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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Acts 8

Verse 1

Acts 8:0

The book of the Acts has been considered divisible into three parts--the first, containing an account of the doings of the church at Jerusalem after our Savior's ascension; the second, which begins at the eighth chapter, narrating the general history of the church in Judea, after its dispersion from Jerusalem; and the third, from the beginning of the thirteenth chapter to the end of the book, containing the personal history of Paul. This division is convenient for some purposes, though there is no reason to suppose that the author of the book had it, himself, particularly in mind.

Verse 3

Verse 3

Haling; seizing. He acted under authority from the chief priests, as he states in his defence before Agrippa. (Acts 26:10.)

Verse 5

Verse 5

Philip. There was an apostle, (Matthew 10:3,) and also one of the seven deacons, (Acts 6:5,) of the name of Philip. It would seem, from Acts 8:14, that this individual was not one of the apostles; it is inferred, therefore, that Philip the deacon is here intended.

Verse 9

Verse 9

Used sorcery; pretended to possess supernatural powers.--Bewitched the people; amazed and bewildered them.

Verse 15

Verse 15

For them; for the Samaritan converts. This account of the visit of Peter and John to the new converts, supported by other cases somewhat similar, which are hereafter recorded, is made, by the Episcopal church, the basis of their rite of confirmation.--Receive the Holy Ghost. There is some difficulty in determining how much is implied in "receiving the Holy Ghost," in the various connections in which the expression occurs. It would seem that, in this case, it must have been attended by some visible and extraordinary manifestation, in order to attract so strongly the attention of Simon.

Verse 20

Verse 20

Thy money perish with thee; an expression of strong detestation at so base a proposal.

Verse 27

Verse 27

Ethiopia; a part of Africa, south of Egypt.--Eunuch; a name denoting a certain class of high officers of state, connected with the royal household.

Verse 28

Verse 28

Esaias; Isaiah. He was reading, undoubtedly, a Greek translation, which had been made at Alexandria, and was then much in use.

Verse 32

Verse 32

Was this; Isaiah 53:7,Isaiah 53:8. The quotation, being made from the Alexandrian translation, varies, in its phraseology, from our text, which was translated from the Hebrew. One cannot but wonder that this, of all predictions of the Messiah's sufferings in the Old Testament the most striking, should have been that which the eunuch was reading before Philip joined him. He could hardly miss to have heard at Jerusalem of the sufferings and death of Jesus, and of the existence of a continually increasing party who acknowledged him to be the Messiah. But his question to Philip, whether the prophet in this passage meant himself or some other man, clearly shows that he had not the least idea of any connection between this prediction and those facts.

Verse 34

Verse 34

I pray thee. The respect with which he here addresses Philip was prompted by his reverence for one whom he perceived to be his superior in divine things, his own worldly position sinking before this.

Verse 35

Verse 35

Then Philip opened his mouth. See on Matthew 5:2. Began at the same Scripture, founding on it as his text, preached unto him Jesus, showing him to be the glorious Burden of this wonderful prediction, and interpreting it in the light of the facts of his history.

Verse 36

Verse 36

See, here is water; more simply, "Behold water!" 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,--What doth hinder me to be baptized? Philip had probably told him that this was the ordained sign and seal of discipleship.

Verse 39

Verse 39

Caught away Philip; led or induced him to go away. That is, he immediately withdrew, under the guidance of the Spirit.

Verse 40

Verse 40

Azotus; a city on the sea-coast, about thirty miles north of Gaza,--the Ashdod of the Old Testament.--Cesarea. Cesarea was then the capital of Judea, being the residence of the Roman governors. It was a large seaport on the Mediterranean, about sixty miles north of Azotus.

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Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Acts 8". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ain/acts-8.html. 1878.