"Everyone who kills you will think he is doing God service"
AND SAUL WAS THERE, GIVING APPROVAL TO HIS DEATH: Prob
Saul was one of the judges, and thus was excluded from actually and literally
executing the judgment (cp Deu 17:4-7,12). Cp Acts 26:10: "When they were put to
death, I cast my vote against them."
...SCATTERED...: Gr "diaspeiro" -- from which is
derived the English "diaspora" or dispersion: this describes a scattering of
seed, as done by a farmer -- and thus, symbolically, the scattering of the
"seed" of the gospel (Mat 13:3). The persecution of the early church led to its
dispersion; and this became the means by which Christ's promise was to be
fulfilled -- that his disciples would preach in all nations. (The fruits of this
are soon obvious, as seen later in this very chapter: with Philip and the
"For here we do not have an enduring city" (Heb 13:14). Those
who were driven away from the earthly Jerusalem went forth to preach a heavenly
GODLY MEN: Prob Christian sympathizers among the Jews,
but not themselves Christians -- or else they would have been called "brethren".
(Simeon was so called in Luk 2:25.)
MOURNED: Lit, a beating, ie of the chest.
See Act 26:10... indicating Paul, though young, was a member
of the Sanhedrin. (Cp Acts 22:4,19; 1Ti 1:13,15; Gal 1:13.)
DESTROY: "Made havock" (KJV). A similar word in Gal
1:13: "to destroy it". Used in Psa 80:13 LXX, of a wild boar in a
GOING FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE: Thorough and
The beneficial effect of persecution: a wider dispersion of
the gospel message.
PHILIP: The deacon (Act 6:5), not the apostle. If this
were the apostle, he would not have needed the presence of Peter and John to
convey Holy Spirit to others (v 15). Philip was first apostolic preacher to go
beyond walls of Jerusalem. He built upon previous work of Christ (Joh
WENT DOWN: The classic language of theophany, or
Yahweh-manifestation. Occurs often in Acts in the context of gospel preaching,
as if the witness to the gospel were another manifestation of the Yahweh-Name:
Act 8:5; 10:21; 13:4; 14:25; 15:30; 16:8; 18:22.
THE MIRACULOUS SIGNS HE DID: The Holy Spirit witnessed
to preaching of the apostles: Mark 16:17,18; Gal 3:4; 1Co 2:4,5. Power of
healing: Acts 3:6; 5:15,16; 14:8-10; 28:8. Holy Spirit witnessed to preaching of
Jesus: Acts 2:22. (See Lesson, Holy Spirit gifts, available today?)
SORCERY: Such wizards and conjurers were numerous at
this time, taking advantage of the general Messianic expectations of the
HE BOASTED THAT HE WAS SOMEONE GREAT: He was preaching
the "god" "Self"! Not the first, nor the last, to do such a thing!
THE GREAT POWER: A false Christ, essentially: Mar
Witchcraft -- absolutely forbidden by Jewish law (Exo 22:18;
Lev 20:27), among works of flesh (Gal 5:20).
BOTH MEN AND WOMEN: "There is neither... male nor
female" (Gal 3:2i). Men and women, but no children!
"The thoughtful reader will ask, 'What are the things
concerning the kingdom of God?' The Bible definitely points out six things that
concern the kingdom of God: (1) The King: all will agree that this is Christ;
(2) the Territory: The Lord shall be king over all the earth (Zec 14:9); (3)
Christ's helpers: a royal household of kings and priests (Rev 5:10); (4)
Subjects: the mortal nations, all dominions (Dan 7:27); (5) Seat of government:
Jerusalem, 'the city of the great King' (Psa 48:2); (6) Laws: the law shall go
forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Mic 4:2).
"Note carefully that in apostolic days the people believed the
things of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ BEFORE they were
baptized. Is such a belief necessary today? Before Pentecost the kingdom was
preached; after Pentecost the name was added. Is the name important? We read in
Luke 24:46: 'Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to
rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.' And
Acts 4:12: 'For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby
we must be saved' " (OLD).
Baptism always follows belief in the gospel: Acts 2:37-41:
Jews on Pentecost; Acts 8:12,13: Samaritans at preaching of Philip; Acts
8:36-39: Ethiopian eunuch; Acts 9:18: Saul of Tarsus; Acts 10:47,48: House of
Cornelius; Acts 16:14,15: Lydia and her house; Acts 16:30-33: Philippian jailer
and his house; Acts 18:8: Crispus, many Corinthians; 1Co 1:14: Gaius; 1Co 1:16:
Household of Stephanas.
Cp Gen 7:1: only 8 saved, and only by water (1Pe 3:21). 1Co
10:1,2: Israel baptized in Red sea and in cloud: the first act of obedience,
beginning a period of probation, during which continuous obedience is
SAMARIA: The country, not the city. The first extension
of Christianity beyond limits of Judaism.
JOHN: The same John only a few years previously had
wanted to call down "fire from heaven" on a village in Samaria (Luk
Vv 14,15: Philip was unable to give Holy Spirit to others.
Apostles were sent to Samaria (v 17), laying on hands. No case where Holy Spirit
was granted where an apostle was not present. Was Paul an exception (Acts 9:17)?
No. Paul was also an apostle: Rom 1:1; 1Co 9:1,2; 2Co 11:5. Ultimate purpose of
the Holy Spirit: Acts 2:21.
