Day 25

Conversion of the Philippian Jailer

from the Acts of the Apostles reading plan

Acts 16:16-40, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, 1 Peter 2:19-21

BY Guest Writer

Text: Acts 16:16-40, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, 1 Peter 2:19-21

Locked in prison and bound in chains, Paul and Silas make strange poster boys for freedom. When we conjure up images of freedom, we are more likely to picture an eagle in flight or a child running uninhibited through a field, than to picture two fellas in a shared prison cell. But make no mistake, even in prison, Paul and Silas were free. Their story reminds us that when God’s people live as though they’re free, the shock waves of radical faith radiate out into the world.

If you’re someone who likes to underline (or circle, doodle beside, or watercolor), grab your Bible and pen or paintbrush, and get to work highlighting verse 25:

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
-Acts 16:25

Paul and Silas had been arrested for disturbing the peace, and were then dragged into the marketplace where they were stripped and beaten with rods. Their response? They had church.

There simply wasn’t a dungeon dark enough to snuff out their status as the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). No earthly shackles could compare to the chains of sin Christ died to free them from. The key had been turned on the cages of death and condemnation, and no prison sentence could strip them of that freedom. Though imprisoned, they chose to live out the message of that favorite children’s song, “Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine.” The prisoners in chains all around them couldn’t help but listen in.

I can’t get enough of the jailer’s conversion from this passage. This man who held the keys to an earthly prison exchanged them for the keys to the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19). What a beautiful picture of the gospel!

As the earth shook beneath him and the prison doors flew open, perhaps he saw his own chains for the first time. When God’s people live freely, those in bondage all around us are moved to look at their own chains and repeat the jailer’s question:

“What must I do to be saved?”
-Acts 16:30

Don’t miss this! If we are in Christ, we are free indeed (John 8:36).  

Free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
Free from the enslaving weight of sin (Galatians 5:1).
Free from the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:21).
Free from eternal condemnation (Romans 8:1).   

Jesus is the great abolitionist. From the cross, He shook the foundations of our prison cells and flung open the doors to our hearts, freeing the bound and enslaved so that we might freely live.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
-Galatians 5:1


Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Conversion of the Philippian Jailer"

  1. Myra Heathman says:

    All we need to do is be willing to share Christ when the Holy Spirit prompts us. He will give you the words to say. I have found that it is different with each person I share with. First you have to get their attention by showing you really care about them

  2. Terri Lodge says:

    Be ready to answer the question, “What must I do to be saved?”

    I need to have the answer on the tip of my tongue, “Believe in the Lord Jesus!” and to let His light shine through me!!

  3. Jenn S says:

    Love this story and these illustrations- thank you!

  4. Beckie says:

    This reminded me of a book I once read called “singing through the night” by Anneke Campajan. It is about women from the persecuted church and how by singing hymns they were made stronger in Christ. In fact because of this, I am going to read it again. It is amazing how a song or hymn can mean so much and see us through tough times. I know how much music means to me and such an encouragement to see Paul and Silas did the same. Thank you SRT. Xxx

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