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Saul Persecutes the Church

Saul wholeheartedly approved of Stephen’s death.

And on that day a great and relentless persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem; and the believers were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and [a]mourned greatly over him [expressing a personal sense of loss]. But Saul began ravaging the church [and assaulting believers]; entering house after house and dragging off men and women, putting them in prison.

Philip in Samaria

Now those [believers] who had been scattered went from place to place preaching the word [the good news of salvation through Christ]. [b]Philip [the evangelist] went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) to them.(A) The crowds gathered and were paying close attention to everything Philip said, as they heard [the message] and saw the [miraculous] signs which he was doing [validating his message]. For unclean spirits (demons), shouting loudly, were coming out of many who were possessed; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was great rejoicing in that city.

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  1. Acts 8:2 It was customary to hire professional mourners for most funerals to ensure that the deceased would be properly mourned, but those who mourned Stephen needed no such assistance because they expressed their own heartfelt grief.
  2. Acts 8:5 One of the Seven named in 6:5; 21:8.

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