What does Acts 16:33 mean?
ESV: And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.
NIV: At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.
NASB: And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.
CSB: He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized.
NLT: Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.
KJV: And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
NKJV: And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus was not an authorized deity of the Roman Empire. And yet, Paul and Silas are in Philippi preaching that Jesus of Nazareth died on a cross and rose again, offering reconciliation with the Creator God, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. Residents of the city with a grudge against Paul and Silas accuse them of promoting the worship of an illegal deity; the crowd attacks them and the city magistrates have them beaten with rods and imprisoned (Acts 16:20–24).

When an earthquake rattles the jail, freeing every captive of their chains, Paul and Silas stay and apparently encourage the other prisoners to do the same. If any had escaped, the jailer would have been executed. He knows he is saved from physical death, and he and his family accept Paul and Silas's invitation to accept God's offer of salvation from eternal death (Acts 16:25–32).

Now, he washes the blood off Paul's and Silas's wounds, and they baptize him and his family. Baptism doesn't save. It doesn't actively forgive every past sin. It is a picture of the washing away of sins people experience when they give those sins to Jesus to forgive (Acts 22:16). It represents dying to one's old sinful nature, burying the old person, and rising again regenerated and restored to new life (Colossians 2:12). Paul and Silas no longer bear the blood of their shameful, unfair punishment, and the jailer's family is washed of their sins in Jesus' blood and freed of the punishment they justly deserve.
Verse Context:
Acts 16:25–40 records Paul's first imprisonment. The Philippian magistrates arrested Paul and Silas and had them beaten for spreading the news about Jesus. The two are now chained in a cell, praying and singing to God. An earthquake shakes the prison, releasing all the doors and chains. Paul assures the jailer no one has left, and the jailer tends to the pair's wounds. They share Jesus' offer of forgiveness of sins, and the jailer and his household accept Christ. In the morning, the magistrates attempt to release Paul and Silas, only to be confronted with their own crime: they have illegally punished two Roman citizens. After apologizing, the magistrates ask Paul and Silas to leave town.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 16 follows Paul and Silas as they take the letter of Acts 15 into modern-day Asia Minor and Macedonia. They collect Timothy in Lystra and Luke in Troas. In Philippi, they meet Lydia and baptize her family. After expelling a demon from a fortune-telling girl, city officials illegally beat and imprison Paul and Silas. An earthquake frees them of their chains, but they stay and bring the jailer and his family to Christ. The next morning, Paul and Silas refuse to leave quietly, politely insisting that their civil rights have been violated. The officials apologize, and Paul, Silas, and Timothy go to Thessalonica.
Chapter Context:
Acts 15 ends with Paul and Silas spreading the news that Gentile Christians don't have to be circumcised. Acts 16 begins with Paul circumcising a Jewish man, Timothy, to prevent difficulties in preaching to older Jews as the boy grows into church leadership. Paul's second missionary trip finds the church growing east, into Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth (Acts 16:11—18:18). On his way back to Syrian Antioch, Paul will stop by Ephesus and soften the Jews for the extended ministry of Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos. During his first trip, Paul planted churches and ordained elders; in his second, he commissions more missionaries.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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