Acts 8:15
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit,

New Living Translation
As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit.

English Standard Version
who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,

New American Standard Bible
who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

King James Bible
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
After they went down there, they prayed for them, so the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit.

International Standard Version
They went down and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit.

NET Bible
These two went down and prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they went down and prayed over them so that they would receive The Spirit of Holiness.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Peter and John went to Samaria and prayed that the Samaritans would receive the Holy Spirit.

Jubilee Bible 2000
who, when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

King James 2000 Bible
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit:

American King James Version
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

American Standard Version
who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.

Darby Bible Translation
who, having come down, prayed for them that they might receive [the] Holy Spirit;

English Revised Version
who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

Webster's Bible Translation
Who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit:

Weymouth New Testament
They, when they came down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit:

World English Bible
who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit;

Young's Literal Translation
who having come down did pray concerning them, that they may receive the Holy Spirit, --
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

8:14-25 The Holy Ghost was as yet fallen upon none of these coverts, in the extraordinary powers conveyed by the descent of the Spirit upon the day of Pentecost. We may take encouragement from this example, in praying to God to give the renewing graces of the Holy Ghost to all for whose spiritual welfare we are concerned; for that includes all blessings. No man can give the Holy Spirit by the laying on of his hands; but we should use our best endeavours to instruct those for whom we pray. Simon Magus was ambitious to have the honour of an apostle, but cared not at all to have the spirit and disposition of a Christian. He was more desirous to gain honour to himself, than to do good to others. Peter shows him his crime. He esteemed the wealth of this world, as if it would answer for things relating to the other life, and would purchase the pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. This was such a condemning error as could by no means consist with a state of grace. Our hearts are what they are in the sight of God, who cannot be deceived. And if they are not right in his sight, our religion is vain, and will stand us in no stead. A proud and covetous heart cannot be right with God. It is possible for a man to continue under the power of sin, yet to put on a form of godliness. When tempted with money to do evil, see what a perishing thing money is, and scorn it. Think not that Christianity is a trade to live by in this world. There is much wickedness in the thought of the heart, its false notions, and corrupt affections, and wicked projects, which must be repented of, or we are undone. But it shall be forgiven, upon our repentance. The doubt here is of the sincerity of Simon's repentance, not of his pardon, if his repentance was sincere. Grant us, Lord, another sort of faith than that which made Simon wonder only, and did not sanctify his heart. May we abhor all thoughts of making religion serve the purposes of pride or ambition. And keep us from that subtle poison of spiritual pride, which seeks glory to itself even from humility. May we seek only the honour which cometh from God.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 15. - That they might receive the Holy Ghost. Why was it needful that two apostles should come down to Samaria and pray, with laying on of hands, for the newly baptized that they might receive the Holy Ghost? There is no mention of such prayer or such imposition of hands in the case of the first three thousand who were baptized. They were told by St. Peter, "Be baptized every one of you, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38), and they were baptized, and doubtless did receive the Holy Ghost, Neither is there any mention of such things in the case of the subsequent thousands who were baptized at Jerusalem on the apostles' preaching. Why, then, was it so in Samaria? To answer this question, we must observe the difference in the circumstances. The baptisms at Jerusalem were performed by the apostles themselves. The Holy Ghost was given upon their promise and assurance. But in Samaria the preaching and the baptizing were done by the scattered disciples. There was a danger of many independent bodies springing up, owing no allegiance to the apostles, and cemented by no bonds to the mother Church. But Christ's Church was to be one - many members, but one body. The apostolate was to be the governing power of the whole Church, by the will and ordinance of Christ. Hence there was a manifest reason why, when the gospel spread beyond Judaea, these visible spiritual gifts should be given only through the laying on of the apostles' hands, and by the intervention of their prayers. This had a manifest and striking influence in marking and preserving the unity of the Church, and in marking and maintaining the sovereignty of the apostolic rule. For precisely the same reason has the Catholic and Apostolic Church in all ages (Acts 19:5, 6; Hebrews 6:2) maintained the rite of confirmation, "after the example of the holy apostles." Besides the other great benefits connected with it, its influence in binding up in the unity of the Church the numerous parishes of the diocese, instead of letting them become independent congregations, is very great. Observe, too, how prayer and the laying on of hands are tied together. Neither is valid without the other. In this case, as at Pentecost, the extraordinary gift of the Holy Ghost was conferred. In confirmation, now that miracles have ceased, it is the ordinary and invisible grace of the Holy Spirit that is to be looked for.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Who when they were come down,.... To the city of Samaria, where Philip was, and these converts dwelt:

prayed for them; for some of them, unto God:

that they might receive the Holy Ghost; the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, as to be able to speak with tongues, to prophesy and work miracles: they might pray for them all, that they might have a larger measure of grace, and more spiritual light and knowledge; and that they might be established in the doctrines of the Gospel, and hold fast the profession of their faith unto the end; but it can hardly be thought that they should pray for them all, both men and women, that they might have the above extraordinary gifts, which were not necessary to them all: and that these are meant by the Holy Ghost is clear from what follows, since he was not yet fallen on any of them, which cannot be understood in any other sense; and seeing it was something visible, which Simon could discern, and therefore cannot mean internal grace, and an increase of that.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

15, 16. prayed … they might receive the Holy Ghost. (For only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus)—As the baptism of adults presupposed "the renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Tit 3:5-7; 1Co 12:13), of which the profession of faith had to be taken for evidence, this communication of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the apostles' hands was clearly a superadded thing; and as it was only occasional, so it was invariably attended with miraculous manifestations (see Ac 10:44, where it followed Peter's preaching; and Ac 19:1-7, where, as here, it followed the laying on of hands). In the present case an important object was served by it—"the sudden appearance of a body of baptized disciples in Samaria, by the agency of one who was not an apostle, requiring the presence and power of apostles to perform their special part as the divinely appointed founders of the Church" [Alford]. Beautiful, too, was the spectacle exhibited of Jew and Samaritan, one in Christ.

Acts 8:15 Additional Commentaries
Context
Simon the Sorcerer
14Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.…
Cross References
Acts 2:38
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:2
and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
Treasury of Scripture

Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

prayed.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you …

Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching …

John 14:13,14 And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father …

John 16:23,24 And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to …

Philippians 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, …

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