Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

This verse is often interpreted to mean that if a person is born again, their household is promised salvation. In my Christian experience, many accept this as the correct interpretation of these scriptures. I heard a pastor once say that our families are promised salvation, so if a family member dies we are to believe by faith that they are saved, even if there is no evidence of salvation in that family member’s life. That is a false assumption. Our families are no different than anyone else.  They will only be saved if they heed the words of Jesus …

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

Luke 13:3 … except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.


  1. The bible does not teach “group” salvation. The Lord deals with us as individuals. Like anyone else, salvation is offered to members of our family only if they repent and believe.

    Jesus said …

    (Matthew 7:13-15) Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.


  2. Sue,

    We must let Scripture interpret Scripture, and Scripture does not teach that salvation is guaranteed to someone because they have a believing relative. God deals with us as individuals. In the case of Lot, he had family members that were not saved . . .

    Genesis 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

    And remember Lot’s wife . . .

    Genesis 19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

    In the Old Testament we read . . .

    Micah 7:6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

    And in the New Testament we read . . .

    Matthew 10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

    Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    Matthew 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    Matthew 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

    Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    I don’t want to discourage anyone in their praying for and witnessing to their loved ones. We must do these things, then leave those who are dear to us in God’s hands. But to think that their salvation is guaranteed because they are related to a believer is a deceptive teaching which can only bring harm.


  3. However, God saved Noah and his house, because God found HIM righteous. Gen. 7:1
    God saved Abraham’s wife Sarah and nephew Lot were saved because Abraham found God’s grace. (Gen. 12:5)
    The Lord passed over all those in the houses that had the blood on the door posts, Ex. 12:12-13)
    God saved lot and his daughter’s because of Abraham’s righteousness. Gen. 19:29)
    The Lord save Rahab and family And her father’s house hold because of Rahab. (Joshua, 7:25)
    There’s the instance of the Philippian jailor,
    ( Acts :16: 30-31).
    But the clearest message I know of this doctrine is
    1st Cor. 7:14
    “For the unbelieving husband is sancified by the wife,and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean, but now they are holy.”


  4. Hi PJ,

    I have encountered the “household salvation” doctrine often. The pastor I refer to in the post is a pentecostal pastor. I don’t know if this teaching is prevelant in any particular denomination, but I do know that I’ve heard Chistians express this belief often. I too have attempted to share certain things with the “body,” but it was not received. That’s where these blogs can be helpful. Doctrines can be thought over and reconsidered, without the stress of confrontation. I think I’m getting too old for that 🙂 .



  5. Barnes interprets it the same way i always have also…

    The first time i ever heard it misapplied to mean ALL of any household will be saved because the ‘Head’ of the household is, it took me by surprise. It was something i’d never encountered before.

    I tried explaining to the person [he’s other-wise, very solid in his doctrine] that this could not be so, for salvation is a personal call…AND a personal decision that each person has to make.

    Sadly i could not get him to see that..

    Is this belief one which is prominent in certain denominations Cathy?


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