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What did the Philippian jailer mean?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Saint Steven, Jun 24, 2021.

  1. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    Does the standard interpretation of the Philippian jailer's question cloud what was happening here? And give the wrong impression of salvation? (in this situation)

    This story is significant in the Evangelical salvation statement: Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. (note: only half of the quote) Why is the second half omitted?
    In this formula, believe = salvation.

    Acts 16:30-31 NRSV
    Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
    31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    But does the context of the text completely support this formula?
    Especially verse 27.

    Here is the earthquake passage context.

    Acts 16:26-31 NRSV
    Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer" called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
     
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  2. sandman

    sandman Senior Member

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    16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

    16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
     
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  3. Minister Monardo

    Minister Monardo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "believe on" means commit to one's trust.
    Hebrews 5:9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation
    to all who obey Him.
     
  4. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    Thanks. @sandman
    But neither of you answered the question, or what it means to the broader question.
    I know what the party line is. Can you think outside the box?
     
  5. sandman

    sandman Senior Member

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    Not sure what formula you are looking for.
     
  6. Minister Monardo

    Minister Monardo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you really feel that the question is the issue, or the answer?
    Pilate asked Jesus:

    John 18:
    37
    Pilate therefore said to Him, Are You a king then?
    Jesus answered, You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause
    I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth
    hears My voice.
    38 Pilate said to Him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews,
    and said to them, I find no fault in Him at all.
    If I made a similar proposition, and asked, "what did Pilate mean when he asked Jesus "what is truth."
    The question is irrelevant apart from the answer, which was what? why?
    My point is this, you made this reference:

    Is the evangelical salvation statement based on the question, or the answer? The person asking
    the question may have just wanted to get out of a parking ticket. The evangelical gave him "The Answer," as perplexing as that may have been. LOL.
     
  7. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    If you are asking if the statement supports the later idea of "faith alone", no. Going further:

    32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

    They then "spoke the word of the Lord to him", meaning they explained salvation to the jailer. The jailer was then baptized.
     
  8. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For the same reason you omitted verse 32.

    Once someone has had the gospel message explained to them they have two options, accept or reject it.
    In v 32 the gospel was preached to the whole of the jailors household and they believed it and were baptized.

    Most people explain the gospel as best they can, not really expecting people to believe it, so they leave out the bit about your household and about being baptized.
     
  9. Butterball1

    Butterball1 Well-Known Member

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    v34
    And he brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his house, having believed in God.

    The participle phrase 'having believed' sums up all the jailer had done including repenting (washed their stripes) and being baptized. Believed here is used as a synecdoche where the part (believed) stands for the whole (believed, repented and baptized)
    Those in Acts 2 asked what they must do. They already believed and were told to repent and be baptized, so they were saved in the same manner as the jailer. And in Acts 2:44 it says "all who believed were together". The ones who believed accepting Peter's words were the ones who repented and were baptized so we have 'believed' here used as a synecdoche where it includes repentance and baptism.
    There is just one way to be saved and those in Acts 2 and Acts 16 were saved that one way.....belief, repentance and baptism. Therefore Paul and Peter, both inspired Apostles, did not contradict each in in how they answered the question "what must I do?"
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
  10. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    Synecdoche is a good word for it. See here:

    Act 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    There are some who wrongfully believe that they should be baptized in Jesus' name based on a literal reading of Acts 2:38. They go by "Jesus only" movements and others.
     
  11. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    Always seeking ways to challenge the word of God written, for the sake of your own theology.
    “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (v.31)

    It's like Luke 19:9, "Today, salvation has come to this house."

    Salvation comes not only to the one who believes, but also to his house, in that he brings the means of grace and salvatiom to his house. Zaccheus' family became related also to Christ, in that his children were admitted into the church, just as children were admitted into the Abrahamic Covenant of grace, because God was a "God to them and their children" (Genesis 17:7).

