1 Saul approved of his being put to death. On that very day a great persecution broke out against the Church which was in Jerusalem; and its members, with the exception of the Apostles, were all scattered over the districts of Judea and Samaria. 2 Some religious men buried Stephen, with loud lamentations for him. 3 But Saul began to devastate the Church; he entered house after house, dragged out men and women alike, and threw them into prison.
4 Now those who were scattered in different directions went from place to place proclaiming the Good News. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and there began to preach the Christ. 6 The people, one and all, listened attentively to what Philip told them, when they heard of, and saw, the miracles which he was working. 7 For there were many instances of people with foul spirits, where the spirits, with loud screams, came out of them; 8 And many who were paralyzed or lame were cured, so that there was great rejoicing throughout that city.
9 There was staying in the city a man named Simon, who had been practicing magic there and mystifying the Samaritan people, giving himself out to be some great Being. 10 Every one, high and low, paid attention to him. 'This man,' they used to say, 'must be that Power of God which men call "The Great Power."' 11 And they paid attention to him because they had for a long time been mystified by his magic arts. 12 However, when they came to believe Philip, as he told them the Good News about the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon believed, and after his baptism attached himself to Philip, and was in his turn mystified at seeing signs and great miracles constantly occurring.
14 When the Apostles at Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had welcomed God's Message, they sent Peter and John to them; 15 And they, on their arrival, prayed that the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 (As yet the Spirit had not descended upon any of them; they had only been baptized into the Faith of the Lord Jesus). 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that it was through the placing of the Apostles' hands on them that the Spirit was given, he brought them a sum of money and said: 19 "Give me also this power of yours, so that, if I place my hands upon any one, he may receive the Holy Spirit."
20 "A curse upon you and upon your money," Peter exclaimed, "for thinking that God's free gift can be bought with gold! 21 You have no share or part in our Message, for your 'heart is not right with God.' 22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord, that, if possible, you may be forgiven for such a thought; 23 For I see that you have fallen into the 'bitterness of envy' and the 'fetters of sin.'"
24 "Pray to the Lord for me, all of you," Simon answered, "so that none of the things you have spoken of may befall me."
25 Peter and John, having borne their testimony and delivered the Lord's Message, returned to Jerusalem, telling the Good News, as they went, in many Samaritan villages.
26 Meanwhile an angel of the Lord had said to Philip: "Set out on a journey southwards, along the road that runs down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (It is now deserted). 27 So Philip set out on a journey; and on his way he came upon an official of high rank, in the service of Candace, Queen of the Abyssinians. He was her treasurer, and had been to Jerusalem to worship, 28 And was now on his way home, sitting in his carriage and reading the Prophet Isaiah.
30 So Philip ran up, and he heard the Abyssinian reading the Prophet Isaiah. "Do you understand what you are reading?" he asked.
31 "How can I," the other answered, "unless some one will explain it to me?" and he invited Philip to get up and sit by his side. 32 The passage of Scripture which he was reading was this--'Like a sheep, he was led away to slaughter, and as a lamb is dumb in the hands of its shearer, so he refrains from opening his lips. 33 In his lowly condition justice was denied him. Who will tell the story of his generation? For his life is cut off from earth.'
34 "Now," said the Treasurer, addressing Philip, "tell me, of whom is the Prophet speaking? Of himself, or of some one else?" 35 Then Philip began, and, taking this passage as his text, told him the Good News about Jesus.
36 Presently, as they were going along the road, they came to some water, and the Treasurer exclaimed: "Look! here is water; what is to prevent my being baptized?" 37 OMITTED TEXT 38 So he ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water--both Philip and the Treasurer--and Philip baptized him. 39 But, when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the Treasurer saw no more of him; for he continued his journey with a joyful heart. 40 But Philip was found at Ashdod, and, as he went on his way, he told the Good News in all the towns through which he passed, till he came to Caesarea.