Some people have heard for years in their churches that Acts 2:38 says something like, “with the evidence of speaking in tongues” at the end. It is ingrained in them that the Scripture actually states this and it does not. When it is pointed out and they look it up in their Bible, they are shocked. Yes, they have previously read it on their own, but it was repeated in sermons so much that the faulty version stuck in their mind.
Similarly, many have heard that the preceding verse has the people asking, “What shall we do to be saved?” But the ‘to be saved’ is nowhere to be found. What happened is that Peter preached to them that they had crucified their awaited Messiah. Their response to this was “what shall we do?” What were they supposed to do, now that they realized what actually happened?
Yet there IS a place in the New Testament where that question is indeed asked in the book of Acts. Chapter 16 sees Paul and Silas thrown into prison. As they sung hymns of praise to God late at night while their fellow prisoners listened, there was an earthquake and everyone in the prison was freed. The jailer awoke, and seeing the doors ajar, he thought to kill himself as the authorities would take his life when they discovered the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out to him and said to do himself no harm, that everyone was still there. Fearful, the jailer fell at their feet. Verse 30 says he asked them, “What must I do to be saved?”
What did Paul and Silas say in response? They told the jailer to believe in Jesus and he and his household would be saved.
They then spoke the word of the Lord to the jailer and those at his home. He washed the wounds of Silas and Paul. Then he and all his household were water baptized. He then fed them and all rejoiced in their newfound faith.
Did Paul and Silas say there were three steps to salvation and if one was not met, they would be lost? Did they show a list of rules that had to be kept afterward, in order to keep their salvation? There was not even a mention of speaking in tongues, either. It has been, and always will be, to believe in Jesus and you will be saved. This isn’t easy believism, as true belief brings about actions and a changed life through the working of God’s Spirit.