Let’s start with Acts chapter 16. Note these scriptures are copied from the New World Translation, Watchtower’s Bible translation, the Bible of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why I chose that translation will become apparent in the article. Chapter 16 of Acts starting at verse 29 reads:
29 So he (a jailer) asked for lights and rushed in, and seized with trembling, he fell down before Paul and Silas.30 He brought them outside and said: “Sirs, what must I do to get saved?”31 They said: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will get saved, you and your household.”32 Then they spoke the word of Jehovah * [literally the Lord not Jehovah], to him together with all those in his house.33 And he took them along in that hour of the night and washed their wounds. Then he and his entire household were baptized without delay.34 He brought them into his house and set a table before them, and he rejoiced greatly with all his household now that he had believed in God.”
It was Paul and Silas that were asked the question, “what must I do to get saved?” Since Paul wrote more New Testament scriptures than any other Christian, we should trust his answer. So what was his answer? Both he and Silas answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will get saved, you and your household.”
What does it mean to believe in Lord Jesus? It means accepting his position as God over us doesn’t it? Note that verse 34 of the New World Translation states, “he (the jailer) rejoiced greatly with all his household now that he had believed in God.” So Luke, the author of Acts, appears to have claimed the man believed Lord Jesus was God. His God right? The implication is very strong, yet I am confident that would be denied by Watchtower, since Watchtower teaches Christ is not God.
But look, first the jailer was told he needed to believe in Lord Jesus; and then we are told he had believed in God after he was told about the Lord. What Lord? That ambiguity is the reason Watchtower substituted the Greek word for Lord with the name Jehovah, who Watchtower teaches is the Father. So why did Watchtower translate the Greek word for lord in vs 34 as Jehovah, who Watchtower claims is the Father? Because whoever’s words the jailer heard, that are referred to in vs 32, caused that jailer to believe in the god of vs 34. If those words were the Father’s words referenced in vs 32, then Watchtower could logically assert the god the jailer believed in, per verse 34, was the Father and not Lord Jesus.
However, since Paul had initially told the jailer to believe in the Lord Jesus to attain salvation, it seems most likely Paul was sharing words from Christ and about Christ, which caused the jailer to accept Christ as his god, along with the Father.
Evidence that the jailer heard of and accepted Christ’s words was the jailer’s baptism, in compliance with Christ’s directions at Matthew 28: 18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
So after listening to words spoken about Christ the jailer submitted to the authority Christ claimed to have in Matthew chapter 28. How long did it take the jailer to get saved after hearing words about Christ? It seems not long at all. Verse 33 reads, “Then he and his entire household were baptized without delay.”
Factors leading to his salvation were:
1. His desire to get saved. “Sirs, what must I do to get saved?”
2. Someone to share the message about Christ. “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him.”
3. His decision to accept what he was told and act upon it. “He rejoiced greatly with all his household now that he had believed in God.”
It’s quite apparent one prerequisite Jehovah’s Witnesses require of their members preceding baptism is absent, proving its presence is unnecessary to receive salvation, according to scripture. The absent circumstance is a lengthy study of the scriptures. Because the jailer was baptized without delay. That’s not a rare occurrence in Bible scriptures. It’s the norm. Watchtower teaches that wasn’t required of ancient Jews because they already knew God. However, that argument is invalid in this case. The jailer was a Roman citizen, not a Jew.
Footnote *In vs 32 the Greek word is kyriou. It really translates to Lord, and not Jehovah, as the New World Translation replaced it in verse 32, which actually should read, “they spoke to him the word of the Lord,” which is the literal word to word translation from Greek to English. It’s very apparent Paul and Silas were giving the jailer and his family information about Jesus’ words. So unless Watchtower now identifies Jesus as the person of Jehovah, and I know they don’t, then their translation would have been more accurate if they typed in the correct English word in verse 32, instead of substituting the name Jehovah.
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