1 And Saul was in full agreement with Stephen being put to death. And a great persecution broke out against the Jerusalem church, and all the disciples, except the apostles, were scattered throughout the districts of Judea and Samaria. 2 The godly men who buried Stephen's body mourned over his loss very deeply. 3 But Saul brought devastation to the church by entering everyone's house and dragging men and women off to jail.
4 Now the disciples, who had become scattered all over, went everywhere preaching the message [of God]. 5 And Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed Christ to them. 6 Great crowds of people joined together in accepting Philip's message when they heard and saw the [miraculous] signs he was able to perform. 7 Evil spirits came out, with loud shrieks, from many persons and large numbers of people were healed of their paralysis and crippled conditions. 8 And there was much rejoicing in Samaria [over the wonderful effects of Philip's ministry].
9 But a certain man named Simon, from there in Samaria, who had been amazing the people with his magical powers, was claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest [in importance], was being impressed by him. They were saying, "This man is being called Great [and has] power from God." 11 And people were paying attention to him because he had been amazing them with his magic for a long time. 12 When people believed the good news about God's kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ, which Philip was preaching, both men and women were immersed [in water]. 13 And [this] Simon also believed [Philip's message] and was immersed. [After that] he continued [to travel] with Philip and was amazed by the [supernatural] signs and great miracles he saw [him perform].
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had responded to the message of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When these two apostles had come [to Samaria] they prayed for some [of the disciples] to receive [miraculous power from] the Holy Spirit, 16 for as yet [such power] had not fallen on any of them; they had only been immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus [i.e., with no accompanying miraculous powers]. 17 Then the apostles placed their hands on [some of] them [and prayed, see verse 15] and they received [miraculous power from] the Holy Spirit.
18 Now when Simon saw that through the placing of the apostles' hands [on people] the Holy Spirit was given [Note: The fact that Simon "saw" something happen suggests it was supernatural and therefore highly desirable by Simon], he offered to pay them money [for this power], 19 saying, "Give me also the ability to place my hands on people [and pray] so that they will receive [the miraculous power of] the Holy Spirit."
20 But Peter said to him, "You and your money will both be destroyed for thinking you could buy the gift from God with money. 21 You do not have any share or involvement in this matter because your heart is not right before God. 22 So, repent [i.e., change your heart and life] of such a terrible thing and pray for the Lord to forgive you for even thinking of such a thing. Perhaps He will [if you are really sincere]. 23 For I can see that your life is as bitter gall [i.e., very evil] and you are enslaved by [your] sins."
24 And Simon answered, "[Please] pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said about me will [really] happen."
25 When Peter and John had testified [regarding the truth] and had proclaimed the message of God [to the people] they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the good news [about Jesus] in many Samaritan villages [on their way back].
26 [Meanwhile] an angel [sent] from the Lord spoke to Philip and said, "Get up and travel south on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza; that is a deserted region." 27 So, he went and [eventually] came across a man who was the Ethiopian Queen Candace's treasurer. He was a high official and was also a eunuch [Note: This was a man without normal sexual activity], who had been to Jerusalem to worship [i.e., probably as a Jewish proselyte]. 28 He was returning [to his home in Ethiopia] and was sitting in his chariot [Note: Chariots were stopped on long journeys occasionally for resting, eating, reading, etc.] reading [a scroll of] the prophet Isaiah.
29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, "Go on up close to the chariot."
30 So, Philip ran over to it and [when he got near enough] he heard the Ethiopian eunuch reading from Isaiah the prophet and asked him, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
31 And the man replied, "How can I, except with someone's guidance?" Then he urged Philip to come and sit with him [in the chariot]. 32 Now the passage of Scripture he was reading said [Isa. 53:7ff], "He was led out to be slaughtered as a sheep; He made no sound, just like a lamb when it was being sheared. 33 He was subjected to [terrible] humiliation and deprived of justice. Who will [there be to] trace His descendants, since His life was taken from Him, [leaving no posterity]."
34 The [Ethiopian] eunuch then asked Philip "Please tell me, is the prophet [Isaiah] writing about himself or about someone else?" 35 So, Philip opened his mouth, and beginning [his message] from this Scripture [passage], he preached to him [about] Jesus.
36 As they [i.e., Philip, the Ethiopian eunuch and his attendants] traveled along they came to a certain [body of] water. The [Ethiopian] eunuch said, "Look, here is [a body of] water, why can't I be immersed [right now]?" {{Verse 37 is absent from many manuscripts}}. 38 So, the eunuch ordered the chariot to be stopped; then both Philip and the [Ethiopian] eunuch went down into the water and Philip immersed the eunuch [into Christ]. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit of the Lord [supernaturally?] directed Philip to go elsewhere and the eunuch did not see him anymore, as he continued on his journey rejoicing. 40 But [later on] Philip appeared at Azotus and after leaving there he preached the good news [of Jesus] to all the towns along the way until he reached Caesarea. [Note: Caesarea was a town on the west coast of Palestine, named after the emperor Caesar].