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Bible Commentaries
Acts 8

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

Paul, A Leader in Persecuting the Church V. 1-3

1) "And Saul was consenting." (Saulos de en suneudokon) "And Saul was consenting, approving, agreeing," in consort with the false witnesses who brought the charges and cast the first stones at Stephen, Acts 22:20.

2) "Unto his death," (te anairesei autou) "To the killing of him," to the stoning death of Stephen, Acts 7:58.

3) "At that time,” (en ekein te hemera) "In that day when he was stoned," Acts 7:59-60. The persecuting broke out on that day, at that very time, spreading like a prairie fire.

4) "There was a great persecution against the church," (diogmos megas epi ten ekkiesian egento de) "There came to be or exist a great persecution against the church," to which Saul became a party, Acts 8:3; 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:9.

5) "Which was at Jerusalem;" (ten en lerosolumois) "The one (congregation) located at Jerusalem," or in the Jerusalem area, where the promised Holy Spirit empowering came, Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4.

6) "And they were all scattered abroad," (pantes de diesparesan) "And all (the Jerusalem church) were scattered or dispersed from Jerusalem," both permanent Jerusalem residents and temporary residents who had been saved at the recent Pentecost, Acts 11:19.

7) "Throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria," (kata tas choras loudaias kai Samareias) "Throughout the countries, areas, or territories of Judaea and Samaria," and as far as Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch, Acts 11:19-20.

8) "Except the apostles," (plen ton apostolon) "Except the apostles." This means that they did not move residence at that time, from Jerusalem.

Verse 2

1) "And devout men carried Stephen to his burial," (suekomisan de ton Stephanon andres eulabeis) "Then devout men recovered (the body of) Stephen," from the place where he was stoned to death, outside the city, where they (the council) had "cast him out," Acts 7:58; As Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus prepared the body of Jesus for burial, so devout men prepared and buried the beaten and mangled body of Stephen, Matthew 27:57-60; Luke 23:50-53.

2) "And made great lamentations over him," (kai epoilsan kopeton megan ep’ auto) "And they made a great lamentation over him," over his death. The (Gk. kopeton) means to beat the breast or head in expressing deep grief, sorrow, respect, and or regret for the deceased. It may be that both devout Jews and Christian Jews joined in the burial, without offending the Sanhedrin which had incited and given grounds for the murder, even as devout women wept at the burial of Lazarus, John 11:31-35.

Verse 3

1) "As for Saul, he made havock of the church," (Saulos de elumaineta ten eklesian) "Then, or atthat point in time, Saul ravaged the church," or demeaned the dignity of the church, by his indignities against her members. The term "made havock" refers to scourging and torturing with personal outrage, like am army in hand to hand combat with an enemy at war, as foretold by our Lord, John 15:20; Matthew 5:11-12.

2) "Entering into every house “ (kata tous oikous eisporeuomenos) "Entering, house by house, from door to door," where Christians lived or met to worship of his own will, accord, or zeal in the city of Jerusalem. He later recounted his wicked actions, with regret, before King Agrippa, Acts 26:10.

3) "And hailing men and women," (suron te andras kai gunaikas) "Repeatedly or continually dragging both responsible Christian men and women," hauling or dragging them from their homes and places of assembly worship, where they chose to obey and worship God, rather than men, Acts 5:29; Acts 9:1-2; Acts 26:10-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13.

4) "Committed them to prison," (paredidou eis phulakin) "He delivered them into prison," secured their committal into prison, into bonds and stocks; All who live Godly in Christ Jesus must therefore suffer persecution, even if all do not find themselves in prisons, 2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:20; Matthew 5:10-12.

Verse 4

Persecution Scatters for Witnessing, V. 4

1) "Therefore they that were scattered abroad," (hoi men oun diasparentes) "Therefore those who were scattered or dispersed," those from the church at Jerusalem, where they had lingered, "having all things" common, while fellowshipping in prayer, witnessing, and the study of the word in Jerusalem, Acts 2:41 to Acts 7:60.

2) "Went every where preaching the word," (dielthon evangelizomenai ton logon) "Passed through the territories where they were scattered preaching the word," telling the story of the resurrected, living, ascended Christ, Acts 11:19-20. This occurred when the church delayed an extended period in Jerusalem, neglecting extended obedience to God’s command for them, Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8. Where Satan made, or tried to make martyrs, he made missionaries instead, Philippians 1:12-13.

Verse 5

Samaria Receives Philip and the Gospel, V. 5-8

1) "Then Philip went down," (Philippos de katelton) "Then Philip going down," voluntarily, or of his own will, choice and decision, by conviction. This Philip the evangelist is considered to be either the Deacon Philip, recently ordained, full of the Holy Ghost, or Philip, one of the twelve apostles, which one is not clear, Acts 6:5; Matthew 10:3; Acts 21:8.

2) "To the city of Samaria," (eis ten polin tes Samareias) "Into the city of Samaria," central city and capital of the Samaritans of the day, located some forty (40) miles north of Jerusalem. It is also known as Sabaste, named by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus.

3) "And preached Christ unto them," (ekerussen autois ton Christon) "Proclaimed aloud to them the Christ," whom the Jews with wicked hands had slain, many of whom enlarged their guilt and condemnation in the more recent stoning of Stephen to death also, Acts 2:23; Acts 2:36; Acts 7:57-60. When the Jews had rejected the gospel, as a religious body, in Jerusalem, the disciples then began their missionary, evangelistic work to the Gentiles, to all nations, as commissioned by their Lord, by going into Samaria, Luke 24:46-51; Acts 1:8.

Verse 6

1) "And the people with one accord," (de hoi ochloi homothumadon) "Then the crowds (masses of people) with one mind," or of similar mind, with oneness of attention, respectfully, as the waiting church did for Pentecost, Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1.

