The Acts of the Apostles – Chapter Eight

The Acts of the Apostles

 

Chapter Eight

Now Saul had consented to killing him.

[Saul was a young member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body who interpreted Jewish law and was well versed in Scripture and also very zealous for the law. He would, from this point on, persecute the believers and be a witness to their deaths or imprisonments.]

And that day (the very hour) a great persecution arose against the church that was in Jerusalem; and all the believers were scattered throughout the countries of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.

[Just a few hours earlier they found great favor in the eyes of the people and then came the mob mentality into play and now they were being driven out of the city with just the clothes on their backs. A valuable lesson to be learned is this, friendship with the world is enmity towards God, and that is what many Christians practice today by compromising. For when the mob mentality takes over, friendships are tossed aside. Another lesson to be learned is this; we are not to huddle behind closed doors and barred windows or steal away into monasteries, but we are to share the gospel with a world filled with sin and wickedness regardless of the cost. Can we do that today in this life of comfortable living and low-cost trials?]

But Saul was ravaging the church, going from house to house, entering in and dragging out men and women, and delivering them up to prison. (Just as they do in communist countries like China and North Korea and where Islam is enforced with an iron fist.) Therefore, those who were scattered passed through everywhere, preaching the word of the gospel.

Then Philip went down to a city of Samaria and proclaimed Christ to them; and the multitudes listened intently with one accord to the things spoken by Philip when they heard and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many of those who had them; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.

But there was a certain man named Simon, who had from earlier times been practicing sorcery (or magic with the help of demonic entities) in the city and astounding the nation of Samaria, proclaiming himself to be some great one. To him they had all given heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

Now they were giving heed to him because he had for a long time bewitched (deceived) them with sorceries.

But when they believed Philip, who was preaching the gospelthe things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christthey were baptized, both men and women. (They believed after hearing and were then baptized into the faith without delay. Often within the hour.) Then Simon himself also believed; and after being baptized, he steadfastly continued with Philip; and as he beheld the signs and great works of power that were being done, he was amazed.

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them; who after coming down to Samaria, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for as yet it had not fallen upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered them money, saying, “Give this authority to me also, so that on whomever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your money be destroyed with you because you thought that the gift of God might be purchased with money. You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this your wickedness, and beseech God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you; for I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness and the bondage of unrighteousness.” But Simon answered and said, “You beseech the Lord on my behalf, so that none of those things which you have spoken may come upon me.” (The love of money is the root of all evil, and we see it among those who preach the gospel for profit.)

So then, after they had earnestly testified and preached the Word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem; and they preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans as they went.

Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south, on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is the desert.” And he arose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian man, a eunuch, one in power under Candice, the queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, had come to worship in Jerusalem, and was returning; and he sat in his chariot, reading the book of the prophet Isaiah.

[He was not alone being a member of the Queen’s administration but had an escort of soldiers on foot and horseback. And that he sat in his chariot also makes clear that he was a man of the royal court as he was driven to and from Jerusalem. You need to forget the traditions and believe the Scriptures and learn some history along the way.]

Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and join yourself to this chariot.” And when Philip ran up, he heard him reading the words of the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are now reading?” And he said, “But how am I able to understand, without someone to guide me?” And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture that he was reading was this, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb is dumb before the one who is shearing it, so He did not open His mouth. In His humiliation, His judgment was taken away; and who shall declare His genealogy? For His life is taken from the earth.” And the eunuch answered and said to Philip, “I pray you, about whom does the prophet say this? About himself, or about another?”

Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning from this scripture, preached to him the gospel of Jesus. And as they were going down the road, they came upon a certain pool of water; and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water! What is preventing me from being baptized?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, it is permitted.” Then he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he commanded the one driving the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

[There was no delaying once the eunuch believed and confessed his faith in Jesus. And he was immersed in the water, not sprinkled on the head. A believer must believe what the Scriptures teach and not what man and traditions claim and to follow the examples given here. The popular saying, “I accept Jesus as my personal Savior” has no basis for He died for all of mankind, not just one and here it is once again demonstrated when the eunuch says, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” By so confessing, he also confesses the work done on the cross and thereby his sins and repents to become a believer and a follower of the Risen One.]

But when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no longer, but he went his way rejoicing. Then Philip was found at Azotus; and as he passed through, he preached the gospel to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea.

All scripture is taken from The Holy Bible In Its Original Order – A New English Translation. Hollister, CA. USA