What does Acts 16:34 mean?
ESV: Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
NIV: The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole household.
NASB: And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and was overjoyed, since he had become a believer in God together with his whole household.
CSB: He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had come to believe in God with his entire household.
NLT: He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
KJV: And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
NKJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
An hour before, Paul and Silas had been chained in a dark prison cell, blood drying on their bodies from a horrific, illegal attack (Acts 16:22–23). Unjustly beaten, unjustly imprisoned, they sat and sang praises to God while the other prisoners listened (Acts 16:25). They refused to allow their circumstances to dictate their trust in God (Philippians 4:11–13).

When an earthquake opens all the prison doors and unlatches all the shackles, Paul, Silas, and the other prisoners stay. In doing so, they save the jailer's life from execution. The jailer, who apparently knows the pair were arrested for spreading a message of salvation, asks if he can have that message. He and his family believe. He washes the blood from Paul's and Silas's bodies and they symbolically wash his family's sins away in baptism (Acts 16:27–33).

Now, like Paul and Silas in the prison, the family rejoices. After being bound to the Roman Empire's hundreds of household, civil, and national idols, they have found the True God. The family that makes a living chaining up prisoners is free.

This is the first record of Paul being imprisoned, but it's far from the last. In his first imprisonment in Rome, he will bring the message of reconciliation with God to Caesar's household (Philippians 4:22) and imperial guard (Philippians 1:13) and write his letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. In another imprisonment, he will write his personal letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:8). Paul knew from the beginning he would suffer in his ministry (Acts 9:16); when persecution comes, he doesn't let it slow him down.
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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