1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:
It is clear that a devoted young man, to take care of the many details of travelling, would be a tremendous advantage in the work, and the loss of such, in the middle of the journey, a great blow and handicap to them. Twelve years later, Timothy is still especially noted for his youth, so at this time he must have been very young indeed, most probably in his teens.
Paul makes a second visit to this area of Lycaonia: see notes, ch. 14:6. It would have demanded great courage to again face this already hostile area where the Judaising influence was very prominent, and where formerly "Jews from Antioch and Iconium had stirred up the people" (see ch. 14:19).
It was in this area that such fearful experiences caused John Mark to hesitate previously, precipitating the difference of opinion between Paul and Barnabas concerning him (ch. 15:38).
A further indication of the outstanding character of this disciple. The word "certain"
indicates that he is selected for a significant work. Was he the "certain man" of Acts 14:8,
personally converted by Paul, and so called by him, "my son" (cp. 1Tim. 1:2; 2Tim. 1:2)?
The suggestion though attractive, overlooks the fact that no reference to that incident is made here, or elsewhere. Indeed, the terms of ch. 16:2 suggest that Timothy had not had direct contact with the apostle during his first journey, but continued to be educated by his mother and grandmother, and now met Paul personally for the first time.*
2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
"Which was well reported of - Gr. emartureito, "to bear witness to."
He had been carefully instructed in the knowledge of the Scriptures, therefore well
qualified for the work he was to undertake (2Tim. 3:15). The same expression is used of Cornelius(ch. 10:22), and by Paul of Ananias, who was a "devout man" (ch. 22:12).*
Timothy: Example of Faithfulness
From the time of his introduction, Timothy demonstrated an unwavering loyalty to the apostle Paul, whom he held closely in his affections. His love for Paul and his consistent support of the apostle was not based upon mere human sentiment, but resulted from his
sound upbringing in the Truth.
Timothy viewed Paul with awesome respect, being such a towering example of faithfulness
to Christ. The two brethren became knit together in a wonderful relationship, based upon their mutual reverence for Yahweh and His Word, and in unstinting service to His Son.
Near the end of his life, Paul would have penned his final inspired epistle to his beloved brother, due in no small measure to his continuing confidence in the faithfulness of this servant of Christ. In his last known words to Timothy he exhorted him to
"be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,"
"that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2Tim. 2:1; 3:15).
With Paul as Timothy's great mentor, the faith, character and dedication of Timothy has
remained throughout the centuries as an outstanding example of integrity and unchanging devotion to the cause of his Lord and Master.
Bro John Ullman
3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.
There are always those who are eagerly looking for "inconsistencies" to condemn in their brethren, and here indeed is a perfect example-
"Paul! You said,
'If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.'
But here when faced with a problem yourself, you directly violate that principle, just as an expediency to save yourself trouble with the Jews!"
We know there was no inconsistency. We know Paul's motives in both cases were perfectly correct, and completely harmonious with each other. We see the picture clearly. But how can you convince someone who is seeking for something to find fault with, and to use to discredit someone? The scriptural command is, over and over-
"JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED."
With our puny little limited minds, it is impossible for us to judge fairly, even if we should have all the facts. And we never have ALL the facts.
This is not to say that there must not be a strong fellowship stand, strongly adhered to. Otherwise we would all be in the Catholic Church. We must decide where the fellowship line is, and we must faithfully adhere to it, very gently and kindly, but very firmly.
But we must never judge motives, or seek occasions of fault-finding, or believe and peddle hurtful rumours, or talk behind peoples' backs, or speak of sins-either real or supposed-TO ANYONE EXCEPT THE PERSON INVOLVED. In doing such, we condemn ourselves. The stern penalties of the law of Christ are very fearful against any of these fleshly abominations-
"AS YE JUDGE, SO SHALL YE BE JUDGED."
Many do not seem to realize the terrible judgment in store for those who accept Christ, and then violate his laws of brotherliness and kindness.
Bro Growcott - Tribulation Worketh Patience
6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia,
They made the circuit of the ecclesias, confirming the disciples. Then they considered where to go next. Did the Spirit guide them? Not at all, except negatively. They apparently first considered going to Asia. This refers to the western end of Asia Minor, centered around Ephesus. This would be the logical move on the basis of Paul's pattern of moving gradually west by way of great cities.
