Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 16:33-17:1
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 16:33, 34
vs33-34: A great deal of ministry took place under the cover of darkness and before the city officials became aware something had happened at the jail. After Paul and Silas finished preaching the gospel to the jailer and his family, the jailer led them to a place where there was enough water to bathe the dried blood from their wounds. When he finished caring for them they, in turn, baptized him and the members of his family at that same place. Luke tells us the jailer “brought them up into the house,” which may mean the baptism took place at the river, or another body of water, and then they all came back up from that place to the jailer’s house, or the jailer may have lived in an upstairs apartment in or near the jail complex. In that case, he would have led them to a fountain or well and then brought them upstairs into his living quarters.

Monday: Acts 16:33, 34
vs33-34 (continued): Once inside, he placed a table near them and fed them a meal. Luke says “…he set a table beside them.” Depending on their injuries, Paul and Silas may have stood “beside” a table rather than reclining in the customary manner. While they ate, the whole family, along with any servants who may have believed, rejoiced before the Lord for their salvation. Knowing Paul, there can be no doubt their initiation into Christ included the baptism with the Holy Spirit (Ac 19:2-6), so the expressions of joy that took place in that home may well have included speaking in tongues and prophesying. Then, at some point, Paul and Silas returned to their cells or, at least, remained somewhere in the prison complex to await the next step in their relationship with the city. Luke mentions nothing about the other prisoners who did not flee when the earthquake opened their cell doors (v28), but it appears they, too, waited at the jail, probably hoping for leniency because they had not fled when they had the chance, but also with the knowledge that this jailer would surely treat them kindly in the future.

Tuesday: Acts 16:35-37
vs35-37: When morning arrived, the two leaders who had ordered Paul and Silas beaten and jailed (vs 20-23) sent as messengers the very officers who had performed the beating, with the command: “Release those men!” They spoke these words to the jailer and then he went and reported their words to Paul. “The men who govern the colony have sent an order that you may be released. Therefore, come out now and go in peace.” But Paul explained to them why he was not willing to leave the jail, “Having beaten us (bloody) in front of the people, without a trial, men who are Romans, they threw us into prison and now want to throw us out (of the city) secretly. No, indeed…”

Wednesday: Acts 16:37
v37 (continued): And then he presented his demands, “…but let them come (here) themselves and lead us out.” In effect, he was demanding these leaders publicly acknowledge the injustice that had taken place. Apparently, Paul presented them with this defiant challenge as a way of protecting the Philippian believers he would leave behind. They would likely face similar treatment if these leaders were not held accountable for this miscarriage of justice. Basically, he wanted to scare them. He was accusing them of violating a very important Roman law which protected all Roman citizens from being punished without a trial, and he was a Roman citizen by birth (Ac 22:25-29) which made the violation of his rights all the more serious. If these leaders were found guilty of this offense they would be removed and disqualified from holding future office. In fact, the entire city could lose its special privileges as a colony (W. Robertson Nicolle, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Eerdmans, 1983, Vol. 2, p. 354). As it turned out, his bold demand did not prevent all future persecution of believers in that city (Php 1:29, 30), but it may have delayed it.

Thursday: Acts 16:38-40
vs38-39: The officers returned and reported Paul’s demands and when the leaders heard that he and Silas were both Romans, they became afraid, and personally came to the jail. They appealed to Paul and Silas to change their minds, probably by trying to convince them it had all been a misunderstanding. Then, they escorted them out of the jail complex and asked them to leave the city. v40: Paul and Silas refused to leave immediately. Instead, they went straight to Lydia’s house to gather all the believers in the city for a final meeting. In that meeting, Luke says they “exhorted” them, which certainly means they rehearsed the central elements of the gospel, and they probably also gave them the same warning they gave elsewhere, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Ac 14:22)

Friday: Acts 16:40
v40 (continued): During their stay in Philippi, a very diverse group of people became members of the church. By calling them “brothers,” Luke reveals the attitude of these missionaries toward their converts. They saw them as members of the same spiritual family to which they themselves belonged. Regardless of each one’s personal history, none of these Philippians was a second-class citizen in God’s kingdom. They had become “brothers and sisters,” meaning the missionaries respected them, loved them, and would feel a lifelong responsibility for their welfare (Php 1:3-5; 2:19, 25-39; 4:1-3), and as the years passed the Philippian church proved that they felt the same way toward them (Php 1:7; 4:15-18).

Saturday: Acts 17:1
v1: Paul, Silas and Timothy left Philippi traveling west on the Egnatian Way (vs10-11). Luke, being a humble man, doesn’t mention that he didn’t leave with them, but simply stops including himself in the story. He no longer uses verbs in the first person plural (“we”), but returns to the third person plural (“they”). That this change in language indicates that he remained behind is made evident at Acts 20:5. At that verse, and on through much of the rest of Acts, he again includes himself. There, he described Paul’s return to Macedonia, and specifically notes that Paul left from Philippi to sail back to Troas, the city where Paul originally met Luke (Ac 16:10). As he describes that voyage, Luke returns to the first person plural. He says “We sailed from Philippi… and came to… Troas within five days, and there we stayed seven days” (Ac 20:6). Because Luke does not tell us about his own ministry during the next, approximately, five years (Ac 18:11; 20:31) while Paul went on to minister in other parts of Greece and Asia Minor, we can only guess at what he did during that time. But it appears Paul left him in Philippi to pastor this young church, just as he would later leave Timothy in Ephesus (1Ti 1:3).

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