2) "Gave heed unto those things which Philip spake," (proseichon tois legomenois hupo tou Philippou) "To those things that were being spoken by Philip, they respectfully gave responsive attention," Acts 2:22; Acts 2:36; Acts 5:35. Men are to "take heed" what and how they hear, Mark 4:24; Romans 10:17; Luke 8:18.

3) "Hearing and seeing the miracles which he did," (en to akouein autous kai blepein to semeia ha epoiei) "As they were seeing and hearing the miraculous signs which lie was performing," Acts 5:12-16; Acts 9:18; Acts 9:36-43, similar to those that Peter, John, and Paul performed, Acts 28:8-9.

Verse 7

1) "For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice," (gar polloi pneumata akatharta bonta phone megale) "For many unclean spirits that were crying vociferously," with a bellowing voice, from those emotionally unstable deranged by demon spirits, as Luke 8:28, and as one cried out to Jesus one day in a Synagogue Service, Mark 1:23-24.

2) "Came out of many that were possessed with them," (ekserchonto ton echonton) "Came out of (or from) those (having them) or being possessed or controlled by them," such as our Lord cast out of the Demon possessed man of Gadara, Luke 8:26-34. Demon possession is to be distinguished from diseases. It appears that seizures by the demon possessed caused them to lose self-consciousness and become emotional companions with demons.

3) "And many taken with palsies," (polloi de paralelumenoi) "Then many having been paralyzed," existing as paralytics such as were healed by Jesus, Mark 2:5-9 and by Peter and John, Acts 3:1-9. The term (polloi) "many" indicates that not all of this kind in the city were healed.

4) "And that were lame," (kai choloi),’As well as lame ones," Acts 5:12-16.

5) "Were healed," (etherapeuthesan) "Were healed," or made well from their afflictions, as promised Mark 16:17; As Jesus repeatedly healed such as came to Him, where ever He was, Matthew 8:1-18.

Verse 8

1) "And there was great joy," (egeneto de polle chara) "Then there came to be much joy," joy expressed by many, especially by those whose family members and close friends had been healed of their afflictions, Acts 8:5-6; Luke 10:17-20; Acts 3:10-11; Luke 15:23-24; Luke 15:32; as when the Prodigal came home, John 15:11; John 16:24; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 4:13.

2) "In that city," (en te polei ekeine) "in that city," the city of Samaria or Sabaste, among the Gentiles, where the gospel witnessing had gone forth, Acts 8:5; Acts 1:8; Luke 24:46-51.

This information was perhaps received by Luke, from Philip himself, Acts 21:8; or from the Apostle Paul when tie traveled through Samaria, as recounted, Acts 15:3.

Verse 9

Covetous Heart of Simon the Sorcerer V. 9-25

1) "But there was a certain man, called Simon," (aner de tis onomati Simon) "Then there was (existed) a certain one (a particular person) named Simon;" This is a literal account of a specific man in the capital city of Samaria, a man well known, of influence among them, Acts 8:10-11. He was known in history as Simon Magus, mentioned by Josephus.

2) "Which beforetime in the same city used sorcery," (prouperchen en te polei mageuon) "Who was previously practicing sorcery in the city," a magician, trickster, skilled in the arts of deception thru optical illusion, magic arts, making things to appear different from reality by a form of legerdemain, a vulgar deceiver, as in Acts 13:6.

3) "And bewitched the people of Samaria," (kai ekistanon to ethnos tes Samareias) "And he was continually astonishing the nation or race of people of Samaria," as a people hero, as Elymas the Sorcerer did at Paphos later, on the island of Cyprus, Acts 13:6-12.

4) "Giving out that himself was some great one:” (legon einai tina heautou megan) "Continually advertising himself to be someone great," a near god to them, receiving without any disclaimer, honor as if he was God, much as Herod later permitted of himself, Acts 12:21-23; Contrast Philip’s preaching Jesus to them and to the Ethiopian Eunuch, with Simon’s preaching himself as one great as a prophet or Messiah, as false prophets and deceitful workers operate, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Acts 8:5; Acts 8:35; Revelation 2:20.

Verse 10

1) "To whom they all gave heed," (ho ptoseichon pantes) "To whom all they (of the nation of Samaria) gave heed," or listened to obey, follow him, like sheep to the slaughter, as many followed the Jew exorcist named Sceva who tried to imitate the miraculous powers given by the Holy Spirit to the early church workers, Acts 19:11-20.

2) "From the least to the greatest, saying," (apo mikou

heos megalou legontes) "From the tiny ones (microscopic) to the greatest, continually affirming," defending, and circulating the report about this Simon the Sorcerer, base religious deceiver; compare 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

3) "This man is the great power of God," (houtos estin he dunamis tou theou he kaloumene megate) "This one (Simon) is being called (known as) the mighty Dynamic of God," or "the mighty power of God," among us, among the Samaritans; He posed himself to be god to the people, without apology or a disclaimer, such as Peter, John, and Paul did, Acts 3:12; Acts 10:25-26; Acts 14:8-18.

Verse 11

1) "And to him they had regard," (proseichon de auto) "Then (in those days) they gave heed to him;" They regarded the magic art feats of Simon to be some superhuman power, the power of a god, of that he was surely a god himself. Such were false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing, Matthew 7:15; 1 John 4:1.

2) "Because that of long time," (dia to hikano) "Because for a considerable time," (for an extended period of time), in the city of Samaria.

3) "He had bewitched them with sorceries," (tais mageiais eksestakenai autous) "He had astonished them by his sorceries," trickery, deception, or legerdemain, - -by the magic arts similar to those of ancient magicians of Egypt, Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:7-19; Exodus 9:11. Similar magic arts deceivers bewitched the Babylonians, posing as men with powers of gods, Daniel 1:20; Daniel 2:2; Daniel 2:27-28; Daniel 4:7-9.