But the Spirit just forbad them to go to Asia. So they headed north for Bithynia, but again the Spirit said no. They had tried west and north, and been barred, so they tried northwest, in between, and this time they were permitted to proceed.
Why did God act like this? And why are we told about it? Surely to teach us essential lessons. We have got to have patience, and we have got to have faith, and we have got to have complete, calm, unworried dependence. Answers will come, when they are needed.
So they finally by trial and error, reached the coast at Troas, at the northwest tip of Asia Minor, opposite Europe. And still the destination God had in mind for them has not been revealed. But after they reached Troas, Paul had the vision of the man of Macedonia, calling for help. Even then there was no direct instruction. How easy for God to have said at the very beginning-
"Don't waste your time trying this direction and that direction. Go straight to Macedonia."
But God, in His Own good wisdom, did not choose to do it that way. They still, by putting everything together, had to reach the conclusion that this appeared to be what God wanted them to do. And this time they were right.
Surely this whole impressive train of events is to emphasize our day-to-day dependence on the guidance of God. As soon as He tells us too far ahead, as soon as we begin to confidently plan for the future, as soon as problems seem to be clearing up and answers seem to be coming, we begin to lose touch-to lose the urgent sense of the need of daily guidance. Right away we relax. Our minds-released from pressure-turn to worldly things. We begin to build sepulchres on high, as if this were our eternal resting place.
Bro Growcott - Tribulation worketh patience
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
The Gospel in Macedonia
Luke informs us in Acts 16. that in a vision Paul had, there stood before him a man of Macedonia, who entreated him to come over to that country, and help them.
This was regarded by Paul and his companions as a vision from the Lord, calling upon them to announce the glad tidings in Macedonia.
They had assayed to "preach the Word" to the idolators in the provinces of Anatolia, called Asia and Bithynia, but had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit. The cause of this interdict is not stated.
The province of Asia contained the seven apocalyptic ecclesias which were, doubtless, already existing there [Acts 2: 9]; and Bithynia, also, was not destitute of the truth. But the time and circumstances were not yet quite appropriate for the annunciation of "The Fellowship of the Mystery" among them; importing
"that the Gentiles (or pagans) should be fellow heirs (of the kingdom with the saints of Israel), and of the same body (that is, of the 'One Body'), and partakers of God's promise concerning the Anointed through the glad tidings."
Having proclaimed the christ[adelphian] fellowship of Jew and Gentile in the Syrian Antioch, Seleucia, Cyprus, Perga, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, and Attalia, they were directed to visit the country west of Constantinople, and north of the Ægean Sea, where, it is probable, Christ[adelphian]-Jewish prejudices were not so strong as in Asia and Bithynia.
In the region of country indicated, and not far from the sea, stood the City of Philippi, so called after Philip, King of Macedon, and father of Alexander the Great, "the great horn of the rough goat" of Dan. 8:21. This region was Macedonia Prima, and Philippi was a Roman colony; so that the Philippians, though Macedonian born, were Roman citizens as they declared.-Verse 21.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul styles his labours among them, at this time,
"the beginning of the Gospel" (ch. 4:15),
that is, that the glad tidings of the Fellowship began to be proclaimed to the "untaught Gentiles" of Macedonia when he responded to the prayer, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" Now, Macedonia contained many cities, among which were Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, and Berea. All these Paul visited as well as Philippi, announcing in one the same glad tidings as in all the rest.
...Thus, when he visited Thessalonica, he gave them to understand that he was the bearer of an invitation to them from the living and true God of Israel, who had commanded him to invite them to his kingdom and glory. Many of the idolatrous Macedonians there accepted the invitation joyfully [1 Thss 2: 12] when they discovered that it was genuine-that it was no fiction, but a word sent to them from heaven, and therefore styled "the Word of God," in deed and in truth, being confirmed by the power of God.
This created in them a hope which was the "one hope of the calling," or invitation; so that he could address them as he could not address their idolatrous friends, saying,
"be not as the others, who have no hope."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1857
10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
Will any reasonable man, then, pretend to impose upon us the notion, that all that was submitted to these
to turn them from their vanities, was that a certain Jew, who had been crucified as a malefactor about 1100 miles off, was the son of the God of the Jews, and raised from the dead by his power?
