Acts 21:8
And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
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(8) We that were of Paul’s company departed.—Better, simply, we departed. The Greek which answers to the intervening five words is wanting in the best MSS., and seems a needless interpolation, there being no apparent reason for any change in the writer’s previous phraseology, or for his distinguishing “Paul’s company” from some other person or persons unknown. In some of the MSS. in which it is found, the verb is in the third person: “They that were of Paul’s company came . . . .”

Came unto Cæsarea.—Comp. Acts 8:40; Acts 10:1. This was, it will be remembered, St. Paul’s third visit there (Acts 9:30; Acts 18:22), and we may well believe that he was simply renewing the intercourse of a previous friendship with Philip.

Philip the evangelist.—The title given to him is interesting as showing that the work of “serving tables,” i.e., of superintending the distribution of alms, had been merged in the higher work of a missionary preacher. (See Note on Acts 6:3.) He was no longer known, if, indeed, that title had ever been applied to him, as Philip the deacon, but as Philip the evangelist. The office so described is recognised by St. Paul in his enumeration of spiritual gifts and functions, in Ephesians 4:11, as coming next in order of importance to those of apostles and prophets, and before pastors and teachers. It would seem, accordingly, to have been distinct from the “orders,” in the later sense, of presbyter or deacon, though capable of being united with either of them. Timotheus was exhorted by St. Paul when he was left at Ephesus, with the authority of a bishop, or, more strictly, of a vicar apostolic, to “do the work of an evangelist,” as that to which he had been called (2Timothy 4:5). It followed, from the nature of the office, as analogous to that of the missionary of later times, that, though residing mainly at Cæsarea, Philip’s labours extended beyond its limits; and we have seen reason to trace his work (see Notes on Acts 8:40; Acts 15:3; Acts 21:3; Acts 21:7) all along the coasts of Palestine and Phoenicia. As far as we know, Philip and St. Luke had not met before, and we can imagine the satisfaction with which the latter, himself, probably, an evangelist in both senses of the word (2Corinthians 8:18), and already contemplating his work as an historian, would welcome the acquaintance of the former, how he would ask many questions as to the early history of the Church, and learn from him all, or nearly all, that we find in the first eleven chapters of this book.

Which was one of the seven.—We note how entirely the Seven of Acts 6:3 are regarded as a special or distinct body. If the term deacon had ever been applied to them, which is very doubtful, it ceased to be applicable by its wide extension to the subordinate functionaries of the churches throughout the empire.




Acts 21:8

The life of this Philip, as recorded, is a very remarkable one. It is divided into two unequal halves: one full of conspicuous service, one passed in absolute obscurity. Like the moon in its second quarter, part of the disc is shining silver and the rest is invisible. Let us put together the notices of him.

He bears a name which makes it probable that he was not a Palestinian Jew, but one of the many who, of Jewish descent, had lived in Gentile lands and contracted Gentile habits and associations. We first hear of him as one of the Seven who were chosen by the Church, at the suggestion of the Apostles, in order to meet the grumbling of that section of the Church, who were called ‘Hellenists,’ about their people being neglected in the distribution of alms. He stands in that list next to Stephen, who was obviously the leader. Then after Stephen’s persecution, he flies from Jerusalem, like the rest of the Church, and comes down to Samaria and preaches there. He did that because circumstances drove him; he had become one of the Seven because his brethren appointed him, but his next step was in obedience to a specific command of Christ. He went and preached the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch, and then he was borne away from the new convert, and after the Spirit had put him down at Ashdod he had to tramp all the way up the Palestinian coast, left to the guidance of his own wits, until he came to Caesarea. There he remained for twenty years; and we do not hear a word about him in all that time. But at last Paul and his companions, hurrying to keep the Feast at Jerusalem, found that they had a little time to spare when they reached Caesarea, and so they came to ‘the house of Philip the evangelist,’ whom we last heard of twenty years before, and spent ‘many days’ with him. That is the final glimpse that we have of Philip.

