Acts 16:35

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.” Acts 16:35

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verse, Paul and Silas were served by the jailor, and they along with the household rejoiced. Luke now continues with, “And when it was day.”

One can assume that after eating, everyone finally got a chance to sleep. For Paul and Silas, that had not come all night. For the jailor and his household, they probably slept until the earthquake and then were awakened after that. With whatever late-night sleep they got, at whatever the normal hour for beginning the day arrived, it next says that “the magistrates sent the officers.”

It is speculated that the earthquake may have alarmed the magistrates, thinking it was judgment from the gods that they had allowed the multitude to rise up against the missionaries without a trial. Then the magistrates also joined in by having the men beaten with rods. This is not unfounded speculation. Luke notes that the magistrates did this “when it was day.”

Luke’s precision of record-keeping would have indicated if it were mid-morning, noon, or some easily recognizable time. Rather, it appears that as soon as the day was getting started, the magistrates made this their first point of business.

As for those they sent, the Greek word is rhabdouchos. Literally, rod-bearers. These were probably the same men who had beaten Paul and Silas the day before by order of the magistrates. As for their duties, Vincent’s Word Studies explains –

“They preceded the magistrates one by one in a line. They had to inflict punishment on the condemned, especially on Roman citizens. They also commanded the people to pay proper respect to a passing magistrate, by uncovering, dismounting from horseback, and standing out of the way. The badge of their office was the fasces, an axe bound up in a bundle of rods; but in the colonies they carried staves.”

It is these rod-bearers that have come, saying, “Let those men go.” Vincent’s notes that the order of the Greek indicates contempt, “those men.” Whether of contempt or hurried fear, the order is given to release them at an early hour of the day.

Life application: A guilty conscience will work on a person throughout the night. But that is not a bad thing. It is the person who has done wrong and yet sleeps soundly that is the real problem. Once a conscience is seared over having mistreated others, anything is possible. Millions of people who just wanted to live out their lives have been snuffed out by people without any conscience toward their wrongdoing.

Those in government and unelected positions of power around the world commit crimes against the masses and yet dine with joy and sleep contentedly. As believers, we need to constantly refresh our hearts and minds concerning how we talk to and treat others.

Each person is an individual and, whether we agree with them or not, it is right that we should feel remorse when we wrongly treat another. That is what the hours of the night can be used for. Let us evaluate our treatment of others and attempt to keep our consciences from becoming seared to things they should be softened to.

Lord God, help us to interact properly with those we encounter. We will inevitably have times when we disagree with others and say things that we later regret. May we never allow our consciences to become hardened towards our actions that are wrong. Instead, may we consider such things and determine to not continue along those paths. Amen.

Acts 16:34

Washington Monument, Washington State Capitol

Monday, 15 May 2023

Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. Acts 16:34

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verse, the jailor washed the wounds of Paul and Silas and then he and his family were baptized. With that, it now says, “Now when he had brought them into his house.”

More precisely, it reads, “brought up.” From wherever the baptism took place, they ascended to his house. As noted in the previous verse, it appears that the jailor and his family took Paul and Silas to a bathhouse or some other place where they normally bathed. With that complete, he then brought them up to his house. There, and now reassured of their state before God, it says “he set food before them.”

The Greek reads, “he set before [them] a table.” This would have been the first meal Paul and Silas had eaten in quite a while and it would have been a joy to partake of for several reasons.

The delight of being out of prison and properly tended to physically would have been a relief. Also, having food after such a long and tedious day would have been invigorating. But mostly, they would have been filled with praise to God for the acceptance of the gospel by the jailor and his household. Whatever was set before them would have been more enjoyable than that of a meal prepared for a king. Along with that, it next says, “and he rejoiced.”

This is referring to the jailor. Considering that he had almost died by his own hand and apart from God only a short time earlier, he would be renewed not only in spirit, but in his heart and soul as well. Life had taken on a completely new direction, an eternity-changing direction, for him. Of him, it next says, “having believed in God with all his household.”

The word translated as “with all his household” is found only here in the New Testament. However, it is found in the Greek translation of Exodus 1:1 and is also seen in other ancient writings. Being an adverb, there is no single English word that matches the intent. Further, it is more rightly united with the verb “rejoiced.” It is the final verb that explains the reason for the joy. The order of the Greek is, “and rejoiced all-householdly, having believed God.”

The verb translated as “having believed” is a perfect participle in the singular masculine. Thus, some translations assume this is only speaking of the jailor saying, “he having believed in God.” But this is incorrect. The word “household” is a masculine word. Thus, it is referring to the entire household in the singular.

