The Meaning of Acts 16:36 Explained

Acts 16:36

KJV: And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.

YLT: and the jailor told these words unto Paul -- 'The magistrates have sent, that ye may be let go; now, therefore, having gone forth go on in peace;'

Darby: And the jailor reported these words to Paul: The praetors have sent that ye may be let go. Now therefore go out and depart in peace.

ASV: And the jailor reported the words to Paul,'saying , The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore come forth, and go in peace.

What does Acts 16:36 Mean?

Context Summary

Acts 16:25-40 - Salvation In The Jail
Some, as we have seen, are converted by the gentle opening of the heart; others amid the convulsions of the storm. The first knowledge of salvation may have reached the heart of the jailer through the saving of the possessed girl, Acts 16:17. If only the heart is right with Christ, it can sing in the darkest night; and the impression of those holy songs must have wrought still further upon the conscience of this rough Roman official, who had treated his prisoners with uncommon severity, Acts 16:24. The inner prison! Perhaps some of our readers have been in it! They have come to an end of themselves and their feet are fastened!
But God has His own way of deliverance and never forsakes His own. Art thou in the stocks today? Then pray and sing praises! Choose, for instance, Psalms 103:1-22. God will be thy very present help. Thou shalt win thy jailer, and become a monument of God's saving mercy. There is no course for the convicted sinner but to trust in the salvation wrought upon the Cross; or still better, in Him who wrought it.
Paul was perfectly justified in insisting upon his civil rights when he had the opportunity, Acts 16:37. It made the way easier for his new converts. [source]

Chapter Summary: Acts 16

1  Paul and Silas are Joined by Timothy,
7  and being called by the Spirit from one country to another,
14  convert Lydia,
16  and cast out a spirit of divination;
19  for which cause they are whipped and imprisoned
25  The prison doors are opened
31  The jailor is converted,
35  and they are delivered

Greek Commentary for Acts 16:36

Now therefore [νυν ουν]
Note both particles (time and inference). It was a simple matter to the jailor and he was full of glee over this happy outcome. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Acts 16:36

Acts 16:23 Many stripes [πολλας πληγας]
The Jewish law was forty stripes save one (2 Corinthians 11:24). The Roman custom depended on the caprice of the judge and was a terrible ordeal. It was the custom to inflict the stripes on the naked body (back) as Livy 2.5 says: “Missique lictores ad sumendum supplicium, nudatos virgis caedunt.” On πληγας — plēgas (from πλησσω — plēssō to strike a blow) See note on Luke 10:30; and notes on Luke 12:47. The jailor (τωι δεσμοπυλακι — tōi desmophulaki). Late word (δεσμοσ πυλαχ — desmosαρχιδεσμοπυλαχ — phulax keeper of bonds), in the N.T. only here (Acts 16:23, Acts 16:27, Acts 16:36). The lxx has the word ασπαλως τηρειν — archidesmophulax (Genesis 39:21-23). Chrysostom calls this jailor Stephanus, he was of Achaia (1 Corinthians 16:15). To keep safely Present active infinitive, to keep on keeping safely, perhaps “as dangerous political prisoners” (Rackham). He had some rank and was not a mere turnkey. [source]
Hebrews 11:31 With peace [μετ ' εἰρήνηνς]
The phrase only here and Acts 15:33. Quite often in lxx, as Genesis 15:15; Genesis 26:29; Exodus 18:23; Deuteronomy 20:20; Judges 8:9. In N.T. ἐν εἰρήνῃ inpeace (Acts 16:36; James 2:16): εἰς εἰρήνην intopeace (Mark 5:34; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48); both these very often in lxx. Rahab received the spies without enmity, and did not allow them to suffer harm from others. An interesting parallel is furnished by Dante, Purg. ii. 99, in the case of the pilot-angel who conveys souls to the shore of Purgatory.“He, sooth to say, for three months past has takenWhoever wished to enter, with all peace ” (without interposing any obstacle.) [source]

What do the individual words in Acts 16:36 mean?

Reported then the jailer the words these to - Paul - Have sent the captains that you may be let go Now therefore having gone out depart in peace
Ἀπήγγειλεν δὲ δεσμοφύλαξ τοὺς λόγους τούτους πρὸς τὸν Παῦλον ὅτι Ἀπέσταλκαν οἱ στρατηγοὶ ἵνα ἀπολυθῆτε νῦν οὖν ἐξελθόντες πορεύεσθε ἐν εἰρήνῃ

Ἀπήγγειλεν  Reported 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀγγέλλω 
Sense: to bring tidings (from a person or a thing), bring word, report.
δεσμοφύλαξ  jailer 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: δεσμοφύλαξ  
Sense: a keeper of a prison, a jailor.
λόγους  words 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: λόγος  
Sense: of speech.
τούτους  these 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
τὸν  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Παῦλον  Paul 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: Παῦλος  
Sense: Paul was the most famous of the apostles and wrote a good part of the NT, the 4 Pauline epistles.
ὅτι  - 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
Ἀπέσταλκαν  Have  sent 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ἀποστέλλω 
Sense: to order (one) to go to a place appointed.
στρατηγοὶ  captains 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: στρατηγός  
Sense: the commander of an army.
ἵνα  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἵνα  
Sense: that, in order that, so that.
ἀπολυθῆτε  you  may  be  let  go 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Passive, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ἀπολύω  
Sense: to set free.
νῦν  Now 
Parse: Adverb
Root: νῦν  
Sense: at this time, the present, now.
ἐξελθόντες  having  gone  out 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἐξέρχομαι 
Sense: to go or come forth of.
πορεύεσθε  depart 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Middle or Passive, 2nd Person Plural
Root: πορεύομαι  
Sense: to lead over, carry over, transfer.
εἰρήνῃ  peace 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: εἰρήνη  
Sense: a state of national tranquillity.