Now let us try to gather two or three plain lessons, especially those which depend on that remarkable contrast between the first and the second periods of this man’s life. There is, first, a brief space of brilliant service, and then there are long years of obscure toil.

I. The brief space of brilliant service.

The Church was in a state of agitation, and there was murmuring going on because, as I have already said, a section of it thought that their poor were unfairly dealt with by the native-born Jews in the Church. And so the Apostles said: ‘What is the use of your squabbling thus? Pick out any seven that you like, of the class that considers itself aggrieved, and we will put the distribution of these eleemosynary grants into their hands. That will surely stop your mouths. Do you choose whom you please, and we will confirm your choice.’ So the Church selected seven brethren, all apparently belonging to the ‘Grecians’ or Greek-speaking Jews, as the Apostles had directed that they should be, and one of them, not a Jew by birth, but a ‘proselyte of Antioch.’ These men’s partialities would all be in favour of the class to which they belonged, and to secure fair play for which they were elected by it.

Now these seven are never called ‘deacons’ in the New Testament, though it is supposed that they were the first holders of that office. It is instructive to note how their office came into existence. It was created by the Apostles, simply as the handiest way of getting over a difficulty. Is that the notion of Church organisation that prevails among some of our brethren who believe that organisation is everything, and that unless a Church has the three orders of bishops, priests, and deacons, it is not worth calling a Church at all? The plain fact is that the Church at the beginning had no organisation. What organisation it had grew up as circumstances required. The only two laws which governed organisation were, first, ‘One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren’; and second, ‘When the Spirit of the Lord is come upon thee, thou shalt do as occasion shall serve thee.’ Thus these seven were appointed to deal with a temporary difficulty and to distribute alms when necessary; and their office dropped when it was no longer required, as was probably the case when, very soon after, the Jerusalem Church was scattered. Then, by degrees, came elders and deacons. People fancy that there is but one rigid, unalterable type of Church organisation, when the reality is that it is fluent and flexible, and that the primitive Church never was meant to be the pattern according to which, in detail, and specifically, other Churches in different circumstances should be constituted. There are great principles which no organisation must break, but if these be kept, the form is a matter of convenience.

That is the first lesson that I take out of this story. Although it has not much to do with Philip himself, still it is worth saying in these days when a particular organisation of the Church is supposed to be essential to Christian fellowship, and we Nonconformists, who have not the ‘orders’ that some of our brethren seem to think indispensable, are by a considerable school unchurched, because we are without them. But the primitive Church also was without them.

Still further and more important for us, in these brief years of brilliant service I note the spontaneous impulse which sets a Christian man to do Christian work. It was his brethren that picked out Philip, and said, ‘Now go and distribute alms,’ but his brethren had nothing to do with his next step. He was driven by circumstances out of Jerusalem, and he found himself in Samaria, and perhaps he remembered how Jesus Christ had said, on the day when He went up into Heaven, ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto Me, both in Jerusalem and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.’ But whether he remembered that or not, he was here in Samaria, amongst the ancestral enemies of his nation. Nobody told him to preach when he went to Samaria. He had no commission from the Apostles to do so. He did not hold any office in the Church, except that which, according to the Apostles’ intention in establishing it, ought to have stopped his mouth from preaching. For they said, when they appointed these seven, ‘Let them serve tables, and we will give ourselves to the ministry of the word.’ But Jesus Christ has a way of upsetting men’s restrictions as to the functions of His servants. And so Philip, without a commission, and with many prejudices to stop his mouth, was the first to break through the limitations which confined the message of salvation to the Jews. Because he found himself in Samaria, and they needed Christ there, he did not wait for Peter and James and John to lay their hands upon his head, and say, ‘Now you are entitled to speak about Him’; he did not wait for any appointment, but yielded to his own heart, a heart that was full of Jesus Christ, and must speak about Him; find he proclaimed the Gospel in that city.

