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35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” 38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. 39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

 

In verses 35-40, Paul took a legal stand on his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:28).

16:35

And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.”

The magistrates ordered the police officers (Roman lictors) to release Paul and Silas from prison.

16:36

So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”

The jailor reported the magistrate’s mandate to release Paul and Silas from prison. He asked them to “go in peace.”

16:37

But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”

Paul did not “go in peace” but responded to the magistrates that they had not treated him and Silas legally. Rome guaranteed Roman citizens a public trial; neither were they to beat their citizens publicly. A Roman citizen had the right to a full hearing before the law.

Paul demanded that the magistrates come personally to release him and Silas from prison. The purpose of this stance by Paul was probably to spare the early church from future recriminations from the government.

16:38

And the officers [police] told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.

The magistrates became alarmed when they learned they had put legal Roman citizens in jail without proper cause. They did not give the gospel team due legal process for Roman citizens. Paul had the right to appeal to Rome about his case, which he had done another time.

16:39

Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city.

The magistrates came to the prison and pleaded with Paul and Silas to let them escort the team out of jail. The civil authorities asked the team to leave Philippi.

16:40

So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

Paul and Silas temporarily remained in Philippi to encourage believers in the city. Luke and Timothy probably stayed in Philippi, because they were not charged or imprisoned.

The “we” section ends here, with Luke, the author of Acts, including himself with the term “we.” Luke did not go with Paul and Silas to further the mission trip at this point.

PRINCIPLE:

God overrules circumstances.

APPLICATION:

Satan attempted to thwart the gospel, but God overruled the situation so the mission team could continue their ministry.

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