Verse 12

1) "But when they believed Philip," (hoti de episteusan to Philippo) "Then when they believed Philip," trusted toward what Philip preached, observing that his message concerning Christ was accompanied by credentials of miraculous demonstrations that were beyond controversy, authentic in nature, Acts 8:5-8; as also witnessed, Acts 13:38-39.

2) "Preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God," (evangelizomeno peri tes basileias tou theou) "Concerning (the things) the preaching of the kingdom of God," the good news message of salvation, the resurrection, and ascension of Jesus into heaven, and the Holy Spirit empowering of the new testament covenant company called His church, John 20:26; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:15.

3) "And the name of Jesus Christ," (kai tou onomatos lesou Christou) "And concerning the name (authority) of Jesus Christ," to save and keep to care for lost men, as demonstrated by the empowered testimony of His mandated witnesses, John 20:21; Acts 1:8.

4) "They were baptized, both men and women," (ebaptizonto andres te kai gunaikes) "Both responsible (mature) men and women were baptized," immersed, publicly committed themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ, in harmony with Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:41-47.

Verse 13

1) "Then Simon himself believed also:" (ho de Simon kai autos episteusen) "Then Simon also himself believed," or trusted, or professed to believe or trust, even as Judas Iscariot, Ananias, and Saphira had done, Matthew 10:1; Matthew 10:4; Acts 4:32; Acts 4:34; Acts 5:1-11.

2) "And when he was baptized," (kai baptistheis) "And having been baptized," after he was baptized, to be initiated into the company or church fellowship with Philip.

3) "He continued with Philip," (en proskarteron to Philippo) "He attached himself to Philip," or was attaching himself to Philip, following, observing him closely, as later indicated, for mercenary, ulterior motives, Acts 8:18.

4) "And wondered," (eksistato) "He was amazed, astounded, ecstatic," emotionally excited, in a state of Philip’s power assuming it was high class magic arts, such as he had been doing, Acts 8:9-10.

5) "Beholding the miracles and signs which were done," (theoron te semeia kai dunameis megalas ginomenos) "When he beheld (scrutinized or gazed upon) happenings or occurrences involving great signs and powerful deeds," that Philip did thru the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 5:12-16.

SIMON’S BRIBE OFFER

The church is always tempted in this way. We must always reject the ungodly patronage. Do I address a minister who preaches to a moneyed pew? Your ministry will be blighted with well-merited condemnation. Do I minister to a Church that could accept secular patronage in order to preach a settled and determined theology? Such a Church would have sold its birthright for a contemptible price. Faith must spread its own daily board. Love must pay its own way. Did I speak to some who represent very feeble communities? Do not ask any man to help you, unless his help be the inspiration of love. Never be bribed into silence. Never keep back the truth of God, lest you should forfeit status or income. It is not necessary for any man to live, but it is necessary for every man to be loyal to Christ’s truth. When the king came to meet Abraham, and offered him great hospitality and patronage, Abraham said, "No, lest thou say, I have made Abraham rich." The chief power is spiritual, not financial. But the church has wonderfully fallen under the fallacy which teaches that the Church ought to be socially respectable

-- Parker

Verse 14

1) "Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard," (akousantes de hoi en lerosolumois apostoloi) "Then when the Apostles who were (still) in Jerusalem repeatedly heard," received reports, Acts 8:1. The Apostles had remained in Jerusalem when most of the church congregation had fled under the great persecution.

2) "That Samaria had received the word of God," (hoti dedektai he Samareia ton logan tou theou) "That the Samaria (people) had received the word of God," as they had at the preaching of Philip, Acts 8:5-7; Acts 8:12.

3) "They sent unto them Peter and John," (apesteilan pros autous Petron kai loannen) "The Apostles sent Peter and John to them (who had believed) in Samaria," they sent them with pledge of moral and spiritual support, for Peter and John had been tested as public witnesses for Christ in prison and out of prison, Acts 3:1-26; Acts 4:1-12; Acts 4:18-21; Acts 5:29.

Peter was always an outspoken witness and John had once been so zealous that he wanted to invoke fire on the Samaritan enemies of Christ, Luke 9:54. Yet their dedication and maturity had commended them to the church and other apostles as trustworthy brethren, 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9.

Verse 15

1) "Who, when they were come down," (oitines katabantes) "Who going down, or having gone down," down to help the believers in Samaria. The "they" who went down to Samaria were Peter and John, Acts 8:14. The term "down" refers to the lay of the land area lower then Jerusalem, though located north.

2) "Prayed for them," (proseulksanto peri auton) "They prayed concerning them," concerning those who had received the word of God and been baptized in Samaria, Acts 8:12.

3) "That they might receive the Holy Ghost:" (hopos labosin pneuma hagion) "So that they might receive the Holy Spirit," or the manifestation-gift of the Holy Spirit which came upon the church at Pentecost, which gift was thereafter conferred by the laying on of the hands of the Apostles, Acts 8:17; Acts 6:6; Acts 19:6, preceded always by prayer. All who are saved have, hold, or possess the Holy Spirit, and then possessed the Spirit, but after the Special Empowering of the church by or in the Special Sanctifying of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the Apostles conferred certain manifestations (gifts) of the Holy Spirit by prayer and laying on of the hands, till the Bible was completed; These gifts were divinely bestowed credentials, confirming the trust-worthiness of the testimony of the Baptized believers, Mark 2:10-11; John 3:2; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 1 Corinthians 12:28-31; 1 Corinthians 13:9-10; 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Verse 16

1) "(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them:”(oudepo gar en ep’ oudeni auton epipeptokos) "Because he was not yet having fallen on any (a) one of them," of the baptized believers, just as he had not on certain believers (disciples) at Ephesus in Asia Minor. Apostles were to "lay hands," for conferring the gifts of the Holy Spirit, only upon baptized believers, a thing Paul verified before laying hands on certain brethren of Ephesus, Acts 19:1-7.

