Biblical People

Biblical People: The Fortune Teller

When Paul and Silas are in Philippi, they meet a slave girl who has the psychic ability to tell people’s future. Using her fortune-telling skills, she earns a great deal of money for her owners.

When she sees Paul, the spirit within her shouts supernatural truth: “These men are servants from God Most High. They’re telling you how to get saved.” She continues proclaiming this day after day. Finally, Paul grows exasperated. Evoking Jesus’s name, Paul commands the fortune-telling spirit to leave her. 

The spirit obeys, and the girl loses the ability to tell people their future. Her owners can no longer charge people for having her tell them their fortunes.

She’s now free of her controlling spirit. Though we don’t know what happens to her after this, we do know what happens to Paul and Silas: they spend a night in the pokey for their trouble.

The slave girl is exploited by her owners and spiritually freed by Jesus, through Paul’s boldness. 

Who does Jesus want us to help become free? He’ll take the lead. All we need to do is follow.

[Discover more about the fortune teller in Acts 16:16–19.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at