So he has the noble distinction of being the very first Christian man who put a bold foot across the boundary of Judaism, and showed a light to men that were in darkness beyond. Remember he did it as a simple private Christian; uncalled, uncommissioned, unordained by anybody; and he did it because he could not help it, and he never thought to himself, ‘I am doing a daring, new thing.’ It seemed the most natural thing in the world that he should preach in Samaria. So it would be to us, if we were Christians with the depth of faith and of personal experience which this man had.

There is another lesson that I take from these first busy years of Philip’s service. Christ provides wider spheres for men who have been faithful in narrower ones. It was because he had ‘won his spurs,’ if I may so say, in Samaria, and proved the stuff he was made of, that the angel of the Lord came and said to Philip, ‘Go down on the road to Gaza, which is desert. Do not ask now what you are to do when you get there. Go!’ So with his sealed orders be went. No doubt he thought to himself, ‘Strange that I should be taken from this prosperous work in Samaria, and sent to a desert road, where there is not a single human being!’ But he went; and when he struck the point of junction of the road from Samaria with that from Jerusalem, looked about to discover what he had been sent there for. The only thing in sight was one chariot, and he said to himself, ‘Ah, that is it,’ and he drew near to the chariot, and heard the occupant reading aloud Isaiah’s great prophecy. The Ethiopian chamberlain was probably not very familiar with the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which he seems to have been using and, as poor readers often do, helped his comprehension by speaking the words he sees on the page. Philip knew at once that here was the object of his mission, and so ‘joined himself to the chariot,’ and set himself to his work.

So Christ chooses His agents for further work from those who, out of their own spontaneous love of Him, have done what lay at their hands. ‘To him that hath shall be given.’ If you are ambitious of a wider sphere, be sure that you fill your narrow one. It will widen quite fast enough for your capacities.

II. Now let me say a word about the long years of obscurity.

Philip went down to Caesarea, and, as I said, he drops out of the story for twenty years. I wonder why it was that when Jesus Christ desired that Cornelius, who lived in Caesarea, should hear the gospel, He did not direct him to Philip, who also was in Caesarea, but bid him send all the way to Joppa to bring Peter thence? I wonder why it was that when Barnabas at Antioch turned his face northwards to seek for young Saul at Tarsus, he never dreamed of turning southwards to call out Philip from Caesarea? I wonder how it came to pass that this man, who at one time looked as if he was going to be the leader in the extension of the Church to the Gentiles, and who, as a matter of fact, was the first, not only in Samaria but on the desert road, to press beyond the narrow bounds of Judaism, was passed over in the further stages by Jesus, and why his brethren passed him over, and left him there all these years in Caesarea, whilst there was so much going on that was the continuation and development of the very movement that he had begun. We do not know why, and it is useless to try to speculate, but we may learn lessons from the fact.

Here is a beautiful instance of the contented acceptance of a lot very much less conspicuous, very much less brilliant, than the early beginnings had seemed to promise. I suppose that there are very few of us but have had, back in the far-away past, moments when we seemed to have opening out before us great prospects of service which have never been realised; and the remembrance of the brief moments of dawning splendour is very apt to make the rest of the life look grey and dull, and common things flat, and to make us sour. We look back and we think, ‘Ah, the gates were opened for me then, but how they have slammed to since! It is hard for me to go on in this lowly condition, and this eclipsed state into which I have been brought, without feeling how different it might have been if those early days had only continued.’ Well, for Philip it was enough that Jesus Christ sent him to the eunuch and did not send him to Cornelius. He took the position that his Master put him in and worked away therein.

And there is a further lesson for us, who, for the most part, have to lead obscure lives. For there was in Philip not only a contented acceptance of an obscure life, but there was a diligent doing of obscure work. Did you notice that one significant little word in the clause that I have taken for my text: ‘We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven’? Luke does not forget Philip’s former office, but he dwells rather on what his other office was, twenty years afterwards. He was ‘an evangelist’ now, although the evangelistic work was being done in a very quiet corner, and nobody was paying much attention to it. Time was when he had a great statesman to listen to his words. Time was when a whole city was moved by his teaching. Time was when it looked as if he was going to do the work that Paul did. But all these visions were shattered, and he was left to toil for twenty long years in that obscure corner, and not a soul knew anything about his work except the people to whom it was directed and the four unmarried girls at home whom his example had helped to bring to Jesus Christ, and who were ‘prophetesses.’ At the end of the twenty years he is ‘Philip the evangelist.’

