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And Saul had agreed with the Sanhedrin that Stephen should die.

The Church Is Treated Badly and Scattered

On that day the church in Jerusalem began to be attacked and treated badly. All except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly Jews buried Stephen. They mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. He went from house to house. He dragged away men and women and put them in prison.

Philip Goes to Samaria

The believers who had been scattered preached the word everywhere they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria. There he preached about the Messiah. The crowds listened to Philip and saw the signs he did. All of them paid close attention to what he said. Evil spirits screamed and came out of many people. Many people who were disabled or who couldn’t walk were healed. So there was great joy in that city.

Simon the Evil Magician

A man named Simon lived in the city. For quite a while he had practiced evil magic there. He amazed all the people of Samaria. He claimed to be someone great. 10 And all the people listened to him, from the least important of them to the most important. They exclaimed, “It is right to call this man the Great Power of God!” 11 He had amazed them for a long time with his evil magic. So they followed him. 12 But Philip announced the good news of God’s kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ. So men and women believed and were baptized. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. He followed Philip everywhere. He was amazed by the great signs and miracles he saw.

14 The apostles in Jerusalem heard that people in Samaria had accepted God’s word. So they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived there, they prayed for the new believers. They prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them. And they received the Holy Spirit.

18 Simon watched as the apostles placed their hands on them. He saw that the Spirit was given to them. So he offered money to Peter and John. 19 He said, “Give me this power too. Then everyone I place my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.”

20 Peter answered, “May your money be destroyed with you! Do you think you can buy God’s gift with money? 21 You have no part or share in this holy work. Your heart is not right with God. 22 Turn away from this evil sin of yours. Pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 I see that you are very bitter. You are a prisoner of sin.”

24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me. Pray that nothing you have said will happen to me.”

25 Peter and John continued to preach the word of the Lord and tell people about Jesus. Then they returned to Jerusalem. On the way they preached the good news in many villages in Samaria.

Philip and the Man From Ethiopia

26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. “Go south to the desert road,” he said. “It’s the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So Philip started out. On his way he met an Ethiopian official. The man had an important position in charge of all the wealth of the Kandake. Kandake means queen of Ethiopia. This official had gone to Jerusalem to worship. 28 On his way home he was sitting in his chariot. He was reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Holy Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot. Stay near it.”

30 So Philip ran up to the chariot. He heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I?” he said. “I need someone to explain it to me.” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 Here is the part of Scripture the official was reading. It says,

“He was led like a sheep to be killed.
    Just as lambs are silent while their wool is being cut off,
    he did not open his mouth.
33 When he was treated badly, he was refused a fair trial.
    Who can say anything about his children?
    His life was cut off from the earth.” (Isaiah 53:7,8)

34 The official said to Philip, “Tell me, please. Who is the prophet talking about? Himself, or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that same part of Scripture. He told him the good news about Jesus.

36-37 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water. The official said, “Look! Here is water! What can stop me from being baptized?” 38 He gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the official went down into the water. Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away. The official did not see him again. He went on his way full of joy. 40 Philip was seen next at Azotus. From there he traveled all around. He preached the good news in all the towns. Finally he arrived in Caesarea.