But we must look further at the households that the Spirit is bringing before us. After Lydia, in the same chapter, verses 25 to 34, we find the household of the jailor at Philippi. Notice the jailor’s question, and the answer: “What must I do to be saved? … Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Reader, this is for us also. Accept it, Believe it, Rejoice in it, and thank God for His grace that have given us such a promise for our households. Notice that it is almost the same word as to Cornelius by the angel: but notice also that it does not say: “Believe on Jesus and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” No doubt every one who truly believes on Jesus will be saved: but the promise “and thy house” is for one who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. This involves bowing to His Lordship, and seeking by his grace to keep His word, and put Him first in our lives.
The “house” being included in the head of it, Paul and Silas spoke unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And the account continues: “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” (Acts 16:33-34). One would suppose from this that all in the jailor’s house believed when Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to them: but the Greek New Testament, in the words uttered by the Holy Spirit, does not say this. This Revised Version renders it: “He rejoiced greatly with all his house, having believed in God.” The New Translation by Mr. Darby has “he laid the table for them, and rejoiced with all his house, having believed in God.” The Greek word “having believed” is nominative, singular, masculine, and can refer only to the jailor. We have seen a very similar example of the rejoicing in the case of the wives and the children in Nehemiah’s day: and some of these “children” were almost surely too little to understand the cause of the joy, yet they rejoiced in the joy of their parents. Again we see that the Scripture is totally silent as to who composed the household, and as to their spiritual condition. The faith, conversion and baptism of the jailor are unquestionable, but the verbs rejoiced and believing are both in the singular, and apply to the jailor: though the household rejoiced with him, or “as a household”, or, “householdly”, if we could use such a term. Do not think it is an accident that the Spirit of God is silent in these cases as to the faith of the households, or who composed them. This silence is intentional to bring home to us Gentiles, that God’s great principle of external blessing for the household on the ground of the faith of its head, also applies to us.