Acts 8: Spreading the Good News

What factors might have been involved for so many believers to be scattered because of the persecution but not the apostles?

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Acts 8:1 Saul stood in agreement with the Jewish leaders in putting Stephen to death, beginning a time of great persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and except for the apostles, believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
King James
Acts 8:1 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.

What percentage of Jesus’ followers do you think remained in Jerusalem? What reasons might they have had for staying?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 8:1 Saul stood in agreement with the Jewish leaders in putting Stephen to death, beginning a time of great persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and except for the apostles, believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
King James
Acts 8:1 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.

When people fled the persecution, where would they most likely look for safety?

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Psalm 4:8 The moment I lie down, I will sleep peacefully, for only you, Lord, will keep me safe.
Proverbs 29:25 Those who fear what people will do to them have caught themselves in an inescapable trap, but if our trust is in the Lord, we will be safe.
Acts 8:1 Saul stood in agreement with the Jewish leaders in putting Stephen to death, beginning a time of great persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and except for the apostles, believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
King James
Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
Acts 8:1 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.

How did the followers of Jesus eulogize Stephen and his sacrifice? To what extent do you think they put their lives in danger?

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Acts 8:2 Loyal followers of Jesus buried Stephen and made an open display of their grief over his death.
King James
Acts 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

What means of discovery and criteria for determining guilt might Saul have used to arrest believers and send them to prison?

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Acts 8:3 Saul did his best to destroy the church, going house to house, committing believers to prison,
8:4 but those who had scattered continued to spread the good news about Christ.
King James
Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Why did the persecution fail to squelch the message?

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Acts 8:3 Saul did his best to destroy the church, going house to house, committing believers to prison,
8:4 but those who had scattered continued to spread the good news about Christ.
King James
Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

What does Philip’s preaching and doing miracles in Samaria say about people’s faith?

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Matthew 13:58 Because of their unbelief, he did very few miracles there.
Acts 8:5 Philip went to a city of Samaria, where he taught about Jesus.
8:6 After hearing Philip speak and seeing the miracles, the people believed.
8:7 Evil spirits cried out as they left those who had been possessed, and many of the feeble and crippled were healed,
8:8 bringing great joy to the city.
King James
Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
8:7 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.
8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

What might Simon have done to make the people think he had the power to do miracles?

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Acts 8:9 A psychic name Simon deceived the people, pretending to have supernatural power.
8:10 Everybody was following him, saying, “This man has the authority and power of God.”
8:11 Bewitched by his magic, they had great respect for him.
King James
Acts 8:9 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:
8:10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
8:11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

How did Philip’s actions differ from what Simon was doing?

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Acts 8:12 But when Philip came preaching Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, Simon’s followers, both men and women, were baptized.
King James
Acts 8:12 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.

When Simon’s followers believed Philip’s preaching, were baptized, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, how might their perception of Simon change?

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Acts 8:12 But when Philip came preaching Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, Simon’s followers, both men and women, were baptized.
King James
Acts 8:12 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.

In his commitment to Christ, how sincere do you think Simon was, in being baptized? What are some of the things he might still need to learn about following the Lord?

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Acts 8:13 Simon marveled at the wonders and miracles. He also became a believer and was baptized.
King James
Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

For what purpose did Peter and John go to Samaria?

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Acts 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria was receptive to God’s message, Peter and John were sent
8:15 to pray with the believers, that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
8:16 They had only been baptized in water in the name of the Lord Jesus, but the Holy Spirit had not come upon them.
8:17 When Peter and John put their hands on them, the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit.
King James
Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

What changes might Simon have seen in people’s lives after they received the Holy Spirit?

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Acts 8:18 Simon saw the Holy Spirit given by the apostles’ hands and offered the apostles money,
8:19 saying, “Give me this power so I can lay hands on people and they will receive the Holy Spirit.”
King James
Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

What ability was Simon wanting to buy when he offered the apostles money?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 8:18 Simon saw the Holy Spirit given by the apostles’ hands and offered the apostles money,
8:19 saying, “Give me this power so I can lay hands on people and they will receive the Holy Spirit.”
King James
Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

Why do you think he believed the ability could be purchased with money?

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Acts 8:20 Peter said, “May they bury you with your silver for thinking that money can buy God’s gift.
King James
Acts 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

In what ways might Simon’s heart not have been right with God?

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Acts 8:21 You can have no part in this ministry, because your heart is not right with God.
King James
Acts 8:21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

Do you think Simon had received the Holy Spirit? Why or why not?

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Acts 8:22 Repent of your wickedness and pray. Perhaps God will forgive you for thinking he is a resource for making money.”
King James
Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

What might be wrong with his wanting the Holy Spirit to prosper his business?

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Acts 8:22 Repent of your wickedness and pray. Perhaps God will forgive you for thinking he is a resource for making money.”
King James
Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

Peter thought he knew what was in Simon’s heart. Upon what do you think his perception was based?

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Acts 8:23 I see you consumed with bitterness and bound by unrighteousness.
King James
Acts 8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

What punishment might Peter have predicted or Simon have imagined would come as a result of his sin?

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Acts 8:23 I see you consumed with bitterness and bound by unrighteousness.
King James
Acts 8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

What reasons could Simon have had for asking Peter to pray, rather than Simon just praying for himself?

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Acts 8:24 “Pray for me,” Simon said, “that the Lord will not allow this to happen.”
James 5:16 Confess to one another your inability to make it on your own, recognizing your failures and need for God’s help. Pray for one another so you may be changed. When a man comes to God with a genuine desire to change, transforming power begins to work in your lives.
King James
Acts 8:24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

In the early days of discipleship with Jesus, Samaria was a place of great revival, yet later the people rejected Jesus. How might this have influenced Peter and John as they preached in Samaritan towns on the way back to Jerusalem?

