Conflict, Imprisonment, and Supernatural Intervention: Acts 16:19
Scripture: Acts 16:19
As Luke describes the exorcism of the slave girl with a spirit of divination, he focuses on the motives and response of her owners at their loss of future revenue. We discuss how narratives in Scripture work and how the Holy Spirit-inspired author deals with themes by directing our attention to words and actions of various people. In this case the slave owners were concerned about revenue from the demonized slave girl and appealed to civil authorities on other grounds. They appealed to Roman pride and anti-Jewish sentiment to get Paul and Silas beaten and jailed.
We discuss the historical accuracy of Luke’s descriptions and how Luke repeats themes from his gospel in Acts. When they were brutally beaten, put down in the prison in chains and stocks, they nevertheless were singing hymns of praise to God. These were likely from the Psalms. We cite some Psalms that would be appropriate to their situation and discuss how we need to sing about God’s nature, promises and mighty deeds.
Paul in Silas were in a horrible situation but sang about God in adoration and praise which caused the other prisoners to listen. An earthquake released them. The narrative then moves to the response of the jailer who was ready to kill himself out of fear of torture from the Romans. We will pick up Luke’s description of the jailer and his response next time in Acts.