1 (Saul quite approved of his murder.) That day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone, with the exception of the apostles, was scattered over Judaea and Samaria. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him, 3 but Saul made havoc of the church by entering one house after another, dragging off men and women, and consigning them to prison.
4 Now those who were scattered went through the land preaching the gospel. 5 Philip travelled down to a town in Samaria, where he preached Christ to the people. 6 And the crowds attended like one man to what was said by Philip, listening to him and watching the miracles he performed. 7 For unclean spirits came screaming and shrieking out of many who had been possessed, and many paralytics and lame people were healed. 8 So there was great rejoicing in that town.
9 Now for some time previous a man called Simon had been practising magic arts in the town, to the utter astonishment of the Samaritan nation; he made himself out to be a great person, 10 and all sorts and conditions of people attached themselves to him, declaring he was that Power of God which is known as 'the Great Power.' 11 They attached themselves to him because he had dazzled them with his skill in magic for a considerable time. 12 But when they believed Philip, who preached the gospel of the Reign of God and the name of Jesus, they had themselves baptized, both men and women; 13 indeed Simon himself believed, and after his baptism kept close to Philip, utterly astonished to see the signs and striking miracles which were taking place.
14 When the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they despatched Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed that the Samaritans might receive the holy Spirit. 16 (As yet it had not fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the holy Spirit.
18 Now Simon noticed that the holy Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles' hands; so he brought them money, 19 saying, "Let me share this power too, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit."
20 Peter said to him, "Death to you and your money, for dreaming you could buy the gift of God! 21 You come in for no share or lot in this religion. Your heart is all wrong in the sight of God. 22 So repent of this wickedness of yours, and ask God whether you cannot be forgiven for your heart's purpose. 23 For I see you are a bitter poison and a pack of evil."
24 Simon replied, "Beseech the Lord for me! Pray that nothing you have said may befall me!"
25 After bearing their testimony to the word of the Lord and preaching it, the apostles went back to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to a number of the Samaritan villages;
26 but an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go south, along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza" (the desert-route). 27 So he got up and went on his way. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a high official of Candace the queen of the Ethiopians (he was her chief treasurer), who had come to Jerusalem for worship 28 and was on his way home. He was sitting in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah.
29 The Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join that chariot."
30 When Philip ran up, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. "Do you really understand what you are reading?"
31 he asked. "Why, how can I possibly understand it," said the eunuch, "unless some one puts me on the right track?" And he begged Philip to get up and sit beside him. 32 Now the passage of scripture which he was reading was as follows: ??he was led like a sheep to be slaughtered, and as a lamb is dumb before the shearer, so he opens not his lips. 33 By humbling himself he had his doom removed. Who can tell his family? For his life is cut off from the earth.
34 So the eunuch said to Philip, "Pray, who is the prophet speaking about? Is it himself or someone else?" 35 Then Philip opened his lips, and starting from this scripture preached the gospel of Jesus to him.
36 As they travelled on, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "Here is water! What is to prevent me being baptized?" 37 -- 38 So he ordered the chariot to stop. Both of them stepped into the water, and Philip baptized the eunuch. 39 When they came up from the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the eunuch lost sight of him. He went on his way rejoicing, 40 while Philip found himself at Azotus, where he passed on, preaching the gospel in every town, till he reached Caesarea.