The importance of this is that it totally refutes the idea of salvation coming to those of the house through the jailor’s faith alone. Rather, each person in the household believed. Further, it negates any hint of infant baptism having been conducted. Each person individually believed and was then baptized.

As such, though these verses are descriptive, they continue to settle doctrine based on what is normative. Each person must individually believe in Jesus to be saved. Likewise, each person who believes in Jesus should then be baptized as an outward demonstration of the inner faith that has come about.

Life application: The book of Acts is a descriptive account of what has occurred. For the most part, it does not prescribe anything for us to apply to our lives. However, at times it does develop a normative pattern concerning what occurred. Every person in Acts who believes is subsequently baptized.

But even without this normative pattern, it is a command of the Lord that baptism be conducted. Somehow, the cult of hyperdispensationalism has entered the church and it has caused real damage to sound doctrine within the faith. It inappropriately divides the gospel. It also results in disobedience to the Lord’s direct command to baptize.

Be on guard against these people. Hold fast to what is sound and easily discernible from Scripture. Such unhealthy doctrine will only lead you away from a happy and proper relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Glorious Lord God, may we be willing to follow up our faith in Jesus with obedience to His command concerning baptism. May we not get pulled astray by unsound teachings such as relying on infant baptism for our security in salvation or refusing baptism after salvation. Rather, may we be confident in our doctrine and willing to follow through with our responsibilities in our faith. Amen.



Acts 16:33

Fountain, Washington State Capitol

Sunday, 14 May 2023

And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Acts 16:33

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The wording of the verse is more rightly rendered, “And having taken them in that hour of the night, he washed from the wounds, and he was baptized, and all his, immediately.” (CG)

This will be used for the evaluation. In the previous verse, it was noted that Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to the jailor and to all who were in his house. With that complete, it next says, “And having taken them in that hour of the night…”

Remembering that it was “at midnight” that the apostles were singing in the prison when the earthquake occurred, one can assume that this is now between 12:30 and 2:30 depending on how long the intervening events took place. There was absolutely no hesitation in getting from the prison to the house. Even if the jailor lived on the prison premises, he had rushed to the house and excitedly gathered everyone in the house together to hear the news about Jesus.

Only after telling them about the message of salvation, does it next say, “he washed from the wounds.” The word louó is used. It means to bathe the entire person. The meaning is that their bodies were covered in blood from their beating. He didn’t just tend to the wounds, but he cleaned them up from their wounds.

It is a tender act that must be rightly considered. They were met in the prison by the jailor who wanted to know how to be saved. He then brought them to his house and had them tell everyone the good news. After they had told them the good news, he – at the same hour of the night – treated their wounds. It is a kindhearted act of care upon those who only a short time earlier were considered enemies of the people and thus enemies of the state because it was a Roman colony. And yet, he now has called them lords and ministered to them in this fashion. With that, it next says, “and he was baptized, and all his, immediately.”

This is in obedience to the word of the Lord as given in Matthew 28:19 –

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

There was no delay in administering this rite, but it was conducted, as it says, immediately. Along with obedience to the word of the Lord, there are several other things to consider in what is said. The word translated as baptize signifies to submerge. The literal sense is to dip under the water, coming from baptó, to dye or dip. There is a full covering with the fluid.

Further, the entire household was baptized, but that will require the words of the next verse to fully understand. And more, nothing is said about where they were baptized. What seems likely is that the same place where the family normally took their baths was used for their place of baptism, possibly a public bath house nearby.

Understanding this, and it is speculation, Luke is telling these things for a reason. The jailor had just bathed Paul and Silas from their wounds, meaning washing the blood off them. It then notes that immediately after this occurred, the next thing that happened was that they were baptized, probably in the same water that had just been used to cleanse Paul and Silas.

If the supposition is correct, and it appears to be so based on Luke’s record, one can see the beautiful exchange that has taken place. Using the same word, louó, just used for washing Paul and Silas, the author of Hebrews says this –

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed [louó] with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22

Paul and Silas had been cleansed from their physical wounds that were received in the administration of their duties as missionaries. That is being set in apposition to the cleansing of the jailor and his household from their deeper wounds of sin and enmity with God. Paul and Silas were cleansed from their own blood; the others were baptized as a sign of being cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. The specific order in which Luke records these events, summed up by the word parachréma, or immediately, appears to be his way of showing us the juxtaposition between the two events.

