Acts 8-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Saul Persecutes the Church
8 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. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and [a]mourned greatly over him [expressing a personal sense of loss]. 3 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
4 Now those [believers] who had been scattered went from place to place preaching the word [the good news of salvation through Christ]. 5 [b]Philip [the evangelist] went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) to them. 6 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]. 7 For unclean spirits (demons), shouting loudly, were coming out of many who were possessed; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was great rejoicing in that city.
9 Now there was a man named Simon, who previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 They all paid [a great deal of] attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God!” 11 They were paying attention to him because for a long time he had mystified and dazzled them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the [c]good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon believed [Philip’s message of salvation]; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he watched the attesting signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that [the people of] Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 They came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; 16 for He had not yet fallen on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [as His possession]. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them [one by one], and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this authority and power too, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your money be destroyed along with you, because you thought you could buy the [free] gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart (motive, purpose) is not right before God. 22 So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are [d]provoked by bitterness and bound by sin.” 24 But Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me both of you, so that nothing of what you have said will come upon me.”
An Ethiopian Receives Christ
25 So, when Peter and John had given their testimony and preached the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, preaching the good news [about salvation] in many Samaritan villages [along the way].
26 But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south to the road that runs from Jerusalem down to Gaza.” (This is a desert road). 27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch [a man of great authority], a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning, and sitting in his chariot he was reading [the scroll of] the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the [Holy] Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah, and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I [understand] unless someone guides me [correctly]?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now this was the passage of Scripture which he was reading:
“Like a sheep He was led to the slaughter;
34 The eunuch replied to Philip, “Please tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? About himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip spoke and beginning with this Scripture he preached Jesus to him [explaining that He is the promised Messiah and the source of salvation]. 36 As they continued along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch exclaimed, “Look! Water! What forbids me from being baptized?” 37 [e][Philip said to him, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [suddenly] took Philip [and carried him] away [to a different place]; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at [f]Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the good news [of salvation] to all the cities, until he came to [g]Caesarea [Maritima].
The Conversion of Saul
9 Now [h]Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord [and relentless in his search for believers], went to the [i]high priest, 2 and he asked for letters [of authority] from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any men or women there belonging to [j]the Way [believers, followers of Jesus the Messiah], men and women alike, he could arrest them and bring them bound [with chains] to Jerusalem. 3 As he traveled he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him [displaying the glory and majesty of Christ]; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice [from heaven] saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?” 5 And Saul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him [were terrified and] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.
10 Now in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called [k]Straight, and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul; for he is praying [there], 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him, so that he may regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, especially how much suffering and evil he has brought on Your saints (God’s people) at Jerusalem; 14 and here [in Damascus] he has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call on Your name [confessing You as Savior].” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles].” 18 Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took some food and was strengthened.
Saul Begins to Preach Christ
For several days [afterward] Saul remained with the disciples who were at Damascus. 20 And immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This Man is the Son of God [the promised Messiah]!” 21 All those who heard him continued to be amazed and said, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem attacked those who called on this name [of Jesus], and had come here [to Damascus] for the express purpose of bringing them bound [with chains] before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased in strength more and more, and continued to perplex the Jews who lived in Damascus by examining [theological evidence] and proving [with Scripture] that this Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
23 After considerable time had passed [about three years or so], the Jews plotted together to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the city’s gates day and night so they could kill him; 25 but his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 However, [l]Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and described to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road [to Damascus], and how He had spoken to him, and how at Damascus Saul had preached openly and spoken confidently in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them, moving around freely [as one among them] in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He was talking and arguing with the [m]Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews); but they were attempting to kill him. 30 When the brothers found out [about the plot], they brought him down to [n]Caesarea [Maritima] and sent him off to Tarsus [his home town].
31 So the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace [without persecution], being built up [in wisdom, virtue, and faith]; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it continued to grow [in numbers].
32 Now as Peter was traveling throughout the land, he went down to [visit] the [o]saints (God’s people) who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 Then all who lived at Lydda and the plain of Sharon saw [what had happened to] him, and they turned to the Lord.
36 Now in [p]Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, (which translated into Greek means Dorcas). She was rich in acts of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37 During that time it happened that she became sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upstairs room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter got up [at once] and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upstairs room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing [him] all the [q]tunics and robes that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out [of the room] and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise!” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and helped her up; and then he called in the [r]saints (God’s people) and the widows, and he presented her [to them] alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many came to believe in the Lord [that is, to adhere to and trust in and rely on Jesus as Christ and Savior]. 43 And so it was that Peter stayed in Joppa for many days with Simon, [s]a tanner.
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