The next household we meet is that of Lydia “a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, …whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there.” (Acts 16:14-15). The Lord opened the heart of Lydia and she opened her house. It is all individual. Her own personal salvation was unquestionable, and so she was baptized. But what about her household? Were the members of it saved? Were there children in it or not? On all this the Scripture is absolutely silent: and it is not silent for the purpose of giving us the opportunity to speculate about these matters. This Spirit of God has another purpose in view in the way He records these various households. So the important thing for us is to note what the Scripture says, and not add our own thoughts: and the Scripture records that Lydia’s household was baptized, without any mention whatever of faith, real or otherwise, on their part. The narrative is complete. The Spirit has told us all He wishes us to know, and we dare not add to it by reasoning or surmising. As the Scripture records it, Lydia’s whole household was baptized on the ground of her faith.


          It is very sad that these households which have been specially recorded for the instruction, comfort, and encouragement of us Gentile believers, have with very many been turned into a subject for vain speculation and dispute. How much better were we to come to the Scriptures to humbly seek to hear what they would teach us, instead of trying to force into them our own views and ideas. Let us, then, seek grace and humility to lay aside our own opinions, and to hear only what the Word says. It is no new thing in the Scriptures to see the household brought into a place of external blessing, on the ground of the individual faith and responsibility of its head. We noted this at some length in the case of Rahab, and might have spoken of the same thing in connection with other households.


          Previous to Noah, individual relationship and responsibility, as in Abel, Enoch, and others was the principle that God recognized, and on which He acted. But with Noah came a new development in God’s dealings with man. Responsible government was introduced, and God commanded: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” (Genesis 9:6). This was something new in God’s order; and with the introduction of government, God also disclosed household relationship with its corresponding responsibility, attached to its head. “Come thou and all thy house into the ark, for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1). No mention is made of the righteousness or faith of the household, but the whole house entered the ark on the ground of that of its head: and so even Ham, who afterwards proved to be so evil, was brought into a place of external blessing on the ground of his father’s righteousness and faith. “By faith Noah…prepared an ark to the saving of his house: …and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7).


          Many other instances of this principle appear in the Old Testament. All the men of Abraham’s house were circumcised on the ground of Abraham’s faith. (Genesis 17:27,27). We find Abraham’s whole household again linked with him, in Genesis 18:19. ***Note that the Lord was ready to save all of Lot’s household. The angels said to him: “Hast thou here any besides? Son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place.” Those sons in law were probably Sodomites, yet for Lot’s sake, the Lord would have saved them, had they been willing to be saved. Genesis 19. *** Potiphar’s whole house was blessed for Joseph’s sake. And Joseph was his slave. Genesis 32:5. ***We find the same principle when Pharaoh wished to keep the little ones in Egypt. The grand reply is: “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go…there shall not an hoof be left behind.” Exodus 10:9,26. This beautifully illustrates God’s grand principle that the whole household, and all that he has, is included with the head of that household. ***We find the same thing in the Passover: “In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house.” Exodus 12:3. ***The Spirit of God takes care to point out to us in the New Testament, that when Israel crossed the Red Sea, all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. (I Corinthians 10:1-2.) The Scripture tells us there were six hundred thousand men, “beside children”, Exodus 12:37. Most of these men would be heads of households, and each brought his whole household with him out of Egypt. There were, doubtless, hundreds of thousands of infants and children, all of whom were baptized with their fathers “unto Moses.” By this baptism externally they “all” left the dominion of Pharaoh, and “all” came under the authority of Moses, men and women, infants and children, alike. ***Aaron’s bullock for the sin offering was “for himself, and for his house.” ***At the rebellion of Korah, Bathan and Abiram, the households of Dathan and Abiram were swallowed up with them, and these households included little ones. Numbers 16:27, 32-33; Deuteronomy 11:6. ***The Hebrew servant would not go out free, “because he loveth thee and thine house.” Deuteronomy 15:16. ***Thou and thy household were to eat the firstling males of the herd or of the flock. Deuteronomy 15:20. ***The same was true of the basket of first fruits in Deuteronomy 26:11. ***We have noted Rahab, a Gentile, in Joshua 2:12,18; 6:23-25. Here we find that her whole household, including the widest possible circle, were saved on the ground of her faith alone. ***We find another Gentile in Judges 1:25, who brought blessing and safety to “all his family” by his one act of faith. ***Obed-edom the Gittite was another Gentile for whom God acted according to this same truth: “The Lord blessed Obed-edom, and all his household.” 2 Samuel 6:11-12. ***Ittai the Gittite (another Gentile from Gath) well understood God’s order in this matter: “David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him.” 2 Samuel 15:22. They passed over to share their king’s rejection, along with their father. ***When Israel was in great fear in the days of Jehosphaphat “all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” 2 Chronicles 20:13. ***In Nehemiah’s day “they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced.” Nehemiah 12:43. ***We might continue, but I fear I have already wearied you; but I trust that this will make clear that from Noah’s day onward, God’s great principle was: “Thou and thy house.”


          The households of Cornelius and Lydia follow on in this remarkable line of households that we find all through the Old Testament. Great efforts have been made to prove that these New Testament households had no children, or that all were of an age to believe, and had done so. To raise such questions when the Holy Spirit deliberately and intentionally is totally silent as to them, is merely to show that he who raises them has entirely missed the object of the Spirit of God. To the one well acquainted with the Old Testament, the term “household” should have become thoroughly familiar, and what it implied should have been well understood. It is almost what we might call “a technical term.” The meaning the Spirit of God has in using it, is to be found in the use He has made of it in earlier Scriptures: and we have seen that it means exactly what it says: all in the house. This might, or might not, include infants, children, or servants; and God did not upbraid Rahab when she stretched the meaning to include parents and brothers and sisters and their families. I suppose it is: According to your faith, so be it unto you. Some have pressed that we never find infants or children baptized in the Bible, so we may not include these in the households we are now considering: but we have already seen that some half million or more households, including untold numbers of infants and children, were baptized, as pointed out in First Corinthians. If we are to understand aright these Scriptures we are now looking at, we must accept these households in the way in which the Spirit uses this word, or its representative, as family, little ones, etc., in the earlier portions of the Word: and we must receive these Scriptures as they stand without adding to them.