Paul & Silas in Prison

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
This is such a fun lesson!
Review: Last week we talked about Paul going to Philippi in Macedonia and he was talking to Lydia. She made purple cloth and sold it. It was very hard to make, and it was worth a lot of money. Lydia begged them to stay at her house after she was baptized. Her whole household believed in Jesus and were baptized. Silas, Timothy and Luke were also with Paul.
Lesson Acts 16:16-40: Paul and Silas, Timothy & Luke (Luke states "US") were walking through the streets of Philippi in Macedonia to go pray. They saw a servant girl acting strange. The men that owned her made a lot of money from her because she did fortunetelling.

The girl followed Paul shouting out that “These men are servants of the Most High God and they can tell us the way of salvation!” She did this for days and one day Paul was very irritated.

Paul turned around and told the spirit that was in her to come out. The evil spirit in her went out, but her masters didn’t like that because now she wouldn’t be making all that money for them.

They dragged Paul and Silas into the marketplace to the authorities. They told the judges that Paul and Silas had brought a lot of trouble to the city. They said that Paul and Silas were teaching customs that were against their laws.  

The people were angry and the judges tore off Silas and Paul's coats and commanded that they be beaten. After the people beat Paul and Silas, they were thrown in prison.
The jailer was told to keep them securely locked. He was to make sure they couldn't escape, so the jailer put them in an inner prison and put their feet in stocks.
But at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. Can you imagine being beaten, thrown in prison and then singing?
(Acts 16:26) Suddenly, there was a great earthquake. The foundation of the prison shook and all the doors opened and the chains were free from everyone. The prison guard woke up and saw that the doors of the prison were opened up and he drew his sword and was going to kill himself.
But Paul shouted out "Don't do that!" because everything was Ok, everyone was still there. The guard called for a light and ran to Paul and Silas and asked: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They told him that first, he had to believe in Jesus.
Paul and Silas told the guard and his household about Jesus and within an hour that night, the household washed the stripes from the beating off of Paul and Silas.

Immediately the guard and ALL his family were baptized. They went back to the guard’s house and ate while the guard rejoiced because his whole family believed in God.
The next day the judges came to the jailers house to tell Paul and Silas they were free to leave, but Paul said "We are Romans, and we were beaten in public and thrown in prison, and now the judges want us to leave secretly? Absolutely Not!" (Because it looked like Paul and Silas had done something wrong.)

Paul said to let them come and apologize in person. When the officers heard that they were Romans, they were scared. They went to Paul and Silas and pleaded with them and asked them to leave the city. 

Paul and Silas left the prison and went back to Lydia’s house. They stayed there for many days, worshipping with the other Christians. Paul and Silas left Philippi. Luke stayed there, historians think for maybe five years. The wording in Acts changed from Luke saying 'we' to 'them'. We are not sure where Timothy went, but he is not mentioned being with Paul & Silas in the next chapter.
I have used several different visuals over the years, and this tabletop prison is one of them. I use Paul and David (for Silas) as the prisoners. I purchased the big outside plastic chain in October, and the small chains inside attached to the walls are found in the jewelry dept. at the craft stores. They are necklace chains. The foot shackles are foam painted to look like wood.
These photos are to show you the size of my prison and the basics of how it was made. The bars are dowel rods painted silver, and the whole prison was spray painted with the textured spray paint. It is 2 feet wide, 22" front to back and 11" high. 
 I printed the soldiers to add to the scene. You can print Paul, Silas and the Roman soldiers here if you would like to make your own prison, or other project. You can print them here:
There is a song with printables available to print also. I used this with my Granddaughter (preschool) and she likes the visuals on craft (large) sticks. It would work well on a small magnet board if you put magnets on the backs of each visual and added each one as you sing the song. You can print it here.

And, I do realize that Paul and Silas would have been shackled differently, but the only clipart I could find to use is the handcuffs. So, it is a good way to discuss prison life during that time. Click here to print a couple of pictures to color that match the 2 prison visuals above.
This is the front and back of the Teacher keys.
 The teacher keys have the directions to glue to the backs of each key.

Here are the keys to print.
 Again, there are a couple of choices.
The first ones are in color. Print the TEACHER set here
(large keys, one key per page):

La descrito anteriormente en español (No los sentidos).

This is what I printed. There are 2 of the same key per page. The graphics are in color and the keys are the black and white. I printed on different color cardstock and you can print them here.

Dado que este es mi favorito, (tiene los mejores gráficos y tiene color, pero no utiliza tinta tanto con las teclas en blanco y negro) aquí es la versión española de las teclas (no las instrucciones) (según Google Translator) . Print them here.

(Las instrucciones están en español para los efectos visuales del profesor

Se trata de las claves del maestro en español. Los gráficos son en color, y las teclas son de color negro y blanco. Puede imprimir en diferentes colores de pimienta para que coincida con los estudiantes. El instructionsare también en español.
These are in black and white. The teacher's set are one key per page. This way you can print on different colored cardstock (or paper). Here is the teacher's black and white.
Here is the students black and white, with 2 different keys per page.
This set is black and white also, but has 2 of the same key on each page in case you want to print them on different colors of cardstock or paper.
Bible Verse:  Acts 16:25 

You can find all the Acts worksheets here.

Here is another bulletin board I did for this lesson for VBS. You can see and more here.
You can see an older version of a prison here.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission.
Lydia Visual @ Free Bible Images
(Used with permission)


  1. This is wonderful! I'm so impressed. I've pinned it to use later. Thanks for linking up to Share It Saturday @ Teach Beside Me this week.

  2. Hi Debbie. Thanks for sharing so many ideas! Do you have a particular curriculum that you use for the Bible lessons? I'm looking for curriculum for 3rd and 4th grade.

    1. Thank you for commenting! I use the Bible, NKJV, as the base and write my own lesson from there. For this year's Bible class, I started with basics for Life of Jesus, and He leads to the Book of Acts, and I will follow with some Letters From Paul. They will include Fruit of the Spirit, Love, Armor of God, etc which I am updating now.

  3. Your Ideas are wonderful! Thanks!

    1. Thank you!I appreciate you visiting and leaving the nice comment!

  4. This is one of the best sites I have seen. There is so much on here it would take days to see it all. Thank you so much for sharing. Just in the short time I have found this site, I have used it repeatedly. I've passed on the blogspot to many. Debbie

    1. Thanks so much! I am glad you can use them! I appreciate the nice comment!

  5. I love this lesson! I'm going to utilize more of your lessons - thanks so much for taking the time to post these great ideas and helps - and for your investment in the lives of the generation that will change tomorrow. God bless you!!

    1. Thanks so much for h nice comment! I appreciate you stopping by!

  6. Thank you so much for the time and effort that you have taken to make these lessons available to the public - you have some great ideas! And thank you for investing in the lives of the generation that will change tomorrow. God Bless You!

    Transform Ministries

  7. Handoko Kwan, Jakarta-IndonesiaSaturday, June 21, 2014 at 1:48:00 PM CDT

    I will teach this subject next week in our local sunday school. Very helpful, thanks!

  8. Thank you so very much for creating this!! May God richly bless you!! I am planning to do this with my Sunday School class tomorrow!!!

  9. I wish I had your creativity! Thank you so much for sharing! My 3rd grade class loves everything I bring to class from your site.


  10. Thank you so much for your free resources! They are great!


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I appreciate it! They will be added as soon as they are approved.