2) "Only they were baptized," (monon de bebaptismenoi huperchon) "They were (as yet) only having been baptized," as believers, as disciples, in proper scriptural order, Matthew 28:18-20, but had not received any special spiritual gift, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Acts 19:2. This does not negate the baptism of Philip, but merely strengthens the concept of the need of scriptural baptism before one received the spiritual gifts.

3) "In the name of the Lord Jesus. " (eis to onoma tou kuriou lesou) "In the name (by the authority) of the Lord Jesus," as He had authorized His disciples. They first made believers or disciples, then baptized them, then taught them to observe, follow, or obey the call and teachings of Jesus Christ, Colossians 3:17. To be baptized (into), with reference to the Lord Jesus, means to be baptized or immersed, rising to follow and to serve Jesus as Master and Lord of life, Ephesians 2:10.

Verse 17

1) "Then laid they their hands on them," (tote epetithesan tas cheiras ep’ autous) "Then they (Peter and John) laid their hands upon them," upon the baptized believers, as a symbol of committed and shared trust, at which times these too received special spiritual gifts, according to their needs, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

2) "And they received the Holy Ghost," (kai elambanon pneuma hagion) "And they (the baptized Samaria believers) received the Holy Ghost;" In the sense of special manifestation that He came upon the waiting, believing church, on the day of Pentecost; to bring special gifts of divers kinds, from the gift of tongues to that of Inspiration, all of which gifts ceased when the Bible was completed, or upon the death of the twelve apostles, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Verse 18

1) "And, when Simon saw," (idon de ho Simon) "Then when Simon perceived," or realized, the outward, manifestations of the Holy Spirit. For what he saw was what the unbelieving Jews saw at Pentecost, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit thru witnessing and tongues speaking, Acts 2:4-11.

2) "That through laying on of the Apostles’ hands," (hoti dia tes epitheseos ton cheiron ton apostolon) "That by means of the laying on of the hands of the Apostles," Acts 19:5-6. This was a gesture of conferred credential trust, whatever the special gift one received. It was for his edification, Ephesians 4:7-14.

3) "The Holy Ghost was given, ’(didoti to pneuma) "The Spirit was given (doled out)," on the baptized believers in Samaria; They were not saved at one point to receive the Holy Spirit "per se" later, but did receive the manifestations of His Gift Powers later, according to their needs, 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:11.

4) "He offered them money," (prosenegken autois chremata legon) "He offered to them money," 1 Timothy 6:10.

Verse 19

1) "Saying, Give me also this power," (dote kamoi ten eksousian tauten) "Give over to me also this (nature of) authority," to perform miracles or to confer Holy Spirit gifts by the laying on of hands, Acts 8:18.

2) "That on whomsoever I lay hands, ’(hina ho ean tas cheiras) "That (in order that) whoever I lay (my) hands upon," as Peter and John had done, and Paul did later, Acts 8:14; Acts 8:17-18; Acts 19:6; Hebrews 6:2.

3) "He may receive the Holy Ghost," (lambane pneuma hagion) "He may receive Holy Spirit," Special Holy Spirit power or ".demonstrable gift," a particular gift of the Spirit; according to their useful ability, 1 Corinthians 12:3-11; Ephesians 4:7-14.

Simon the Sorcerer mistook the true source of the Holy Spirit gifts, because of his carnality, love for money, the root of all evil, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Timothy 6:10.

Verse 20

1) But Peter said unto him," (Petros de eipen pros auton) "Then Peter said to him," responded to Simon the magic arts deceiver whose profession seems to have been as artificial as that of Judas Iscariot, whose life was controlled by a covetous heart, Exodus 20:17; Matthew 15:19.

2) "Thy money perish with thee," (to argurion sou soi eie apoleian) "May your silver be with you into perdition," into hell. This is an apparent warning to Simon that he is on the road to hell; Like Judas Iscariot who was a thief, his first love was money; 2 Kings 5:26-27.

3) "Because thou hast thought that the gift of God," (hoti ten dorean tou theou henomisas) "Because thou didst suppose (that) the gift of God," the demonstrative power gifts of the Holy Spirit could be bought with money, like lessons in magic arts, etc. But these gifts came, not for personal profit purpose, but for edifying of the church, Ephesians 4:7-14.

4) "May be purchased with money," (dia chernaton katasthai) "May be gotten thru money," or may be to you by purchase of money, Acts 8:18; 1 John 2:15-17. The "love of money" priority of affections for money is declared to be the "root of all (all kinds of) evil," 1 Timothy 6:10. Simon’s actions and requests were not merely an error but his intentions, motives, and heart (affections) were not right (upright) in the sight of God, Acts 8:21; Matthew 15:19. The term "Simony" has come to represent all traffic in efforts to purchase official positions in secular and religious life.

Verse 21

1) "Thou hast neither part nor lot," (ouk estin soi maris oude kleros) "There is (exists) to you neither a part or parcel, no part at all in the gift of the Holy Spirit, or any manifestation of it, 1 Corinthians 12:1-7.

2) "In this matter:”(en to logo touto) "In this gift matter," in this particular matter of gifts thru laying on of the hands, Acts 19:6; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. He coveted personal gain, worldly gain, rather than salvation, so that the love of the Father was not in him, 1 John 2:15-17.

3) "For thy heart is not right," (he gar karsia sou ouk estin eutheia) "For your heart (center of affections) is not right;" He had not with, or in his heart "believed unto righteousness," Romans 10:9-10. He did not have the Holy Spirit, therefore could not receive any gift manifestation of the Spirit, Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:7-8; 1 Corinthians 12:11.

