Home First
Covenant
Second
Covenant
Topical
Studies
Table of
Contents

 


ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER EIGHT

"Desert Rendezvous"
Key Verse = Acts 8:35

  1. Saul persecutes the church 3. Simon the Sorcerer
  2. Philip preaches Christ in Samaria 4. Philip preaches Christ to the Ethiopian


"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world,"  wrote Victor Hugo,  "and that is an idea whose time has come."

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is much more than an idea.  The Gospel is  "the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).  It is God's  "dynamite"  for breaking down sin's barriers and setting the prisoners free.  Its time had come and the church was on the move.
The events in Acts 8 center around four different men.
1. (vs 1-3) Saul A Zealous Persecutor
2. (vs 5-8) Philip A Faithful Preacher
3. (vs 9-25) Simon the Sorcerer A Clever Deceiver
4. (vs 26-40) an Ethiopian A Concerned Seeker
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)


SAUL  PERSECUTES  THE  CHURCH

Top
Next Section


Acts 8:1
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(1)  Now Saul was consenting to his death.
At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Saul was pleased to have had a part in the murder of Stephen.  At that very time there was severe persecution against the church at Jerusalem; and they were all, with the exception of the apostles, dispersed throughout the towns of Judea and Samaria.


Saul was consenting
Was pleased with his being put to death and approved it.  So inveterate was the hatred that this man bore to Christ and his followers that he delighted in their destruction.

Wuest translates it:  And Saul was together with the others approving of his death, taking pleasure with them in his death and applauding it.
(from The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest Copyright © 1961 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved.)

Saul
He was born in Tarsus,  the chief city of Cilicia,  and was of the tribe of Benjamin.  It is not known how the family came to reside in Tarsus,  though one ancient tradition represents it as having removed there from Gischala in Galilee after the latter place had been captured by the Romans.  It is possible,  however,  that the family had at an earlier time formed part of a colony settled in Tarsus by one of the Syrian kings,  or they may have voluntarily migrated,  as so many Jews did,  for commercial purposes.

Saul seems to have had a large and even influential family connection:
1. In Romans 16:7, 11,  he salutes three people as his kinsmen,  two of whom (Andronicus and Junias) are said to have been  “of note among the apostles,”  and to have become Christians before Saul did.
Romans 16:7
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.    (NIV)
Romans 16:11
Greet Herodion, my relative.    (NIV)
2. From Acts 23:16-22 we learn that his sister’s son (Paul's nephew),  who seems to have resided,  perhaps with his mother,  in Jerusalem,  gave information first to Paul, who then sent him to the captain with news of the plot to kill Paul,  from which it may be inferred that the young man was connected with some of the leading families.
Acts 23:16-18
But when the son of Paul's sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.  Then Paul called one of the centurions and said,  "Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him."  So he took him to the commander.  The centurion said, "Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you."     (NIV)
3. This is also confirmed by the prominence of Saul,  though himself a young man,  at the time of Stephen’s death.  He was apparently already a member of the council,  and soon afterwards the high priest entrusted to him the work of persecuting the Christians.
4. His language in Philippians 3:4-7 further implies that he occupied originally a position of large influence,  and that opportunities of honor and gain had been open to him.  His family connections,  therefore,  cannot have been obscure.
Philippians 3:4-7
Though I also might have confidence in the flesh.  If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:
circumcised the eighth day,
of the stock of Israel,
of the tribe of Benjamin,
a Hebrew of the Hebrews,
concerning the law, a Pharisee;
concerning zeal, persecuting the church;
concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.     (NKJV)
5. Though he was brought up in the strict observance of the Hebrew faith and traditions, his father having been a Pharisee (Acts 23:6),  he was born a free Roman citizen.  We do not know by what means his ancestor obtained citizenship. 
It may have been for service to the state
It may have been by purchase
Its possession may have had some connection with the apostle’s Roman name Paulus
But,  however acquired,  his Roman citizenship became of great importance in the prosecution of his Christian work and more than once saved his life.
Acts 23:6
Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.     (NKJV)
Acts 22:27-28
Then the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?"
He said, "Yes."
The commander answered, "With a large sum I obtained this citizenship."
And Paul said, "But I was born a citizen."      (NKJV)
6. But, as he himself says (Acts 22:3),  he was brought up in Jerusalem.  He must,  therefore,  have been sent there when quite young.  And his education in Jerusalem tended to deepen the hold upon him of his inherited Pharisaic traditions.  He was instructed  “according to the strict manner of our fathers.”  He had for his teacher one of the most learned and distinguished rabbis of the day,  Gamaliel,  who was the grandson of the famous Hillel.
Acts 22:3
Then Paul said:  "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.      (NKJV)
7. Like other Jewish boys he was taught a trade,  which in his case was the manufacture of tents,  such as was used by travelers (Acts 18:3).
Acts 18:3
So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.     (NKJV)
8. He not only persecuted the Christians, but had them killed for their faith.  And not only in Jerusalem, but as far away as Damascus.
Acts 22:4, 5
I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death,  arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify.  I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem.     (NKJV)

Persecution - The 6th Attempt of Satan to Destroy the Church

So we find Saul,  immediately after Stephen’s death,  taking a leading part in the persecution of the Christians which followed.  He did this with the fierceness of a misguided conscience.  He was the type of the religious inquisitor.

To his death
Anairesis  (NT:336) - To put to death,  murder.
Under the rule of Rome, only the Romans had the final say in the matter of the death penalty.  This was an illegal act,  and properly classified as murder.

The church...was...scattered
Diaspeiro  (NT:1289)  to sow throughout, i.e. (figuratively) distribute in foreign lands
There are 6 Greek words translated "scattered" in the New Testament:
1. rhipto (NT:4496) to fling, a deliberate hurl
Matthew 9:36
...they were ... scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
2. diaskorpizo (NT:1287) to dissipate, i.e. (genitive case) to rout or separate
Mark 14:27
I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.
3. skorpizo (NT:4650) to dissipate, i.e. (figuratively) put to flight
John 16:32
Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered.
4. dialuo (NT:1262) to dissolve utterly
Acts 5:36
...all who obeyed him (Theudas) were scattered and came to nothing
5. diaspeiro (NT:1289) to sow throughout, i.e. (figuratively) distribute in foreign lands
Acts 8:1
...they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria
6. diaspora (NT:1290) dispersion, i.e. the Israelite resident in Gentile countries
James 1:1
...the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad

The word used here (diaspeiro) is,  in Greek grammar,  the second aorist passive indicative of diaspeiroo,  "to scatter like grain, to disperse."

They,  remembering our Master's rule (when they persecute you in one city, flee to another),  dispersed themselves by agreement throughout the regions of Judea and of Samaria;  not so much for fear of sufferings (for Judea and Samaria were not so far off from Jerusalem but that,  if they made a public appearance there,  as they determined to do,  their persecutors' power would soon reach them there),  but because they looked upon this as an intimation of Providence to them to scatter.  Their work was pretty well done in Jerusalem,  and now it was time to think of the necessities of other places;  for their Master had told them that they must be his witnesses in Jerusalem first,  and then in all Judea and in Samaria,  and then to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8),  and this method they observe.  Through persecution may not drive us off from our work,  yet it may send us,  as a hint of Providence,  to work elsewhere.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Except the apostles
Wiersbe points out:
Some teach that God had to send persecution to force the apostles to leave Jerusalem and fulfill His commission,  but this is entirely wrong.  To begin with,  the apostles did not leave the city,  but courageously remained to give their message to the Jewish leaders and to witness to the lost.
(from Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Copyright © 1992 by Chariot Victor Publishing, an imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  And Saul was [not only] consenting to [Stephen's] death [he was pleased and entirely approving]. On that day a great and severe persecution broke out against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles (special messengers).

