Acts 8
Pulpit Commentary
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
Verse 2. - Buried for carried to his burial (the last three words in italics), A.V. Devout men; ἀνδρες αὐλαβεῖς. This word is applied to Simeon (Luke 2:25), and to the Jews who were assembled at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:5), and, according to the R.T., to Ananias (Acts 22:12); but occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is not certain, therefore, that these men were Christians, though they might be. If not, they were pious Jews, men who feared God, and still loved Stephen as being himself a devout Jew though he was a disciple. Buried. Συγκομίζω occurs only here in the New Testament; but its common use for carrying corn to a barn or granary seems to indicate that "carrying to his burial" of the A.V. is the most exact rendering. The word is said also to be applied to the acts preparatory to burial - closing the eyes, washing, anointing the body, and so on; but this meaning is less certain than that of "carrying."
As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Verse 3. - But for as for, A.V.; 'laid waste for he made havoc of,' A.V. From the dispersion of the disciples will flow the narrative in this present chapter. It is therefore mentioned first. From the persecution of Saul will flow the narrative in Acts 9 and to the end of the book. Stephen's burial completes the preceding narrative.
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
Verse 4. - They therefore for therefore they, A.V.; about for everywhere, A.V. Went about; i.e. from place to place, and wherever they went they preached the Word. Διέρχομαι here is used in the same sense as in ver. 40, and in Acts 10:38; Acts 17:23; Acts 20:25, and elsewhere.
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
Verse 5. - And for then, A.V. ; proclaimed unto them the Christ for preached Christ unto them, A.V. Philip; the deacon and evangelist (Acts 6:7; Acts 21:8), not the apostle. As regards Samaria, it is always used in the New Testament of the country, not of the city, which at this time was called Sebaste, from Σεβαστός, i.e. Augustus Caesar (see Acts 25:21, 26, etc.; John 4:5; and Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 15. 7:9). Whether, therefore, we read with the T.R. πόλιν, or with the R.T. τὴν πόλιν, we must understand Samaria to mean the country, and probably the city to be the capital, Sebaste. Alford, however, with many others, thinks that Sychem is meant, as in John 4:5.
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
Verse 6. - The multitudes gave heed with one accord for the people with one accord gave heed, A.V.; the for those (things), A.V. that were spoken by Philip for which -Philip spake, A.V.; when they heard and saw the signs for hearing and seeing the miracles, A.V. Note St. Luke's favorite word, with one accord (above, Acts 2:1, note).
For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
Verse 7. - From many of those which had unclean spirits, they came out crying with a loud voice for unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them, A.V.; that were palsied for taken with palsies, A.V. From many of those, etc. The R.T. is represented by the margin, but it is nonsense. The different rendering depends upon whether πνεύματα ἀκάθατα is taken as the subject to ἐξήρχετο, or as the object after ἔχοντα. In one case, πνεύματα or αὐτά must be understood after ἐχόντων, as in the A.V., which inserts with them in italics; in the other, the same word must be understood before ἐξήρχετο, as in the R.V., which inserts they. The latter construction seems right, but the sense is the same, and the A.V. is much the nearest rendering. That were palsied. The purpose and effect of miracles is here clearly shown, to attract attention, and to evidence to the hearers and seers that the workers of miracles are God's messengers, and that the Word which they preach is God's Word.
And there was great joy in that city.
Verse 8. - Much for great, A.V. and T.R. Much joy. The joy was caused partly by the healing of their sick, and partly by the glad tidings of the gospel of peace (comp. Matthew 13:20; 1 Peter 1:8).
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
Verse 9. - Simon by name for called Simon, A.V.; the city for the same city, A.V.; amazed for bewitched, A.V. (here and in ver. 13). Amazed. In Luke 24:22 the same word (ἐξίστημι) is rendered "made us astonished" in the A.V.; and in Acts 2:7, 12, and elsewhere, in an intransitive sense, "were amazed." It has also the meaning of "being out of one's mind," or "beside one's self" (Mark 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:13), but never that of "bewitching" or "being bewitched." As regards Simon, commonly surnamed Magus, from his magic arts, it is doubtful whether he is the same Simon as is mentioned by Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,'20. 7:2) as being employed by Felix the Procurator of Judaea, in the reign of Claudius (Acts 23:25), to bewitch Drusfila into forsaking her husband, King Azizus, and marrying him, which she did (Acts 24:24). The doubt arises from Josephus stating that Simon to be a Cypriot (Κύπριον γένος), whereas Justin Martyr says of Simon Magus that he was ἀπὸ κώμης λεγομένης Γίττων, a native of Gitton, or Githon, a village of Samaria. It has been thought that Gitton may be a mistake of Justin's for Citium, in Cyprus (Farrar's 'Life of St. Paul,' vol. 1. pp. 260, 352; Alford, etc.). The after history of Simon Magus is full of fable. He is spoken of by Irenaeus and other early writers as the inventor or founder of heresy. (For a list of authorities concerning Simon, see Farrar's 'Life of St. Paul,' vol. 1. p. 260, note; Alford, 1:6; 'Bible Dictionary; 'and a good article in 'Dict. of Biog. and Mythol.')
