8 Saul agreed that the killing of Stephen was a good thing. Some godly men buried Stephen and cried loudly for him.
Trouble for the Believers
On that day the Jews began to persecute the church in Jerusalem, making them suffer very much. Saul was also trying to destroy the group. He went into their houses, dragged out men and women, and put them in jail. All the believers left Jerusalem. Only the apostles stayed. The believers went to different places in Judea and Samaria. 4 They were scattered everywhere, and in every place they went, they told people the Good News.
Philip Tells the Good News in Samaria
5 Philip[a] went to the city of Samaria and told people about the Messiah. 6 The people there heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he was doing. They all listened carefully to what he said. 7 Many of these people had evil spirits inside them, but Philip made the evil spirits leave them. The spirits made a lot of noise as they came out. There were also many weak and crippled people there. Philip made these people well too. 8 What a happy day this was for that city!
9 Now there was a man named Simon who lived in that city. Before Philip came there, Simon had been doing magic and amazing all the people of Samaria. He bragged and called himself a great man. 10 All the people—the least important and the most important—believed what he said. They said, “This man has the power of God that is called ‘the Great Power.’” 11 Simon amazed the people with his magic for so long that the people became his followers. 12 But Philip told the people the Good News about God’s kingdom and the power of Jesus Christ. Men and women believed Philip and were baptized. 13 Simon himself also believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed close to Philip. When he saw the miraculous signs and powerful things Philip did, he was amazed.
14 The apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted the word of God. So they sent Peter and John to the people in Samaria. 15 When Peter and John arrived, they prayed for the Samaritan believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 These people had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come down on any of them. This is why Peter and John prayed. 17 When the two apostles laid their hands on the people, they received the Holy Spirit.
18 Simon saw that the Spirit was given to people when the apostles laid their hands on them. So he offered the apostles money. 19 He said, “Give me this power so that when I lay my hands on someone, they will receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 Peter said to Simon, “You and your money should both be destroyed because you thought you could buy God’s gift with money. 21 You cannot share with us in this work. Your heart is not right before God. 22 Change your heart! Turn away from these evil thoughts and pray to the Lord. Maybe he will forgive you. 23 I see that you are full of bitter jealousy and cannot stop yourself from doing wrong.”
24 Simon answered, “Both of you pray to the Lord for me, so that what you have said will not happen to me.”
25 Then the two apostles told the people what they had seen Jesus do. They told them the message of the Lord. Then they went back to Jerusalem. On the way, they went through many Samaritan towns and told people the Good News.
Philip Teaches a Man From Ethiopia
26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. The angel said, “Get ready and go south on the road that leads down to Gaza from Jerusalem—the road that goes through the desert.”
27 So Philip got ready and went. On the road he saw a man from Ethiopia. He was a eunuch and an important official in the service of Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians. He was responsible for taking care of all her money. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship. 28 Now he was on his way home. He was sitting in his chariot reading from the book of Isaiah the prophet.
29 The Spirit said to Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 So he went toward the chariot, and he heard the man reading from Isaiah the prophet. Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 The man answered, “How can I understand? I need someone to explain it to me.” Then he invited Philip to climb in and sit with him. 32 The part of the Scriptures that he was reading was this:
“He was like a sheep being led to the butcher.
He was like a lamb that makes no sound as its wool is being cut off.
He said nothing.
33 He was shamed, and all his rights were taken away.
His life on earth has ended.
So there will be no story about his descendants.” (A)
34 The official[b] said to Philip, “Please, tell me, who is the prophet talking about? Is he talking about himself or about someone else?” 35 Philip began to speak. He started with this same Scripture and told the man the Good News about Jesus.
36 While they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. The official said, “Look, here is water! What is stopping me from being baptized?” 37 [c] 38 Then the official ordered the chariot to stop. Both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away; the official never saw him again. The official continued on his way home. He was very happy. 40 But Philip appeared in a city called Azotus. He was going to the city of Caesarea. He told people the Good News in all the towns on the way from Azotus to Caesarea.