1Saul approved of his killing. On that very day terrible persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except for the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2(Some faithful followers of God buried Stephen, with great mourning). 3But Saul set about destroying the church, going from house to house, dragging both men and women off to prison.
4Those who had been scattered spread the word wherever they went. 5Philip went to the town of Samaria, and told them about the Messiah. 6When the crowds heard what Philip was saying and saw the miracles he did they all paid attention to what he was telling them. 7Many were freed from possession by evil spirits that screamed as they came out, and many who were lame or disabled were healed. 8The people who lived in the city were overjoyed.
9Now there was a man named Simon who lived in the city. He practiced sorcery. He claimed that he was someone very important, and had astounded the people of Samaria 10so they all paid attention to him. From the lowest to the highest in society they said, “This man is ‘God the Great Power.’” 11They were impressed by him because he had amazed them with his magic for so long.
12But when they believed in what Philip told them about the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Simon too believed and was baptized. He accompanied Philip, amazed at the miraculous signs and wonders he saw.
14When the apostles back in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to visit them. 15When they arrived they prayed for the converts in Samaria to receive the Holy Spirit. 16The Holy Spirit hadn't come to any of these converts yet—they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17The apostles placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given when the apostles placed their hands on people, he offered them money. 19“Give me this power, too,” he asked them, “so that anyone I place my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.”
20“May your money be destroyed together with you for thinking God's gift is something that can be bought!” Peter replied. 21“You're not part of any of this. None of this work belongs to you, because in God's eyes your attitude is totally wrong. 22Repent of your evil ways! Pray to the Lord and ask forgiveness for thinking like this. 23I can see that you are full of bitter envy, and chained down by your sin.”
24“Please pray for me, that nothing you've said may happen to me!” Simon replied.
25After they had given their testimony and shared the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, sharing the good news in many Samaritan villages along the way.
26An angel of the Lord told Philip, “Get ready and go south to the desert road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So Philip set out, and met an Ethiopian man, a eunuch who had a high position in the service of the Kandake,#8:27. Kandake is not the personal name of the Queen, but her title, like “Pharaoh.” Queen of Ethiopia. He was her chief treasurer. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship there, and 28was returning from his trip, sitting in his chariot. He was reading out loud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
29The Spirit told Philip, “Go over close to the chariot.” 30So Philip ran over, and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah.
“Do you understand what you're reading?” Philip asked him.
31“How can I, unless someone explains it?” the man replied. He invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32The Scripture passage he was reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered. Like a lamb is silent in front of his shearer, he didn't say a word. 33He was humiliated and denied justice. No one can speak of his descendants, for his life came to an end.”#8:33. Literally, “his life was taken from the earth.”
34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, who is the prophet talking about? Is it himself, or someone else?” 35Philip started explaining, beginning from this Scripture, telling him about Jesus. 36As they continued on, they came to a stretch of water. The eunuch said, “Look, there's water here—why shouldn't I be baptized?” 37#8:37. This verse is not found in the earliest manuscripts. 38He ordered that the chariot be stopped. Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39When they came out of the water the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again, but he continued on his way full of joy. Philip found himself at Azotus. 40He spread the good news in all the towns along the way until he arrived at Caesarea.