Saul Persecutes the Church
1 And Saul was [not only] consenting to [Stephen's] death [he was pleased and entirely approving]. On that day a great and severe persecution broke out against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles (special messengers). 2 [A party of] devout men with others helped to carry out and bury Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul shamefully treated and laid waste the church continuously [with cruelty and violence]; and entering house after house, he dragged out men and women and committed them to prison.
Philip in Samaria
4 Now those who were scattered abroad went about [through the land from place to place] preaching the glad tidings, the Word [ the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God]. 5 Philip [the deacon, not the apostle] went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ (the Messiah) to them [the people]; 6 And great crowds of people with one accord listened to and heeded what was said by Philip, as they heard him and watched the miracles and wonders which he kept performing [from time to time]. 7 For foul spirits came out of many who were possessed by them, screaming and shouting with a loud voice, and many who were suffering from palsy or were crippled were restored to health. 8 And there was great rejoicing in that city.
9 But there was a man named Simon, who had formerly practiced magic arts in the city to the utter amazement of the Samaritan nation, claiming that he himself was an extraordinary and distinguished person. 10 They all paid earnest attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that exhibition of the power of God which is called great (intense). 11 And they were attentive and made much of him, because for a long time he had amazed and bewildered and dazzled them with his skill in magic arts. 12 But when they believed the good news (the Gospel) about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) as Philip preached it, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed [he adhered to, trusted in, and relied on the teaching of Philip], and after being baptized, devoted himself constantly to him. And seeing signs and miracles of great power which were being performed, he was utterly amazed.
14 Now when the apostles (special messengers) at Jerusalem heard that [the country of] Samaria had accepted and welcomed the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 And they came down and prayed for them that the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit; 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them, but they had only been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then [the apostles] laid their hands on them one by one, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 However, when Simon saw that the [Holy] Spirit was imparted through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he brought money and offered it to them, 19 Saying, Grant me also this power and authority, in order that anyone on whom I place my hands may receive the Holy Spirit. 20 But Peter said to him, Destruction overtake your money and you, because you imagined you could obtain the [free] gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is all wrong in God's sight [it is not straightforward or right or true before God]. 22 So repent of this depravity and wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this contriving thought and purpose of your heart may be removed and disregarded and forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in a bond forged by iniquity [to fetter souls]. 24 And Simon answered, Pray for me [beseech the Lord, both of you], that nothing of what you have said may befall me!
An Ethiopian Receives Christ
25 Now when [the apostles] had borne their testimony and preached the message of the Lord, they went back to Jerusalem, proclaiming the glad tidings (Gospel) to many villages of the Samaritans [on the way].
26 But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Rise and proceed southward or at midday on the road that runs from Jerusalem down to Gaza. This is the desert [ route]. 27 So he got up and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship. 28 And he was [now] returning, and sitting in his chariot he was reading the book of the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the [Holy] Spirit said to Philip, Go forward and join yourself to this chariot. 30 Accordingly Philip, running up to him, heard [the man] reading the prophet Isaiah and asked, Do you really understand what you are reading? 31 And he said, How is it possible for me to do so unless someone explains it to me and guides me [in the right way]? And he earnestly requested Philip to come up and sit beside him. 32 Now this was the passage of Scripture which he was reading: Like a sheep He was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is dumb, so He opens not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation He was taken away by distressing and oppressive judgment and justice was denied Him [caused to cease]. Who can describe or relate in full the wickedness of His contemporaries (generation)? For His life is taken from the earth and a bloody death inflicted upon Him.
34 And the eunuch said to Philip, I beg of you, tell me about whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this portion of Scripture he announced to him the glad tidings (Gospel) of Jesus and about Him. 36 And as they continued along on the way, they came to some water, and the eunuch exclaimed, See, [here is] water! What is to hinder my being baptized? 37 And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart [if you have a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah and accept Him as the Author of your salvation in the kingdom of God, giving Him your obedience, then] you may. And he replied, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and [Philip] baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [ suddenly] caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus, and passing on he preached the good news (Gospel) to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.