Acts 8

1Saul agreed that the killing of Stephen was a good thing. 2- 3Some men that truly worshiped God buried Stephen. They cried very loudly for him. On that day the Jews began to persecute the group of believers in Jerusalem. The Jews made them suffer very much. Saul was also trying to destroy the group. Saul went into their houses. He dragged out men and women and put them in jail. All the believers left Jerusalem. Only the apostles stayed. The believers went to different places in Judea and Samaria. 4The believers were scattered everywhere. Every place the believers went they told people the Good News. 5Philip went to the city of Samaria. He told people about the Christ. 6The people there heard Philip and saw the miracles he was doing. They all listened carefully to the things Philip said. 7Many of these people had evil spirits ˻from the devil˼ inside them. But Philip made the evil spirits leave them. The spirits made a loud noise when they came out. There were also many weak and crippled people there. Philip made these people well, too. 8The people in that city were very happy because of this. 9But there was a man named Simon in that city. Before Philip came there, Simon used his power to do magic and he amazed all the people of Samaria. Simon boasted and called himself a great man. 10All the people—the least important and the most important—believed the things Simon said. The people said, “This man has the power of God that is called 'the Great Power’!” 11Simon amazed the people with his magic tricks so long that the people became his followers. 12But Philip told the people the Good News about the kingdom of God and the power of Jesus Christ. Men and women believed Philip. They were baptized. 13Simon himself also believed and was baptized. Simon stayed very close to Philip. He saw the miracles and the very powerful things that Philip did. Simon was amazed. 14The apostles were still in Jerusalem. They heard that the people of Samaria had accepted the word of God. So the apostles sent Peter and John to the people in Samaria. 15When Peter and John arrived, they prayed for the Samaritan believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16These people had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. But the Holy Spirit had not yet come down on any of them. This is why Peter and John prayed. 17The two apostles put their hands on the people. Then the people received the Holy Spirit. 18Simon saw that the Spirit was given to people when the apostles put their hands on them. So Simon offered the apostles money. 19Simon said, “Give me this power so that when I put my hands on a person, he will receive the Holy Spirit.” 20Peter said to Simon, “You and your money should both be destroyed! You thought you could buy God’s gift with money. 21You cannot share with us in this work. Your heart is not right before God. 22Change your heart! Turn away from this bad thing you have done. Pray to the Lord ˻(God)˼. Maybe he will forgive you for thinking this. 23I see that you are full of bitter jealousy and ruled by sin.” 24Simon answered, “Both of you pray for me to the Lord ˻(God)˼. Pray that the things you have said will not happen to me!” 25Then the two apostles told the people the things they had seen ˻Jesus do˼. The apostles told the people the message of the Lord. Then they went back to Jerusalem. On the way they went through many Samaritan towns and told people the Good News. 26An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. The angel said, “Get ready and go south. Go to the road that leads down to Gaza from Jerusalem—the road that goes through the desert.” 27So Philip got ready and went. On the road he saw a man from Ethiopia. This man was a eunuch. He was an important officer in the service of Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians. He was responsible for taking care of all her money. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship. 28Now he was on his way home. He was sitting in his chariot and reading from the book of Isaiah, the prophet. 29The Spirit said to Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30So Philip went toward the chariot, and he heard the man reading. He was reading from Isaiah, the prophet. Philip said to him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31The man said, “How can I understand? I need some person to explain it to me!” Then he invited Philip to climb in and sit with him. 32The part of Scripture that he was reading was this: “He was like a sheep when it is taken to be killed. He was like a lamb that makes no sound when someone cuts off its wool. He said nothing. 33He was shamed, and all his rights were taken away. His life on earth was ended. There will be no story about his family ˻(descendants)˼.” 34The officer said to Philip, “Please, tell me, who is the prophet talking about? Is he talking about himself or about someone else?” 35Philip began to speak. He started with this same Scripture and told the man the Good News about Jesus. 36While they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. The officer said, “Look! Here is water! What is stopping me from being baptized?” 38Then the officer commanded the chariot to stop. Both Philip and the officer went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away; the officer never saw him again. The officer continued on his way home. He was very happy. 40But Philip appeared in a city called Azotus. He was going to the city of Caesarea. He told people the Good News in all the towns on the way from Azotus to Caesarea.

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