4) "In the sight of God," (enanti tou theou) "Before or in the presence of God," Matthew 15:18-19; Proverbs 6:14; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23. It appears to have been the desire, intent, and motive of Simon to purchase the gift of the Holy Spirit manifestations from Peter and John for the purpose of deceit, larceny, and covetous personal, monetary gain from the people who had looked to him as a god, Acts 8:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:10.

Verse 22

1) "Repent therefore," (metenoeson oun) "Repent thou therefore," in the Iight of your covetousness, your larcenous heart and your monetary selfishness for personal gain thru divine matters; This call to repentance from an evil heart was a call to salvation, 2 Corinthians 7; 2 Corinthians 11; Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30-31.

2) "Of this thy wickedness," (apo tes kakias sou tautes) "From this (kind of) thy lustful desire, thy evil covetousness," from a wicked heart, Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:8-9; He had a foolish, darkened, and wicked heart, Romans 1:21.

3) "And pray God," (kai deetheti tou kuriou) "And earnestly entreat or petition the Lord," for apart from a personal acknowledgment of sin and personal plea for pardon none can be saved, Luke 13:5; Isaiah 55:6-7; Romans 10:13; Psalms 145:18-19.

4) "If perhaps the thought of thine heart," (ei ara aphethesetai soi) "If perhaps (possibly) may be pardoned or forgiven to thee," Ephesians 1:7; Daniel 4:27; 2 Timothy 2:25-26; 1 Peter 3:15.

5) "May be forgiven thee," (he epinoia tes kardias sou) "The covetous thought, desire, or purpose of your heart," or affections that were set on selfish, covetous, personal monetary gain, Genesis 6:5; Matthew 15:18-19; 1 John 2:15-17.

Verse 23

1) "For I perceive," (gar horo) "For I perceive," or realize of a certainty; I recognize your state or condition of being by what you say, Matthew 12:36-37.

2) "That thou art in the gall of bitterness," (anta eis choen pikrias) "That you are (now exist) in the gall of bitterness," which the ancients thought was the source of venom of reptiles; The figure is one of moral corruption, in which Simon then existed. The venom of the Serpent of Sin, the Devil himself, incited the unregenerate, covetous nature of Simon to seek selfish personal gain by attempting to bribe Peter into giving him the power of the Holy Spirit manifestations, Matthew 15:18-19.

3) "And in the bond of iniquity," (kai sundesmon adikias) "Even with or in welded or bonded chains of unrighteousness," shackles of lawlessness, a slave to the Devil, or child of the Devil, John 8:24. Simon had been bound by chains of magic arts, deception, and trickery, receiving the praise of men as if he were a god for so long that his bent to sinning for love of money and the praise of men almost, and may have, eventually, damned his soul in hell, Acts 8:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:10; 1 John 2:15-17.

Verse 24

1) "Then answered Simon, and said," (apokritheis de ho Simon eipen) "Then responding Simon appealed," to Peter and John as follows:

2) "Pray ye to the Lord for me,"(de-ethete humeis huper emou pros ton kurion) "You all pray (earnestly beseech) to the Lord in behalf of me;- It appears that the sharp, direct rebuke Peter gave shocked Simon with great fear that an immediate Divine judgement might befall him similar to that upon Ananias and Saphira, Acts 5:1-11. He had much better repented and prayed for himself, Romans 14:11-12; Acts 17:31.

3) "That none of these things," (hopos meden) "So that not one thing," none of all those judgmental-things, his having neither part or parcel in any gift of the Holy Spirit manifestation, his existing on and on in the venom of bitterness, and slave chains of lawlessness.

4) "Which ye have spoken come upon me, ’(epelthe ep eme hon eirekate) "Of which you all have spoken may come upon me," The fear of God hit Simon at the sharp reproof of Peter as if an heathen-hex had been cast over him that could be removed only by the compassionate prayers of Peter and John.

a) Pharaoh had pled thus with Moses and Aaron, Exodus 8:8.

b) Murmuring, Israel pled thus with Moses when fiery serpents had been sent among them, Numbers 21:7.

c) Jeroboam pled to God’s Prophet to restore his hand that had withered when he lifted it against God, 1 Kings 13:6.

Verse 25

1) "And they, when they had testified," (hoi men oun diamorturamenoi) "They (Peter and John) therefore having solemnly borne witness," to confirm and support the preaching of Philip, Acts 1:8.

2) "And preached the word of the Lord," (kai lalesantes ton logon tou kuriou) "And having repeatedly spoken the word of the Lord," the commission He had given to them, to bear witness of Jesus, John 20:21; Luke 19:10; Luke 24:46-51.

3) "Returned to Jerusalem," (hupestrepon eis lerosolum) "They returned or turned back to Jerusalem," their home base, as apostles having been sent forth, encouraged by the other apostles, Acts 8:14.

4) "And preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans," (pollas te komas ton Samariton evengelizonto) "Even evangelized many villages of the Samaritans;" Won many to the Lord, baptized them and established congregations or churches, on the way back to Jerusalem, as they did what the resurrected Lord commanded them to do before His ascension, Acts 1:9-11.

Verse 26

Mission Message on Foot and on Wheels, Samaria to Gaza -- Philip and the Eunuch V. 26-40

1) "And the angel of the Lord," (angelos de kuriou) "Then (at that time) an angel of the Lord," a ministering spirit sent forth to inform Philip of another field of labors where he was needed, Hebrews 1:14.

2) "Spake unto Philip, saying," (elalesen pros Philippon legon) "Spoke to or toward Philip instructing," giving him information, understanding, knowledge, and directions for his ministry. The angel was perhaps of Gabriel’s realm, a realm that ministers in this area of service, Daniel 9:21-23.

