Acts 16:32

ESV And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
NIV Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.
NASB And they spoke the word of God to him together with all who were in his house.
CSB And they spoke the word of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house.
NLT And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.
KJV And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

What does Acts 16:32 mean?

Paul and Silas are in Philippi, sharing the good news of forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice to a jailer and his household. This is an important verse. Some passages, like Acts 16:15, can be casually misread to suggest that if the head of the household accepted Christ for her or his savior, the rest of the household will automatically be saved. That sentiment has stretched today into a common belief that those who are "raised in a Christian home" are Christians even if they have not made a personal decision to accept Christ. To an extent, Judaism is a community religion and salvation is in some sense communal. Christianity is not. Each individual must accept God's offer of grace to be saved.

Even this passage does not specifically say that each member of the jailer's house believed although they were all baptized (Acts 16:33). In situations like this, "baptized" is a figure of speech called a synecdoche. It is a part that is used in place of a whole. A modern example might be if someone gets a "haircut," we know they may also get their hair washed, dried, and styled. The statement that the family members are baptized assumes they also accepted salvation through Jesus.

In fact, they must do so. In a culture that has gods for everything, becoming a Christ-follower is a serious decision. You will no longer sacrifice and eat to the civil gods; because of that, your neighbors will believe you no longer care for the welfare of your city. If you are in a trade, your guild may divert business away from you. And if you refuse to worship the emperor, you may be executed. A family cannot be half-pagan and half-Christian and stay together. The jailer makes an important decision for his family, and the family members follow. Despite the dangers, they know they are making the right choice and praise God (Acts 16:34).
What is the Gospel?
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