What moral power is there in such a statement as this to cause a Macedonian idolator to cast his idols to the moles and the bats? None. It had no more power to produce this result than it now has to cause papists to turn from their image worship, and the adoration of dead men's bones; or sectarian devotees to renounce the systems of foolishness and impiety they profess.
It is evident from the nature of the case, that the first thing Paul essayed to do was to reason the Macedonians out of their idolatry, as he did the Athenians; then to acquaint them with the living and true God; after that to announce to them the purpose of God, or
"secret of his will which he had purposed in himself according to his own good pleasure;"
then, that "one Jesus" was he by whom he intended to execute that purpose, whereof he had given assurance in raising him from the dead; that he was to return from the heavens to perform the work assigned him; and lastly, that whosoever believed these things, and became obedient, should receive repentance and forgiveness of sins, and a right to eternal glory in the kingdom, "through His name."
To instruct them in these things, was for Paul to fulfill his mission, which was, "to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them (of Judah) who are sanctified by faith that leads into Jesus," εις εμε.
The Macedonians were in darkness, and in Satan's power, and unable to help themselves. They were "Gentiles in the flesh," whose moral destitution is well described by the apostle who went over to help them.
"At that time," says he, "ye were without Christ, being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and atheists (ατηεοι, atheoi) in the world;"-"walking in the vanity of your mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in you, because of the blindness of your heart."
But from this state they were happily delivered by Paul's preaching; so that he could say to them,
"Ye who were formerly afar off are now in the anointed Jesus, made nigh by the blood of the anointed one."
....These originally "untaught," but now instructed, "Gentiles" had become
"light in the Lord;" "the sons of God without rebuke, shining as lights in the world;" "children of light and of the day," and "not of the night, nor of darkness;" invested with "the armour of light;" so that, "the eyes of their understanding being enlightened,"
the apostle could now say to them,
"Ye are all the sons of God in the anointed Jesus through the faith: because as many as are baptized into the Anointed have put on the Anointed: and if ye be the Anointed's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1857
But, in opening the eyes of Macedonian Jews his method was somewhat different. He had not to turn them from idols, nor to bring them to wait for the Son of Israel's God; nor yet to instruct them in the purpose of God to rule the habitable in righteousness by him, for they were not idolators; and they were waiting for the appearing of the Son promised them in Isaiah 9:6, 7; and were fully in the belief of his sitting upon the throne of his father David, and reigning over Israel and the nations for ever.
All that was necessary in their case was to convince them that Jesus was that Son of David and of God, Yahweh had covenanted to resurrect for them in the house of David. Thus, in his preaching to
"the Jews he became as a Jew, that he might gain the Jews;" in other words, "to them that are under the law, he became as under the law, that he might gain them that are under the law."
If he had gone to the Macedonian idolators "as a Jew," he would not have gained them; he therefore went to them as a Roman, which is evident from his reply to the magistrates at Philippi, saying,
"They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison, and now do they thrust us out privily? Nay, verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out."
Now, Romans were not under the Law of Moses; so that in relation to that law they were "without law;" therefore in approaching the Romans as a Roman citizen, he says, that
"to them without law, he became as without law, that he might gain them that are without law."
He addressed the Greeks, Romans and barbarians, as an ambassador, sent to them direct from a God whom they knew not, but who had made the universe, and continued to uphold all things by his power. It was not necessary for such a person to do more before such an audience, ignorant of all things pertaining to the God, prophets, and hope, of the Jews, than to state the truth confirmed by divine power, and to persuade them to receive it.
Thus, as he says,
"My word and my preaching was by indubitable proof of Spirit and power, that your faith might not stand in men's wisdom, but in God's power."
"Our glad tidings came not to you in word only, but also in power, and in holy spirit, and in much assurance."
This course, however, would not answer with believers in the prophets. He could not approach Jews as a Gentile citizen of Rome, and expect them to believe on authority without appeal to the prophets. Idolators might be built upon apostles, but a Jew required to be built upon the prophets; for they would receive no testimony of apostles, though confirmed by miracle, unless it could be shown to be in accordance with the Oracles of God, read in their synagogues every sabbath day.