To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
Verse 10. - That power of God which is called Great for the great power of God, A.V. and T.R. That power of God, etc. The revised text inserts καλουμένη before μεγάλη. Origen says of Simon that his disciples, the Simoniaus, called him "The Power of God." ('Contra Cels.,' lib. 5:62, where see Delarue's note). According to Tertullian ('De Anima'), he gave himself out as the supreme Father, with other blasphemies. According to St. Jerome on Matthew 24:5, he speaks of himself in different writings as the Word of God, as the Paraclete, the Almighty, the Fullness of God.
And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
Verse 11. - They gave heed to him for to him they had regard, A.V.; amazed for bewitched, A.V.; his sorceries for sorceries, A.V.
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Verse 12. - Good tidings for the things, A.V. and T.R.
Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
Verse 13. - And for then, A.V.; also himself believed for himself believed also, A.V.; being baptized for when he was baptized, A.V.; beholding signs and great miracles wrought, he was amazed for wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Contained with (η}ν προσκαρτερῶν); see Acts 1:14; 3:46; 6:4; 10.7. St. Paul uses the word in Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6; Colossians 4:2; and the substantive formed from it (προσκαρτέρησις) once, Ephesians 6:18. Elsewhere in the New Testament it occurs only in Mark 3:9. But it is found in Hist. cf. Sus. 6. Amazed (see note on ver. 9). In Simon we have the first example of one who, having been baptized into Jesus Christ, lived to disgrace and corrupt the faith which he professed. He was an instance of the tares sown among the wheat, and of the seed which sprang up quickly being as quickly destroyed. He is an instance also of the truth of our Lord's raying, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
Verse 14. - The apostles (see ver. 1). They sent unto them Peter and John. The selection of these two chief apostles shows the great importance attached to the conversion of the Samaritans. The joint act of the college of apostles in sending them demonstrates that Peter was not a pope, but a brother apostle, albeit their primate; and that the government of the Church was in the apostolate, not in one of the number.
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
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.
(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Verse 16. - Had been for were, A.V.; into for in, A.V. Into the name. In seems preferable (comp. Matthew 10:41, 42). The use of the prepositions in the New Testament is much influenced by the Hebrew, through the language of the LXX. As regards baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus, here and ver. 39, T.R.; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5, we are not to suppose that any other formula was used than that prescribed by our Lord (Matthew 28:19). But as baptism was preceded by a confession of faith similar to that in our own Baptismal Service, so it was a true description to speak of baptism as being in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
Verse 18. - Now for and, A.V.; the laying for laying, A.V. Ver, 19. - My hands for hands, A.V. Would to God that spiritual powers in the Church had never been prostituted to base purposes of worldly gain, and that all the servants of Christ had shown themselves as superior to "filthy lucre" as Peter and Elisha were! But the particular offence called simony has but a very faint analogy to the act of Simon.
Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
Verse 20. - Silver for money, A.V.; to obtain the gift of God for that the gift of God may be purchased, A.V. (rightly, κτᾶσθαι is the middle voice). Silver. This is a change of very doubtful necessity; ἀργύριον, like the French argent, is frequently used for "money" generally, without any reference to the particular metal of which it is made. Sometimes, indeed, it is used in opposition to "gold," as Acts 3:6 and Acts 20:33, and then it is properly rendered "silver." Here the Revisers' mason, doubtless, was to reserve "money" as the rendering of χρήματα (vers. 19, 20). St. Peter's answer is remarkable, not only for the warmth with which he repudiates the proffered bribe, but also for the jealous humility with which he affirms that the gifts of the Spirit were not his to give, but were the gift of God (see Acts 3:12-16).
Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
Verse 21. - Before God for in the sight of God, A.V. Thou hast neither part nor lot. The "covetous shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:10; comp. Psalm 10:3; Luke 16:14; 1 Timothy 3:3). The phrase, ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τούτῳ, rendered in this matter, seems to be more fitly rendered in the margin, "in this Word," i.e. the Word of life, the Word of salvation, which we preach (see Acts 5:20; Acts 10:36; Acts 13:26).
Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
Verse 22. - The Lord for God, A.V. and T.R.; thy for thine, A.V.; shall for may, A.V. Repent. The terrible words, "Thy money perish with thee," had not expressed Peter's wish for his destruction. But they were the wounds of a friend speaking sharp things to pierce, if possible, a callous conscience. In the hope that that conscience had been pierced, he now urges repentance. And yet still, dealing skilfully with so bad a case, he speaks of the forgiveness doubtfully, "if perhaps." The sin was a very grievous one; the wound must not be healed too hastily. "There is a sin unto death."
For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
Verse 23. - See for perceive, A.V. In the gall of bitterness, etc. The passage from which both this expression and the similar one in Hebrews 12:15 are taken is manifestly Deuteronomy 29:18, where the Greek of the LXX. has, ῤίζα ἄνω φύουσα ἐν χολῇ καὶ πικρίᾳ. The context there also shows conclusively that the "gall and bitterness" ("wormwood," A.V.) of which Moses speaks is the spirit of idolatry or defection from God springing up in some professing member of the Church, and defiling and corrupting others, as it is expounded in Hebrews 12:15, 16. This, as St. Peter saw, was exactly the case with Simon, whose heart was not straight with God, but "had turned away from him," as it is said in Deuteronomy. Though baptized, he was still an idolater in heart, and likely to trouble many. "The gall of bitterness" is the same as "gall and wormwood," or "bitterness." "Gall," or "bile," is in classical Greek and other languages a synonym for "bitterness," especially in a figurative sense (see Lamentations 3:15, 19 - πικρία καὶ χολή, LXX.). The uncommon phrase, the bond of iniquity, seems to be borrowed from Isaiah 58:6, where the LXX. have the same words, λύε πὰντα σύνδεσμον ἀδικίας, "loose the bands of wickedness," A.V. Simon was still bound in these bands.
Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Verse 24. - And Simon answered for then answered Simon, A.V.; .for me to the Lord for to the Lord for me, A.V.; the for these, A.V. Pray ye, etc.; addressed to both Peter and John, who were acting together, and whose prayers had been seen to be effectual (ver. 15) in procuring the gift of the Holy Ghost. In like manner, Pharaoh, under the influence of terror at God's judgments, had asked again and again for the prayers of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 8:8, 28; Exodus 9:27, 28; Exodus 10:16, 17, etc.). But in neither ease was this an evidence of true conversion of heart.
And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
Verse 25. - They therefore for and they, A.V. ; spoken for preached, A.V.; to many for in many, A.V.
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
Verse 26. - But an angel for and the angel, A.V.; the same is for which is, A.V. An angel. "The angel," as in A.V., is right, just as ὄνομα Κυρίου (Matthew 21:9; Matthew 23:39; Luke 19:38, etc.) and שֵׁם יְהוָה in Hebrew mean "the Name of the Lord," not "a Name" (see Acts 5:19; Acts 7:31, notes). The south, meaning that part of Judaea which was called "the south country ;" Hebrew הַנֶּגֶב (Genesis 20:1; Genesis 24:62; etc.). This is generally rendered in the LXX. by πρὸς λίβα or πρὸς νότον. But in 1 Samuel 20:41, in Symraachus, μεσηνβρία stands as the rendering of חַנֶּגֶב. As regards the words, the same is desert, it is observable that in Numbers 31:1 and Deuteronomy 34:3 ἔρημος is the LXX. rendering of חַנֶבֶם, and that part of the country is called "the wilderness of Judaea." The words of the angel, therefore, mean, not that Gaza is desert, nor that the read itself is desert, but that the country to which he was directing Philip's journey was part of that known as the desert; αὕτη does not refer to ὁδός or to Γάζα, but to χώρα, understood as contained in ἔρημος. The meaning of the whole sentence I take to be as follows: - "Take thy journey in [or, 'by'] the south [comp. Luke 15:14; Acts 5:15; Acts 11:1; Acts 13. lids far as [ἐπί, 'notans locum vel terminum ad quem' (Schleusner)] the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza, where the country is desert." Philip was to proceed from Samaria along the south country till he came to where the Jerusalem road met his road. That district, he is reminded, was desert, part, i.e., or the desert of Judaea. The spot was probably selected for that very reason, as affording the privacy necessary for the eunuch to read in his chariot, and for Philip to join him and expound the Word of God to him. Chrysostom (followed by others) takes κατὰ μεσημβρίαν in the sense of "at noonday in the most violent heat," though he also renders it "southwards" (Hem., 19.).
