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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Acts: Chapter 8)

8:1 {Was consenting} (\ēn suneudokōn\). Periphrastic imperfect of
\suneudokeō\, a late double compound (\sun, eu, dokeō\) that well
describes Saul's pleasure in the death (\anairesis\, taking off,
only here in the N.T., though old word)
of Stephen. For the verb
see on ¯Lu 23:32. Paul himself will later confess that he felt
so (Ac 22:20), coolly applauding the murder of Stephen, a
heinous sin (Ro 1:32). It is a gruesome picture. Chapter 7
should have ended here. {On that day} (\en ekeinēi tēi hēmerāi\).
On that definite day, that same day as in 2:41. {A great
(\diōgmos megas\). It was at first persecution from
the Sadducees, but this attack on Stephen was from the Pharisees
so that both parties are now united in a general persecution that
deserves the adjective "great." See on ¯Mt 13:21 for the old
word \diōgmos\ from \diōkō\, to chase, hunt, pursue, persecute.
{Were all scattered abroad} (\pantes diesparēsan\). Second aorist
passive indicative of \diaspeirō\, to scatter like grain, to
disperse, old word, in the N.T. only in Ac 8:1,4; 11:19.
{Except the apostles} (\plēn tōn apostolōn\). Preposition \plēn\
(adverb from \pleon\, more) with the ablative often in Luke. It
remains a bit of a puzzle why the Pharisees spared the apostles.
Was it due to the advice of Gamaliel in Ac 5:34-40? Or was it
the courage of the apostles? Or was it a combination of both with
the popularity of the apostles in addition?

8:2 {Devout} (\eulabeis\). Only four times in the N.T. (Lu 2:25;
Ac 2:5; 8:2; 22:12)
. Possibly some non-Christian Jews helped.
The burial took place before the Christians were chiefly
scattered. {Buried} (\sunekomisan\). Aorist active indicative of
\sunkomizō\, old verb to bring together, to collect, to join with
others in carrying, to bury (the whole funeral arrangements).
Only here in the N.T. {Lamentation} (\kopeton\). Late word from
\koptomai\, to beat the breast, in LXX, Plutarch, etc., only here
in the N.T.

8:3 {Laid waste} (\elumaineto\). Imperfect middle of
\lumainomai\, old verb (from \lumē\, injury), to dishonour,
defile, devastate, ruin. Only here in the N.T. Like the laying
waste of a vineyard by a wild boar (Ps 79:13). Picturesque
description of the havoc carried on by Saul now the leader in the
persecution. He is victor over Stephen now who had probably
worsted him in debate in the Cilician synagogue in Jerusalem.
{Into every house} (\kata tous oikous\). But Luke terms it "the
church" (\tēn ekklēsian\). Plainly not just an "assembly," but an
organized body that was still "the church" when scattered in
their own homes, "an unassembled assembly" according to the
etymology. Words do not remain by the etymology, but travel on
with usage. {Haling} (\surōn\). Literally, dragging forcibly
(=hauling). Present active participle of \surō\, old verb. {Men
and women}
(\andras kai gunaikas\). A new feature of the
persecution that includes the women. They met it bravely as
through all the ages since (cf. 9:2; 22:4). This fact will be a
bitter memory for Paul always. {Committed} (\paredidou\).
Imperfect active of \paradidōmi\, old verb, kept on handing them
over to prison.

8:4 {They therefore} (\hoi men oun\). Demonstrative \hoi\ as
often (1:6, etc.) though it will make sense as the article with
the participle \diasparentes\. The general statement is made here
by \men\ and a particular instance (\de\) follows in verse 5.
The inferential particle (\oun\) points back to verse 3, the
persecution by young Saul and the Pharisees. Jesus had commanded
the disciples not to depart from Jerusalem till they received the
Promise of the Father (1:4), but they had remained long after
that and were not carrying the gospel to the other peoples
(1:8). Now they were pushed out by Saul and began as a result
to carry out the Great Commission for world conquest, that is
those "scattered abroad" (\diasparentes\, second aorist passive
participle of \diaspeirō\)
. This verb means disperse, to sow in
separate or scattered places (\dia\) and so to drive people
hither and thither. Old and very common verb, especially in the
LXX, but in the N.T. only in Ac 8:1,4; 11:19. {Went about}
(\diēlthon\). Constative second aorist active of \dierchomai\, to
go through (from place to place, \dia\). Old and common verb,
frequent for missionary journeys in the Acts (5:40; 8:40; 9:32;
11:19; 13:6)
. {Preaching the word} (\euaggelizomenoi ton
. Evangelizing or gospelizing the word (the truth about
. In 11:19 Luke explains more fully the extent of the
labours of these new preachers of the gospel. They were emergency
preachers, not ordained clergymen, but men stirred to activity by
the zeal of Saul against them. The blood of the martyrs (Stephen)
was already becoming the seed of the church. "The violent
dispersion of these earnest disciples resulted in a rapid
diffusion of the gospel" (Alvah Hovey).