There is patient perseverance at unrecompensed, unrecorded, and unnoticed work. ‘Great’ and ‘small’ have nothing to do with the work of Christian people. It does not matter who knows our work or who does not know it, the thing is that He knows it. Now the most of us have to do absolutely unnoticed Christian service. Those of us who are in positions like mine have a little more notoriety-and it is no blessing-and a year or two after a man’s voice ceases to sound from a pulpit he is forgotten. What does it matter? ‘Surely I will never forget any of their works.’ And in these advertising days, when publicity seems to be the great good that people in so many cases seek after, and no one is contented to do his little bit of work unless he gets reported in the columns of the newspapers, we may all take example from the behaviour of Philip, and remember the man who began so brilliantly, and for twenty years was hidden, and was ‘the evangelist’ all the time.

III. Now, there is one last lesson that I would draw, and that is the ultimate recognition of the work and the joyful meeting of the workers.

I think it is very beautiful to see that when Paul entered Philip’s house he came into a congenial atmosphere; and although he had been hurrying, out of breath as it were, all the way from Corinth to get to Jerusalem in time for the Feast, he slowed off at once; partly, no doubt, because he found that he was in time, and partly, no doubt, that he felt the congeniality of the society that he met.

So there was no envy in Philip’s heart of the younger brother that had so outrun him. He was quite content to share the fate of pioneers, and rejoiced in the junior who had entered into his labour. ‘One soweth and another reapeth’; he was prepared for that, and rejoiced to hear about what the Lord had done by his brother, though once he had thought it might have been done by him. How they would talk! How much there would be to tell! How glad the old man would be at the younger man’s success!

And there was one sitting by who did not say very much, but had his ears wide open, and his name was Luke. In Philip’s long, confidential conversations he no doubt got some of the materials, which have been preserved for us in this book, for his account of the early days of the Church in Jerusalem.

So Philip, after all, was not working in so obscure a corner as he thought. The whole world knows about him. He had been working behind a curtain all the while, and he never knew that ‘the beloved physician,’ who was listening so eagerly to all he had to tell about the early days, was going to twitch down the curtain and let the whole world see the work that he thought he was doing, all unknown and soon to be forgotten.

And that is what will happen to us all. The curtain will be twitched down, and when it is, it will be good for us if we have the same record to show that this man had-namely, toil for the Master, indifferent to whether men see or do not see; patient labour for Him, coming out of a heart purged of all envy and jealousy of those who have been called to larger and more conspicuous service.

May we not take these many days of quiet converse in Philip’s house, when the pioneer and the perfecter of the work talked together, as being a kind of prophetic symbol of the time when all who had a share in the one great and then completed work will have a share in its joy? No matter whether they have dug the foundations or laid the early courses or set the top stone and the shining battlements that crown the structure, they have all their share in the building and their portion in the gladness of the completed edifice, ‘that he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.’

