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Acts: Chapter 8

Categories: ActsTags: 2.3 min read
Saul was mentioned in Acts 7:58. He was a young man who the council members trusted with their coats while they stoned Stephen to death.Now, in Acts 8:1-3, one can see that Saul not only approved of Stephen’s murder, but seemed to be intent on destroying the church.

The repercussions of Stephen’s death meant that whilst the apostles stayed in Jerusalem, most of the believers moved away to escape persecution. This of course aided the spread of the gospel.

We read about Philip in Acts 8:5-25 who, like Stephen was chosen to care for those in need within the church (Acts 6:1-4) . Philip fled to Samaria and immediately began to preach the gospel. A convert called Simon had been a sorcerer and was intrigued that Philip could perform real miracles through the holy spirit. Simon was amazed when Peter and John arrived to pass on the gift of the holy spirit to the newly baptised members. But he made the mistake of thinking he could buy this gift. Acts 8:20-23 record Peter’s reaction. Acts 8:24leads us to believe that Simon was repentant but we hear no more of him.

We discussed the gift of the holy spirit, noting that Philip didn’t appear able to pass the gift on. It seems that the twelve apostles could lay hands on a new member and pass this gift on, but then it was no longer transferable.

The rest of the chapter records the conversion of an Ethiopian eunuch who was traveling in a chariot, and reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. The book puzzled him but help was at hand. Acts 8:26 tells us that an angel appeared with a message to Philip. He was to go along a particular road – the road that the eunuch had taken. Philip was instructed by the holy spirit to approach the chariot and when he heard what the eunuch was reading, he asked if he could help. The Old Testament text was a prophesy about Jesus. We can’t discuss the book of Isaiah in the group because we haven’t studied it yet, but part of it is quoted in Acts 8:32-33. Written so many years before Christ’s ministry, the words describe his character perfectly. Philip was able to teach the eunuch about Jesus’ death and resurrection and his offer of salvation to all who believed and were baptised. When they reached a place where there was water, the eunuch asked Philip if he could be baptised. When they came up out of the water, Philip was taken away by the holy spirit. The chapter concludes with Philip discovering he was no longer with the eunuch, but in Ashdod, from there he went to Caesarea, preaching as he went.

ADDITIONAL READING

FURTHER THOUGHTS

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