1 Now Saul heartily approved of putting Stephen to death. That day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except for the apostles was scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. 2 Devout men buried Stephen as they mourned loudly for him. 3 But Saul kept trying to destroy the church. Going into one house after another, he began dragging off men and women and throwing them in prison.
4 Now those who were scattered went from place to place preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began to preach the Messiah to the people. 6 The crowds, hearing his message and seeing the signs that he was doing, paid close attention to what was said by Philip. 7 Unclean spirits screamed with a loud voice as they came out of the many people they had possessed, and many paralyzed and lame people were healed. 8 As a result, there was great rejoicing in that city.
9 Now in that city there was a man named Simon. He was practicing occult arts and thrilling the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone from the least to the greatest paid close attention to him, saying, "This is what we call the great power of God!" 11 They paid careful attention to him because he had thrilled them for a long time with his occult performances. 12 But when Philip proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and about the name of Jesus the Messiah, men and women believed and were baptized. 13 Even Simon believed, and after he was baptized he became devoted to Philip. He was amazed to see the signs and great miracles that were happening.
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaritans had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 They went down and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 Before this, he had not come on any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money 19 and said, "Give me this power too, so that when I lay my hands on someone, he will receive the Holy Spirit."
20 But Peter told him, "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God's free gift with money! 21 You have no part or share in what we're saying, because your heart isn't right with God. 22 So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your heart's intent may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you're being poisoned by bitterness and you're a prisoner of wickedness!"
24 Simon answered, "Both of you pray to the Lord for me that none of the things you have said will happen to me."
25 After they had given their testimony and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, continuing to proclaim the good news in many Samaritan villages.
26 Now an angel of the Lord told Philip, "Get up and go south on the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a deserted road." 27 So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, who was a member of the court of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He was in charge of all her treasures and had come up to Jerusalem to worship. 28 Now he was returning home, seated in his chariot, and reading from the prophet Isaiah.
30 So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah out loud. Philip asked, "Do you understand what you're reading?"
31 The man replied, "How can I unless someone guides me?" So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. 32 This was the passage of Scripture he was reading: "Like a sheep he was led away to be slaughtered, and like a lamb is silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation, justice was denied him. Who can describe his descendants? For his life is taken away from the earth."
34 The eunuch asked Philip, "I ask you, who is the prophet talking about? Himself? Or someone else?" 35 Then Philip began to speak, and, starting from this Scripture, he told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they were going along the road, they came to some water. The eunuch said, "Look, there's some water. What keeps me from being baptized?" 38 So he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch went on his way rejoicing and did not see Philip again. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus. As he was passing through that region, he kept proclaiming the good news in all the towns until he came to Caesarea.