Paul’s Stocks and Bonds

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks (Acts 16:23,24 KJV).

Financial stocks and bonds are sources of great wealth. The Apostle Paul, although poor (2 Corinthians 11:27; Philippians 4:11-13), had much experience with “stocks” and “bonds.”

As the context of today’s Scripture proves (verse 12 onward), he, Silas, Luke, and others travel to Philippi (northern Greece) to preach the Gospel of Grace. A Gentile religious woman, Lydia, and an unnamed devil-possessed slave girl are two of their converts. The girl’s owners—furious that their “money-making machine” has disappeared—drag Paul and Silas into the marketplace (court). There, they persuade the authorities to arrange for the Apostles to be beaten with rods (“caning”). Paul and Silas receive “many stripes [wounds].”

Paul and Silas are then imprisoned, eventually evangelizing the jailor and his household (today’s Scripture to the chapter’s end). While captive, their feet are “fast [secure] in the stocks.” The “stocks” were an instrument of punishment consisting of an adjustable wooden structure with holes for securing a person’s hands and feet. Confined to such a device, criminals could be subject to public ridicule and abuse of all kinds. What torture Paul and Silas were willing to endure for our Lord Jesus Christ!

Later, in Acts 20:22-24, Paul confessed: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” These “bonds” are chains, shackles, instruments of imprisonment. The Apostle is in “bonds” in Acts 25:14; Acts 26:29; Ephesians 6:20; Philippians 1:7,13-16; Colossians 4:3,18; 2 Timothy 2:9; and Philemon 10 and 13.

“Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound(2 Timothy 2:9).

At Calvary #3

Thursday, June 19, 2014

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25 KJV).

The third verse of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary.”

In 2 Timothy 1:11,12, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Some 35 years earlier, Paul had entrusted his very soul to Jesus Christ. The Apostle, in prison awaiting execution, knew that, no matter what happened to his physical body, his soul was secure in Christ. Never would his Saviour disappoint him.

Once, when we were “children of pride,” Satan was our king (Job 41:34). Now, we recognize Jesus Christ as King in our lives. Paul’s doxology, 1 Timothy 1:17, reminds us: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Verse 16 says we praise Jesus Christ because of His “mercy and longsuffering” that caused Him to save us).

In Acts chapter 16, Paul and Silas, having just been beaten and whipped for preaching the Gospel of Grace, sat in a Philippian jail with their feet chained. Despite all their troubles, they sang praises to the Lord Jesus Christ—and the prisoners heard them (today’s Scripture)! Evidently, now, they were singing about the Gospel of Grace, for the Philippian jailor later asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Their timeless reply was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (verse 31).

We have relied on Jesus Christ for our soul salvation. Hence, our delighted souls cannot help but remember that our eternal life began at Calvary’s cruel cross where the Son of God died. What a song we can sing, even in the midst of heartache! 🙂