21:8-18 Paul had express warning of his troubles, that when they came, they might be no surprise or terror to him. The general notice given us, that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God, should be of the same use to us. Their weeping began to weaken and slacken his resolution Has not our Master told us to take up our cross? It was a trouble to him, that they should so earnestly press him to do that in which he could not gratify them without wronging his conscience. When we see trouble coming, it becomes us to say, not only, The will of the Lord must be done, and there is no remedy; but, Let the will of the Lord be done; for his will is his wisdom, and he doeth all according to the counsel of it. When a trouble is come, this must allay our griefs, that the will of the Lord is done; when we see it coming, this must silence our fears, that the will of the Lord shall be done; and we ought to say, Amen, let it be done. It is honourable to be an old disciple of Jesus Christ, to have been enabled by the grace of God to continue long in a course of duty, stedfast in the faith, growing more and more experienced, to a good old age. And with these old disciples one would choose to lodge; for the multitude of their years shall teach wisdom. Many brethren at Jerusalem received Paul gladly. We think, perhaps, that if we had him among us, we should gladly receive him; but we should not, if, having his doctrine, we do not gladly receive that.We that were of Paul's company - From this it would appear that they had been attended thus far by some persons who were going only to Ptolemais. This clause, however, is missing in many mss., and has been omitted by Bengel, Griesbach, Knapp, and others as spurious. It is also missing in the Syriac and the Vulgate.

Unto Cesarea - See the notes on Acts 8:40.

Into the house of Philip - One of the seven deacons, Acts 6:5. After his conversation with the eunuch of Ethiopia, he went to Caesarea, and probably there abode.

The evangelist - This word properly means one who announces good news. In the New Testament it is applied to a preacher of the gospel, or one who declares the glad tidings of salvation. It occurs only in two other places, Ephesians 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:5. What was the precise rank of those who bore this title in the early Christian church cannot perhaps be determined. It is evident, however, that it is used to denote the office of preaching the gospel; and as this title is applied to Philip, and not to any other of the seven deacons, it would seem probable that he had been entrusted with a special commission to preach, and that preaching did not pertain to him as a deacon, and does not properly belong to that office. The business of a deacon was to take care of the poor members of the church, Acts 6:1-6. The office of preaching was distinct from this, though, as in this case, it might be conferred on the same individual.

8-10. next day we that were of Paul's company departed—(The words "the were of Paul's company" are omitted in the best manuscripts. They were probably added as the connecting words at the head of some church lessons).

and came to Cæsarea—a run along the coast, southward, of some thirty miles.

Philip the evangelist—a term answering apparently very much to our missionary [Howson], by whose ministry such joy had been diffused over Samaria and the Ethiopian eunuch had been baptized (Ac 8:4-40).

one of the seven—deacons, who had "purchased to himself a good degree" (1Ti 3:13). He and Paul now meet for the first time, some twenty-five years after that time.

Caesarea; that which was called Caesarea Stratonis, to distinguish it from Caesarea Philippi, at the foot of Mount Libanus, as also from another city of that name in Cappadocia; they having been all so called in honour of Caesar, to flatter and perpetuate that family. The Caesarea here spoken of was in Palestine, and is mentioned Acts 10:1 18:22.

The evangelist; whose office and charge it was to publish the gospel, which Timothy is exhorted to do, 2 Timothy 4:5. This office is placed between that of an apostle and of a pastor and teacher, Ephesians 4:11, and was not so confined to a certain place or people as the latter of these were.

One of the seven; of the seven deacons; of which see Acts 6:5. Which office of a deacon Philip having well discharged, did purchase to himself this good degree, as 1 Timothy 3:13.

And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed,.... From Ptolemais, as Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Timotheus, Tychicus, Trophimus, and Luke, the writer of this history; see Acts 20:4

and came unto Caesarea; not Caesarea Philippi, mentioned in Matthew 16:13 but that Caesarea which was formerly called Strato's tower, and was a very good sea port; see Acts 8:40.

and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist; not a writer of a Gospel, but a preacher of the Gospel, and perhaps not an ordinary one, but was one of those spoken of in Ephesians 4:11 which was an office inferior to an apostle, and yet above an ordinary pastor and teacher; this man, very likely, was the same that taught in Samaria, and baptized the eunuch, and who after that settled at Caesarea; see Acts 8:40.

which was one of the seven; of the seven deacons of the church at Jerusalem, Acts 6:5 and abode with him; so long as they continued at Caesarea.

And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the {b} seven; and abode with him.

(b) He speaks of the seven deacons which he mentioned before in Ac 6:1-7.

