Wednesday Apr 26, 2023

Acts 16:15

Wednesday, 26 April 2023


And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. Acts 16:15


In the last verse, Lydia heard the word. The Lord, through that hearing of the word, opened her heart to believe. With that recorded, the next words immediately jump into obedience to the Lord’s command given in Matthew 28 concerning baptism –


“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20


In compliance with that command, Luke next records, “And when she and her household were baptized.” What is apparent, without it being recorded, is that she explained to her household the words that she had heard and accepted. In turn, they likewise believed. In their belief, those who believed were baptized according to the command of the Lord.


The word translated as “household” simply means “house.” It is a general word that can mean a person’s literal house where he dwells; the family in a home; the house of God, meaning the temple; a genealogical house, such as the house of David; etc. This can extend to any in one’s house, such as servants.


This is important to know because nothing is said about what “household” means in relation to Lydia. If she had children, nothing is said of their age much less hers. Maybe she had no children. Maybe they were grown up. It could be her and her husband, a married son with two children, and two servants. The account leaves no hint of her situation.


The reason this is important is because, incredibly, scholars have used this verse as a justification for infant baptism. This, despite there being no evidence that children were even in the house. There is not an instance in Scripture where baptism is conducted apart from belief by an individual. Any such notion must be inserted into the text.


Further, in saying that her household was baptized does not mean that “all” of her house was baptized. If she dwelt with ten people or two, nothing is said of who was included in the rite. It cannot be assumed that everyone she dwelt with was baptized. It is a general statement without being further defined.


With that considered, it next says, “she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord.’” The words here are telling. Unlike the faulty analysis that the verse justifies infant baptism, the words now do reveal something quite clearly. Paul had spoken, she had believed, and immediately after belief, baptism is recorded.


The implication is clear. When she avowed her faith in the Lord, it is obvious that Paul or one of the others then told her something like, “As a sign of your faith, it is commanded by the Lord that you be baptized.” Luke’s recording of this act of baptism as the very next words after her belief indicate nothing less. And her words now fully confirm this. She was told to be obedient to the command, she followed through with it, and then she appealed to that act of obedience by saying, “If you have judged me faithful to the Lord.”


Luke is precisely communicating that what occurred was an act of obedience to the Lord’s command to be baptized. This is what is precisely being intimated in the account as it is presented. Though the account is descriptive, it follows directly upon the prescriptive words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 28:19 noted above. She believed, she was faithful to the Lord to obey His prescription, and now as a hoped-for sign that this was sufficient to demonstrate her faithfulness, she next says, “come to my house and stay.”


She immediately felt the bond of faith and was then willing to extend herself to those who so willingly gave of themselves to share the word of truth with her. She felt the onus was on her to respond by welcoming them into her home as guests. With that, Luke records, “So she persuaded us.”


Again, Luke has included himself directly into the narrative, demonstrating that he was there and observed what had occurred. His precise wording, despite being a descriptive account, has markedly pointed out that baptism is something that is prescribed by the Lord, and it is to be instructed for those who, by faith, come to Him.


Life application: It is not just what has been said in the conversion of Lydia that is telling. Things that have not been said give us insights into doctrine as well. There is nothing recorded, which certainly would have been if it occurred, concerning the speaking of tongues by Lydia. Though this has been recorded elsewhere, it has also been left out of other accounts. This tells us that speaking in tongues is something that occurred for special reasons in specific circumstances but that it is not something to be expected upon belief.


Also, Luke did not record what Paul said when he spoke, but it is certain he spoke the gospel concerning Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Nothing is recorded by Luke about baptism. And yet, it is certain that the matter was raised. The record of her being baptized proves this. Logical inferences can and must be made concerning these things.


When you are presented with a false gospel, you should be able to spot it. After hearing it, you should then question the person presenting it concerning where what they say is to be found in Scripture. If it is not openly stated, and if it cannot be logically inferred, then it is to be rejected.


The same is true with other doctrinal matters. If someone presents an argument for infant baptism based on a verse such as this one from Acts, be prepared to logically explain why the thinking is faulty. Just because something is not explicitly stated, it does not mean that it is incorrect. However, making inferences from the text must be supportable. If they cannot be defended, they are to be rejected.


The more well-versed you are with Scripture, the more soundly you will be able to logically defend what is right and appropriate. Keep reading the Bible, keep studying it, and keep meditating on it. This is how you will be able to settle yourself into sound doctrine.


Lord God, may we be careful about what we accept concerning various teachings that are presented to us. Help us to fully consider what we have heard, compare it with Scripture, and make logical deductions or inferences based on what we know. Help us not to get caught up in strange doctrines that are not in accord with Your word. Amen.


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