Acts 8:2
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(2)  And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

And devout men took up Stephen and buried him, and they mourned over him in great sorrow.


Devout men
Eulabees  (NT:2126).  A circumspect or cautious person who takes hold of things carefully.  As applied to morals and religion,  it emphasizes the element of circumspection,  a cautious,  careful observance of divine law;  and is thus peculiarly expressive of Old Testament piety,  with its minute attention to precept and ceremony.
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Religious men.  The word used here does not imply of necessity that they were Christians.  There might have been Jews who did not approve of the popular tumult,  and the murder of Stephen,  who gave him a decent burial.  Joseph of Arimathea,  and Nicodemus,  both Jews,  thus gave to the Lord Jesus a decent burial,  John 19:38-39.

Carried Stephen
The Greek word,  sunekomisan  (carried),  signifies not only to carry,  or rather to gather up,  but also to do everything necessary for the interment of the dead.  Among the Jews,  and indeed among most nations of the earth,  it was esteemed a work of piety,  charity,  and mercy,  to bury the dead.  The Jews did not bury those who were condemned by the Sanhedrin in the burying place of the fathers,  as they would not bury the guilty with the innocent;  and they had a separate place for those who were stoned,  and for those that were burnt.  According to the Tract Sanh. fol. 45, 46,  the stone wherewith anyone was stoned,  the post on which he was hanged,  the sword by which he was beheaded,  and the cord by which he was strangled, were buried in the same place with the bodies of the executed persons.  As these persons died under the curse of the law,  the instruments by which they were put to death were considered as unclean and accursed,  and therefore buried with their bodies.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Great lamentation
Kopetos  (NT:2875);  mourning (properly, by beating the breast):

This was never done over any condemned by the Sanhedrin - they only bemoaned such privately;  this great lamentation over Stephen,  if the same custom then prevailed as afterwards,  is a proof that Stephen was not condemned by the Sanhedrin;  he probably fell a sacrifice to the fury of the bigoted incensed mob,  the Sanhedrin not interfering to prevent the illegal execution.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Hired women with their cries, banging of instruments, and beating the breast play a large role in the funeral procession, though restrictions are put on their activity. Only lamentation is prescribed after interment. Family members, both men and women, join in the funeral procession and express their grief by stamping the feet, wringing the hands, and beating the breast.
(from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(2)  [A party of] devout men with others helped to carry out and bury Stephen and made great lamentation over him.

Acts 8:3
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(3)  As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

As for Saul, he continued to persecute the church of God, entering into houses and dragging out men and women and delivering them to prison,


Made havoc
Elumaineto  (NT: 3075).  This word is commonly applied to wild beasts,  to lions,  wolves, etc.,  and denotes the "devastations" which they commit.  Saul raged against the church like a wild beast - a strong expression,  denoting the zeal and fury with which he engaged in persecution.

Entering into every house
To search for those who were suspected of being Christians.

Committed them to prison
Committed =  paredidou  (NT:3860).   Imperfect active of paradidoomi,  an old verb, "kept on handing them over to prison."
Paul himself later said:
Galatians 1:13
For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism,  how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.

Excerpts from "The Apostle: A Life of Paul"
Stephen and Paul were probably much of an age - the Greek word translated "young man" with which the historian Luke introduces Paul denotes a male between youth and forty.  Stephen's birthplace is unknown, for Jews from Egypt and elsewhere used the same synagogue as Cilicians, but he spoke Greek as fluently as Aramaic.  Both men were quick thinkers,  powerful minds,  able controversialists.  No tradition remains of Stephen's physique but though Paul is believed to have been short he held himself well enough to stand out in a crowd.  His face was rather oval with beetling eyebrows,  and fleshy from good living.  He had a black beard,  since Jews scorned the Roman taste for shaving, and his blue-fringed robe and the amulet strapped to a turban-like headdress displayed his pride in being a Pharisee.
It was no accident that the witnesses threw their clothes "at the feet of a young man named Saul."
During the rest of the summer (probably A.D. 31) and throughout the following winter the Jewish authorities embarked on systematic suppression with Paul as chief agent.
He charged like an animal tearing its prey.  This was not the sad efficiency of an officer obeying distasteful orders;  the heart was engaged;  and the mind too,  with the thoroughness of an inquisitor unmasking treason ... He went from house to house, then held formal inquiries at the synagogues when the congregation assembled.  Every suspect, man or woman, had to stand before the elders while Paul, as the High Priest's representative, put to them the demand that they should curse Jesus.
(From "The Apostle: A Life of Paul," by John Pollock; RiverOak Publishing, a division of Cook Communication Ministries)

From the Amplified Bible
(3)  But Saul shamefully treated and laid waste the church continuously [with cruelty and violence]; and entering house after house, he dragged out men and women and committed them to prison.

Acts 8:4
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(4)  Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

So that they were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word of God.


Preaching the Word
euangelizómenoi tón lógon
(NT:2097) euaggelizo Preach to announce good news ("evangelize") especially the gospel
(NT:3056) logos Word A collecting or collection of things of the mind

Everywhere they went,  they went announcing the good news of the message of mercy,  or the Word of God,  the good news of salvation through faith in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

They were manifestly common Christians who were scattered by the persecution;  and the meaning is,  that they communicated to their fellow-men in conversation wherever they met them,  and probably in the synagogues,  where all Jews had a right to speak,  the glad tidings that the Messiah had come.  They proclaimed everywhere the news that a Savior had come.  Their hearts were full of it.  We may learn from this:
(1) That persecution tends to promote the very thing which it would destroy.
(2) That one of the best means to make Christians active and zealous is to persecute them.
(3) That it is right for ALL Christians to make known the truths of the gospel. When the heart is full,  the lips will speak,  and there is no more impropriety in their speaking of redemption than of anything else.
(4) It should be the great object of all Christians to make the Savior known "everywhere."  By their lives,  their conversation,  and their pious exhortations and entreaties,  they should beseech dying sinners to be reconciled to God.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Satan was totally unprepared for this.  Before that day on the Feast of Pentecost in the upper room, all he had to do to intimidate the disciples was to say "boo."  Even a servant girl who claimed to have seen them in the company of Jesus of Nazareth sent them hiding and insisting that they had never met Him.  He had never seen humans filled with the Holy Spirit of the Creator Himself like this before. 
He had tried ridicule (Acts 2:13),
and in response Peter stepped forward and preached his first sermon, and 3,000 people accepted Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah.
He had them imprisoned and threatened (Acts 4:1-31),
but when released they immediately resumed preaching Jesus,  and the number of believers grew.
He had them murdered and persecuted,
and in response,  they went everywhere spreading the good news of salvation through Jesus.

The believers had learned the secret that Saul would later learn:
Romans 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written:
"For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that
neither death
nor life,
nor angels
nor principalities
nor powers,
nor things present
nor things to come,
nor height
nor depth,
nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.     (NKJV)

From the Amplified Bible
(4)  Now those who were scattered abroad went about [through the land from place to place] preaching the glad tidings, the Word [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God].



PHILIP  PREACHES  CHRIST  IN  SAMARIA

Top
Next Section
Previous Section


Acts 8:5
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(5)  Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

Then Philip went down to a Samaritan city and preached to them about Christ.


Philip
One of the seven deacons, Acts 6:5.  He is afterward called the "evangelist," Acts 21:8.

See the map of Philip's journeys.

The city of Samaria
What city this was is not known.  The Old Testament city called Samaria had been completely destroyed by John Hyrcanus, 128 B.C.  Herod rebuilt it in 27 B.C. and called it Sebaste,  but it was never called Samaria.
(Dake's Annotated Reverence Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

The Thompson Chain Bible does not record Sebaste,  but shows only the Old Testament city of Samaria as being this city.