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Luke 9:51 As the time drew closer to when he would ascend to heaven, Jesus decided he would go to Jerusalem.
9:52 He sent messengers ahead to arrange a place for him to stay in a Samaritan town.
9:53 After hearing that Jesus was determined to go to Jerusalem, the Samaritans refused to welcome him.
9:54 When James and John heard about their rejection, they said, “Sir, should we call down fire from heaven to consume them, just as Elijah did?”
John 4:40 After seeing him, they begged him to stay in their village. He stayed for two days,
4:41 long enough for many more to hear and believe.
4:42 The people said to the woman, “Not only do we believe because of what you said. We have seen and heard for ourselves and know for sure. He really is the Savior of the world.”
Acts 8:25 Having testified fully, with the word of the Lord clearly spoken, they left for Jerusalem and stopped to preach the Good News in many Samaritan villages on the way.
King James
Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
9:52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
9:53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
9:54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
John 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
4:41 And many more believed because of his own word;
4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Acts 8:25 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.

What do you suppose Philip was doing when an angel appeared?

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Acts 8:26 An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Arise and go south to that desolate road from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
King James
Acts 8:26 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.

As he traveled the desolate road, how often and for how long might he have asked why he was there?

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Acts 8:27 So Philip got up and went there, where he met an Ethiopian, a high-ranking eunuch in charge of the treasury under Candace, queen of Ethiopia. He had just left a period of worship in Jerusalem
8:28 and was on his way home, sitting in his chariot, reading the words of the prophet Isaiah.
King James
Acts 8:27 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,
8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

When Philip saw the man in a chariot, he could only have guessed who the man was, what his purpose had been in Jerusalem, and where he was going. What do you think his first impression was?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 8:27 So Philip got up and went there, where he met an Ethiopian, a high-ranking eunuch in charge of the treasury under Candace, queen of Ethiopia. He had just left a period of worship in Jerusalem
8:28 and was on his way home, sitting in his chariot, reading the words of the prophet Isaiah.
King James
Acts 8:27 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,
8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

A man having a scroll was most unusual. How do you suppose Philip knew the man was reading the words of the prophet Isaiah? How difficult might it have been to read while riding?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 8:27 So Philip got up and went there, where he met an Ethiopian, a high-ranking eunuch in charge of the treasury under Candace, queen of Ethiopia. He had just left a period of worship in Jerusalem
8:28 and was on his way home, sitting in his chariot, reading the words of the prophet Isaiah.
King James
Acts 8:27 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,
8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

After the Holy Spirit told Philip to join the man in the chariot, how hard do you think he had to run?

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Acts 8:29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, Go join the man in that chariot.
8:30 As Philip ran and caught up with the chariot, he heard the man reading from the book of Isaiah. “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip said.
King James
Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

How did Philip introduce himself?

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Acts 8:29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, Go join the man in that chariot.
8:30 As Philip ran and caught up with the chariot, he heard the man reading from the book of Isaiah. “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip said.
King James
Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

What reason might the eunuch have in believing Philip could guide his understanding of Scripture?

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Acts 8:31 “Without someone to teach me, how could I understand?” The man invited Philip to join him in the chariot.
King James
Acts 8:31 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.

Out of more than fifty other sections of Isaiah where he could have been reading, the Eunuch was considering the words about Jesus. If this was more than an amazing coincidence, what must God have done to cause these circumstances?

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Isaiah 53:7 He was abused and beaten down, but he did not say a word. Like a lamb about to be slaughtered or a sheep before its shearers, he did not say anything.
53:8 Without a fair trial, he was taken away to die without descendants. Because of people’s rebellion, he was put to death.
Acts 8:32 He was reading the portion that said, He was abused and beaten down, but he did not say a word. Like a lamb about to be slaughtered or a sheep before its shearers, he did not say anything.
8:33 Without a fair trial, he was taken away to die without descendants. Because of people’s rebellion, he was put to death.
King James
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Acts 8:32 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:
8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

How much time do you think Philip spent in telling about Jesus? To what extent might he have included his own personal experience?

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Acts 8:34 The eunuch said to Philip, “Is the prophet talking about himself or someone else?”
8:35 So Philip began with these writings to tell him about Jesus.
King James
Acts 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

What must have been said for the eunuch to understand the importance of being baptized?

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Acts 8:36 When they came to a stream, the eunuch said, “Look, there’s water here. Why can’t I be baptized?”
King James
Acts 8:36 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?

What was the prerequisite for baptism?

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Acts 8:37 Believing in Christ,
8:38 the eunuch stopped the chariot, went down to the water, and was baptized.
King James
Acts 8:37 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.
8:38 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.

When the eunuch was baptized, do you think he received the Holy Spirit?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 8:37 Believing in Christ,
8:38 the eunuch stopped the chariot, went down to the water, and was baptized.
King James
Acts 8:37 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.
8:38 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.

How would you describe the nature of Philip’s departure flight?

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Acts 8:39 When they came up from the water, the Holy Spirit caught away Philip, so the eunuch didn’t see him anymore but went on his way, rejoicing.
King James
Acts 8:39 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.

How would seeing his departure affect the eunuch?

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Acts 8:39 When they came up from the water, the Holy Spirit caught away Philip, so the eunuch didn’t see him anymore but went on his way, rejoicing.
King James
Acts 8:39 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.

What led Philip to preach in the towns along the Mediterranean coastline, from Azotus to Caesarea, and not somewhere else)?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 8:40 Philip was next seen as he passed through Azotus, spreading the good news about Jesus in the cities from there to Caesarea.
King James
Acts 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.