ARRIVED: Or "came down" -- usual description for
leaving Jerusalem (Luk 2:51; Joh 7:8).
Notice: the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, with any gifts, was
not automatic at baptism.
The apostles only could convey Holy Spirit to others. These,
in turn, could not pass along Holy Spirit gifts to next generation.
Peter himself had no money (Act 3:6), and was not swayed by
bribes. Man is not redeemed by money (1Pe 1:18,19; cp Isa 55:1,2; Rev
NO PART OR SHARE: A proverbial phrase: Deu 10:9; Num
FULL OF BITTERNESS: "The gall of bitterness" (RSV): Deu
29:18 -- a root that bears gall = serving other gods. Thus, the bitter results
(for followers as well as leaders) of serving other "gods": cp Heb
An unfinished story: we are told nothing further about Simon.
Did he repent, or perish?
Acts 8:26 to end of Book: "To the uttermost parts of the
earth" -- thus fulfilling Acts 1:8: (1) towards Africa (Act 8:26-40); (2)
towards Asia (Acts 9:1-16:5); (3) towards Europe (Acts 16:6-18:7); (4) in Asia
(Acts 18:18-26:32); and (5) in Europe (Acts 27:1-28:31).
SOUTH: "Mesembria" = lit, "middle-day", or noon (so
rendered in Act 22:6, only other usage). From "mesos" (middle) and "hemera"
THE DESERT ROAD: There being several different roads
from Jerusalem to Gaza.
THAT GOES DOWN FROM JERUSALEM: Cp Luk
GAZA: A flourishing city of trade at this time
Firstfruits of "uttermost parts of earth" (Act 1:8).
EUNUCH: Not always to be taken literally (cp Gen 37:36
/ 39:1). May perhaps only sig an official. However, see Isa 56:3-5 and cp with
his question (v 33). By tradition, his name was Theophilus (SB 62).
CANDACE: A title, not a name. Borne by several
HAD GONE TO JERUSALEM TO WORSHIP: He was a Gentile
AND ON HIS WAY HOME: The new persecutions (and
scattering of disciples) would make it unlikely that a visitor to Jerusalem
would now hear the gospel preached.
AND HEARD HIM READING: In ancient times, people
generally read aloud.
...UNLESS SOMEONE EXPLAINS...: Mysteries are revealed
to the meek. And Jesus is the "key" to unlock the OT: Luk
EXPLAIN: Gr "hodegeo": to lead, or guide, in the road.
As Christ was "led" (v 32) to his death, so the Ethiopian was "led" to believe
Isa 53 cited in ref to Christ in Mat 8:17 and 1Pe 2:23. This
passage is quoting from the LXX; cp (a) Isa 53:7: ewe... her... shearers; (b)
Acts 8:32: lamb... his or its or the (different versions)... shearer (singular);
and (c) Isa 53:7 LXX: lamb... the... shearer.
Jesus was a "eunuch" too -- having no natural offspring (Isa
53:8); yet he was still to have a succeeding "generation" (Isa 53:10,11;
56:3-5)! This idea, and prospect, excited the feelings of the Ethiopian.
Learning the gospel, he went his way rejoicing (v 39), and proceeded to create
his own future "generations", by sharing that gospel with others!
WHO IS THE PROPHET TALKING ABOUT?: "It needs to be
recognised, specially by those who write themselves off as incompetent in this
field, that even the most ill-equipped among us are capable of Bible study of
the best sort. For this is not a matter of erudite commentaries and lots of
Greek and Hebrew. It consists, quite simply, of developing the faculty, which we
all have, of asking questions. One of the first mathematicians in Britain, a man
with an international reputation, once said to me, 'The way to make advances in
mathematics is to find problems that need answering. Once you realise you are
faced with a problem that no one else has yet dreamed of tackling, then you are
on the way to extending the boundaries of the subject.' He did not know that he
was, in effect, enunciating a wholesome principle for much rewarding Bible
study. There is no block of three or four verses in the Bible which when read
with care does not provoke questions. And often, though not always, the search
for answers leads to wider understanding" (Tes 50:218).
HIMSELF: From tradition of Isaiah's violent death at
hands of Manasseh.
BEGAN: Lit "opened his mouth" -- indicating a solemn
pronouncement (as in Mat 5:2).
Baptism = a complete immersion in water: v 39.
John baptizes near "much water" (Joh 3:23). Belief: an
absolute prerequisite to baptism: Mark 16:15,16; 1Pe 3:21.
INTO THE WATER: V 38: "Into" the water = Greek "eis" =
in the interior! Complete immersion. Purpose of baptism: forgiveness of sins:
Acts 2:38. Paul's baptism: Acts 22:16.
To fulfill Psa 68:31: "Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands
SUDDENLY TOOK: Sw 1Th 4:17: "caught away".
DID NOT SEE HIM AGAIN: No further mention of Philip for
20 years (Act 21:8).
WENT ON HIS WAY: One "way" (v 36) has been exchanged
for another "way"!
REJOICING: "These [ie eunuchs: v 4, and foreigners: v
6] I will bring to my holy mountain [Jerusalem] and give them joy [the eunuch
rejoicing!] in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be
accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all
nations [the gospel is now preached to Ethiopia]" (Isa 56:7).
AZOTUS: Ashdod (Jos 11:22; 1Sa 5:3).
ALL THE TOWNS: Ekron, Rama, Joppa, Lydda -- where many