The Bible atlas by J.L. Hurlbut also shows it as the city of Samaria.

The Westminster Bible Dictionary says  “It was rebuilt and refortified by Herod the Great,  who called it Sebaste,  a Greek Feminine of the word Sebastos,  the Greek for the Latin word  “Augustus,”  the title of his first Roman Emperor.  The evangelist Philip labored there with success…”

According to F.F. Bruce:  “It is uncertain if  “the city of Samaria”  was the city which in Old Testament times actually bore the same Samaria…If it were the city meant,  we might have expected it to be called Sebaste…Some textual authorities omit the definite article before “city” – if,  accordingly,  we read with the RSV  “a city of Samaria,”  the reference may be to the city Gitta,  which we know from Justin Martyr to have been the birthplace of Simon the sorcerer.”

Barnes says:  This does not mean a city whose "name" was Samaria,  for no such city at that time existed.  Samaria was a "region."   The ancient city Samaria,  the capital of that region,  had been destroyed by Hyrcanus,  so completely as to leave no vestige of it remaining;  and he "took away," says Josephus, "the very marks that there had ever been such a city there" (Antiq., book 13, chapter 10, section 3).  Herod the Great afterward built a city on this site, and called it  "Sebaste";  that is, "Augusta," in honor of the Emperor Augustus (Josephus, Antiq., book 15, chapter 8, section 5).  Perhaps this city is intended,  as being the principal city of Samaria;  or possibly "Sychar," another city where the gospel had been before preached by the Savior himself, John 4.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The Samaritans were a "half-breed" people,  a mixture of Jew and Gentile.  The nation originated when the Assyrians captured the ten northern tribes in 732 B.C.,  deported many of the people,  and then imported others who intermarried with the Jews.  The Samaritans had their own temple and priesthood and openly opposed fraternization with the Jews (John 4:9).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

And preached Christ
kerusso (NT:2784) to herald (as a public crier),  especially divine truth (the gospel)

The word translated  "preach"  here is not what is used in the previous verse.  This denotes to "proclaim as a crier,"  and is commonly employed to denote the preaching of the gospel.

Preached that the Messiah had come,  and made known his doctrines.  The same truths had been before stated in Samaria by the Savior himself (John 4);  and this was doubtless one of the reasons why they so gladly now received the Word of God.  The field had been prepared by the Lord Jesus.  He had said that it was white for the harvest (John 4:35),  and into that field Philip now entered,  and was signally blessed.  His coming was attended with a remarkable  "revival of religion."
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From the Amplified Bible
(5)  Philip [the deacon, not the apostle] went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ (the Messiah) to them [the people]; [Acts 6:5.]

Acts 8:6-8
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(6)  And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

And when the people of that place heard his word, they gave heed and listened attentively to everything Philip said, because they saw the miracles which he did.

(7)  For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

Many who were mentally afflicted cried with loud voices and were restored; and others who were paralytic and lame were healed.

(8)  And there was great joy in that city.

And there was great joy in that city.


Multitudes
Ochlos  (NT:3793)  -  a throng (as borne along); by implication, the rabble; - the common people, opposed to the rulers and leading men.

One accord
Homothumadon  (NT:3661)  -  unanimously; with one mind.

Unclean
Akathartos  (NT:169)  -  impure (ceremonially, morally [lewd] or specially, [demonic]);  foul,  unclean.

Possessed
Echo  (NT:2192)  -  to hold - equivalent to own, possess.

What wonderful success Philip had in his preaching, and what reception he met with.
The doctrine he preached was Christ.
He proclaimed Christ to them (so the word signifies),  as a king,  when he comes to the crown,  is proclaimed throughout his dominions.  The Samaritans had an expectation of the Messiah's coming,  as appears by John 4:25.  Now Philip tells them that he is come,  and that the Samaritans are welcome to him.
The proofs he produced for the confirmation of his doctrine were miracles.
To convince them that he had his commission from heaven (and therefore not only they might venture upon what he said, but they were bound to yield to it), he shows them this broad seal of heaven annexed to it, which the God of truth would never put to a lie. The miracles were undeniable; they heard and saw the miracles which he did. They heard the commanding words he spoke, and saw the amazing effects of them immediately; that he spoke, and it was done. And the nature of the miracles was such as suited the intention of his commission, and gave light and lustre to it.
He was sent to break the power of Satan.
In token of this,  unclean spirits,  being charged in the name of the Lord Jesus to remove,  came out of many that were possessed with them.
As far as the gospel prevails,  Satan is forced to quit his hold of men and his interest in them, and then those are restored to themselves, and to their right mind again, who, while he kept possession, were distracted.
Wherever the gospel gains the admission and submission it ought to have, evil spirits are dislodged, and particularly unclean spirits, all inclinations to the lusts of the flesh, which war against the soul; for God has called us from uncleanness to holiness, 1 Thessalonians 4:7.
This was signified by the casting of these unclean spirits out of the bodies of people, who, it is here said, came out crying with a loud voice, which signifies that they came out with great reluctance, and sorely against their wills, but were forced to acknowledge themselves overcome by a superior power,  Mark 1:26; 3:11; 9:26.
He was sent to heal the minds of men,  to cure a distempered world,  and to put it into a good state of health.
In token of this, many that were taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
Those distempers are specified that were most difficult to be cured by the course of nature (that the miraculous cure might be the more illustrious),  and those that were most expressive of the disease of sin and that moral impotency which the souls of men labor under as to the service of God.
The grace of God in the gospel is designed for the healing of those that are spiritually lame and paralytic,  and cannot help themselves,  Romans 5:6.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Gospel had now moved from  "Jewish territory"  into Samaria where the people were part Jew and part Gentile.  God in His grace had built a bridge between two estranged peoples and made the believers one in Christ and soon He would extend that bridge to the Gentiles and include them as well.  Even today,  we need "bridge builders" like Philip,  men and women who will carry the Gospel into pioneer territory and dare to challenge ancient prejudices.  "Into all the world .. the Gospel to every creature"  is still God's commission to us.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(6)  And great crowds of people with one accord listened to and heeded what was said by Philip, as they heard him and watched the miracles and wonders which he kept performing [from time to time].
(7)  For foul spirits came out of many who were possessed by them, screaming and shouting with a loud voice, and many who were suffering from palsy or were crippled were restored to health.
(8)  And there was great rejoicing in that city.



SIMON  THE  SORCERER

Top
Next Section
Previous Section


Acts 8:9-11
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(9)  But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

Now there was there a man called Semon, who had lived in that city a long time, and who had deceived the Samaritan people by his magic, boasting of himself and saying, I am the greatest one.

(10)  to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the great power of God."

And both the noblest and the least followed him, saying, He is the greatest power of God.

(11)  And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

All of them listened to him, because for a long time he had bewitched them with his sorceries.


Quoting from Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History:
And after the ascension of the Lord into heaven the demons put forward certain men who said they were gods,  and who were not only allowed by you to go unpersecuted,  but were even deemed worthy of honors.  One of them was Simon,  a Samaritan of the village of Gitto,  who in the reign of Claudius Caesar performed in your imperial city some mighty acts of magic by the art of demons operating in him,  and was considered a god,  and as a god was honored by you with a statue,  which was erected in the river Tiber,  between the two bridges,  and bore this inscription in the Latin tongue,  Simoni Deo Sancto,  that is, To Simon the Holy God.
And nearly all the Samaritans and a few even of other nations confess and worship him as the first God.  And there went around with him at that time a certain Helena who had formerly been a prostitute in Tyre of Phoenicia;  and her they call the first idea that proceeded from him."
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Volume 1, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

He had studied philosophy in Alexandria in Egypt (Mosheim, vol. i., pp. 113,114, Murdock's translation),  and then lived in Samaria.  After he was cut off from the hope of adding to his other powers the power of working miracles,  the "fathers" say that he fell into many errors,  and became the founder of the sect of the Simonians.  They accused him of affirming that he came down as the "Father" in respect to the Samaritans,  the "Son" in respect to the Jews,  and the "Holy Spirit" in respect to the Gentiles.  He did not acknowledge Christ to be the Son of God,  but a rival,  and pretended himself to be Christ.  He rejected the Law of Moses.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Our word sorcerer,  from the French sorcier,  which from the Latin sors,  a lot,  signifies the using of lots to draw presages concerning the future;  a custom that prevailed in all countries, and was practiced with a great variety of forms.

