PHILIP : CONSISTENCY
Acts 8:4-40 June 22 2008
The Pharisees instigated persecution against the Jerusalem
church (Acts 8:1). The apostles remained in Jerusalem, but other
believers scattered into Judea and Samaria. Saul, a Pharisee ,
hunted down believers and imprisoned them (Acts 8:2-3).
Philip , a believer, traveled to Samaritan city, preached the
gospel, and performed signs. The Samaritans responded positively
to his work(Acts 8:4-8). Simon, a sorcerer, "believed" and was
baptized (Acts 8: 9-13). Simon was amazed at the miracles Philip
An angel directed Philip to go to the road that led from
Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26).He encountered an Ethiopian
eunuch returning home from worshiping in Jerusalem
(Acts 8:27-28). Philip seized the opportunity to proclaim the good
news about salvation in Jesus (Acts 8:29-35). The eunuch responded
positively, and Philip baptized him (Acts 8:36-38). The Spirit took
Philip away, but the eunuch continued his journey home, elated at
finding Christ (Acts 8:39). Philip preached in the coastal cities of
the Mediterranean Sea on the way to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).
1. New Circumstances (Acts 8:4-8)
Acts 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever
they went. 8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed
the Christ there. 8:6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the
miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he
said. 8:7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many
paralytics and cripples were healed. 8:8 So there was great joy
in that city.
Preached the Word . Many witnesses to the gospel went everywhere
proclaiming the good news. The number of witnesses multiplied,
and the territory covered was expanded greatly (Acts 11:19-20).
Philip . One of the Seven in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:5), who
now becomes an evangelist, proclaiming the Christ (Messiah); (Acts
21:8). Philip is an example of one of those who were scattered. A
city in Samaria . Some manuscripts have “the city of Samaria,” a
reference to the old capital Samaria, renamed Sebaste or Neapolis
2. Challenging Conditions (Acts 8:9-13)
Acts 8:9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced
sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He
boasted that he was someone great, 8:10 and all the people, both
high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man
is the divine power known as the Great Power.” 8:11 They
followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with
his magic. 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the
good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,
they were baptized, both men and women. 8:13 Simon himself
believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere,
astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
Simon . In early Christian literature the “sorcerer” (Simon Magus)
is described as the arch-heretic of the church and the “father” of
Gnostic teaching. The great power . Simon claimed to be either God
himself or, more likely, his chief representative. Simon himself
believed and was Baptized . It is difficult to know whether Simon’s
faith was genuine. Even though Luke says Simon believed, Peter’s
statement that Simon had no part in the apostles’ ministry because
his heart was not “right before God” (Acts 8:21) casts some doubt.
3. Special Situations (Acts 8:29-31;35-38)
Acts 8:29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near
it.” 8:30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man
reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are
reading?” Philip asked. 8:31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone
explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
8:35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told
him the good news about Jesus. 8:36 As they traveled along the road,
they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water.
Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest
with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 8:38 And he gave orders to stop
the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the
water and Philip baptized him.
Heard the man reading . It was customary practice to read aloud.
Who is the propht talking about . . . ? Beginning with ( Isa 53 ;
Acts 8: 35), Philip may have identified the suffering servant with
the Davidic Messiah of (Isa 11) or with the Son of Man (Da 7:13).
Good News . The way of salvation through Jesus Christ.
They came to some water. There were several possibilities: a
brook in the Valley of Elah (which David crossed to meet Goliath,
1Sa 17:40); the Wadi El-hasi just north of Gaza; water from a
spring or one of the many pools in the area.
The "Philip" of Acts was not the Philip the apostle
who was with Jesus during His earthly ministry. In (Acts 6:5),
Philip is listed second among the seven men the early church chose
to work in the daily distribution of food. to be chosen , he had to
have a good reputation and be full of the Spirit and wisdom
(Acts 8:3). His Greek name suggests he was a Hellenistic
When intense persecution broke out against the
Jerusalem church, Philip ministered to Samaritans (Acts 8:9-13).
Then he obeyed an angel’s command to travel to the road that led
from Jerusalem south to Gaza. There he encountered an Ethiopian
eunuch, proclaimed the gospel to him ,and baptized him. Philip
continued his preaching ministry in coastal towns along the
Mediterranean Sea on his way to Caesarea , where he evidently
established residence (Acts 8:26-40). Philip next appears in
Acts (Acts 21:8), where Paul and his party arrived in Caesarea
and stayed in the home of "Philip. . . one of the seven." Later
tradition stated he was a pastor in Tralles, a city Ephesus.
Philip played an important role in enlarging
the gospel’s scope. He shared Stephen’s grasp of the truth that
the gospel is universal in scope ; it is intended for all people.