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The Roman world in which the apostles operated was a patriarchy, among other things women, children, slaves were "chattle", denoting a legal ownership of the father. (In a way that children "belong" to their parents is a form of this but to a much, much lesser degree today.).... In the ancient world it was closer to absolute. Thus could mean that when a Roman patron became a Christian as was Cornelius, f.ex., his entire household was baptized, including all the slaves and children. This concurs Haudmann's definition of "household salvation". We see an expanded version of this in the Reformation when for example the Danish king became Lutheran, his entire domain became Lutheran..... Today, of course, we are a very individualistic society and a household salvation in a patron sence is unthinkable in the adult-baptism world, while Catholics and Lutherans still carry a remnent of this, but even here it's rather archaic. Thus I doubt if household salvation is relevant to most readers of this website.
The way I understand it is like this. If one is saved in the household, say the mother, or father, often the rest of the household will eventually be saved to, through that saved persons witness, and God working on the rest. Remember, God does not have any grand children, cousins, nieces, aunts, or Uncles...... only sons and daughters.
I am actually answering the question "If I am saved, will my my whole household be saved?" The scripture for this question was Acts 16:31, and the story revolves around the jailing of Paul and Silas and their not fleeing from prison when the doors were opened by a miracle. Verse 27 states "And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep,and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled" (KJV) Well Paul told him to do no harm to himself as all of the prisoners were still there. The keeper of the prison was so thrilled that verse 30 says he brought out Paul and Silas and said to them what must he do to be saved. Which brings the verse 31 which leads to the question that if a person is saved will their whole household be saved, as was promised to the keeper of the prison by Paul and Silas. Now the rest of the story details how they ministered to the keeper of the prison and all that were in his house about Jesus Christ. Following that they were indeed baptized the keeper and his entire house. You can say what you will about the head of the household leading the way for salvation to come to his house, but that is all he can do. When you examine the versus carefully you will see key words at least in the King James Version. Lets further look at verses 32, 33 and 34. Verse 32 - "And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house." This implies everyone in his house was given the word concerning Jesus and his ministry and his story. The word was shared with his entire household. Verse 33 - "And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized he and all his, straightway." Once the jailer and his family received the doctrine of Jesus the entire family was baptized, not just the jailer but the entire family. Verse 34 - "And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." It was the entire family that rejoiced in the Lord and they all believed in God. It was not just the head of the household that did the believing it was the whole family. Now we are back to the original question and the answer is just as the scripture explained it. The jailer was not baptized by himself, his entire house listened to the word, accepted the word and were indeed baptized by Paul and Silas. The action of the head of the house in some cases can and will lead others to follow suit. However if I am baptized and my family does not accept Christ as their Lord and Savior then I alone am saved. We can't accept the Lord for anyone other than ourselves. Our salvation is ours and our family will have to make the same decision as the jailers family in our scripture did. They accepted Christ, and they were indeed saved as Paul had promised the jailer. Salvation for the household begins with a strong and devoted head of the household who by example walks the walk and talks the talk of Jesus. Yet the household that follows and confesses and believes shall be saved, not on my confession but their own.
The Creator, author of The Holy Bible is ALHYM has a lot to say about the household and its central importance in His relationship with Man. The first word is the Hebrew word BRASHYT (Ge 1:1) which is translated as “In (the) Beginning” or “Genesis”. It has 5 Hebrew letters. Verse 1 reads in Hebrew “In (the) beginning ALHYM created the heavens and the earth.” (the creator’s name is not “God” but ALHYM). The Hebrew word for household is “BYT” and the word for covenant is “BRYT”. The only difference is the letter Y, yod. There is a direct link between the two words. You can say that BYT is an abbreviation of BRYT. Each letter in Hebrew has an associated picture which gives its character. “B” – bet, is the picture of a tent “R” – resh, is a man’s head The two letters “BR” represent The Son of ALHYM “A” – alef, is an oxhead a symbol of strength, might. “A” represents ALHYM the Creator ALHYM is the eternal, almighty, exalted Father of all fathers in the heavens and the earth (Ge 1:1; Eph 3:14-15) “SH”- shin, two front teeth a symbol of destruction “Y” – yod, is an arm and a closed hand or fist. “Y” represents YHWH (Ge 2:4) another name for ALHYM which means “I AM” (Exo 3:14) “T” – tav is a mark or cross the sign of a covenant between two people If we join the Letters and pictures of the letters together we arrive at a remarkable statement “The Son of ALHYM is given authority by the father (Jo 1:1-4) to create the heavens and the earth and to sacrifice Himself for a covenant on a cross! ” Adam was created in the image of ALHYM (a plural and male gender, Ge 1:27) to be in ALHYM’S BYT together with His Son and The Holy Spirit (‘ruach’ Ge 1:2). He sinned and was evicted from ALHYM’s BYT, the Garden of Eden, Paradise. 4,030 years later iEsou christou sacrificed Himself on a cross on PESACH Passover for a New Covenant (Mt 26:26-28). So the Household BYT is an abbreviation of BRYT! In the Old Covenant, the Father’s role in his household was and is pivotal and of great authority. Everyone obeyed & obeys Dad! The Household is lifted up, e.g. Rahab (Josh 2:18-19), Joshua (Josh 24:15), King Hezekiah (2 Kg 20:1). In the New Covenant the Holy Spirit calls people to ALHYM by households (Greek ‘oikos) e.g. Cornelius (Ac 10), Lydia & The Philippian Jailer (Ac 16). Christ is the Head of every oikos (1 Cor 11:4; Ep 5: 22-23). In the New Covenant the male head of his oikos is the PROPHET (representing ALHYM to his loved ones), PRIEST (representing his loved ones to ALHYM) and KING protector and provider for his own home under Christ who combines all these roles in Himself – in the Old Covenant the roles were separate. I believe that we can understand the importance of the household in ALHYM’S plan of salvation if we recognise that the overemphasis on the individual in society is a modern Western cultural aberration and not the norm in history, especially for Christ’s Kingdom which we are. Lawrence NZ
A few different translations of Acts 16:31 help to shed light on this topic: Acts 16:31 And they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus [as your personal Savior and entrust yourself to Him] and you will be saved, you and your household [if they also believe].” -- AMP AMPC And they answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ [give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved, [and this applies both to] you and your household as well. WE They replied, `Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. All the people in your house must do the same.' 16:31 you and your household This could mean that both the jailer and his family should believe in the gospel or that it is rather certain that those in the jailer’s family will also believe in the gospel if he does. FSB Here’s an is an excerpt of an interesting entry that I found online: 34 Bible Verses about Entire Households Saved Acts 16:31 ESV And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31-34 ESV And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. Acts 11:14 ESV He will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ Acts 10:2 ESV A devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. Joshua 6:23 ESV So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. Genesis 7:1 ESV Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Acts 16:31-33 ESV And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Genesis 19:12 ESV Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. Acts 16:34 ESV Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. 2 Timothy 1:5 ESV I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. There are some “ify” passages that I have included above, but they all can be explained. The gospel or good news of salvation is simply this: Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 2:11). That’s all. Just believe in Jesus! Plus or minus nothing! In Acts 16:31-34 Paul and Silas are taking the family unit seriously. So the offer of salvation was made to the jailer’s whole household—family and servants. But it wasn’t the jailer’s faith that saved the others; they all needed to come to Jesus in faith and believe in him that same way that the jailer had. LASB
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