8:5 {Philip} (\Philippos\). The deacon (6:5) and evangelist
(21:8), not the apostle of the same name (Mr 3:18). {To the
city of Samaria}
(\eis tēn polin tēs Samarias\). Genitive of
apposition. Samaria is the name of the city here. This is the
first instance cited of the expansion noted in verse 4. Jesus
had an early and fruitful ministry in Samaria (Joh 4), though
the twelve were forbidden to go into a Samaritan city during the
third tour of Galilee (Mt 10:5), a temporary prohibition
withdrawn before Jesus ascended on high (Ac 1:8). {Proclaimed}
(\ekērussen\). Imperfect active, began to preach and kept on at
it. Note \euaggelizomenoi\ in verse 4 of missionaries of good
news (Page) while \ekērussen\ here presents the preacher as a
herald. He is also a teacher (\didaskalos\) like Jesus. Luke
probably obtained valuable information from Philip and his
daughters about these early days when in his home in Caesarea
(Ac 21:8).

8:6 {Gave heed} (\proseichon\). Imperfect active as in verses
10,11, there with dative of the person (\autōi\), here with the
dative of the thing (\tois legomenois\). There is an ellipse of
\noun\ (mind). They kept on giving heed or holding the mind on
the things said by Philip, spell-bound, in a word. {When they
(\en tōi akouein autous\). Favourite Lukan idiom, \en\ and
the locative case of the articlar infinitive with the accusative
of general reference "in the hearing as to them." {Which he did}
(\ha epoiei\). Imperfect active again, which he kept on doing
from time to time. Philip wrought real miracles which upset the
schemes of Simon Magus.

8:7 {For many} (\polloi gar\). So the correct text of the best
MSS., but there is an anacoluthon as this nominative has no verb
with it. It was "the unclean spirits" that "came out"
(\exērchonto\, imperfect middle). The margin of the Revised
Version has it "came forth," as if they came out of a house, a
rather strained translation. The loud outcry is like the demons
cast out by Jesus (Mr 3:11; Lu 4:41). {Palsied}
(\paralelumenoi\, perfect passive participle). Luke's usual word,
loosened at the side, with no power over the muscles. Furneaux
notes that "the servant was reaping where the Master had sown.
Samaria was the mission field white for the harvest (Joh
." The Samaritans who had been bewitched by Simon are now
carried away by Philip.

8:9 {Simon} (\Simōn\). One of the common names (Josephus, _Ant_.
XX. 7, 2)
and a number of messianic pretenders had this name. A
large number of traditions in the second and third centuries
gathered round this man and Baur actually proposed that the Simon
of the Clementine Homilies is really the apostle Paul though Paul
triumphed over the powers of magic repeatedly (Ac 13:6-12;
, "a perfect absurdity" (Spitta, _Apostelgeschichte_,
p. 149)
. One of the legends is that this Simon Magus of Acts is
the father of heresy and went to Rome and was worshipped as a god
(so Justin Martyr). But a stone found in the Tiber A.D. 1574 has
an inscription to _Semoni Sanco Deo Fidio Sacrum_ which is (Page)
clearly to Hercules, Sancus being a Sabine name for Hercules.
This Simon in Samaria is simply one of the many magicians of the
time before the later gnosticism had gained a foothold. "In his
person Christianity was for the first time confronted with
superstition and religious imposture, of which the ancient world
was at this period full" (Furneaux). {Which beforetime used
(\proupērchen mageuōn\). An ancient idiom
(periphrastic), the present active participle \mageuōn\ with the
imperfect active verb from \prouparchō\, the idiom only here and
Lu 23:12 in the N.T. Literally "Simon was existing previously
practising magic." This old verb \mageuō\ is from \magos\ (a
\magus\, seer, prophet, false prophet, sorcerer)
and occurs here
alone in the N.T. {Amazed} (existanōn). Present active participle
of the verb \existanō\, later form of \existēmi\, to throw out of
position, displace, upset, astonish, chiefly in the Gospels in
the N.T. Same construction as \mageuōn\. {Some great one} (\tina
. Predicate accusative of general reference (infinitive in
indirect discourse)
. It is amazing how gullible people are in the
presence of a manifest impostor like Simon. The Magi were the
priestly order in the Median and Persian empires and were
supposed to have been founded by Zoroaster. The word \magoi\
(magi) has a good sense in Mt 2:1, but here and in Ac 13:6 it
has the bad sense like our "magic."