When, therefore, idolators built upon the apostles, testifying the same things as the prophets, and Jews built upon the prophets illustrated by the apostles, came together into the "one body," Paul could say to them,
"Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus the Anointed himself being the chief corner stone."
They were all, both Jews and Gentiles, brought to acquiesce joyously in the "One Faith;" the method only of bringing them to that acquiescence so as to prepare them for the "One Baptism," differed.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1857
13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
This incident occurred at Philippi, and has reference to Paul and Silas. But, it furnishes no evidence of Sabbath observance on their part. It was the first apostolic visit to Philippi, and in all probability there were no believers in the truth, as it is in Jesus, living there previously.
Who, then, were wont to pray by the river side on the Sabbath day? Jews, or Jewish converts, no doubt. This practice simply furnishes evidence that they still clung to the Mosaic law. Why did Paul and Silas visit the river side at this particular time? The answer is obvious. It was for the same reason that they visited the synagogues. It afforded the most suitable field for sowing the seed of the kingdom.
And what was the result? Lydia, a worshipper of God, was one of the women who listened to Paul. She was converted to the truth, and then she and her household were baptized into the name of Christ.
Bro J. J. Andrew.
The Christadelphian, July 1872
14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
Lydia, a seller of purple - in which occupation, she is called upon to minister to the pride of life as indulged by her lady patrons [In the world not of it 1Cor 7: 20 TC 12/1872].
SAYING AND DOING
The world is drunk with religion. Not altogether drunk with crime of the grosser sorts; but dead drunk with religion. And nationally considered, none have escaped-no, none of the so-called civilised nations of the earth. They have all long ago been made drunk with the wine of fornication. They have prostituted the word of the most high God. They reel to and fro; they are heavy with sleep; they can only hear enough of the voice of truth to madden them against the speaker. But whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, "he that hath the truth must speak, and must not keep silent." He must "lift up his voice like a trumpet, and shew the people their transgressions."
... Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (preached, &c.) in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? (this has been largely professed both in ancient and modern times) and in thy name done many wonderful works?-sent out missionaries, carried on revivals, sprinkled babies, sent souls to hell-fire for evermore, killed bodies by the thousand in "holy wars," burnt heretics, told the people they had better not study the scriptures, appointed bishops and pastors who could not read their mother tongue, administered the consolations of religion to murderers, sent kings direct to heaven from the guillotine, blessed the army and navy, extolled national robbers, consecrated ground for the interment of rogues and vagabonds, styled every scamp "this our dear brother," in putting him out of sight, and written themselves down "miserable sinners; " all this, and much more than we can now call to mind, or care to try. These "works" are truly "wonderful." They are unmistakably the works of the flesh, and of the devil, "Lying wonders" of the pious sort.
...The Acts of the Apostles contain several remarkable instances of pious ignorance, and from the treatment of the persons, no doubt can remain upon the mind of any sensible man as to the value which heaven puts upon mere sincerity. There is Cornelius, "a devout man, and one that feared God, gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway."-(Acts x. 2.) Were Cornelius now alive, he would no doubt be esteemed as a real christian. No clergyman would require more of any man than is said of Cornelius; and be it observed, said of him in the days of his ignorance. For notwithstanding these good qualities, the centurion was not a Christian.
He had not heard the word of the truth. He had not therefore been made clean, or sanctified, by it; he was not holy, and consequently, could not "see the Lord." However, he was teachable, which cannot be said of many who claim sincerity. By divine command, he sent for Peter, "to hear words of" him. The words Peter uttered pertained to the kingdom: they concerned the Lord Jesus: they made known the remission of past sins, and union with his name, and hope of eternal life when he should sit on the throne of his father David. Cornelius heard and obeyed. Peter told him what he "ought to do, " and he complied. Only thus can a man be saved.
Look at "the religious experience" of Lydia, whom Paul met at Philippi, the chief city of Macedonia. This woman was doubtless a model of piety. Like Cornelius, she was devout, prayerful. Paul found her in a place "where prayer was wont to be made." "She worshipped God." But how? According to the dictates of her own conscience, and in all sincerity, doubtless. Well, was that enough? No, it was not. Her heart was fast closed. She had not "obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine" which Paul preached for salvation.
