Paul and Silas had told the Jailer that salvation would come from believing on Christ, but what did this jailer know about Jesus’? It is unlikely that he had heard any of the sermons that Paul and Silas had preached in Philippi. He evidently knew nothing about Jesus, other than what he had learned from hearing their songs and prayers. They had to teach him. “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house” (16:32). Did speaking the “word of the Lord” include the necessity of baptism?
Two appropriate questions are, “When were the jailer and his family baptized?” Luke records, “He took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway” (16:33). When was “the same hour of the night?” Remember the prisoners were worshipping at midnight (16:25). Then the earthquake came and they had spent time teaching him the “word of the Lord.” Without question it was in the wee hours of the morning when the jailer responded. Why didn’t they at least wait until morning light before they were baptized, if baptism was not essential?
A second appropriate question is, “When did they rejoice?” That would give an indication into when the burden of sin was lifted. Was it before or after baptism? “…And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (16:34). It was after their baptism. They rejoiced, knowing that their sins were forgiven, and they had truly obeyed the Lord. The jailer had a saving faith, a faith that responded to the sacrifice of Christ by obeying Him. His obedience in baptism demonstrated his faith, and his faith was demonstrated in his baptism. The jailer was like all other Christians we read of in the New Testament. He was saved after baptism.
Bob Prichard — from smithvillechurch.org