The spirit of revolution, the spirit of insurrection, is a spirit radically opposed to liberty. — Francois Guizot

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

The Song in the Prison

After Paul and Barnabas brought to Antioch the news that the Gentiles had turned to the Lord, a great question arose in the Church. Some of the strict Jews said, "All these Gentile believers must become Jews, and keep the Jewish laws about food, and feasts, and washings and offerings."

Others said that the laws were made for Jews only, and that Gentiles who believed in Christ were not called upon to live as Jews. After many words on both sides, Paul and Barnabas, with other believers, went up to Jerusalem to lay this matter before the apostles and the elders of the Church. They listened to Paul's story of God's great work among the Gentiles, and talked about it, and sought God in prayer, and at last the apostles, and elders, and the whole Church in Jerusalem, sent a message to the Gentiles who believed, telling them that Jews and Gentiles were alike before God, that both were saved by believing in Christ, and that Gentiles who believed were not called upon to keep the laws given to the Jews only.

The apostles sent with Paul and Barnabas two men, Judas and Silas, to bring this news to the Church at Antioch. They came, and read the letter, which brought great joy to the Gentiles Believers. For now the Gentiles who believed in Christ were able to serve the Lord without obeying all the rules which the Jews themselves found very hard to keep.

After a time Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go again and visit the brethren in the cities where we preached the gospel, and see how they are doing."

Barnabas was willing to go and wished to take again with them John Mark as their helper in the work. But Paul did not think it well to take with them the young man who went home in the middle of their journey, and left them to visit strange lands alone. Barnabas was determined to take Mark, and Paul refused to have him go, so at last Paul and Barnabas separated. Barnabas took Mark, and went again to the island of Cyprus. Paul chose as his helper Silas who had come from Jerusalem to Antioch, and Paul and Silas went together through the lands in Asia Minor, which Paul had visited on his earlier journey. Everywhere they sought out the churches, which before had been planted by Paul and Barnabas, and they encouraged the disciples to be faithful in the Lord.

When Paul came to Derbe and Lystra he found a young man named Timothy, whose mother was of the Jewish race and a believer in Christ. Timothy had known the word of God from his childhood; he had given his heart to Christ, and all the believers in Christ at Lystra and Iconium knew him and spoke well of him. Paul asked this young man Timothy to leave his home and to go out with him as his helper in the gospel. Timothy went and from that time was with Paul as a friend and a fellow-worker, dearly beloved by Paul. Paul, and Silas, and Timothy went through many lands in Asia Minor, Preaching the gospel and planting the church. The Spirit of the Lord would not let them go to some places, which were not yet ready for the gospel, and they came down to Troas, which was on the sea, and opposite to the land of Macedonia in Europe.

While they were at Troas a vision came to Paul in the night. He saw a man of Macedonia standing before him, and pleading with him and saying, "Come over into Macedonia, and help us."

When Paul told this vision to his friends they all knew that this was a call from the Lord to carry the gospel of Christ to Macedonia. As soon as they could find a vessel sailing across the sea they went on board, and with them went a doctor named Luke, who at this time joined Paul. Luke stayed with Paul for many years, and Paul called him "the beloved physician." Afterward Luke wrote two books, which are in the Bible, "The Gospel according to Luke," and "The Acts of the Apostles."

Paul and his three friends set sail from Troas; and on the third day they came to the city of Philippi, in Macedonia; and there they stayed for some days. There was no synagogue in that city, and scarcely any Jews; and on the Sabbath-day Paul and his company went out of the city gate to the riverside where was a place of prayer. There they sat down and talked with a few women, who had met together to pray. One of there was a woman named Lydia, who had come from Thyatira in Asia Minor, and was a seller of purple dyes. She was one who was seeking after God, and the Lord opened her heart to hear the words of Paul, and to believe in Christ. She was baptized, the first one brought to the Lord in all Europe; and with her all in her house were baptized also. Lydia said to Paul and to his company, "If you count me as one who is faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and stay there."

She urged them so strongly that they all went to Lydia's house, and made it their home while they were in the city. One day while they were going to the place of prayer, a young woman who had in her an evil spirit, met them. She was a slave-girl, and through the spirit in her, her owners pretended to tell what was to happen; and by her they made great gains of money. As soon as she saw Paul and his friends, she cried out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who tell you the way to be saved."

And this she did day after day, following Paul and his companions. Paul was troubled to see her held in the power of the evil spirit; and he spoke to the spirit, " I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!"

And in that very hour the spirit left the girl. But with the evil spirit gone from her, there were no more gains to her masters. They were very angry, and took hold of Paul and Silas, and dragged them before the rulers of the city, and they said, "These men, who are Jews, are making great trouble in our city, and are teaching the people to do what is against the law for Romans."

And they stirred up the crowd of the lowest of the people against them. To please the throng, the rulers stripped off their garments from Paul and Silas, and commanded that they should be beaten with rods. When they had received many cruel blows, they were thrown into the prison, and the jailor was charged to keep them carefully. He took them, all beaten and wounded, into the dungeon, which was in the very middle of the prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison-house were shaken; every door was opened, and all the chains on the prisoners were loosed, and all could have gone out free if fear had not held them in their places. The jailor of the prison was suddenly roused out of sleep and saw the prison-doors wide open. By the laws of the Romans, a man in charge of a prisoner must take his place if his prisoner escaped, and the jailor, thinking that the men in the prison had gotten away, drew out his sword, and was just going to kill himself, when Paul called out, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here."

Then the jailor called for lights, and sprang into the room where Paul and Silas were, and, trembling with fear, fell down at their feet and cried out, "O, sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

And they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and those in your house with you."

And that night, in the prison, they spoke the word of the Lord to the jailor, and to all that were with him. The jailor washed their wounds, and he and all his family were baptized in that hour. Afterward, he brought them from the prison into his own house, and set food before them. And the jailor and his household were all happy in the Lord, believing in Christ.

The rulers of the city knew well that they had done an unjust act in beating Paul and Silas, and thrusting them into prison; but they did not know that Paul and Silas, though Jews, were also free citizens of Rome, whom it was unlawful to beat or to put in prison without a fair trial. In the morning the rulers sent their officers to the jailor, saying, "Let those men go." And the jailor brought their words to Paul and said, "The rulers have sent to me to let you go; therefore, now come out of the prison, and go in peace."

But Paul said, "We are free citizens of Rome, and without a trial they have beaten us, and have cast us into prison. And now do they turn us out secretly? No, indeed, let those rulers come themselves and bring us out!"

The officers told these words to the rulers, and when the learned that these men were Roman citizens, they were frightened; for their own lives were in danger for having beaten them. They came to Paul and Silas, and begged them to go away from the prison and from the city. Then Paul and Silas walked out of the prison, and went to the house of Lydia. They met the brethren who believed in Jesus, and spoke to them words of comfort and of help. And then they went out of the city. In Philippi, from this time there was a church which Paul loved greatly and to which in after-times he wrote "The Epistle (or letter) to the Philippians."


Front Matter

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God