Acts 21:8-9. Καισάρ.] See on Acts 8:40.

What induced the travellers to make their journey by way of Caesarea? Baumgarten thinks that, as representatives of the converted Gentiles, they wished to come in contact on the way only with Gentile churches. No; simply, according to the text, because Philip dwelt in Caesarea, and with this important man they purposed to spend some time in the interest of their vocation.

τοῦ εὐαγγ. ὄντος ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά] Since it was not his former position as overseer of the poor, but his present position as evangelist, that made him so important to the travellers, namely, through his participation in the calling of a teacher, the words are not to be rendered: because he was one of the seven, Acts 6:5 (comp. Winer, p. 127[E. T. 168], de Wette); but the comma after εὐαγγ. is to be deleted (so also Tisch. Born.), and the whole is to be taken together: who was the evangelist out of the seven. He was that one of the seven, who had embraced and prosecuted the calling of an evangelist. The fact that he now dwelt at Caesarea presupposes that he no longer filled the office which he held in Jerusalem. Perhaps the peculiar skill in teaching which he developed as an emigrant (Acts 8:5 ff., Acts 8:26 ff.) was the reason why he, released from his former ministry, entered upon that of an evangelist. To regard the words ὄντος ἐκ τ. ἑπτά as an addition of the compiler (Zeller), and also to suspect ὁ εὐαγγελιστής (Steitz in the Stud. u. Krit. 1868, p. 510), there is no sufficient reason. Evangelists were assistant-missionaries, who, destined exclusively for no particular church, either went forth voluntarily, or were sent by the apostles and other teachers of apostolic authority now here and now there, in order to proclaim the εὐαγγέλιον of Jesus Christ, and in particular the living remembrances of what He taught and did,[117] and thereby partly to prepare the way for, and partly to continue, the apostolic instruction, Ephesians 4:11; Eus. H. E. iii. 37.

Euseb. iii. 31, 39, v. 24, following Polycrates and Caius, calls this Philip an apostle, which is to be regarded as a very early confusion of persons, going back even to the second century and found also in the Constitt. ap. vi. 7. 1, and is not to be disposed of, with Olshausen, to the effect that Eusebius used ἀπόστολος in the wider sense, which, considering the very sameness in name of the apostle and evangelist, would be very inappropriate. But Gieseler’s view also (Stud. u. Krit. 1829, p. 139 ff.), that the apostle Philip had four daughters, and that Acts 21:9 is an interpolation by one who had confounded the apostle with the deacon, is to be rejected, as the technical evidence betrays no interpolation, and as at all events our narrative, especially as a portion of the account in the first person plural, precedes that of Eusebius.

θυγατέρες παρθένοι] virgin (intactae) daughters. On the adjective παρθένος, comp. Xen. Mem. i. 5. 2 : θυγατέρας παρθένους, Cyrop. iv. 6. 9; Lobeck, ad Aj. 1190.

προφητ.] who spoke in prophetic inspiration, had the χάρισμα of ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΊΑ. See on Acts 11:27.

The whole observation in Acts 21:9 is an incidental remarkable notice, independent of the connection of the history;[118] to the contents of which, however, on account of its special and extraordinary character, the precept in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:12, is not to be applied; nor yet is any justification of the life of nuns to be founded on it, with the Catholics (see Cornelius a Lapide). Comp. Luke 2:36. Baumgarten thinks that the virginity of the daughters corresponds to the condition of the church, which looks forward to her betrothal only in the future. This is exegetical trifling.[119]

[117] They had thus in common with the apostles the vocation of the εὐαγγελίζεσθαι; but they were distinguished from them, not merely by the circumstance that they were not directly called by Christ, and so were subordinate to the apostles (2 Timothy 4:5), and did not possess the extraordinary specifically apostolic χαρίσματα; but also by the fact that their ministry had for its object less the summing up of the great doctrinal system of the gospel (like the preaching of the apostles) than the communication of historical incidents from the ministry of Jesus. Pelagius correctly remarks: “Omnis apostolus evangelista, non omnis evangelista apostolus, sicut Philippus.” See generally, Ewald, p. 235 f., and Jahrb. II. p. 181 ff.—Nothing can be more perverse than, with Sepp, to interpret the appellation evangelist in the case of Philip to mean, that he had brought the Gospel of Matthew into its present form. The evangelists were the oral bearers of the gospel before written, gospels were in existence.

