What must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30)

“Then the jailor

Brought them outside.

He declared.


What must I do

To be saved?’”

καὶ προαγαγὼν αὐτοὺς ἔξω ἔφη Κύριοι, τί με δεῖ ποιεῖν ἵνα σωθῶ;

The author of Acts indicated that then the jailor brought Paul and Silas outside (καὶ προαγαγὼν αὐτοὺς ἔξω).  He said or declared (ἔφη) to them, calling them Lords or Sirs (Κύριοι), that he wanted to know what he had to do (τί με δεῖ ποιεῖν) to be saved (ἵνα σωθῶ).  The jailer was very grateful to Paul and Silas.  He brought them outside.  He called them his lords.  He wanted to know what he had to do to be saved, since they had been preaching about saving people.  What do you have to do to be saved?

The jailer was trembling (Acts 16:29)

“The jailer

Called for lights.

He rushed in.

He fell down trembling

Before Paul

And Silas.”

αἰτήσας δὲ φῶτα εἰσεπήδησεν καὶ ἔντρομος γενόμενος προσέπεσεν τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ Σιλᾷ,

The author of Acts indicated that the jailer called (αἰτήσας) for lights (δὲ φῶτα).  He rushed in (εἰσεπήδησεν).  He fell down (προσέπεσεν) trembling (καὶ ἔντρομος γενόμενος) before Paul (τῷ Παύλῳ) and Silas (καὶ Σιλᾷ).  This jailer got some lamps for light.  Then he rushed into the prison.  He was very afraid, so that he fell down in front of Paul and Silas.  The tables had turned.  This jailer was now grateful to Paul and Silas, rather than just being their jailer.  Do you think that jailers are ever grateful for their prisoners?

We are all here! (Acts 16:28)

“But Paul shouted

In a loud voice.


‘Do not harm yourself!

We are all here!’”

ἐφώνησεν δὲ Παῦλος μεγάλῃ φωνῇ λέγων Μηδὲν πράξῃς σεαυτῷ κακόν, ἅπαντες γάρ ἐσμεν ἐνθάδε.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul (δὲ Παῦλος) shouted (ἐφώνησεν) in a loud voice (μεγάλῃ φωνῇ) saying (λέγων) that he should not harm himself (Μηδὲν πράξῃς σεαυτῷ κακόν).  He said that they were all there (ἅπαντες γάρ ἐσμεν ἐνθάδε).  Instead of escaping, Paul and Silas remained in prison.  Thus, Paul shouted out in a loud voice to the jailer that they were all there still in the prison.  He should not worry and not harm or kill himself.  Paul and Silas made no attempt to escape, despite the opportunity to do so.  Would you stay in jail if you had the opportunity to escape?

The jailor was upset (Acts 16:27)

“When the jailer

Woke up,

He saw that

The prison doors

Were wide open.

He drew his sword.

He was about

To kill himself.

He supposed

That the prisoners

Had escaped.”

ἔξυπνος δὲ γενόμενος ὁ δεσμοφύλαξ καὶ ἰδὼν ἀνεῳγμένας τὰς θύρας τῆς φυλακῆς, σπασάμενος τὴν μάχαιραν ἤμελλεν ἑαυτὸν ἀναιρεῖν, νομίζων ἐκπεφευγέναι τοὺς δεσμίους.

The author of Acts indicated that when the jailer (ὁ δεσμοφύλαξ) woke up (ἔξυπνος δὲ γενόμενος), he saw (καὶ ἰδὼν) that the prison doors (τὰς θύρας τῆς φυλακῆς) were wide open (ἀνεῳγμένας).  He drew (σπασάμενος) his sword (τὴν μάχαιραν).  He was about to kill himself (ἤμελλεν ἑαυτὸν ἀναιρεῖν).  He supposed (νομίζων) that the prisoners (τοὺς δεσμίους) had escaped (ἐκπεφευγέναι).  This story takes a major change.  The jailer thought that they had escaped and was about to kill himself.  Remember what happened to the jailers in chapter 12:19, when Herod ordered them killed after Peter had escaped.  Do you know anyone who has killed himself or herself?

The earthquake (Acts 16:26)


There was a great earthquake.

It was so violent

That the foundations

Of the prison

Were shaken.


All the doors

Were opened.

Every one’s chains

Were unfastened.”

ἄφνω δὲ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο μέγας, ὥστε σαλευθῆναι τὰ θεμέλια τοῦ δεσμωτηρίου· ἠνεῴχθησαν δὲ παραχρῆμα αἱ θύραι πᾶσαι, καὶ πάντων τὰ δεσμὰ ἀνέθη.

The author of Acts indicated that suddenly (ἄφνω), there was a great earthquake (δὲ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο μέγας).  It was so violent (ὥστε) that the foundations (τὰ θεμέλια) of the prison (δεσμωτηρίου) were shaken (σαλευθῆναι).  Immediately (δὲ παραχρῆμα), all the doors (αἱ θύραι πᾶσαι) were opened (ἠνεῴχθησαν).  Everyone’s chains or locks (καὶ πάντων τὰ δεσμὰ) were unfastened (ἀνέθη).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word ἄφνω, that means suddenly.  This earthquake was reminiscent of the Gospel of Matthew with its earthquakes.  This was so violent that all the doors were opened.  Then all the chains or the stocks came unfastened.  Earthquakes were often considered divine actions.  This might have been an escape from prison as Peter had done in chapter 12:6-11.  Have you ever been in an earthquake?

Paul and Silas were praying (Acts 16:25)

“About midnight,


And Silas

Were praying

And singing hymns

To God.

The prisoners

Were listening

To them.”

