Once in Macedonia, Paul and his companions traveled to Philippi, where they established the first Christian congregation in Europe.
Read Acts 16:11-24. Where did the missionaries go on Sabbath and why? What ultimately happened to them there?
Whenever Paul arrived in a city, his practice was to visit the local synagogue on Sabbath in order to witness to the Jews (Acts 13:14, Acts 13:42, Acts 13:44; Acts 17:1-2; Acts 18:4). That in Philippi he and his group went to a riverside to pray—together with some women, both Jewish and Gentile worshipers of God—probably means there was no synagogue in the city. The significance of this is that Paul did not go to Jewish synagogues on Sabbaths only for evangelistic purposes, but also because this was his day of worship.
Read Acts 16:25-34. Review the story of the jailer’s conversion. What did he need to do to be saved?
Paul and Silas’s answer to the jailer’s question is in full harmony with the gospel, since salvation is entirely through faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:28, Gal. 2:16). What we cannot conclude from the episode, however, is that belief in Jesus is all that is necessary for baptism, at the expense of the proper doctrinal and practical instruction.
What do we know about the jailer? Was he a Jew or a Jewish proselyte? In either case, what he needed was to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. What if he were a Gentile who already knew and worshiped God, such as Cornelius, Lydia (Acts 16:14), and several others in Acts? What if he had previously attended Paul’s evangelistic meetings in the city? Whatever the facts about him, the brevity of the account should not be used as an excuse for quick baptisms.
|Read Acts 16:31-34. What does this teach us about just how complete and full Christ’s sacrifice was for us? How can you learn, day by day, to rest in the assurance of Christ’s righteousness covering you as your only hope of salvation?|