She was not, however, obstinate, but attentive; and by Paul's preaching, the Lord "opened her heart." He enlightened her understanding, and she believed the things concerning the kingdom of God, preached everywhere by Paul, and was immersed upon the name of the Lord Jesus into remission of sins. And "how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto the apostles by them that heard him?"-(Heb. ii. 3.)
Ambassador of the Coming Age, June 1868
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
If this woman's divination was not an imposture, and her masters' profit, not a gaining of money by false pretences-they would not have raised the tumult they did, for reasons so false as these-that the apostles
"troubled their city by teaching customs unlawful for Romans."
This proves her masters even did not believe in her themselves; and the sequel, that the spirit with which she was possessed was as a living spirit, as much of a lie as was the soothsaying by which it was distinguished.
It was not a spirit separable from her character, it was not an individual lodging within her, of which she was the mere instrument or agent. It was simply fanaticism, purely engendered within her, by Pythian worship-the superstition which so long emanated from the famous oracle of Apollo at Delphos, and therefore a spirit, quite characteristic of every other idolatrous or evil spirit-"a spirit of Python," (see margin)-a character in harmony with the superstition.
Apollo was a high god among the Greeks. "He worshipped at Delphos under the name of the Pythian, derived from the serpent Python he had killed." Hence the kind of spirit this damsel possessed, a spirit derived from no real being, save from persons of her own nature and sex-the priestesses of Delphos.
Their divinations were all practised under the influences of intoxication, fury, and madness; and as far as she could, she had imitated them. This was the sort of spirit, and inasmuch as it was but an affection of the mind, call it by what name we please, brought about the teaching she had received. Paul in his relieving her of it could not have cast an individual out of her. He did a more wonderful miracle than such as that could have been.
He converted the mind and affections, and in doing this, performed at a stroke, what a life-time of training and education could only, or failed to have done. He simply "converted her from darkness to light from the power" or superstition of Python-or Satan, if you will, for one person is as much a myth as the other-to the power of God.
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, May 1869
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
If we would make headway in the Spirit's teaching, we must read, and we must study. Our reading, too, must be of the right kind. Some brethren, those to wit, who have thrown over the Bible, and deny Christ's resurrection-have read, and have studied, and yet in divine knowledge have become absolutely foolish.
The book to read is the Bible, and after the Bible, the works of men who have best understood the Bible. Can we name such works? Yes, here is a list of the eight best books in the world: Eureka, Elpis Israel, Phanerosis, Christendom Astray, Nazareth Revisited, The Ways of Providence, Seasons of Comfort, The Law of Moses.
These are the books which should first find a place in a brother's bookcase-the books to consult before reference is made to the unreliable commentaries of the clergy-the books that ought to be found in every Christadelphian library throughout the land-the books which we should encourage our children, our friends, and our enemies to read.
In speaking thus, are we indulging in fulsome praise? Friends of the truth will not say so. These books, and no one can disprove the statement, reveal to us, as no other writings in existence do, the way of salvation-they enlighten, and create faith-expose the deadly errors of popular theology-unfold to us the wonderful depth and beauty of divine revelation-solve problems, and thresh out difficulties which perplex and baffle the ordinary man-reach an altitude in understanding which none of us, ere Christ comes, can ever expect to reach, let alone excel. Emphatically can we say of the authors of these books,
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Nov 1905
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Paul and the Jailor of Philippi
After Paul and his companions arrived at Philippi, they abode there certain days. How long exactly is not stated, but sufficiently long to set the whole city in a ferment with his doctrine. They began their work in the suburbs with the enlightening of Lydia and her household.
Before Paul met her she was a worshipper of God, and frequented a house of prayer on the Sabbath day. She was a proselyte to Judaism, and therefore an eligible subject to begin with. Paul spoke certain "things" to her which she attended to. The things are not particularized, but as the consequence of faith in them, she and her household were baptized.
What Paul had done in Philippi had now become notorious; and to make it more so, he was beset for "many days" by a damsel possessed of a Pythonic spirit, who brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. She directed public attention to him by proclaiming that he and his companions were the servants of the Most High God, who taught the way of salvation.
Paul was grieved at this, as it tended to identify him with the disreputable, who gloried in their shame. He therefore commanded the departure of the spirit from the girl in the name of Jesus Christ. And it came out forthwith.