The Greek word, mageuoon,  signifies practicing the rites or science of the Magi,  or Mughan,  the worshippers of fire among the Persians;  the same as Majoos, and Majoosecan,  from which we have our word magician.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
 
Mark 13:6
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.    (KJV)

Simon the Sorcerer (sometimes called Simon Magnus) stands in contrast to Philip and his works.  Simon had held power in Samaria "for some time" as a result of his ability to do miracles.  Simon was a magician,  and magic was a significant form of religious expression in the ancient world.  As a result of Philip's ministry,  many Samaritans came to faith,  including Simon.  The first portion of this passage reveals the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome any other kind of religious expression.  Philip's miracles were done by the power of the Spirit,  not through the power of magic or pagan religions.
(from Holman Bible Handbook. (c) Copyright 1992 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(9)  But there was a man named Simon, who had formerly practiced magic arts in the city to the utter amazement of the Samaritan nation, claiming that he himself was an extraordinary and distinguished person.
(10)  They all paid earnest attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that exhibition of the power of God which is called great (intense).
(11)  And they were attentive and made much of him, because for a long time he had amazed and bewildered and dazzled them with his skill in magic arts.

Acts 8:12 & 13
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(12)  But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

But when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

(13)  Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

Semon himself also believed and was baptized and attached himself to Philip, and as he saw the miracles and great signs performed by his hand, he marveled greatly.


How strong the power of Divine grace is,  by which they were brought to Christ.  By that grace working with the Word those that had been led captive by Satan were brought into obedience to Christ.  Where Satan,  as a strong man armed,  kept possession of the palace,  and thought himself safe,  Christ,  as a stronger than he,  dispossessed him,  and divided the spoil;  led captivity captive,  and made those the trophies of his victory whom the devil had triumphed over.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

What does it mean that "Simon himself believed"?
We can answer that question best by asking another one:  What was the basis of his "faith"?
His faith was not in the Word of God,  but in the miracles he saw Philip perform;  and there is no indication that Simon repented of his sins.  He certainly did not believe with all his heart (Acts 8:37).  His faith was like that of the people of Jerusalem who witnessed our Lord's miracles (John 2:23-25),  or even like that of the demons (James 2:19 - Even the demons believe — and tremble!).  Simon continued with Philip,  not to hear the Word and learn more about Jesus Christ,  but to witness the miracles and perhaps learn how they were done.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From Chrysostom, Homily 18:
"And Simon," it says, "being baptized, continued with Philip":  not for faith's sake,  but in order that he might become such (as he).  But why did they not correct him instantly?  They were content with his condemning himself.  For this too belonged to their work of teaching.  But when he had not power to resist,  he plays the hypocrite,  just as did the magicians,  who said,  "This is the finger of God."  And indeed that he might not be driven away again,  therefore he  "continued with Philip,"  and did not part from him.
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(12)  But when they believed the good news (the Gospel) about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) as Philip preached it, they were baptized, both men and women.
(13)  Even Simon himself believed [he adhered to, trusted in, and relied on the teaching of Philip], and after being baptized, devoted himself constantly to him. And seeing signs and miracles of great power which were being performed, he was utterly amazed.

Acts 8:14 & 15
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(14)  Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that the Samaritan people had accepted the word of God, they sent to them Simon Peter and John,

(15)  who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

Who, when they went down, prayed over them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.


They sent
This shows conclusively that there was no "chief" or ruler among them. They acted as being equal in authority, as ambassadors sent from the whole company of the apostles.

The  "harvest"  had occurred in Samaria,  of which the Savior spoke (John 4:35),  and it was proper that they should enter into it.  In times of revival there is often more to be done than can be done by the regular servant of a people,  and it is proper that he should be aided from abroad.

Peter was ardent, bold, zealous, rash.
John was mild, gentle, tender, and persuasive.
There was wisdom in uniting them in this work,  as the talents of both were needed.  It is observable that the apostles sent "two" together, as the Savior had himself done (Mark 6:7).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

In Luke 9:54 John and his brother,  James,  had previously wanted to call fire down from heaven on a Samaritan village.  What a difference the Lord makes in our lives!
The first time the Samaritans rejected Jesus and the disciples.
The second time the Samaritans accepted Jesus as their Savior.
The first time John and James wanted to call natural fire down and consume the Samaritans.
The second time John was used by God to bring the heavenly fire of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the Samaritans.

That they might receive the Holy Spirit
In Acts 8:20, it is called  "the gift of God."
(1) It was not that gift of the Holy Spirit by which the soul is converted,  for they had this when they believed,  Acts 8:6.
(2) It was not the ordinary influences of the Spirit by which the soul is sanctified;  for sanctification is a progressive work,  and this was sudden.
(3) It was something that was discernible by external effects;  for Simon saw (Acts 8:18) that this was done by the laying on of hands.
(4) The phrase  "the gift of the Holy Spirit,"  and  "the descent of the Holy Spirit,"  signified not merely his  "ordinary"  influences in converting sinners,  but those  "extraordinary"  influences that attended the first preaching of the gospel - the power of speaking with new tongues (Acts 2:4),  the power of working miracles, etc., Acts 19:6.
(5) This is further clear from the fact that Simon wished to "purchase" this power,  evidently to keep up his influence among the people,  and to retain his ascendancy as a juggler and sorcerer.  But surely Simon would not wish to "purchase" the converting and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit;  it was the power of working miracles.  These things made it clear that by the gift of the Holy Spirit here is meant the power of speaking with new tongues (compare 1 Cor 14) and the power of working miracles.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(14)  Now when the apostles (special messengers) at Jerusalem heard that [the country of] Samaria had accepted and welcomed the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
(15)  And they came down and prayed for them that the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit;

Acts 8:16 & 17
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(16)  For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

For as yet it had not come upon them although they had been baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus.

(17)  Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.


Fallen
epipipto (NT:1968) to embrace (with affection) or seize (with more or less violence;  literally or figuratively)
      take possession of
      to show special affection for by throwing one's arms around a person - 'to hug, to embrace.'

