Acts 8 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

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(Read all of Acts 8)
8:1 And 1 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.

(1) Christ uses the rage of his enemies in the spreading forth and enlarging of his kingdom.

8:2 2 And devout men a carried Stephen [to his burial], and made great lamentation over him.

(2) The godly mourn for Steven after his death, and bury him, showing in this an example of singular faith and charity: but no man prays to him.
(a) Amongst all the duties of charity which the godly perform, there is no mention made of enshrining relics.

8:3 3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed [them] to prison.

(3) The dispersion or scattering abroad of the faithful is the gathering together of churches.

8:5 4 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

(4) Philip, who was before a deacon in Jerusalem, is made an evangelist by God in an extraordinary way.

8:9 5 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used b sorcery, and c bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

(5) Christ overcomes Satan as often as he desires, and carries him about as it were in triumph, in the sight of those whom Satan deceived and bewitched.
(b) The word which is used in this place was at first used of good things, and is borrowed from the language of the Persians, who call their wise men by that name; but afterwards it was used of evil things.
(c) He had so allured the Samaritans with his witchcraft that as blind and mad idiots they were wholly addicted to him.

8:13 6 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

(6) The wicked and the highly reprobate are often forced to taste the good gift of God, but they immediately spit it out again.

8:14 7 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

(7) Peter, not chief but as an ambassador sent from the whole company of the apostles, and John his companion, according to the authority which was committed unto them, strengthen, encourage, and build up the churches of Samaria, whose foundation had been laid before by Philip.

8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the d Holy Ghost:

(d) Those excellent gifts which are necessary, especially for those that were to be appointed rulers and governors of the Church.

8:18 8 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,

(8) Covetousness and the seeking of glory at length remove the hypocrites from their dens.

8:20 (9) But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

(9) They are the successors of Simon Magus, and not Simon Peter, who either buy or sell holy things.

8:21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this e matter: for thy heart is not f right in the sight of God.

(e) In this doctrine which I preach.
(f) Is not upright indeed and without the concealing of hypocritical motives.

8:22 10 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

(10) We must hope well even for the vilest sinners, as long as and as much as we can.

8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the g gall of bitterness, and [in] the h bond of iniquity.

(g) He calls the inward malice of the heart and the venomous and demonic wickedness with which the magician was wholly filled with the gall of bitterness: and he is said to be in the gall, as though he were wholly overwhelmed with gall, and buried in it.
(h) Entangled in the bonds of iniquity.

8:26 11 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.

(11) Christ, who calls freely whom he wishes, now uses Philip, who was not thinking about any such thing, to unexpectedly instruct and baptize the eunuch, and by this means extends the limits of his kingdom even into Ethiopia.

8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch i 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,

(i) A man of great wealth and authority with Candace. Now this word "Candace" is a common name of all the Queens of Ethiopia.

8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should k guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

(k) To show me the way to understand it.

8:32 12 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:

(12) Those things which seem to come most by chance or fortune (as men term it) are governed by the secret providence of God.

8:33 In his l humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his m generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

(l) The Hebrew text reads it in this way, "out of a narrow strait, and out of judgment was he taken": and by the "narrow strait" he means the grave and the very bonds of death, and by "judgment" he means the punishment which was laid upon him, and the miserable state which Christ took upon himself for our sakes, in bearing his Father's wrath.
(m) How long he will endure: for Christ, having once risen from the dead, dies no more; (Romans 6:9).

8:37 13 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, n I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

(13) Profession of faith is required of those being baptized, and therefore it is evident that we are not first ingrafted into Christ when we are baptized, but are already ingrafted, and then are baptized. (Ed.)
(n) The sum of the confession which is necessary for baptism.