Κατὰ δὲ τὸ μεσονύκτιον Παῦλος καὶ Σιλᾶς προσευχόμενοι ὕμνουν τὸν Θεόν, ἐπηκροῶντο δὲ αὐτῶν οἱ δέσμιοι·

The author of Acts indicated that about midnight (Κατὰ δὲ τὸ μεσονύκτιον), Paul (Παῦλος) and Silas (καὶ Σιλᾶς) were praying (προσευχόμενοι) and singing hymns (ὕμνουν) to God (τὸν Θεόν).  The other prisoners (οἱ δέσμιοι) were listening (ἐπηκροῶντο) to them (δὲ αὐτῶν).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word ἐπηκροῶντο, that means to listen attentively or to hear.  Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, while the other prisoners were listening.  Maybe some of them were also praying or singing.  Would you pray or sing hymns if you were in prison?

They were in the innermost prison cell (Acts 16:24)

“Following these instructions,

The jailor threw them

Into the innermost cell.

He fastened

Their feet in the stocks.”

ὃς παραγγελίαν τοιαύτην λαβὼν ἔβαλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν ἐσωτέραν φυλακὴν καὶ τοὺς πόδας ἠσφαλίσατο αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ ξύλον.

The author of Acts indicated that following these instructions (ὃς παραγγελίαν τοιαύτην λαβὼν), the jailer threw them (ἔβαλεν αὐτοὺς) into the innermost prison cell (εἰς τὴν ἐσωτέραν φυλακὴν).  He fastened (ἠσφαλίσατο αὐτῶν) their feet (καὶ τοὺς πόδας) in the wooden stocks (εἰς τὸ ξύλον).  This jailer followed the instructions of the magistrate.  He threw Paul and Silas into the prison cell that was farthest from the prison gate.  He even fastened their feet to the wooden stockades.  They would be secure.  Has anyone ever put chains on your feet?

They put them in prison (Acts 16:23)

“After they had given them

A severe flogging,

They threw them

Into prison.

They ordered

The jailer

To keep them securely.”

πολλάς δὲ ἐπιθέντες αὐτοῖς πληγὰς ἔβαλον εἰς φυλακήν, παραγγείλαντες τῷ δεσμοφύλακι ἀσφαλῶς τηρεῖν αὐτούς·

The author of Acts indicated that after they had given (δὲ ἐπιθέντες) them (αὐτοῖς) a severe flogging or many (πολλάς) blows (πληγὰς), they threw (ἔβαλον) them into prison (εἰς φυλακήν).  They ordered (παραγγείλαντες) the jailer (τῷ δεσμοφύλακι) to keep (τηρεῖν) them (αὐτούς) securely (ἀσφαλῶς).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word in this section δεσμοφύλακι, that means a prison keeper or a jailer.  After they beat Paul and Silas, they were put in jail securely.  Paul was in trouble again.  This time, he had Silas with him.  Have you ever been in jail?

The magistrates ordered them to be beaten (Acts 16:22)

“The crowd joined

In attacking them.

The magistrates

Had them stripped

Of their clothes.

They ordered them

To be beaten

With rods.”

καὶ συνεπέστη ὁ ὄχλος κατ’ αὐτῶν, καὶ οἱ στρατηγοὶ περιρήξαντες αὐτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐκέλευον ῥαβδίζειν,

The author of Acts indicated that the crowd (ὁ ὄχλος) joined in or rose up in attacking (καὶ συνεπέστη) Paul and Silas (κατ’ αὐτῶν).  The magistrates (καὶ οἱ στρατηγοὶ) had them stripped (περιρήξαντες) of their clothes (αὐτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια).  They ordered (ἐκέλευον) them to be beaten with rods (ῥαβδίζειν).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used these words συνεπέστη, that means to place over or rise together and the word περιρήξαντες, that means to tear off all around or tear off garments.  The crowd joined these men who were accusing Paul and Silas.  Thus, the magistrate ordered that they be stripped of their clothes and beaten with rods.  Paul mentioned this in 2 Corinthians, chapter 11:25, when he said that he was beaten with rods three times.  Paul always seemed to be getting into trouble.  Only later in this episode in verse 37 would he reveal that he was a Roman citizen.  However, when he was later in Jerusalem, he let his jailers know that he was a Roman citizen before they flogged him in chapter 22:25.  Here, however, he did not say anything about that until after he was about to be released.  Have you ever been beaten?

They have anti-Roman customs (Acts 16:21)


And Silas

Are advocating


That are not lawful

For us Romans

To adopt

Or observe.”

καὶ καταγγέλλουσιν ἔθη ἃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν ἡμῖν παραδέχεσθαι οὐδὲ ποιεῖν Ῥωμαίοις οὖσιν.

The author of Acts indicated that the owners of this girl said that Paul and Silas were advocating or proclaiming (καὶ καταγγέλλουσιν) customs (ἔθη) that were not lawful (ἃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν) for those Romans (ἡμῖν Ῥωμαίοις οὖσιν) to adopt (παραδέχεσθαι) nor observe or do (οὐδὲ ποιεῖν).  These men, who had lost the evil spirit that helped their servant girl to predict things, insinuated that Paul and Silas, because they were Jews, were anti-Roman.  In fact, the Jewish people had gotten along fine under Roman rule.  They had the right to practice their religion, but they could not ask other people to join them.  This was what Paul and his group were doing.  Thus, this young girl was only annoying them in return.  Christian propaganda was forbidden.  However, these people assumed that the Paul and Silas were Jewish since they were hanging around with the Jewish people there.  Would you be able to tell the difference between a Jewish and a Christian person?