    I suspect that is where the practice of household baptism comes from in the NT (Acts 16:15, Act 16:33).
    Losing his prisoners meant the jailer would lose his life (v.27) under Roman law.

    And would not losing his life then involve the destiny of his soul?

    Maybe the former lead to the latter; i.e., concern for his salvation.
    It supports the formula if you know the apostolic meaning of "believe."

    In fact, "belief" and "obedience" are the same word in the Greek (peitho).
    Belief means obedience. They are inseparable in true belief.

    So, yes, the context supports the formula.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
  12. Francis Drake

    Francis Drake Returning adventurer.

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    Throughout the OT, the word "salvation" was in effect, deliverance from Philistine, famine, and plague.
    It had nothing to do with what evangelists teach, ie. "Heaven when you're dead!"

    Despite what it says on the front of your New Testaments, everything Jesus preached in the 4 gospels was Old Testament, and the people he preached to were still Old Testament people, with Old Testament understanding of words.
    So when he spoke about "salvation" his hearers were still thinking of deliverance from Philistine (ie. Romans), famine and plague.
    This fact can be seen clearly when the disciples asked in Acts1v6.................... Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
    ie. Deliverance today!

    I believe the message of the cross is far more than a happy death, but the manifest entrance of God into this life.
    Sadly, unbelief is so entrenched in the church, that all they can promise is long postponed invisible results, that nobody can disprove one way or another.

    The jailer was terrified because as always the case, it was life for life. If his prisoners escaped, he would die, which was why he was about to kill himself, preferring that to a grisly torture and execution.
     
  13. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    Until an angel appeared to Joseph (Matthew 1:21) using the languge of Psalms 130:8, as did Zechariah in his prophecy (Luke 1:77) and John the Baptist in his preaching--the language of "salvation from sin" (John 1:29), and until Jesus preached much on the forgiveness of sin (Matthew 6:14-15, Matthew 9:2-6; Luke 5:20-24, etc.) and condemnation for sin (Matthew 12:37, John 3:18-19, John 5:24, etc).
    That is precisely what it is about in Jesus' words of John 3:16-19.
    Not if they were paying attention in the above, or to Peter in Acts 4:8-13, the slave girl knew what it meant in Acts 16:16-17.
    Actually, that is about restoration to the glory of the days of Solomon, not deliverance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
  14. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    I'm not looking for a formula. - lol
     
  15. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    I don't think the jailer was in the least bit concerned about his spiritual self. Only his physical self. He was about to fall on his sword. Do you understand the significance of that?
     
  16. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    The jailer didn't accept the gospel message when it was explained to him, right? His desire to be saved had nothing to do with that.
     
  17. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    Does anyone know what he is talking about?
     
  18. Minister Monardo

    Minister Monardo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I understand his motive for asking the question.
    His concern came from his responsibility
    he held for the security of all these prisoners.
    Acts 16:27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison
    doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled
    , drew his sword and was about to kill himself.
    He thought that there had been a breakout, and his life was already forfeit because of his accountability. To him, salvation was to be delivered from judgment and guilt for the breakout,
    which had not even occurred.

    A 'good' evangelical uses every opportunity to share Christ with others they come in contact.
    Like I said, the evangelical statement is an answer offered, to any question concerning life
    and especially in life and death situations. This is clear, and has already been pointed out.
    Paul's answer led to further interest, and an opportunity to speak on the word, and salvation
    for the jailer and his household.

    This is typical of mankind, even among those who came in direct contact with the Savior.
    John 6:
    25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him,
    Rabbi, when did You come here? [question]
    26 Jesus answered them and said, Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because
    you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
    [the desire of their heart]
    27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life,
    which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.

    How very evangelical of Him! To offer them something better; eternal life.
     
  19. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    I agree. The question of the jailer had nothing to do with the salvation of his soul.
     
  20. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    In my Bible verse 32 comes after verse 30. Is that not true of your Bible?
    Therefore the question came before verse 32, and therefore had nothing to do with it.
     
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