[118] If this circumstance was meant to be regarded (in accordance with Joel 3:1 [Acts 2:28]) as “a sign of special grace with which the Holy Spirit had honoured this church in the unclean Caesarea “(Baumgarten), Luke must of necessity have indicated this point of view. The suggestion, that we ought to be finding purposes everywhere without hint in the text, leads to extravagant arbitrariness.

[119] According to Clem. Al. Strom, vi. 52 (and in Euseb. iii. 30. 1), some of the daughters at least were married.

Acts 21:8. φ. τοῦ εὐαγγ.: the title, as Wendt and Hilgenfeld think, may have been given to Philip on account of his evangelising work, cf. Acts 8:12; Acts 8:40; “the Evangelist”: the honourable title gained by some signal service to the Gospel; and the two incidents noted in his career, his preaching to the Samaritans, and to the Ethiopian eunuch, each mark an advance in the free development of the Church (Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 299). He had originally been set apart for other work, Acts 6:2, but both he and St. Stephen had been called to higher duties, and it is not sufficient to say that he was called an “evangelist” to distinguish him from Philip the Apostle, for that would have been done sufficiently by calling him “one of the Seven”. The word only occurs twice elsewhere in the N.T., Ephesians 4:11, 2 Timothy 4:5. In the former passage the Evangelists are placed between the Apostles and Prophets on the one hand, and the Pastors and Teachers on the other. The latter two offices suggested those who were attached to a settled community, whilst the Apostles and Prophets were non-local. Between the two pairs stood the Evangelists, whose work like that of Philip was to preach the Word. But it is to be carefully noted that as the title is used of the work of Philip, “one of the Seven,” and of that of Timothy, an Apostolic delegate, 2 Timothy 4:5, it may have denoted an employment rather than an office, “a work rather than an order,” and it might be truly said that every Apostle was an Evangelist, but that not every Evangelist was an Apostle. At the same time their work may well have been more restricted locally than that of the Apostles, cf. Theodoret on Ephesians 4:11, and also Eusebius, H.E., ii., 3, iii., 37, itinerant work of an Evangelist, “Evangelist,” B.D.2. The title is not found in the Apostolic Fathers or in the Didaché, and the latter omission Harnack would explain on the ground that the “Apostles” in the Didaché were just Evangelists; but it would seem, if we admit the reference to 2 Timothy 4:5, that the title was already in general use, and that it was not limited to Apostles. Meyer sees in the Evangelists those who transmitted orally the facts of our Lord’s life and teaching, before the existence of written Gospels; but however tempting this view may be, we can scarcely define the Evangelists’ work so precisely, and still less thus distinguish it from that of the Apostles; but see, however, as favouring Meyer’s view, “Evangelist,” Hastings’ B.D. Ewald’s remarks on Philip as an Evangelist are still of interest, Die drei ersten Evangelien, i., 48 ff.; on the mistake which confused this Philip with Philip the Apostle, see Salmon, Introd., 313.—εἰς Κ.: on two occasions St. Paul had already visited Cæsarea, Acts 9:30, Acts 18:22, and he would probably have met Philip previously; but we have no knowledge of any previous meeting between St. Luke and Philip. We can conceive something of the importance of such a meeting when we remember the advantage which the latter’s knowledge of the events in the early history of the Church would possess for the future historian. Philip’s presence in Cæsarea at once connects itself with the notice in Acts 8:40, and thus indicates a unity of authorship in the whole book.—ὄντος ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά: the notice shows us how the early part of the book is taken for granted by the writer of the latter part (so Lightfoot and Salmon). This is surely more intelligible and satisfactory than to refer the words to the “author to Theophilus,” or to regard it with Clemen as a later addition perhaps by his R., who already betrayed, Acts 14:8, a knowledge of the sources of the first part of the book, or perhaps by R.J., who then connected Historia Petri and Historia Pauli. Jüngst refers the notice in Acts 8:40 to a Reviser who thus seeks to connect the Philip of chap. 8 with Cæsarea, and so to identify him with the Philip here.