But though relieved of her annoyance, the indignation of her masters fell upon him, because they could no longer make profit of her. They therefore arrested Paul and Silas, and took them before the magistrates, to whose establishment the jailor belonged. The accusation preferred against them was, that
"being Jews, they exceedingly troubled the city, and taught precepts which were not lawful for Philippians to receive and practice, being Romans."
This stirred up the mob against them, and caused them to be beaten, and delivered over to the jailor, who thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
At midnight the attention of the prison inmates was drawn to Paul and Silas, who prayed and sang. This was not done in a low tone; for, it is written, that "the prisoners heard them." They prayed and sang the truth; but what they said is not determinable by the prayers and songs of "disciples" or "pastors" among us. It was no doubt instructive to the hearers as well as edifying to themselves and appropriate to the emergency of their case.
The answer of God to them while they were yet speaking was doubtless as astonishing to the prisoners as it was gratifying to Paul and Silas, and alarming to the jailor. There was suddenly a great earthquake, which shook the prison to the foundation, opened all its doors, and loosed the fetters of all.
This was therefore not an ordinary earthquake; for when did an earthquake ever loose the chains of malefactors and enemies of the gods?
The songs and prayers of these two Jews to a God unknown to Macedonians, followed or interrupted by an earthquake, and their liberation from bonds, was a notable testimony to the truth of their mission, that
"the Lord had called them to announce the glad tidings to the Macedonians."
Suddenly aroused from a sound sleep, (for though the prisoners heard the prayers and songs of the brethren, the jailor did not,) he was seized with panic when he found that all the doors of the stronghold were open. The darkness of the place concealed the prisoners from view. We are not told what he said, but what he was about to do, and the reason of it. If he had not uttered his fears and intention, he would have killed himself before any one would have thought of giving him assurance that all his prisoners were there.
His utterances showed that he supposed they had escaped; a result that would have been visited upon him with death, as in the case of the jailors who were executed by Herod on Peter's escape from their custody.
Death, then, was a certainty; and to save himself from the ignominy of a public execution, he determined to inflict punishment upon himself as the less evil of the two. He had drawn his sword, and was about to sheathe it in his own carcass, when Paul cried out aloud,
"Do thyself no harm; for we are all here!"
Hearing this, he called for a light, and trembling with the terror of the hour, he bounded into the presence of Paul and Silas, and fell down before them.
The man's mind must have been highly excited, just awaked out of a sleep and therefore not quite master of himself; a building over his head shaking to its foundations; its doors open and the prisoners probably fled; his responsibility under pain of public execution; the ruin of his household; the state of mind peculiar to a suicide; and all these terrors heightened by the darkness of midnight, which to the terrified imagination of a pagan, was full of demons and alarms; all these things considered, will enable the reader easily to discern the import of the idolatrous jailor's question.
"Sirs, what must I do that I may be saved?"
But, whatever may have been his peculiar meaning, Paul and Silas replied to his question in their own sense of it. Instead of giving him advice as to how he should proceed in securing the liberated prisoners and so escape the consequences he apprehended (for it would be no easy matter for one man to put fetters upon a number by lamp-light, with all the prison doors open; if they were all there, when they found how things were, they would not be likely to remain long)-
Paul and Silas directed his attention to a salvation of a higher and more important character. "Believe on the Lord Jesus the Anointed," said they, "and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house;" and it is added,
"They spake to him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1857
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
What must a man do to be saved?
This question is the most important of any among men.
There are very few, however, among the living who can answer it aright, the reason of which is not difficult to conceive. The thinking of the flesh (to phronema tees sarkos) educational bias, veneration for mere human authority, love of popularity, lack of independence, fear of persecution and pecuniary loss, a spurious charity, or ignorance, have all more or less to do with the inability of the people's prophets to give the scriptural answer, which is the only true response extant, and the only one admissible by the inquirer to this vital and all-absorbing question.
Mystery of the Covenant of the Holy Land explained - Herald 10/1855
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Things to be Believed Before Immersion
As to the case of the Phillippian jailor, we moderns can safely found nothing upon it, because it was not a case which modern circumstances at all affected. Paul was at his right hand, and
"spoke to him the words of the Lord."-Acts 16:31.