And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Verse 27. - Was over for had the charge of, A.V. ; who for and, A.V. Candace. According to Pithy, the queens of Ethiopia, who reigned at Meroc, were so named through a long course of years ('Nat. Hist.,' 6:2,5-37). Dion Cassius speaks of a warlike Queen of Ethiopia of that name, who was brought to terms by Caius Petronius in the year A.U.C. 732 (54:5, 4). Eusebius ('Eccl. Hist.,' lib. it. cap. 1.) says that the custom still continued in his day of the Ethiopians being governed by a queen. Had come to Jerusalem, etc. He was doubtless a proselyte of the gate. Eusebius, in the place above cited, speaks of him as the first Gentile convert, and as the first fruits of the faithful in the whole world. He adds, as Irenaeus before him had hinted (3. 12:8), that he is reported to have preached the gospel to the Ethiopians, by which the prophecy of Psalm 68:31 was fulfilled. Later traditions speak of Candace as baptized by him.
Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Verse 28. - And he was for was, A.V. ; was reading for read, A.V.; Isaiah for Esaias, A.V., the Hebrew for the Greek form. The diffusion of the Holy Scriptures among the Gentiles by means of the Jewish dispersion and the facility given to Gentiles for reading the Scriptures by their translation into Greek at Alexandria, and by the universal use of the Greek language through the conquests of Alexander the Great, are striking instances of the providence of God working all things after the counsel of his own will.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
Verse 29. - And for then, A.V.
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
Verse 30. - Ran for ran thither, A.V.; reading-Isaiah the prophet for read the prophet Esaias, A.V. and T.R. Heard him. He was reading aloud. In Hebrew, the word for "to read" (קָרָא) means "to call," "to proclaim aloud." Hence the keri, that which is read, as distinguished from the cethib, that which is written. Reading Isaiah the prophet. The same providence which sent Philip to meet him in the desert doubtless directed his reading to the fifty-third chapter of the great evangelical prophet.
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Verse 31. - One shall for man should, A.V. and T.R.; he besought Philip to come up and sit with him for he desired Philip that he would, etc., A.V. He besought, etc. Tim humility and thirst for instruction of this great courtier are very remarkable, and the instance of the joint use of the written Word and the living teacher is noteworthy.
The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
Verse 32. - Now the place for the place, A.V.; was reading for read, A.V.; as a lamb... is dumb for like a lamb dumb, A.V.; he openeth not for opened he not, A.V. As a lamb... is dumb. The A.V. of this clause seems to me preferable as a rendering of the Greek, though the Hebrew has נֶאֶלָמָה, "is dumb." But this may be rendered "which is dumb." As regards the word περιοχή, rendered place, and considered as the antecedent to which, the use of it by Cicero ('Ad Attic.,' 13:25) for a whole paragraph, and the employment in the Syriac Version of this passage of the technical word which denotes a "section" or "paragraph," and the Vulgate rendering, Locus... quem (Schleusner), as well as the etymology of the word, which means "a circuit," or "circumference," within which something is contained - all strongly point to the rendering in the text. Meyer, however, and others make τῆς γραφῆς the antecedent to ἥν, and construe, "The contents of the Scripture which he was reading," and refer to 1 Peter 2:6.
