Acts 16:28

ESV But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”
NIV But Paul shouted, 'Don't harm yourself! We are all here!'
NASB But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying, 'Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!'
CSB But Paul called out in a loud voice, "Don't harm yourself, because we're all here! "
NLT But Paul shouted to him, 'Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!'
KJV But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

What does Acts 16:28 mean?

Paul and Silas are in prison in Philippi. Until moments before, they and the other prisoners were chained and locked behind cell doors, but an earthquake has opened the doors and loosened the shackles. Knowing that the loss of the prisoners—even to an earthquake—would be a death sentence, the jailer is prepared to take his own life; he would rather literally fall on his own sword than risk crucifixion (Acts 16:26–27).

The jailer need not worry. Paul and Silas have been singing hymns and praying while the other prisoners listen (Acts 16:25). Perhaps, their words spread a sense of peace; no one leaves, and the jailer is spared. He immediately falls at Paul and Silas's feet and asks how he can be truly saved. The two explain Jesus' offer of peace, and the jailer and his household accept Jesus as their Savior. The next morning, when the city magistrates tell Paul and Silas to leave Philippi quietly, the pair reveal they are Roman citizens. This means their abuse and imprisonment without trial was illegal. The magistrates apologize and politely request they depart (Acts 16:29–40).

Paul's and Silas's faith in God save the life of the jailer, provide for the eternal life of his family, and possibly save the lives of the other prisoners who would have been hunted down while they fled. It's not unreasonable to assume at least some of the prisoners also accepted faith in Christ. The missionaries' willingness to stay in prison—even though they were placed there illegally—ensures they can return to Philippi (Acts 20:1–2, 6). It strengthens the nascent church that becomes one of Paul's greatest blessings (Philippians 4:10).

This will not be the last time Paul accomplishes significant work for Christ while in prison. During his first imprisonment in Rome, while he is under house arrest and chained to a Roman guard, he reaches members of Caesar's household (Philippians 4:22) and the imperial guard (Philippians 1:13). In addition, he most likely writes the letters to Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon during this same stretch.
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