Life application: If you are being taken into the emergency room for surgery, it may be because your life is in danger. But if you are a Christian, this is only your physical life, which is going to end someday anyway. But those around you may have never heard the word concerning Jesus. They are going to die someday too, but without Jesus, there is no hope for them. So, if you can wait a moment for the surgery, wouldn’t it be the perfect time to say, “Stop for just a minute, I need to tell you about something more important than getting me to the operating table.”

This is basically what has happened in this verse from Acts. Paul and Silas were covered in their own blood and in need of care concerning their wounds. And yet, they first took the time to tell the others what they needed to know so that they could be saved. They gave their audience the true washing with pure water (a metaphor for the word of God) that they needed for their souls to be healed. Only after that did Paul and Silas receive their needed washing for their physical healing.

Let us consider this lesson and pay heed to what we are being told. The most important words of all must be conveyed for others to be saved. May we set our priorities and speak early and often about Jesus!

Glorious God, help us to rightly prioritize our thoughts, placing the important things first. And then, may we act on those things first as well. And the most important thing of all is for us to share the gospel. Give us the wisdom to speak while we can, so that those who hear may be saved. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.











Acts 16:32

Washington State Capitol

Saturday, 13 May 2023

Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. Acts 16:32

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verse, the instructions concerning salvation were presented to the ears of the jailor, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” It was noted that this doesn’t mean that his household would be saved if he believed. Rather, it means that the opportunity is available to any in his household if they too believe. It is not something limited to the master of the house.

In confirmation of that thought, the next words are provided, saying, “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” If, as is wrongly assumed by some, his salvation also meant the household’s salvation, there would be no need for the apostles to also speak to those in his house.

However, that is what took place. The message of Jesus was communicated to all of them. Those who would believe were then saved. As an advanced happy note, verse 34 will confirm that all his household believed. As for the words, “they spoke the word of the Lord to him,” the guard already knew that these men proclaimed the way of salvation. The fact that he came to them asking how he could be saved meant that he understood they knew the answer.

As noted at that time, it is probable that he had already heard some of their words concerning the Lord, maybe while they were talking to each other or maybe while talking to the other prisoners. Something gave him the knowledge that they proclaimed salvation. He may have disregarded it thinking, “Ha, they are the ones in prison.” However, because of their willingness to stay in the cell, even when it was opened by the earthquake, he realized that they were men of integrity.

Their actions had led to his reconsideration of the matter. Their conduct and words had now brought them out of prison and to his home. And their witness of the Lord Jesus had brought the message of salvation to him and his household.

Life application: One of the truly damaging rites of churches is that of infant baptism. It gives a false sense of security to the family concerning salvation. If you doubt this, talk to a dyed-in-the-wool Roman Catholics or Lutherans about their prospects of heaven. Inevitably, they will bring in the fact that they were baptized into the church, as if that somehow makes them pleasing to God.

The thinking permeates those of many denominations, and it is a point of hope and even seemingly hopeful surety that they possess eternal life. Unfortunately, it is a misdirected hope. Infant baptism is as effective in securing salvation as is giving a baby a bath in Epsom salts. It is a showy but meritless ritual that has no basis in biblical Christianity.

Infant baptism puts the cart before the horse and provides a false sense of security that is damaging to a true and heartfelt relationship with Jesus Christ. In the coming verses, the matter of salvation and what is to come after it will be seen.

Lord God, thank You for Your precious word that gives us the necessary information for us to know that we need to be saved, how that can come about, and what to do once we are saved. Your word is our vital instruction manual for our spiritual lives. And, above all, thank You for Jesus Christ who is the focal point of it all. Yes, thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.




Acts 16:31

Washington State Capitol.

Friday, 12 May 2023

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verse, the jailor had brought Paul and Silas out of their cell and then asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The words recorded by Luke speak volumes. First, he notes, “So they said.”

The use of the third person plural tells us that both Paul and Silas responded. Their voice and the substance of their response are united in thought. They were in complete agreement concerning the matter, saying, “Believe.”

In the Greek, as in the English, their first word excludes any work at all. They simply instruct him to believe. They don’t bring up their culture or heritage by introducing the Law of Moses. They don’t ask for anything, nor do they tell him he must vow, offer, or sacrifice anything. They simply tell him to believe.

The next word, epi, is rightly translated, on or upon. It is the same one that was used in Acts 3:16. At that time, it was noted that Peter had healed the man because of the faith found in (based upon) the name of Jesus. Here in Acts 16, Paul and Silas instruct the jailor to believe upon the One they will name, meaning He is to be the foundational subject of his faith. They then say that this belief is to be upon “the Lord Jesus Christ.’”

