Acts 16:31 “Salvation Is Personal”


Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”


We sometimes come across someone who firmly believes that when someone becomes a Christian, the rest of his or her family would one day be saved as well. Some might even claim it as a promise of God and cite the above verse and the conversion of Cornelius and his household in Acts 10 as evidence of household salvations. Is such thinking correct?

Acts 16:16-40 covers events that took place when Paul and Silas were at Philippi in Macedonia. Paul and Silas were unjustly beaten and imprisoned. God intervened by causing an earthquake to shake the foundations of the prison where Paul and Silas were kept. The prisoners’ doors and chains were loosened. The jailer thought all the prisoners would escape. Fearing the worst, the jailer was about to kill himself but Paul and Silas stopped him. The jailer asked them what he must do to be saved in vs.30 and their reply was to believe in the Lord Jesus.

The above verse does not promise household salvation. The Bible consistently teaches that salvation is a personal. Everyone must admit that they have sinned and their need for a Savior. They must believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and that He rose again on the third day (John 3:16). The fact that this jailer’s household was saved was because the jailer and his household all heard Paul and Silas share the gospel and they all believed in Jesus as their Savior (Acts 16:32). This was the same with Cornelius’ household in Acts 10.

We have to help those who misunderstood about household salvation. Where a Christian belongs to a family of mainly unbelievers, he or she has an important role to influence the rest of the family. It is through leading a godly life and regularly praying for the salvation of family members, and sharing the gospel with family members at opportune times that the household may convert. That conversion is personal and may take time, or sometimes not at all. In the same way, Christian parents have an important role to bring their children up according to Biblical principles and to teach their children the Bible. Prayerfully, one day, the children will make a personal decision to put their faith and trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must remember that just because someone is from a Christian household does not necessarily make that person a Christian.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for your free gift of salvation offered to all who would believe in your Son, the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior. Help each one of us to be actively influencing our non-believing family members and pointing them to the truth of the gospel so that they might be saved. We pray for their salvation. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray, Amen.



  1. Who are the non-Christians in your family? Name them and commit to pray for their salvation regularly.
  2. How can you influence your non-Christian family members? Discuss.
  3. What new ways can you try, to point your non-Christian family members to Jesus?
  4. What can parents do to influence and guide their children to know about Jesus? Share and Discuss.