Now, Paul was not in the position of a man who has to prove all he says out of the Word. He spoke with authority as the apostle of the Lord. Therefore, it was sufficient for the jailor to listen to what he had to say. To hear, in his case, was to believe, and, therefore, he could know much in a short time-more in an hour than some of us may attain to in years.
Our safety lies in submitting ourselves to the positive apostolic indications of a pre-immersional faith. These are not few or doubtful when read one with the other. Paul says,
"He that cometh unto God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of such as diligently seek Him."-Heb. 11:6.
Jesus amplifies this in saying,
"This is eternal life to know Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."-John 17:3.
This is further drawn out in 1 John 5:10,
"He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record which God gave of His Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us, eternal life, and this life is in His Son."
Looking closer, we find the following enumeration of other points contained in the gospel "by which we are saved":-Christ died; was buried; rose again the third day; was seen of sundry witnesses.-1 Cor. 15:1-8. Again, that there is a day in which God shall judge the secrets of men by Christ at his coming.-Rom. 2:16; 2 Tim. 4:1. Further, that a definition of the hope laid up for believers is set forth in the gospel:
"Whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.-Col. 1:5.
Therefore, that the gospel contains an enunciation of the kingdom, because this is the thing hoped for, God having promised it to them that love Him -James 2:5, and being the thing to which believers are called 1 Thess. 2:12; which they are to inherit.-Matt. 25:34.
The gospel is, therefore, the gospel of the kingdom -Acts 20:25; Luke 8:1. The resurrection to immortality is also the hope of believers - Jno. 11:25; 1 Thess. 4:13-18. If they heard of their hope "in the word of the truth of the gospel," the word of the truth of the gospel, as apostolically defined, contained a declaration of this matter.
These items, set forth in order (as unquestionable elements of the pre-immersional faith of apostolic preaching), would stand as follows:-
1. The "only true God," (the one God and Father revealed to Israel: who is above all and through all).
2. That he requires diligent seeking for him on the part of all who would find him, and that he is not indifferent to such, but will reward them.
3. That Jesus Christ hath been sent by Him.
4. That he was sent to give eternal life, and that it is not to be had apart from him.
5. That the process of giving it was by dying for our sins, being buried, rising again, and showing himself to witnesses.
6. That he will return and declare to all assembled in his presence which of them are worthy of the eternal life, and dispense it accordingly.
7. That he will, thereafter, establish his kingdom-(the kingdom of David) and give his accepted people a place therein.
These are seven rough indications of the elements of the gospel deducible from the few testimonies quoted almost at random in the third paragraph. They are more than borne out by all a man may learn by a closer study of the holy oracles. They are comprehended in the more precise formula,
"the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ."-Acts 8:12.
They obviously include some things not expressed; such as the promises to the fathers on which they are based-(Rom. 15:8; Gal. 3:16, 29); the restoration of the kingdom to Israel-(Acts 1:6: 26:6: 28:11); that Jesus was not a mere man but the offspring of the Holy Spirit-(Matt. 1:2); the Word made flesh-(John 1:14); God with men-(Matt. 1:22: 2 Cor. 5:19: 1 Thess. 3:16); that man is not immortal, nor saints made immortal now, nor till they meet Christ at his coming; that there is no eternal torment, that there are not three eternal Gods, and so on.
There are also other matters not stated which are essentially involved in the apostolic definition of the gospel, and without which, a mutilated and powerless gospel would be the result, such as the forgiveness of sins on the obedience of faith in baptism; the priestly intercession of Christ for such as thus constitute themselves of his household, the obligation in all such to walk in the light, denying themselves ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world.
It is quite possible to give all these their proper place mentally, without formulating them in words. It is well, however, that they should be distinctly visible to the understanding, and this perhaps is best secured by defining them. On the other hand. it is impossible to give such a definition of the elements of the faith as shall command the assent of all minds or shut the door against the misunderstandings of such as lack the power to deal with the superficial obscurities necessarily incident to divine truth in present circumstances.
Even the apostles were not able so to set forth a form of sound words as to shut the mouths of, it may be, well meaning cavillers and honest but thickheaded critics. Where they failed, none, in the absence of Christ, may hope to succeed. The most we can do is to obtain a recognition of the truth at the hands of such as have senses exercised by reason of use to discern both good and evil.
