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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 8 - Verse 23

Verse 23. For I perceive. That is, by the act which he had done. His offer had shown a state of mind that was wholly inconsistent with true religion. One single sin may as certainly show that there is no true piety, as many acts of iniquity. It may be so decided, so malignant, so utterly inconsistent with just views, as at once to determine what the character is. The sin of Simon was of this character. Peter here does not appear to have claimed the power of judging the heart; but he judged, as all other men would, by the act.

In the gall. This word denotes properly bile, or that bitter, yellowish-green fluid that is secreted in the liver. Hence it means anything very bitter; and also any bad passion of the mind, as anger, malice, etc. We speak of bitterness of mind, etc.

Of bitterness. This is a Hebraism; the usual mode of expressing the superlative, and means excessive bitterness. The phrase is used respecting idolatry, De 29:18 "Lest there should be among, you a root that beareth gall and wormwood." A similar expression occurs in Heb 12:15, "Lest any root of bitterness springing up, trouble you," etc. Sin is thus represented as a bitter or poisonous thing; a thing not only unpleasant in its consequences, but ruinous in its character, as a poisonous plant would be in the midst of other plants. Jer 2:19, "It is an evil and bitter thing that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God;" Jer 4:18; Ro 3:14, "Whose mouth is full of cursings and bitterness;" Eph 4:31. The meaning here is, that the heart of Simon was full of dreadful, malignant sin.

Bond of iniquity. Or, that thou art bound by iniquity. That is, that it has the rule over you, and binds you as a slave. Sin is often thus represented as bondage and captivity. Sinners are represented as chained to it, and kept in hard servitude, Ps 116:16; Pr 5:22, "He shall be holden with the cords of his sins;" Ro 7:23,24. These expressions prove conclusively that Simon was a stranger to religion.

{a} "gall of bitterness" Jer 4:18; Heb 12:15 {b} "bond of iniquity" Ps 116:16; Pr 5:22; Isa 28:22

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