Saul fully agreed with killing Stephen. And a severe persecution broke out that very day against the church in Jerusalem. Except for the Apostles, they were all scattered
throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.
Devout men buried Stephen and lamented him loudly.But Saul began to destroy the church, entering house after house and dragging both men and
women off to prison.
Those who had been scattered went around proclaiming the Gospel-word.
5 Philip went to the principal city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah
6 The crowds listened with one mind to what Philip said, when they
heard and saw the miraculous signs he was performing.
7 For evil spirits, shrieking loudly, were coming out
of many, and many others who were paralyzed and lame were
healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city. 9 But there was a man named Simon who used to practice sorcery in that
city and amazed the people of Samaria, claiming to be some great one.
10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, and said, “This
man is that Great Power of God.” 11 They listened to him because for a long
time he had amazed them with his sorceries.
12 But when they believed Philip as he was heralding the Gospel about the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus the
Messiah, they were being baptized, both men and women.
 13 Even Simon
himself believed and was baptized.
He continued on with Philip, constantly amazed at the signs and great miracles he saw.
14 When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the
Gospel-word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 They went and
prayed for them so that they might receive holy spirit.
16 For as yet it had not
fallen on any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the
17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on the Samaritans, and they were
receiving holy spirit. 18 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 authority too, so that everyone I lay my hands on may receive holy
spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May you and your money be destroyed, because
you thought that you could get God’s gift with money! 21 You have nothing to
do with this matter, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Therefore
repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that the thought of
your heart may perhaps be forgiven.
23 For I can see that you have fallen into the
bitterness of envy and the bondage of sin.” 24 But Simon answered, “You pray to the Lord for me, so that none of the things which you have said will happen
to me.” 25 When Peter and John had solemnly testified and spoken the Gospel-word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the Gospel to many villages of the Samaritans on the way.
26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: “Get up and go south on the
road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So
he got up and went. And there was a eunuch from Ethiopia, a court official
under Queen Candace of Ethiopia, who was in charge of her whole treasury. He
had come up to Jerusalem to worship. 28 He was returning home, sitting in his
chariot and reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 The spirit said to Philip, “Go and
join that chariot.” 30 So Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the
prophet. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 The man
replied, “How can I unless someone explains it to me?” And he asked Philip
to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of Scripture he was reading
was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. As a lamb with its shearer
is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In humiliation justice was denied
him. Who will tell about his descendants? For his life was removed from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Please tell me, who is the prophet talking
about? About himself, or someone else?” 35 So Philip opened his mouth and beginning with this Scripture, he preached the Gospel of Jesus to him.
36 As they went along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said,
“Look, here is water! What is preventing me from being baptized?”
 38 He
commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, both
Philip and the eunuch, and Philip baptized him.
 39 When they came up out
of the water the lord’s spirit snatched Philip away. The eunuch did not see
him any more, but went on his way full of joy.
40 But Philip found himself at
Azotus, and as he passed through the region he kept preaching the Gospel to all the
towns until he came to Caesarea.
The “word” is the Gospel of the Kingdom as defined by v. 12 and Mark 1:14-15; 2:2; Luke
8:12 with Matt. 13:19. There is only one saving Gospel for everyone, the Gospel of the Kingdom as
originally preached by Jesus (Mk. 1:14-15; Heb. 2:3).
“Proclaiming the Messiah” is brilliantly defined in context by v. 12, “preaching the Gospel of
the Kingdom.” Verse 4 describes the same activity as “preaching the word as Gospel.” Thus the content
of the saving Gospel is precisely defined by Luke.
The third Kingdom text in Acts. This is a brilliant early creedal statement showing what was
expected of believers coming to the faith. An intelligent grasp of Jesus’ own Gospel of the Kingdom
(Mk. 1:14-15) was needed before they were ready to be baptized in water to become officially members
of the body of Messiah. Few verses in the NT summarize so lucidly how salvation was embarked on.
The idea that the Gospel as preached by Jesus was different from that preached by the Apostles is
exposed as nonsense by this and many other verses. The idea that NT salvation is a kind of “free ticket
out of hell” is false. We have to cooperate with Jesus by obeying him. The parable of the sower lays out
Jesus’ own theology of evangelism.
This is baptism in water of course, as commanded by Jesus in the Great Commission until the
end of the age, the return of Jesus (Mt. 28:19-20). It is a matter of non-negotiable obedience to the
In the NT this always means both the Gospel of the Kingdom as Jesus preached it and the facts
about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Notice that Philip “opened his mouth,” which is an idiom for speaking in a somewhat formal way, by a teacher or one in authority (see Matt. 5:2; 13:35; Acts 10:34; 18:14; Eph. 6:19; Rev. 13:6).
Most manuscripts do not contain verse 37.
Water baptism is of course one of the easiest and most fundamental practices of NT
Christianity. It is simply a matter of obedience to Jesus, who was himself baptized and who baptized
others using his agents. Water baptism is mandated in the Great Commission until the end of the age
(Mt. 28:19-20). Today many decide to get rebaptized when they come to understand that God is one
Person, that Jesus is the Son of God as defined by Luke 1:35 and that the Gospel involves a firm, clear
belief in the Kingdom of God as well as the substitutionary death of Jesus for our sins (Mk. 10:45) and
his resurrection on the Sunday following his Friday crucifixion.