3) "Arise, and go toward the south," (anastethi kai poreuou kata mesembrian) "Stand up, arise, and go along south," go (in) a southerly direction - - First on foot, and later on wheels Phillip was called to preach Jesus, 1) In Samaria, 2) In Gaza, Acts 8:5; Acts 8:35.

4) "Unto the way that goeth down," (epi ten hodon ten katabainousan) "Upon (along) the way, road, or path that goes down," in a southerly direction, south of Jerusalem and Judea.

5) "From Jerusalem unto Gaza," (apo lerousalem eis Gazon) "From Jerusalem into Gaza," a desert approach to the desert of Sinai, about 60 miles south-southwest of Jerusalem.

6) "Which is desert," (aute estin eremos) "Which (Gaza) is or (exists as) a desert or desolate place," in contrast with the densely populated area of Samaria, Acts 8:6-8, a roadway to Egypt and Ethiopia,

Verse 27

1) "And he arose and went," (kai anastas eporeuthe) "And he arose and went away," Immediately and obediently, along that southerly direction of winding roads, paths, or ways over hiIIs, vaIIeys, and across p I a ins into the desert of Gaza.

2) "And, behold, a man of Ethiopia," (kai idiou aner aithops) "And behold a responsible man, an Ethiopian," a Cushite descendant of Ham; a country laying south of Egypt to the merging of the two branches of the Nile River and perhaps extended east to the Red Sea.

3) "An eunuch of great authority under Candace," (eunouchos dunastes Kandakes) "A eunuch, an important man of powerful standing (a courtier) of Candace," one with extended influence and respect from the Oriental court of his country.

4) "Queen of the Ethiopians," (basilissees Athiopon) "Who was queen of the Ethiopians," her servant, the Eunuch wore the Persian title Candace, an official title similar to that of Pharaoh, not a personal name.

5) "Who had the charge of all her treasure," (hos en epi pases tes gazes autes) "A man who was over all of her treasure," a supervisor of investments, expenditures, and accounting on her behalf, lord treasurer or chamberlain of her household.

6) "And had come to Jerusalem for to worship," (hos eleluthei prookuneson eis lerousalem) "A man who had come worshipping (to worship) in Jerusalem;" Both proselytes and foreign Jews journeyed to Jerusalem periodically to worship, as to wit on Pentecost. He was either a Jew or a proselyte, one converted to Judaism from the Gentiles.

Verse 28

1) "Was returning," (en de hupostrepon) "Was then returning," to his duties in Ethiopia, after worshipping in Jerusalem, Acts 8:27.

2) "And sitting in his chariot read," (kai kathemenos epi tou ammatos autou kai aneginosken) "And he was sitting upon his chariot and reading," reading aloud evidently, intently seeking to understand the word of God, about Jesus Christ, John 7:17. The covered chariot was regarded as a mark of high rank.

3) "Esaias the prophet," (ton propheton Esaian) "The Prophet Isaiah," the words of the prophet Isaiah, from the Isaiah scroll, which he had perhaps purchased in Jerusalem as a "pearl of great price." There was a diligence, devotion, and piety of personal concern for salvation here expressed as perhaps by no other person other than Cornelius, Acts 10:1-43. Both the Eunuch of Ethiopia and the Centurion of the Italian band of the African and European continents are fine examples of how honest, earnest, or sincere sinners may be saved, Jeremiah 29:13; Acts 10:1-4.

Verse 29

1) "Then the Spirit said unto Philip," (eipen de to pneuma to Philippon) "Then said the Spirit to Philip," spoke the Spirit of God to Philip in a manner that he could understand, by which he was willing to be led in life and service, Romans 8:14.

2) "Go near, and join thyself to this chariot," (proselthe kai kolletheti to ammati touto) "You go to (approach) and keep company with this chariot," the man you see in this chariot. He is a needy, and desiring, and approachable man to whom you are to attach yourself in helpful company, to be an obedient witness, Acts 1:8; John 4:34-38; Psalms 126:5-6. Like Jesus at the well of Sychar Philip had an audience of but one, but in each instance that one was saved, John 4:1-42.

Verse 30

1) "And Philip ran thither to him," (prosdramon de Philippos) "Then Philip ran up to him," to or close toward him (the eunuch upon the chariot)," expressing an interest, care, or concern for this desert traveler in Gaza, to which place the angel had called him to witness, Acts 8:26; Acts 1:8.

2) "And heard him read the prophet Esaias," (ekousen autou anaginoskontos Esaian ton propheten) "And heard him uninterruptedly reading Isaiah the prophet, "from the words of Isaiah the Prophet, perhaps reading aloud according to oriental custom.

3) "And said, Understandest thou what thou readest?" (kai eipen ara ge ginoskeis ha anaginoskeis) "And he (Philip) inquired (of the eunuch) do you understand what you are reading?" or what the writer, Isaiah is explaining in what you are reading? There is little use to read unless one can either understand or has some one to explain or give meaning, the explanation, the proper interpretation of what is being read, 1 Corinthians 2:14. To give the meaning of the gospel and its relation to the need of sinners is the witness call of God’s people, Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Romans 1:14-16. Eyes of understanding of the lost are darkened, need opening by the Word and the Spirit, Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:18; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

Verse 31

1) "And he said," (ho de eipen) "Then he (the eunuch) responded," or replied to Philip’s question.

2) "How can I," (pos gar an dunamin) "How is it at all possible," for how am I able to comprehend it? he inquired. This implies "why do you ask me?" 1 Corinthians 2:14.

3) "Except some man should guide me?" (ean me tis hodegesen me) "Unless (or except) someone shows me the way, the road, or the path?" Humility is the way to knowledge and exaltation, even in understanding the word of God, 1 Corinthians 2:12. This guidance or help comes to needy sinners thru the Christian witness, Isaiah 55:11-12; John 4:34-38; John 20:31; Acts 1:8.