If this is secured, we may be well content, even if embarrassed by the flounderings of some who ever learn but are never able to reach a definite conviction as to truth and duty in the dark night of the Gentiles in which our lot is cast.
The Christadelphian, Jan 1872
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord [which comprised all elements of the gospel], and to all that were in his house.
Paul and the Jailor of Philippi
The truth is that salvation is promised only to those who accept Jesus and believe his words. It is utterly unscriptural to suppose that a man has "the faith," who affirms that Jesus is the Son of God, but is ignorant, or infidel, of the glad tidings of his kingdom and glory.
The teaching of the Lord and his Apostles made no such believers as these. They "opened the eyes of the people, and turned them from darkness to light, and the power of Satan to God," first; and then baptized them in water for "forgiveness of sins and inheritance among the sanctified," who were "rich in faith" and "heirs of the promised kingdom."
When, therefore, Luke says, that Paul and Silas spake to the pagan jailor the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house, it is equivalent to his saying, that they spake to them the glad tidings of the kingdom and glory of God.
They were sent to Macedonia for this purpose, as we have seen; namely, to invite the idolators to his kingdom and glory; so that when they spoke to the jailor and his house they were trying to persuade them to become "heirs" thereof with eternal life. This is incontrovertible, and no sophistry can make it otherwise.
Paul's discourse would come to those that heard him as the word of him who shook the prison and loosed the prisoners. He pronounced against idolatry, and they obeyed his voice in turning from their idols. This was "repentance towards God," which did not require long to effect. He announced his purpose of setting up a kingdom in Israel's land which should rule all nations righteously; he declared that he had ordained a certain Jew, named Jesus, who was his Son whom he had begotten from among the dead, to sit on his throne of the dominion; whom he would send from the heavens to establish it; and they believed it.
This was believing God and having faith in the Lord Jesus as his Anointed King. He then invited them to become his sons, that with Jesus their Elder Brother, he might give them all things pertaining to the kingdom and glory. They accepted the invitation, and "were baptized, he and all his, straightway."
Luke does not say that
"the jailor and other untaught Gentiles heard, believed, and obeyed the Gospel in the short time of an hour;"
"the jailor took Paul and Silas the same hour of the night and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway."
Washing the stripes and baptism occupied the hour, not the teaching, if by "hour" is to be understood a space of sixty minutes.
The word ̔́ωρα, h̄ora, rendered "hour" in this text, signifies time, season, as well as the twelfth part of an artificial day, or of the time that the sun is above the horizon. The text does not limit us to this twelfth part of a Jewish, or to the twenty-fourth part of a Gentile, day.
The events of the night covered the interval from midnight to day; for the earthquake occurred at midnight, and the order for Silas and Paul's release arrived "when it was day." Several of our sixty-minute periods are included in this interval, which were doubtless all occupied in the business of the night.
It does not say how long they were engaged in speaking the word of the Lord to these pagans. It was, however, long enough to plant in their hearts love for Paul and Silas, and a joyous belief in God, as well as in the Lord Jesus; for having washed their stripes, and brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. Thus they renounced idolatry, and became saints.
But because these results were accomplished between midnight and day, doth any one in this century imagine he could turn an idolator into a Christian in an hour? Nay, could he in that time bring one who says that Jesus is Son of God, to the obedience God prescribes?
If the very words that Paul spoke to the jailor were now repeated to such a one the time would not suffice for the work. And for what reason? Because first, men are too pious in their own conceit to be saved by the truth; because secondly, their hearts are unsubdued to the authority of Scripture; because thirdly, they have a natural repulsion to obedience; because fourthly, they are educationally perverted; because fifthly, God does not confirm the word spoken by men now as he did Paul's; and because sixthly, it would be interpreted "spiritually," and be condemned as "ultra" and "too exclusive."
The events of the "many days" preceding Paul's imprisonment were not unknown to the jailor and his house; for the city was exceedingly troubled. It would be strange, indeed, if they had been living in the heart of such a city, and continued ignorant of what had become a common talk with the multitude.
The "new doctrine" was as much a matter of inquiry at Philippi as at Athens; and the gossip of the city created by it predisposed men's minds to an investigation favorable to the reception of the word.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1857