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1And Saul entirely approved of his being put to death.
A great persecution of the church in Jerusalem broke out that day, and they were all scattered over Judea and Samaria except the apostles. 2Some pious men buried Stephen and loudly lamented him. 3But Saul harassed the church. He went into one house after another, and dragging out men and women, put them in prison.
4Those who were scattered went from place to place preaching the good news of the message. 5Philip reached the city of Samaria, and proclaimed the Christ to them. 6When the people heard Philip and saw the signs that he showed they were all interested in what he had to say, 7for with loud cries foul spirits came out of many who had been possessed by them, and many paralytics and lame people were cured. 8So there was great rejoicing in that city.
9There was a man named Simon in the town, who had been amazing the Samaritan people by practicing magic there, and who made great pretensions. 10Everyone there, high and low, made much of him, and said,
“He must be what is known as the Great Power of God!”
11They made much of him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12But when they believed Philip’s message of the good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike accepted baptism. 13Even Simon himself believed and after his baptism devoted himself to Philip, and he was amazed at seeing such signs and great wonders taking place.
14When the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15When they came, they prayed that the Samaritans might receive the holy Spirit, 16for it had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the holy Spirit. 18But when Simon saw that the holy Spirit was imparted through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19saying,
“Give me also this power to communicate the holy Spirit to anyone I place my hands upon.”
20But Peter said to him,
“Go to destruction with your money, for thinking you could buy God’s gift with it! 21You have no share or part in this movement, for your heart is not honest in the sight of God. 22So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord, to see if you may not be forgiven for thinking of such a thing. 23For I see that you are a bitter poison and a bundle of iniquity!”
“You must pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things you have said may happen to me!”
25After they had given their testimony and delivered the Lord’s message, they went back to Jerusalem, telling the good news in many Samaritan villages on the way.
26But an angel of the Lord said to Philip,
“Get up and go south, by the road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (The town is now deserted.)
27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a member of the court of Candace, queen of Ethiopia, her chief treasurer, who had come up to Jerusalem to worship, 28and was on his way home. He was sitting in his car, reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip,
“Go up and stay by that car.”
30Philip ran up and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and he said to him,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
31“Why, how can I,” he answered, “unless someone explains it to me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32This was the passage of Scripture that he was reading:
“Like a sheep he was led away to be slaughtered,
And just as a lamb is dumb before its shearer,
He does not open his mouth.
33His sentence ended in his humiliation.
Who will tell the story of his posterity?
For his life is perished from the earth.”
34“Tell me, of whom is the prophet speaking?” said the eunuch to Philip, “Of himself, or of someone else?”
35Then Philip began, and starting from this passage, he told him the good news about Jesus. 36As they went on along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said,
“Here is some water! What is there to prevent my being baptized?”
38So he ordered the car to stop, and Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord hurried Philip away, and the eunuch saw nothing more of him. Full of joy, he went on with his journey, 40while Philip found himself at Ashdod and went on telling the good news in all the towns all the way to Caesarea.
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