4) "And he desired Philip," (parekalesen te ton Philippon) "Then he besought (requested) Philip," invited Philip in humility, earnestness, and honesty of desire; He was anxious to be taught even by this stranger, much as the Samaritan woman was at the well of Sychar, John 4:4-26; John 4:39-42.

5.) "That he would come up and sit with him," (anabanta kathisai sun auto) "To climb up (and) to sit in close affinity or association with him," as he read the word of God from the scrolI of Isaiah, Isaiah 53:1-12. To sit together suggests friendship and common interest, Psalms 110:1; Colossians 3:1.

Verse 32

1) "The place of the scripture," (he de perioche tes graphes) "Now the passage, contents, (or location) of the scripture," the particular part from Isaiah, as here related by Luke, the writer.

2) "Which he read was this," (hen aneginosken en aute) "Which he was reading was this," was as follows:

3) "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;" ( hos probaton epi sphagen echthe) "He was led out (led away) like a sheep to a slaughter place," to a place to be slain, foretold by Isaiah and related as fulfilled in the gospels, Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 26:57; Matthew 27:2; Matthew 27:31.

4) "And like a lamb dumb before his shearer," (kai hos amnos enntion tou keirontos auton aphonos) "Even like a lamb before (in the presence of) or in the waiting of the one shearing it is dumb," doesn’t offer a vocal complaint or sound of resistance, Isaiah 53:7 b; Mark 15:3-5.

5) "So opened he not his mouth:”(houtos ouk anoigei to stoma autou) "He likewise opens (opened) not his mouth, to complain," Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 27:14; Luke 23:9; John 11:9.

Verse 33

1) "in his humiliation his judgement was taken away:” (en te tapeinosei he krisis autou erthe) "In his humiliation (state of humiliation he endured) his judgement was borne away," taken away - - that is, he did not receive a fair trial or impartial judgement, such as was due him in his personal innocence of false charges that had been framed against him, Matthew 26:59-61; Mark 14:55-59.

2) "And who shall declare his generation?" (ten genean autou tis diegesetai) "Who will relate(will tell the story of) his generation?" Who will declare that he lives, is victorious, is triumphant? Who will declare that his genealogy is from God, the Father, John 3:16; 1 Timothy 3:16. Who shall declare that he lives today? In their hearts, in the church, and at the right hand of the Father, John 17:23; Matthew 18:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3.

3) "For his life is taken from the earth," (hoti aireti apo tes ges he zoe autou) "Because his life has been taken up and borne away from the earth," Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:10-11; Ephesians 4:8-10; Revelation 1:18-20.

Verse 34

1) "And the eunuch answered Philip, and said," (apo kritheis de ho eunouchos to Philippo eipen) "Then the eunuch inquiring (asking) to Philip said;" When an honest and earnest inquirer asks one of God’s children regarding salvation each should be prepared and ready to give an effective witness, Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15.

2) "I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this?" (deomai sou peri tinos ho prophetes legei touto) "I ask you (for my own benefit, of my own accord) about whom does the prophet say this, or write this matter?" to interpret each Bible passage based on subject matter in its contextual setting is a thing to be desired by every soul-winner, John 5:39; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 4:12; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16.

3) "Of himself, or of some other man?" (peri heautou e peri heterou tinos) "About himself or about someone other than (or different from) himself?" The testimony of Jesus Christ is the "spirit of prophecy," and blessed is that witness who can find and lead men to Jesus in any and every context in which he is central, Revelation 19:10; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 1:10-11; John 10:18.

Verse 35

1) "Then Philip opened his mouth," (anouikas de ho Philippos to stoma autou) "Then (at that point) Philip opened his mouth;- Knowing when to keep the mouth shut and when to open it, when to speak and when to listen, is a matter of great wisdom, Ecclesiastes 3:7; John 4:34-38.

2) "And began at the same scripture," (kai arksamenos apo tes graphes tautes) "And beginning from this passage of scripture," the scripture that perplexed the eunuch, Isaiah 53:1-11; Acts 10:43; John 5:39; Luke 24:44-48.

3) "And preached unto him Jesus," (evengeliato auto ton lesoun) "He preached Jesus to him;" earnestly told the story of Jesus to him, a story of love and redemption, to and for him and all men, Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; John 20:21; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:1-3.

Verse 36

1) "And as they went on their way," (hos de eporeuonto kata ten hodon) "Then as they (Philip and the eunuch) were conversing, going along the road, way, or not too clear a path in the desert," as the eunuch received light and conviction regarding his need of Jesus as Savior, Luke 19:10; John 6:37.

2) "They came unto a certain water:" (elthon epi ti hudor) "They came upon a certain water," watering place, or oasis in the desert or desolate place toward Gaza, a place with sufficient water for a baptism by immersion or burial, Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Matthew 28:19-20.

3) "And the eunuch said," (kai phesin ho eunuchos) "And the eunuch says (inquires of Philip)," who had preached to him Jesus, Acts 8:35, from his baptismal revelation of Himself, Matthew 3:15-17, to His death, resurrection, and ascension, Acts 1:8-11; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

4) "See, here is water;" (idou hudor) "Behold a water, a watering place;" Do you recognize what that is, he inquires, or asserts, just suitable for the eunuch’s baptism, as he felt he had need to be baptized of Philip, as Jesus did of John, Matthew 3:13-14; John 14:15; John 15:14; Matthew 28:18-20.

5) "What doth hinder me to be baptized?" (ti koluei me baptisthenai) "What prevents (or holds back) me to be baptized?" or what hinders, stands as an obstacle, to keep me from being a baptized person? Nothing keeps me from being baptized, does it? Philip was to advise him. The believing, trusting, new creature, new-born in Christ, is a Bible candidate for baptism and church membership - -none other person is, 1 John 5:11; John 4:1; Acts 10:47.

