CHAPTER 8 8 1Now Saul was consenting to his execution.   Persecution of the Church.   On that day, there broke out a severe persecution[Z] of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.[A] 2Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. 3Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church;[B] entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment.   III. The Mission in Judea and Samaria Philip in Samaria.  4Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5Thus Philip went down to [the] city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. 6With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. 7For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. 8There was great joy in that city.   Simon the Magician.  9A man named Simon used to practice magic[C] in the city and astounded the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10All of them, from the least to the greatest, paid attention to him, saying, “This man is the ‘Power of God’ that is called ‘Great.’” 11They paid attention to him because he had astounded them by his magic for a long time, 12but once they began to believe Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike were baptized. 13Even Simon himself believed and, after being baptized, became devoted to Philip; and when he saw the signs and mighty deeds that were occurring, he was astounded.   14Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, 16for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.[D] 17Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit. 18[E] When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19and said, “Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit.” 20But Peter said to him, “May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money. 21You have no share or lot in this matter, for your heart is not upright before God. 22Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven. 23For I see that you are filled with bitter gall and are in the bonds of iniquity.” 24Simon said in reply, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” 25So when they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem and preached the good news to many Samaritan villages.   Philip and the Ethiopian.  [F] 26Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.” 27So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace,[G] that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.” 30[H] Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. 32This was the scripture passage he was reading:   “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 33In (his) humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth.”   34Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, “I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?” 35Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him. 36As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?” 37[I] 38Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing. 40Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.  
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