In the name of the Lord Jesus
In = eis - into the name (Matthew:28:19)

Laid hands on them
In addition to the 4 main purposes of the laying on of hands, we find 3 times in Acts where the laying on of hands preceded the receiving of the Holy Spirit:
8:17 Peter & John laid hands on the Samaritans "and they received the Holy Spirit"
9:17 Ananias laid hands on Paul "that you may...be filled with the Holy Spirit"
19:6 Paul laid hands on the Ephesians "the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied"

Sixteen great lessons here:
1. Prayer for the Holy Ghost is part of the gospel program
(Acts 8:15; Acts 1:14; Acts 9:17-18; Acts 19:1-7; Luke 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:30; 1 Cor. 14:1).
2. The Holy Spirit being given here does not refer to receiving the Spirit of adoption,  for all receive this when born again   (Romans 8:9,14-16).
3. The Holy Spirit here must refer to the Spirit baptism and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit for service,  not to salvation,  for these people were already saved from sin,  justified,  born again,  healed,  baptized in water,  and had great joy in Christ   (Acts 8:6-13).
4. This experience was subsequent to the experience above   (Acts 8:6-13).
5. It was for all believers  (Acts 8:14-17).
6. It was evidently what the church at Jerusalem had received so they wanted other churches to have it 
(Acts 2:33,38-39; cp. Matthew 3:11; John 7:37-39).
7. Being converted,  healed,  baptized in water,  and having great joy does not bring the Holy Spirit as the Church at Jerusalem had the Spirit,  for the Samaritans had all this and yet lacked the Holy Spirit's power   (Acts 8:6-13).
8. The Holy Spirit in this measure can be imparted by prayer and laying on of hands   (Acts 8:15-23).
9. This does not mean that this is the only way to receive,  for no hands were laid on men at Pentecost 
(Acts 2:1-21)   or at the house of Cornelius   (Acts 10:44-48).
10. Others besides the 12 apostles can lay hands on believers to receive the Spirit in this manner 
(Acts 9:17-18; Acts 19:1-7; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6).
11. It is Biblical to hold special services for this extra reception of the Holy Spirit 
(Acts 8:15-17; Acts 9:17-18; Acts 19:1-7; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6; Hebrews 6:2).
12. This experience was something that produced evidences that could be seen and heard by men or else no money would have been offered for such power   (Acts 8:18-23).
13. Spiritual things are not for the purpose of making money   (Acts 8:18-23).
14. The Spirit's power cannot be bought with money   (Acts 8:18-23).
15. One must be right at heart to partake of this program   (Acts 8:21).
16. It was  "the gift of God"   (Acts 8:20)   which is also called the Spirit baptism in   Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 11:14-18; Acts 15:7-13; Acts 19:1-7.
(Dake's Annotated Reverence Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

From the Amplified Bible
(16)  For He had not yet fallen upon any of them, but they had only been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
(17)  Then [the apostles] laid their hands on them one by one, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:18 & 19
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(18)  And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,

And when Semon saw that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money.

(19)  saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

Saying, Give me also this authority so that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.


Simon saw
That is, he witnessed the extraordinary effects, the power of speaking in a miraculous manner, etc.

Now Simon felt he was getting near the heart of these mysteries;  the latest phenomena was obviously associated with the imposition of hands.  If only they could be associated with the imposition of his hands!”  Simon was seeking Authority and also Prestige.  This shows that when a person receives the baptism of the Holy Ghost that they begin to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.  There is a visible sign to a spiritual reality,  otherwise why would Simon want this power?

Satanic Influence - The 7th Attempt of Satan to Destroy the Church

He offered them money
He had had a remarkable influence over the Samaritans,  and he saw that the possession of this power would perpetuate and increase his influence.  He saw that if he could communicate to  "others"  this power;  if he could confer on them the talent of speaking other languages,  it might be turned to vast account,  and he sought,  therefore,  to purchase it of the apostles.

The wickedness of Simon's heart was fully revealed by the ministry of the two apostles.  Simon not only wanted to perform miracles,  but he also wanted the power to convey the gift of the Holy Spirit to others - and he was quite willing to pay for this power!  It is this passage that gives us the word simony,  which means  "the buying and selling of church offices or privileges".

As you study the Book of Acts,  you will often find the Gospel in conflict with money and "big business".
(5:1-11) Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives because they lied about their gift.
(16:16-24) Paul put a fortune-teller out of business in Philippi and ended up in jail .
(19:23-41) Paul gave the silversmiths trouble in Ephesus that helped cause a riot.
The early church had its priorities straight: it was more important to preach the Word than to win the support of the wealthy and influential people of the world.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Chrysostom observes:  Whereas then this man ought, on the contrary, to have asked to receive the Holy Ghost, he, because he cared not for this, asks power to give It to others.
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(18)  However, when Simon saw that the [Holy] Spirit was imparted through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he brought money and offered it to them,
(19)  Saying, Grant me also this power and authority, in order that anyone on whom I place my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:20
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(20)  But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!

Simon Peter said to him, Let your money perish with you because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with wealth.


Your money perish with you
Your money sun soi eiee eis apooleian - literally "be with you for destruction."

The full force of Peter's wish is accurately translated by the TEV;  "may you and your money go to hell" (Phillips adds the note, "these words are exactly what the Greek means. It is a pity that their real meaning is obscured by modern slang usage."  In some languages this forceful expression may be rendered as "may your money die and you, too" or "you and your money will certainly die."
(from the UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies)

This is the language of mingled horror and indignation,  reminding us of our Lord's rebuke of Peter himself.  (Matthew 16:23)
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The gift of God
Gift dorea (NT:1431) a gratuity

According to Thayer a dorea is given:
a. freely, for nothing, gratis, gratuitously
b. without just cause, unnecessarily
(from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

That which he has  "given,"  or conferred as a favor.   The idea was absurd that what God himself gave as a sovereign could be purchased.  It was "impious" to think of attempting to buy with worthless gold what was of so inestimable value.

Simon had two misconceptions:
1. He had overvalued the wealth of this world
As if it were an equivalent for any thing,  and as if,  because, as Solomon said,  it answers all things,  relating to the life that now is,  it would answer all things relating to the other life,  and would purchase the pardon of sin,  the gift of the Holy Ghost,  and eternal life.
2. He had undervalued the gift of the Holy Ghost
He put it upon a level with the common gifts of nature and providence.  He thought the power of an apostle might as well be had for a good fee as the advice of a physician or a lawyer,  which was the greatest despite that could be done to the Spirit of grace.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(20)  But Peter said to him, Destruction overtake your money and you, because you imagined you could obtain the [free] gift of God with money!

Acts 8:21 & 22
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(21)  You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.

You have no part nor lot in this faith because your heart is not right in the sight of God.

(22)  Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

Repent, therefore, of this evil of yours, and beseech God that he may perhaps forgive you for the guile which is in your heart.


Neither part nor portion
Part meris (NT:3310) portion, share, participation
Portion kleros (NT:2819) portion, an acquisition, inheritance

You have no "portion" of the grace of God;  that is, you are destitute of it altogether.  The two words denote emphatically that he was in no sense a partaker of the favor of God.

Repent... and Pray
Repent metanoeo (NT:3340) to change one's way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness - 'to repent, to change one's way, repentance.'
Pray deomai (NT:1189) to ask for with urgency, with the implication of presumed need - 'to plead, to beg.'

He is exhorted to repent first. 
Prayer will not be acceptable or heard unless the sinner comes "repenting";  that is,  unless he regrets his sin,  and "desires" to forsake it.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

If perhaps
This direction of Peter presents another important principle in regard to the conduct of sinners.
They are to be directed to repent;
not because they have the "promise" of forgiveness,  and
not because they "hope"  to be forgiven,
but because sin "is a great evil,"
and because it is "right" and "proper" that they should repent.
They are to repent of sin,
and then they are to feel, not that they have any CLAIM on God,
but that they are dependent upon Him.
They are not to suppose that their tears will PURCHASE forgiveness,
but that they lie at the footstool of mercy.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The thought
Literally, "a thinking on or contriving;" and hence, implying a "plan or design."
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount made it clear that the root of sin begins in the thoughts and motives before it produces the sinful fruit of evil words and actions.

David understood this when he prayed in Psalm 19:14
May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, O LORD, my refuge and my redeemer!     (TEV)

Paul emphasized this in Hebrews 4:12
The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword... It judges the desires and thoughts of man's heart.     (TEV)


From the Amplified Bible
(21)  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is all wrong in God's sight [it is not straightforward or right or true before God]. [Psalms 78:37.]
(22)  So repent of this depravity and wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this contriving thought and purpose of your heart may be removed and disregarded and forgiven you.

Acts 8:23 & 24
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(23)  For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."

For I see your heart is as bitter as gall and you are in the bonds of iniquity.