Verse 37

1) "And Philip said," (omitted from better (older) manuscripts) "Philip responded to the eunuch’s earnest inquiry," as one who knew what a proper candidate for baptism was.

2) "If thou believest with all thine heart," (omitted op cit) "If you trust in your heart," in your whole heart, your earnest and honest affections of soul. Baptism was thus conditioned upon one’s first being a child of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, saved, justified, having a pure heart, the Holy Spirit, and peace with God, Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 5:11; Romans 6:4-5; Acts 15:9; Romans 8:9.

3) "Thou mayest," (omitted op cit) "You may or are permitted to be baptized," though the Revised Version omitted this passage, it is not found in the better manuscripts, many editors leave it out; yet the idea is scriptural as illustrated, Acts 10:47; Romans 14:1.

4) "And he answered and said," (omitted op cit) "And he (the eunuch) responded to Philip saying,"

5) "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," (omitted op cit) "I earnestly trust that Jesus Christ does exist as the Son of God," for me. This is how one believes unto righteousness and is saved, John 3:18; John 4:3; John 4:5; Romans 10:8-13; 1 John 5:1. He was therefore a "made disciple," the kind Jesus first "made," second "baptized," John 4:11; and taught His church and apostles to follow His pattern, Matthew 28:19-20.

Verse 38

1) "And he commanded the chariot to stand still:" (kai ekeleusen atenai to hamma) "And he (the eunuch) commanded (ordered) the chariot to stand, stop, or halt," at a watering place in the desert of Gaza of sufficient size and depth for a baptism by burial or total immersion.

2) "And they went down both into the water," (kai katebesan amphoteroi eis to hudor) "And they both went down into the water," into the oasis or watering place, not merely "nearby" or "close to" the water; Just as Jesus went into, and came up out of, the waters of the Jordan River when he was buried in baptism, Matthew 3:16-17; Romans 6:4-5.

3) "Both Philip and the eunuch," (ho te Philippos kai ho eunouchos) "Both (the conversing ones) Philip as well as the eunuch;" the one to whom Philip had preached Jesus, Acts 8:35; Acts 4:12.

4) "And he baptised him," (kai ebaptisen auton) "And he (Philip) baptized or immersed him (the eunuch);- as or like John baptized Jesus, by carrying Him down "into" and bringing Him up "out of" the water, Matthew 3:16-17, a picture of the eunuch’s faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for His sins, according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Anything called baptism, short of a burial in and resurrection from the watery-grave casts doubt, aspersion upon the Bible story of the resurrection of Jesus, see? Colossians 2:12.

Verse 39

1) "And when they were come up out of the water," (hote de anebesan ek tou hudatos) "Then when they came up out of the watering place," out of the oasis where Philip had immersed the eunuch, buried him beneath the water and raised him up again, as a testimony that he was committing his life of service to the living Christ, to walk and work in the newness of life, Romans 6:4-5; Ephesians 2:10.

2) "The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip," (pneuma kuriou herpasen ton Philippon) "The Spirit of the Lord (Master) seized (suddenly caught away) Philip," as 1 Kings 18:12; 2 Kings 2:16; Ezekiel 3:12; Ezekiel 3:14, drew Philip away from, to leave the eunuch to go on his way home, immediately to witness in Ethiopia and to the queen’s household, as the saved Gadarene, a former demoniac was called to do, Luke 8:38-39.

3) "And the eunuch saw him no more:” (kai ouk eiden auton ouketi ho eunouchos) "And the eunuch saw him no more at all:" Such is often the experience of obedient missionaries and evangelists who do the work of God, witness faithfully in an area, and are urged on by the Spirit to other labors, to see the saved no more until the great homecoming day, Psalms 126:5-6; John 4:34-38; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9.

4) "And he went on his way rejoicing," (eporeute gar ten hodon autou chairon) "For he then went on his way or journey rejoicing," As there is "joy in heaven" over one sinner that repenteth, so is there joy in the heart of the believer and the one who did the witnessing, a three-fold area of rejoicing: 1) In heaven, 2) In the believer, and 3) In the one who has faithfully witnessed - - a) Luke 15:7; Luke 15:10; b) 1 John 4:13; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:16; John 16:24; c) Psalms 126:5-6; Luke 10:17; Luke 10:20; Luke 15:32; Philippians 4:4.

Verse 40

1) "But Philip was found at Azotus:” (Philippos de heurethe eis azonton) "Then Philip was found (located) in Azotus," and Ashdod, now Esdud, on or near the southern Mediterranean seacoast, Amos 1:8.

2) "And passing through," (kai dierchomenos) "And as he was passing or journeying through the area," of Azotus or Ashdod of the southern Philistine coastline.

3) "He preached in all the cities," (evengelizeto tas poleis pasas) "He evangelized (preached the gospel) in all the cities," of the area or territory of Azotus, Lydda, and Joppa and northward as he returned to the Samaria area, Acts 1:8; Acts 9:32; Acts 9:35; Acts 9:38.

4) "Till he came to Caesarea," (eos tou elthein auton eis kaisareian) "Even until the time to come (when he came) into the city of Caesarea," Acts 9:30, which is thought to be his home residence, as he is found there some eighteen or twenty years later with four prophetess daughters, Acts 21:8-9. This Drama Story of Salvation Presents:

1. A willing servant, Philip, Acts 8:26-27.

2. A wandering sinner, the eunuch, Acts 8:27-28.

3. A witnessing calling, Spirit, Acts 8:29; Romans 8:14.

4. A wounded Savior, Acts 8:32-33.

5. A waiting Saint, obedient, Acts 8:36-38.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Acts 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/acts-8.html. 1985.
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