The jailor had just called the two men kurioi, lords. They now immediately subordinate themselves to the One Lord – Jesus Christ, the Kurion. Ultimately, there is one Lord that all other lords are subject to, whether they acknowledge it now or not.

What is evident, without it being said, is that their words elevate Jesus above all these other lords because they ascribe salvation to him. If Caesar could save, they would have said so. If any other “lord” could save, they would have said so. But by directly responding to the jailor with a single named Lord, it means that He – by default – is above all other lords.

It should be noted that some manuscripts leave off the word Christ. The word has the same meaning, Anointed One, as the Hebrew word Messiah, even if it has a different signification to the Jews than it would to the Greeks. However, in this case, that seems to be irrelevant because it is accompanied by the name Jesus.

This seems to tell us that the jailor had already been made aware of who Jesus is. If this were not the case, there would have been a much fuller explanation recorded by Luke. Otherwise, the jailor’s obvious question would have been, “Who is the Lord Jesus?”

The next verse will indicate that more explanation is given, but it seems likely by the direct response of these men that the jailor had already been made aware of Jesus’ name through either direct conversation or through listening while Paul and Silas talked with the other prisoners. Therefore, it is not a strong argument to say that the word Christ isn’t original based on its signification to a Greek.

Once someone has been instructed on who Jesus is, meaning being the Christ, the term is applied to Him as a fixed appellation from that point on. This is evidenced by its use hundreds of times by Paul in his epistles that are written to Gentiles.

But more, because the name Jesus was a common name at the time, there may have been many lords (meaning masters) named Jesus in Israel. But there is only one Messiah. To say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus” would not carry the same weight as saying, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It identifies the Person, and it explains who He is.

A more comprehensive explanation of what Christ means would necessarily be needed to complete the thought. That would include that He is God incarnate, that He died for the sins of the world, that He was buried, and that He rose again. This fuller explanation was probably something that the jailor was already exposed to, at least partially, through the words of Paul and Silas as they talked about their faith to the other prisoners.

Therefore, whether the word Christ is original or not is not something to be so cavalierly dismissed as is done by scholars. With that, Luke next records, “and you will be saved.”

This is the completion of the thought in response to his question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He wanted to know what would bring him personal salvation and they provided the necessary answer. The only requirement for him to be saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. But with that explanation out of the way, they continue their words with a fuller explanation, saying, “you and your household.”

This is an important addition. Jesus is not just the Savior of a certain group of people, nor is He the Savior of a limited number of people. He is the Savior of all who come to Him. Their response to the jailor is in line with what the messenger had said to the house of Cornelius –

“And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’” Acts 11:13, 14

Neither the messenger noted in Acts 11, nor Paul and Silas in Acts 16, mean that the household is saved through the master’s faith.

Peter’s words to the house of Cornelius were to be the good news of salvation, the gospel. Upon conveying them, those who believed would be saved. The term, “you and all your household,” does not mean that Cornelius’ salvation would lead directly to the salvation of his household as if his faith was sufficient to cover everyone. Earlier in Acts 10, it had said –

“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household.” Acts 10:1, 2

The family was already a family that feared God. The saving of the household spoken of was to be a salvation that was based upon the faith they already possessed. It just needed to be directed properly toward Jesus Christ. Likewise, Paul and Silas are not telling the jailor that his salvation would result in his family’s salvation, but that the necessary condition for any of them to be saved was to believe. Those who did, meaning any in all his household, would be saved.

Life application: For such a simple set of words, there is a great deal of underlying meaning in what has been conveyed. The main substance of it, however, is that there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, who is capable of saving. The simplicity of the response to the question excludes any other possible option.

But more, the words clearly indicate that one must believe in the right Jesus. Paul conveys this thought elsewhere, saying –

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4

There is not another Jesus who can save. There is also no other gospel that can save. In Galatians 1:6-8, Paul says any other such notion is anathema. Let us be precise when we give the gospel so that the message is clearly understood. Once it is, if the person believes the message, he will be saved. For those who have believed in a false Jesus or a false gospel, explain to them what was in error and ask them to reconsider what they have believed. It’s important.

Lord God, help us to properly convey the gospel so that those who hear it will have the chance to accept our words and be saved. May we be precise in our explanation so that those to whom we speak understand the importance of our words. Help us in this, O God. Amen.