1And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.2Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.3But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Philip in Samaria
4Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.5Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.6When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said.7For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralysed or lame were healed.8So there was great joy in that city.
Simon the sorcerer
9Now for some time a man named Simon had practised sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great,10and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, ‘This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.’11They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery.12But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women.13Simon himself believed and was baptised. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.15When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit,16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.18When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money19and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’20Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.’24Then Simon answered, ‘Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.’25After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.
Philip and the Ethiopian
26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’27So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship,28and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.29The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked.31‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.32This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.33In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.’ (Isa 53:7; Isa 53:8)34The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.36-37As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?’38And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him.39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.40Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and travelled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.