In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
Verse 33. - His generation who shall declare? for and who shall declare his generation? A.V. and T.R. The preceding quotation is taken verbatim from the LXX., which, however, varies somewhat from the Hebrew. In this verse, for the Hebrew as rendered in the A.V., "He was taken from prison and from judgment," the LXX. has, "In his humiliation his judgment was taken away," having evidently read in their copy מֵעֹצְרו מִשְׁפָטו, or perhaps בְעצְרו, "Through [or, 'in'] his oppression [humiliation] his judgment was taken away." Mr. Cheyne translates the Hebrew, "Through oppression and through a judgment [sentence] he was taken "away [to death]." For the Hebrew of the A.V., "He was cut off out of the land of the living," the LXX. has, "His life is taken from the earth," where they must have read חַיו, "his life," as the subject of the verb, instead of חַיִּים, the living, taken in construction with אֶרֶץ , the earth. The differences, however, are not material in regard to the general meaning of the passage. His generation who shall declare? The explanation of this difficult expression belongs tea commentary on Isaiah. Here it must suffice to say that the explanation most in accordance with the meaning of the Hebrew words (יְשׂחֵחַ and דורו), with the context, and with the turn of thought in Isaiah 38:10-12 and Jeremiah 11:19, is that given in the 'Speaker's Commentary:' "Who will consider, give serious thought to, his life or age, seeing it is so prematurely cut off?" which is merely another way of saying that Messiah should "be cut off" (Daniel 9:26)" from the land of the living, that his Name be no more remembered" (Jeremiah, as above). It was the frustration of this hope of Jesus being forgotten in consequence of his death that so troubled the Sanhedrim (Acts 5:28).
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
Verse 34. - Other for other man, A.V. The eunuch's intelligent question gave Philip exactly the opening he required for preaching to him Jesus, the Messiah of whom all the prophets spake by the Holy Ghost (1 Peter 1:10, 11).
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Verse 35. - And for then, A.V.; beginning from this Scripture for began at the same Scripture, A.V.; preached for and preached, A.V.
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Verse 36. - The way for their way, A.V.; saith for said, A.V.; behold for see, A.V. Here is water. "When we were at Tell-el-Hasy, and saw the water standing along the bottom of the adjacent wady, we could not but remark the coincidence of several circumstances with the account of the eunuch's baptism. This water is on the most direct road from Belt Jibrin (Eleutheroplis) to Gaza, on the most southern road from Jerusalem, and in the midst of a country now 'desert,' i.e. without villages or fixed habitations. There is no other similar water on this road" (Robinson,' Bibl. Res.,' vol. it. p. 345). There were three roads from Jerusalem to Gaza, of which the one above described still exists, "and actually passes through the desert" (ibid. p. 514). What doth hinder me to be baptized! This question clearly shows that the doctrine of baptism had formed part of Philip's preaching, as it had of Peter (Acts 2:18).
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Verse 37. - The whole of ver. 37 of the A.V. is omitted in the R.T., on the authority of the best existing manuscripts. But on the other hand, Irenaeus, in the third book against Heresies, Acts 12:8, distinctly quotes a portion of this verse. The eunuch, he says, when he asked to be baptized said, Πιστεύω τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἴναι τὸν Ιησοῦν Ξριστόν: and Cyprian, in his third book of Testimonies, 43, quotes the other part of the verse. In proof of the thesis that "whoever believes may be immediately baptized," he says, "In the Acts of the Apostles [when the eunuch said], Behold water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? Philip answered, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." So that in the second and third centuries, long anterior to the oldest existing manuscripts, this entire verse must have been found in the codices both of the Greek and Latin Churches.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
Verse 38. - Both went down for went down both, A.V. Nothing can be more graphic than the simple narrative of this interesting and important baptism. Surely Luke must have heard it from Philip's own mouth (see Acts 21:8-10).
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Verse 39. - Came up for were come up, A.V.; and the eunuch for that the eunuch, A.V.; for he went for and he went, A.V. The eunuch made no attempt to follow Philip, but went on his road to Egypt, his whole heart filled with the new joy of Christ's salvation.
But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
Verse 40. - He preached the gospel to all the cities for he preached in all the cities, A.V. The sudden rapture of Philip by the Spirit, and his transportation to Azotus, or Ashdod, reminds us forcibly of 1 Kings 18:12, and of the successive journeys of Elijah just prior to his translation. In Philip's case we may suppose a kind of trance, which was not ended till he found himself at Azotus. Passing through. For διέρχομαι (there rendered "went about"), see ver. 4, note. To Caesarea; where we find him domiciled (Acts 21:8). Such coincidences, appearing in the narrative without any explanation, are strong marks of truth. "He journeyed northward from Ashdod, perhaps through Ekron, Ramah, Joppa, and the plain of Sharon" (Meyer).

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