(24)  Then Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me."

Then Semon answered, saying, Pray God for me so that none of these things which you have spoken may come upon me.


I perceive
horao (NT:3708) to look,  to see,  to experience,  to perceive

That is, by the act which he had done.  His offer had shown a state of mind that was wholly inconsistent with true religion.  The sin of Simon was of this character.  Peter here does not appear to have claimed the power of judging the "heart";  but he judged by the act.

As Jesus said:  By their fruits you shall know them.
Matthew 7:15-21
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them...  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit... Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.     (NIV)

Poisoned by bitterness
Poisoned chole (NT:5521) (from the greenish hue)  "gall"  or bile,  i.e.  (by analogy)  poison
This word denotes properly  "bile,"  or  "that bitter,  yellowish-green fluid that is secreted in the liver."
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
In Job 20:25,  the gall bladder is referred to (the receptacle of bile).  The ancients supposed that the poison of serpents lay in the gall (Job 20:14).
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
Bitterness pikria (NT:4088) acridity (especially poison)
From a root pik —  meaning  "to cut, to prick,"  hence, lit.,  "pointed, sharp, keen, pungent to the sense of taste, smell, etc.," —  it is used metaphorically of jealousy.
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
An idiom,  literally  'to be in the gall of bitterness'  to be particularly envious or resentful of someone - 'to be very jealous,  to be terribly envious,  to be bitterly envious.'
(from Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright © 1988 United Bible Societies, New York. Used by permission.)

This is a Hebraism;  the usual mode of expressing the "superlative," and means "excessive bitterness."
The phrase is used respecting idolatry (Deut 29:18),  "that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood."
A similar expression occurs in Heb 12:15,  "lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled."
"Sin" is thus represented as a "bitter" or poisonous thing;  a tiring not only  "unpleasant"  in its consequences,  but ruinous in its character,  as a poisonous plant would be in the midst of other plants.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Bound by iniquity
An allusion to the mode in which the Romans secured their prisoners, chaining the right hand of the prisoner to the left hand of the soldier who guarded him; as if the apostle had said, Thou art tied and bound by the chain of thy sin; justice hath laid hold upon thee, and thou hast only a short respite before thy execution, to see if thou wilt repent.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Pray...for me
Here remark:
(l) That Simon was directed to pray for himself   (Acts 8:22),  but he had no disposition to do it, but was willing to ask others to do it for him.
(2) The main thing that Peter wished to impress on him was a sense of his sin.  Simon did not regard this,  but looked only to the punishment.  He was terrified and alarmed;  he sought to avoid future "punishment,"  but he had no alarm about his  "sins."
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

This episode only shows how close a person can come to salvation and still not be converted.  Simon
heard the Gospel,
saw the miracles,
gave a profession of faith in Christ,
and was baptized;
and yet he was never born again.  He was one of Satan's clever counterfeits;  and,  had Peter not exposed the wickedness of his heart,  Simon would have been accepted as a member of the Samaritan congregation!
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(23)  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in a bond forged by iniquity [to fetter souls]. [Isaiah 58:6.]
(24)  And Simon answered, Pray for me [beseech the Lord, both of you], that nothing of what you have said may befall me!

Acts 8:25
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(25)  So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

Now when Simon Peter and John had testified and taught them the word of God, they returned to Jerusalem after they had preached in many Samaritan villages.


Peter and John now engaged in a vigorous evangelistic program that carried them through many villages in Samaria. Then, having completed this tour, they returned to Jerusalem.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

See the map of Peter's journeys.

Here is the return of the apostles to Jerusalem,  when they had finished the business they came about;  for as yet they were not to disperse;  but,  though they came hither to do that work which was peculiar to them as apostles,  yet,  opportunity offering itself,  they applied themselves to that which was common to all gospel ministers.
1. There,  in the city of Samaria,  they were preachers:
They testified the word of the Lord, solemnly attested the truth of the gospel, and confirmed what the other ministers preached.
They did not pretend to bring them any thing new, though they were apostles, but bore their testimony to the word of the Lord as they had received it.
2. In their road home they were itinerant preachers;  as they passed through many villages of the Samaritans they preached the gospel.  Though the congregations there were not so considerable as those in the cities,  either for number or figure,  yet their souls were as precious,  and the apostles did not think it below them to preach the gospel to them.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(25)  Now when [the apostles] had borne their testimony and preached the message of the Lord, they went back to Jerusalem, proclaiming the glad tidings (Gospel) to many villages of the Samaritans [on the way].



PHILIP  PREACHES  CHRIST  TO  THE  ETHIOPIAN

Top
Previous Section


Acts 8:26
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(26)  Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert.

And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise and go south by the way of the desert that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza;


Angel of the Lord
The word "angel" is used in the Scriptures in a great variety of significations.  Though angels were not employed to preach the gospel,  they were often employed in carrying messages to ministers for advice and encouragement

Ministry of angels in Acts:
1. Deliverance of the apostles from jail  (Acts 5:19)
2. Directing Philip the evangelist where to preach   (Acts 8:26)
3. Directing Cornelius where to find a preacher so he could be saved
(Acts 10:3,7,22; Acts 11:13-18; Acts 15:5-11)
4. Deliverance of Peter from jail   (Acts 12:7-11,15)
5. Executing Herod for pride   (Acts 12:23)
6. Directing and comforting Paul   (Acts 27:23)

Gaza
Gaza was a town about three miles from the sea and the last town on the road into Egypt.  It was located at the entrance of the wilderness.

Gaza was the southernmost city of Palestine,  situated at the border of the desert leading to Egypt.
It is mentioned as early as Genesis 10:19;
it was allotted to the tribe of Judah;
but it was seized and held by the Philistines, and became one of their five principal cities.
There was such a road to it,  across mount Hebron,  which Philip might take without requiring to go first to Jerusalem (as Von Raumer's 'Palestine' shows).   The next clause,  therefore,  "which is desert" - a tract of country without villages or fixed habitations - was probably intended to define the one which Philip was to take,  so as not to miss the returning eunuch.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(26)  But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Rise and proceed southward or at midday on the road that runs from Jerusalem down to Gaza. This is the desert [route].

Acts 8:27 & 28
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(27)  So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,

So he arose and went; and he was met by a eunuch, who had come from Ethiopia, an official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to worship at Jerusalem.

(28)  was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.

While he was returning, sitting in his chariot, he read the book of the prophet Isaiah.


He arose and went
Philip was an obedient servant.   He was told only where to go,  not what to expect or what to do when he got there.

To leave a city where his hands were full of his Master's work,  to go far away on a desert road,  and to be kept in ignorance of the object of the journey - was fitted to stagger the faith of our zealous evangelist.  But,
like Paul he "was not disobedient, to the heavenly vision"    (Acts 26:19)
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

A man of Ethiopia
The name for the lands lying south of Egypt,  including the modern Nubia, Cordofan, and Northern Abyssinia. Rawlinson speaks of subjects of the Ethiopian queens living in an island near Meroe,  in the northern part of this district.  He further remarks:  "The monuments prove beyond all question that the Ethiopians borrowed from Egypt their religion and their habits of civilization.  They even adopted the Egyptian as the language of religion and of the court,  which it continued to be till the power of the Pharaohs had fallen,  and their dominion was again confined to the frontier of Ethiopia."
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Ethiopia proper lay south of Egypt,  on the Nile,  and was bounded
on the north by Egypt,  that is,  by the cataracts near Syene
on the east by the Red Sea,  and perhaps part by the Indian Ocean
on the south by unknown regions in the interior of Africa
on the west by Libya and the deserts
It comprehended the kingdoms of Nubia or Sennaar, and Abyssinia. The chief city in it was the ancient Meroe,  situated on the island or tract of the same name,  between the Nile and Ashtaboras.