8. And the next day] Rev. Ver. “And on the morrow.”

we that were of Paul’s company] The Greek for the last five of these words is omitted in the best MSS. We can see at once how such a marginal comment, thought useful by the reader of an early MS., would be brought into the text without scruple by the next copyist.

unto Cesarea] Though it was possible to have made this journey by sea, the verb seems rather to leave us to infer that it was a land journey. The road between the two places was of the best.

and we entered … and abode with him] Rev. Ver. (as Greek) “and entering … we abode, &c.” Philip is named next after Stephen in the narrative (Acts 6:5) of the choosing of the seven, and though no such prominent exhibition of his zeal is narrated as of Stephen, yet we are told, that he went away from Jerusalem and was the first to carry the Gospel to the Samaritans (Acts 8:5). He also was directed by the angel of the Lord to go and baptize the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:16-38), thus being doubly an ambassador to the Gentiles, and earning his title of “Evangelist.” He preached afterwards at Ashdod, and from the chapter before us we may conclude that he had made his home at Cæsarea. Such a situation, the meeting-place of Gentiles with Jews, was the proper scene for such a missionary to labour in, and such a labourer would rejoice greatly to welcome to his house the great apostle who had gone forth once and again unto the Gentiles and with such mighty blessing on his work.

Acts 21:8. Εἰς Καισάρειαν, to Cesarea) It is here especially that Paul’s imprisonment is foretold to him; and this was the place, moreover, where he was about to go as a prisoner: ch. Acts 23:33.—τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ, the Evangelist) ch. Acts 8:5; Acts 8:35; Acts 8:40.—ὄντος) who was one of the Seven: ch. Acts 6:5. It is probable that Paul had some communications (dealings) with Philip as to the care of the poor, Acts 21:15 (ἐπισκευασάμενοι referring to the alms, with which they were entrusted for Jerusalem): although there was no community of goods, except at Jerusalem: nor did it last, save only until the scattering abroad, of which ch. Acts 8:1 treats; at which time, we may suppose that whatever resources were ready to their hand were divided among those who departed from Jerusalem and those who remained in it, according to the extent of their distress (need). Otherwise Philip would not have been able to have departed from it [his services as a deacon for distributing the alms would have been still needed at Jerusalem]: Acts 8:5; Acts 8:40.

Verse 8. - On the morrow for the next day A.V.; we for we that were of Paul's company, A.V. and T.R.; entering we for we entered... and, A.V.; who for which, A.V. Unto Caesarea. They seem to have come from Ptolemais to Caesarea by land, a two days' journey; the word. ἐξελθόντες, as Howson justly remarks, pointing to a land-journey. Philip the evangelist. When last we heard of him (Acts 8:40) he had just reached Caesarea; apparently he had been working there as an evangelist ever since. His old home at Jerusalem (Acts 6:5) had been broken up by the persecution (Acts 8:5), and thus the deacon had become an evangelist (Acts 8:12). Evangelists are mentioned by St. Paul(Ephesians 4:11) as one of the higher orders of the Christian ministry; and Timothy is bid "do the work of an evangelist" (2 Timothy 4:5). In later times the term was restricted to the four writers of the Gospels. Philip's old association with Stephen in the diaconate must have been keenly remembered by St. Paul. We abode with him. This seems to imply that Philip was well to do, and had a good house. Acts 21:8We that were of Paul's company

The best texts omit.


See ch. 8.

The seven

The first deacons. See Acts 6:5.

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