|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:25-34 The consolations of God to his suffering servants are neither few nor small. How much more happy are true Christians than their prosperous enemies! As in the dark, so out of the depths, we may cry unto God. No place, no time is amiss for prayer, if the heart be lifted up to God. No trouble, however grievous, should hinder us from praise. Christianity proves itself to be of God, in that it obliges us to be just to our own lives. Paul cried aloud to make the jailer hear, and to make him heed, saying, Do thyself no harm. All the cautions of the word of God against sin, and all appearances of it, and approaches to it, have this tendency. Man, woman, do not ruin thyself; hurt not thyself, and then none else can hurt thee; do not sin, for nothing but that can hurt thee. Even as to the body, we are cautioned against the sins which do harm to that. Converting grace changes people's language of and to good people and good ministers. How serious the jailer's inquiry! His salvation becomes his great concern; that lies nearest his heart, which before was furthest from his thoughts. It is his own precious soul that he is concerned about. Those who are thoroughly convinced of sin, and truly concerned about their salvation, will give themselves up to Christ. Here is the sum of the whole gospel, the covenant of grace in a few words; Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. The Lord so blessed the word, that the jailer was at once softened and humbled. He treated them with kindness and compassion, and, professing faith in Christ, was baptized in that name, with his family. The Spirit of grace worked such a strong faith in them, as did away further doubt; and Paul and Silas knew by the Spirit, that a work of God was wrought in them. When sinners are thus converted, they will love and honour those whom they before despised and hated, and will seek to lessen the suffering they before desired to increase. When the fruits of faith begin to appear, terrors will be followed by confidence and joy in God.
Verse 26. - Prison-house for prison, A.V., as Acts 5:21, 23. All the doors were opened. This would be the natural effect of the earthquake. Bands (δεσμά). St. Luke always follows the Attic usage of δεσμόν, in the neuter (romp. Acts 20:23; Luke 8:29). St. Paul follows the Hellenistic usage of δεσμός, in the masculine (Philippians 1:13; see Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 5:5; Habakkuk 3:13). In many instances (genitive and dative) it is, of course, impossible to determine whether the word is masculine or neuter.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And suddenly there was a great earthquake,.... An extraordinary and unusual one; which did not arise from natural causes, from wind being pent up in the earth, but from the prayers and praises of the saints, going up to heaven; when God was pleased to testify his presence and power this way; and the effects which followed upon this earthquake, show it to be a supernatural one:
so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; not the roof and walls only, as is common in earthquakes, but the very foundation also; and yet the edifice was not thrown down, as is usual when the foundation is shaken:
and immediately all the doors were opened; both of the outer and inner prisons, which is another unusual effect of earthquakes:
and everyone's bands were loosed; not only the bands of Paul and Silas, but of the rest of the prisoners; though the Arabic version reads, "all the fetters and bands of both were loosed", referring it only to Paul and Silas; this circumstance shows also, that the earthquake was miraculous, for when was it ever known that such an effect ever followed one?
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26-28. And suddenly there was a great earthquake—in answer, doubtless, to the prayers and expectations of the sufferers that, for the truth's sake and the honor of their Lord, some interposition would take place.
every one's bands—that is, the bands of all the prisoners.
were loosed—not by the earthquake, of course, but by a miraculous energy accompanying it. By this and the joyous strains which they had heard from the sufferers, not to speak of the change wrought on the jailer, these prisoners could hardly fail to have their hearts in some measure opened to the truth; and this part of the narrative seems the result of information afterwards communicated by one or more of these men.
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