Wycliffe suggests that he was a God-fearing Gentile or half-convert to Judaism, who had gone to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage since,  as a eunuch,  he could never have belonged to the OT people of God.

A Eunuch
Eunuchs were commonly employed in attendance on the females of the harem; but the word is often used to denote "any confidential officer, or counselor of state."  It is evidently so used here.

Those who were forbidden are now not only accepted, but are sought out.
Under the Law, eunuchs were excluded from religious privileges
Deuteronomy 23:1
He who ... has been made a eunuch, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.   (AMP)
BUT under the Promise, the eunuch has both a Place and a Name in the family of God
Isaiah 56:3-5
To the eunuchs who ... choose what pleases Me ... I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters;  I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

Great authority
Of high rank;  an officer of the court.  He had control of the queen's treasury.  An equivalent of treasury may be "valuable possessions," "the money of the kingdom," or "the gold and silver which belonged to the queen."

Candace
The King of Ethiopia was venerated as the child of the sun and regarded as too sacred a personage to discharge the secular functions of royalty;  these were performed on his behalf by the queen-mother,  who regularly bore the dynastic title Candace.

Candace is said to have been the common name of the queens of Ethiopia,  as  "Pharaoh"  was of the sovereigns of Egypt.  This is expressly stated by Pliny (Nat. History, 7:29).  His words are:  "The edifices of the city were few;  a woman reigned there of the name of Candace,  which name had been transmitted to these queens for many years."  Strabo mentions also a queen of Ethiopia of the name of Candace.  Speaking of an insurrection against the Romans,  he says,  "Among these were the officers of queen CANDACE,  who in our days reigned over the Ethiopians."  As this could not have been the Candace mentioned here,  it is plain that the name was common to these queens - a sort of royal title.  She was probably queen of Meroe,  an important part of Ethiopia (Bruce's Travels, vol. ii, p. 431; Clarke).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Had come ... to worship
This proves that he was a Jew,  or at least a Jewish proselyte.  It was customary for the Jews in foreign lands,  as far as practicable,  to attend the great feasts at Jerusalem.

Chariot
Carriage or "wagon" suits the context better than "chariot," which suggests a two-wheeled cart used in war.  As the eunuch rode along he was reading aloud,  as was the custom in antiquity.
(from the UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies)

Reading Isaiah
Reading doubtless the translation of Isaiah called the Septuagint.  This translation was made in Egypt for the special use of the Jews in Alexandria and throughout Egypt,  and was what was commonly used.

Isaiah 53 was the passage he was reading, the prophecy of God's Suffering Servant.  Isaiah 53 describes our Lord Jesus Christ in 
(Isaiah 53:1-2) His birth
(Isaiah 53:3) His life and ministry
(Isaiah 53:4-9) His substitutionary death
(Isaiah 53:10-12) His victorious resurrection
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(27)  So he got up and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship.
(28)  And he was [now] returning, and sitting in his chariot he was reading the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Acts 8:29-31
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(29)  Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot."

And the Spirit said to Philip, Go near and keep close to the chariot.

(30)  So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

And as Philip drew near and heard him reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah, he said to him, Do you understand what you are reading?

(31)  And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.

And the Ethiopian said, How can I understand unless some one teach me? and he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.


Philip ran
Indicating his haste and his desire to obey the suggestions of the Spirit.  A thousand difficulties might have been started in the mind of Philip if he had reflected a little.
The eunuch was a stranger;
he had the appearance of a man of rank;
he was engaged in reading;
he might be indisposed to be interrupted or to converse, etc.
But Philip obeyed without any hesitation the instructions of the Spirit,  and "ran" to him.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

We can take a lesson of obedience from Philip:
vs.26 God told Philip to go south to the desert
vs.27 "So he arose and went" Immediately and without question
vs.29 God told Philip to go near to the chariot
vs.30 "So Philip ran to him" Immediately and without question

Do you understand?
Jesus asked the disciples this same question in Matthew 13:51 after he had told them a series of parables.
The Old Testament was written about and to the Hebrews,  and most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew,  the language they spoke -
because God wanted them to understand what He said to them.
The New Testament was written to the church in a world that spoke predominately Greek,  and most of the New Testament was written Greek.  In fact,  the translation of the Old Testament scriptures Jesus and the disciples quoted from the most was the Greek Septuagint -
because God wanted them to understand what He said to them.
After the captivity in Babylon, the people no longer spoke pure Hebrew, but Aramaic.  When the priests and Levites read the law to the people,  they paraphrased it in Aramaic so the people would understand what God said (Nehemiah 8:7-8).
Also Jesh'ua,  Bani,  Sherebi'ah,  Jamin,  Akkub,  Shab'bethai,  Hodi'ah,  Ma-asei'ah,  Keli'ta,  Azari'ah,  Jo'zabad,  Hanan,  Pelai'ah,  the Levites,  helped the people to understand the law,  while the people remained in their places.  And they read from the book,  from the law of God,  clearly;  and they gave the sense,  so that the people understood the reading.     (RSV)
God wants us to understand His word.  Paul knew this to be true (1 Corinthians 14:19).   He knew that even though it was an edification and building up of his own spirit to worship God in tongues,  it was more beneficial to those around him to speak in a language they could understand.
1 Corinthians 14:16-19
If you are praising God with your spirit,  how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?  You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.  But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.      (NIV)
God told Philip to leave a revival with many people in order to go to one man in the desert so that one man would understand what God was saying to him. 

From the Amplified Bible
(29)  Then the [Holy] Spirit said to Philip, Go forward and join yourself to this chariot.
(30)  Accordingly Philip, running up to him, heard [the man] reading the prophet Isaiah and asked, Do you really understand what you are reading?
(31)  And he said, How is it possible for me to do so unless someone explains it to me and guides me [in the right way]? And he earnestly requested Philip to come up and sit beside him.

Acts 8:32 & 33
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(32)  The place in the Scripture which he read was this:  "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

The portion of the scripture which he was reading was this: He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and like a ewe lamb before the shearer, so he opened not his mouth.

(33)  In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation?  For His life is taken from the earth."

In his humiliation, he suffered imprisonment and judgment; none can tell his struggle, for even his life is taken away from the earth.


The Scripture which he read
What follows is from  Isaiah 53:7, 8,  quoted from the Septuagint.

He was led
The word "was led"  eechthee  (NT:71)  implies that he was conducted by others;  that he was led as a sheep is led to be killed.  The general idea is that of  "meekness"  and  "submission"  when he was led to be put to death;  a description that applies in a very striking manner to the Lord Jesus.

To the slaughter
To be killed.  The characteristic here recorded is more remarkable in sheep than in any other animal.

As a lamb
Still,  patient,  unresisting.

