Acts Chapter Eight (NIV)
Acts Chapter Eight (NASB)
Verses 1-3: Saul’s persecution of the church continues.
Verses 4-25: The gospel is preached in Samaria, where a magician named Simon joins the church. When Simon tries to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit from the apostles, Peter sternly rebukes him.
Verses 26-40: Philip encounters an Ethiopian eunuch who believes in the gospel and is baptized. The Spirit carries Philip away to preach on the coast.
II. KEY PASSAGES
(A) Acts 8:4--“Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” Although Saul’s goal is to destroy the church, his persecution only spreads their message by scattering the believers throughout Judea and Samaria. One of the great themes of Scripture is how difficult circumstances, such as persecutions, can be used for the kingdom of God.
(B) Acts 8:14-17-- Although the Samaritans were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Lord withheld the full manifestation of the Spirit until the apostles came to lay hands upon them. This demonstrated the equal status of non-Jews with Jewish believers for they had received the same Spirit. The theme of the equal status and unity of all members of the Body of Christ is another theme in Scripture: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit”(1 Corinthians 12:13). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
(C) Acts 8:18-24--Although Simon had joined the church, he reveals that his “heart is not right before God” when he attempts to buy the power to lay hands so others may receive the Spirit from him. Peter rebukes Simon asking him to repent of this wickedness. By trying to “obtain the gift of God with money,” Simon reveals a low view of God as someone like himself who can be bought and bargained with. Many heretical views of God are ones that denigrate His majesty and portray Him with human-like motivations.
(D) Acts 8:26-40--The Lord directs Philip with audible commands towards a specific road. When Philip encounters an Ethiopian eunuch reading a messianic prophecy in the book of Isaiah, he immediately uses the Word to guide the eunuch to faith in Jesus Christ. Coming upon some water, Philip uses the opportunity to baptize the new believer. Then the Spirit supernaturally transports Philip to Azotus where he continues preaching the Word all through the towns on the way to Caesarea. The eunuch continues on his way “rejoicing” and brings his newfound faith to the Ethiopian court of Queen Candace.