his life cannot be his disciple.