He opened not his mouth
He did not  "complain"  or  "murmur";  he offered no resistance,  but yielded patiently to what was done by others.
John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!    (NKJV)
Matthew 26:62-63
Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus,  "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?"  But Jesus remained silent.     (NIV)
1 Peter 1:18-20
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,  but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.     (NIV)
1 Peter 2:21-23
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth;  who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;       (NKJV)

In his humiliation His justice was taken away
It denotes that
in his state of oppression and calamity;
when he was destitute of protectors and friends;
when at the lowest state of humiliation, and therefore most the object of pity,
"in addition to that,"
justice was denied him;
his judgment - a just sentence - was taken away,  or withheld,  and he was delivered to be put to death.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

It was the custom among the Jews,  when they were taking any criminal from judgment to execution,  to call out and inquire whether there was any person who could appear in behalf of the character of the criminal or that could say anything in his favor.  In Christ's case this inquiry was not made.  It is of this breach of justice the prophet speaks.  It shows how minutely the trial of Jesus was known 750 years before it took place.
(Dake's Annotated Reverence Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

These verses foretold concerning the Messiah,
(1) That he should die,  should be led to the slaughter,  as sheep that were offered in sacrifice.
(2) That he should die wrongfully,  should die by violence,  should be hurried out of his life,  and his judgment shall be taken away - no justice done to him;  for he must be cut off,  but not for himself.
(3) That he should die patiently.  Like a lamb dumb before the shearer,  nay,  and before the butcher too,  so he opened not his mouth.  Never was there such an example of patience as our Lord Jesus was in his sufferings;  when he was accused,  when he was abused,  he was silent,  reviled not again,  threatened not.
(4) That yet he should live for ever,  to ages which cannot be numbered;  for so I understand those words,  Who shall declare his generation?  The Hebrew word properly signifies the duration of one life.  Now who can conceive or express how long he shall continue,  notwithstanding this;  for his life is taken only from the earth;  in heaven he shall live to endless and innumerable ages,  as it follows in Isaiah 53:10,  He shall prolong his days.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(32)  Now this was the passage of Scripture which he was reading: Like a sheep He was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is dumb, so He opens not His mouth.
(33)  In His humiliation He was taken away by distressing and oppressive judgment and justice was denied Him [caused to cease]. Who can describe or relate in full the wickedness of His contemporaries (generation)? For His life is taken from the earth and a bloody death inflicted upon Him. [Isaiah 53:7,8.]

Acts 8:34 & 35
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(34)  So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?"

And the eunuch said to Philip, I pray you, of whom does this prophet speak? of himself or of some other man?

(35)  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

Then Philip opened his mouth and began at that same scripture and preached to him concerning our Lord Jesus.


Answered
That is, "addressed" Philip.  The Hebrews often use the word  "answer"  as synonymous with  "addressing"  one,  whether he had spoken or not.

Before the coming of Christ,  the Jews did understand that this was a Messianic passage and that the sufferings of the servant were a prophecy of the sufferings of their Messiah.
Later some interpreted the suffering servant to refer to the prophet and others to the people of Israel.  Philip showed the eunuch that this was a prophecy of Jesus.  This goes back to our Lord's own teaching that he had come to serve and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45  "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.").
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

Philip had no doubt about the Messianic meaning and he knew that Jesus was the Messiah.  There are scholars who do not find Jesus in the Old Testament at all, but Jesus himself did (Luke 24:27  "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.") as Philip does here.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

From the Amplified Bible
(34)  And the eunuch said to Philip, I beg of you, tell me about whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?
(35)  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this portion of Scripture he announced to him the glad tidings (Gospel) of Jesus and about Him.

Acts 8:36 & 37
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(36)  Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"

And as they went on their way, they came to a place where there was water; and the eunuch said, Behold here is water; what prevents me from being baptized?

(37)  Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may."  And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may.  And he answered, saying, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.


Some water
The expression used here does not determine whether this was a river,  a brook,  or a standing pool.  And there are no circumstances to determine that.  However, we do know from vs 38 that it was enough water for both of the men to "down into" it.

What hinders me?
As if already,  his mind filled with light and his soul set free,  he was eagerly looking out for the first water in which he might seal his reception of the truth,  and be enrolled among the visible disciples of the Lord Jesus.

The Ethiopian believed on Jesus Christ and was born again!  So real was his experience that he insisted on stopping the caravan and being baptized immediately!  He was no  "closet Christian";  he wanted everybody to know what the Lord had done for him.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

To him, this was not so much of an obligation to publicly identify himself with Jesus Christ, but an honor and a privilege.

From the Amplified Bible
(36)  And as they continued along on the way, they came to some water, and the eunuch exclaimed, See, [here is] water! What is to hinder my being baptized?
(37)  And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart [if you have a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah and accept Him as the Author of your salvation in the kingdom of God, giving Him your obedience, then] you may. And he replied, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Acts 8:38 & 39
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(38)  So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

And he commanded the chariot be stopped; and both went down into the water, and Philip baptized the eunuch.

(39)  Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

And when they came up from the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away and the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.


He baptized him
Both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water so burial in water could take place (Romans 6:4).
1. Bapto (NT:911) The root word for baptize and baptism
 
Means to dip; dip under; sink; dip in; immerse; plunge; and to cover wholly with liquid.
Dip finger in water  (Luke 16:24)
Dip bread in gravy  (John 13:26)
Garment dipped in blood to dye it  (Revelation 19:13)

2. Baptizo (NT:907) Derived from #1 above, used here in vs 38.
 
Means to make wholly wet; immerse; submerge; sink; plunge; to dip under.
Baptized IN the river Jordan  (Matthew 3:6)
Baptized with (Greek IN) water  (Matthew 3:11)
When he was baptized, went UP OUT of the water  (Matthew 3:16)


Caught away
Harpazo  (NT:726)  to seize;  carry off by force;  to snatch
This word is used in:
Acts 8:39 the act of the Spirit of the Lord in regard to Philip
2 Corinthians 12:2, 4 of Paul in being "caught" up to paradise
1 Thessalonians 4:17 of the rapture of the saints at the return of the Lord
Revelation 12:5 of the rapture of the man child in the vision

(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

He went on his way rejoicing
He had found Christ,  and the key to the Scriptures;  his soul was set free,  and his discipleship sealed;  he had lost his teacher,  but gained what was infinitely better;  he felt himself a new man, and "his joy was full."
Tradition says he was the first preacher of the Gospel in Ethiopia.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(38)  And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and [Philip] baptized him.
(39)  And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [suddenly] caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 8:40
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(40)  But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

Philip was found at Azotus; and from there he traveled around and preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.


Azotus
This is the Greek name of the city which by the Hebrews was called Ashdod.
It was one of the cities which were not taken by Joshua, and which remained in the possession of the Philistines.
It was to this place that the ark of God was sent when it was taken by the Philistines from the Israelites.
Here Dagon was cast down before it, 1 Sam 5:2-3.
Uzziah, King of Judah, broke down its wall, and built cities or watch-towers around it, 2 Chronicles 26:6.
It was a place of great strength and consequence.  It was distant about thirty miles from Gaza.  It was situated on the coast of the Mediterranean, and had a seaport, which has now entirely disappeared.

All the cities
Joppa, Lydda, Askelon, Arimarhea, etc., lying along the coast of the Mediterranean.

Caesarea
Not Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13),  but a city built by Herod between Joppa and Mt. Carmel.  Philip settled here (Acts 21:8).  When mentioned singly it always refers to this city.

It was also called Caesarea of Palestine or Caesarea by the Sea,  to distinguish it from Caesarea Philippi.  It became the Roman capital of Palestine,  was provided with a temple,  a theater,  and an amphitheater;  and it had a complete system of drainage.  Herod named the place Caesarea after Augustus Caesar.

Here Philip appears to have settled – at least it is here we find him next, 20 years later (Acts 21:8). By then he had become a family man with 4 daughters all prophetesses.

As you trace the expansion of the Gospel during, this transition period (Acts chapters 2-10),  you see how the Holy Spirit reaches out to the whole world.
In Acts 8, the Ethiopian who was converted was a descendant of Ham (Genesis 10:6, where "Cush" refers to Ethiopia).
In Acts 9, Saul of Tarsus will be saved, a Jew and therefore a descendant of Shem (Genesis 10:21 ff).
In Acts 10, the Gentiles find Christ, and they are the descendants of Japheth (Genesis 10:2-5).
The whole world was peopled by Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Genesis 10:1);  and God wants the whole world - all of their descendants - to hear the message of the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(40)  But Philip was found at Azotus, and passing on he preached the good news (Gospel) to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.



(End of Chapter Eight)

 

Bibliography

 


Home First
Covenant
Second
Covenant
Topical
Studies
Table of
Contents
Top