Monday May 15, 2023

Acts 16:34

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


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.


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