8:10 {That power of God which is called Great} (\hē Dunamis tou
theou hē kaloumenē Megalē\)
. Apparently here already the oriental
doctrine of emanations or aeons so rampant in the second century.
This "power" was considered a spark of God himself and Jerome (in
Mt 24)
quotes Simon (Page) as saying: _Ego sum sermo Dei, ...
ego omnipotens, ego omnia Dei_. Simon claimed to _impersonate

8:11 {Because that of long time he had amazed them with his
(\dia to hikanōi chronōi tais magiais exestakenai
. Causal use of \dia\ with the accusative articular
infinitive (perfect active _Koinē_ form and transitive,
. Same verb as in verse 9 participle \existanōn\
and in verse 13 imperfect passive \existato\ (cf. also 2:7
. \Chronōi\ is associative instrumental and \magiais\
instrumental case.

8:12 {They were baptized} (\ebaptizonto\). Imperfect passive
(repetition, from time to time), while {believed} (\episteusan\)
is constative aorist antecedent to the baptism. Note dative case
of Philip with \episteusan\. Note the gospel of Philip
"concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ."

8:13 {And Simon also himself believed} (\Ho de Simōn kai autos
. Note the same verb in the aorist tense
\episteusen\. What did he believe? Evidently that Jesus was this
"power of God" not himself (Simon). He saw that the miracles
wrought by Philip in the name of Christ were genuine while he
knew that his own were frauds. He wanted this power that Philip
had to add to his own pretensions. "He was probably half victim
of self-delusion, half conscious impostor" (Furneaux). He was
determined to get this new "power," but had no sense of personal
need of Jesus as Saviour for his sins. So he submitted to baptism
(\baptistheis\, first aorist passive participle of \baptizō\),
clear proof that baptism does not convey salvation. {He continued
with Philip}
(\ēn proskarterōn tōi Philippōi\). Periphrastic
imperfect of the verb \proskartereō\ (see on ¯2:46). He stuck to
Philip (dative case) to find out the secret of his power.
{Beholding} (\theōrōn\). Watching the signs and miracles (powers,
\dunameis\ that threw his "power" in the shade)
as they were
wrought (\ginomenas\, present middle participle of \ginomai\).
The more he watched the more the wonder grew (\existato\). He had
"amazed" (verse 9) the people by his tricks and he was himself
more "amazed" than they by Philip's deeds.

8:14 {That Samaria had received} (\hoti dedektai hē Samaria\).
The district here, not the city as in verse 5. Perfect middle
indicative of \dechomai\ retained in indirect discourse. It was a
major event for the apostles for now the gospel was going into
Samaria as Jesus had predicted (1:8). Though the Samaritans
were nominally Jews, they were not held so by the people. The
sending of Peter and John was no reflection on Philip, but was an
appropriate mission since "many Christian Jews would be
scandalized by the admission of Samaritans" (Furneaux). If Peter
and John sanctioned it, the situation would be improved. John had
once wanted to call down fire from heaven on a Samaritan village
(Lu 9:54).

8:15 {That they might receive} (\hopōs labōsin\). Second aorist
active subjunctive of \lambanō\, final clause with \hopōs\. Did
they wish the Samaritan Pentecost to prove beyond a doubt that
the Samaritans were really converted when they believed? They had
been baptized on the assumption that the Holy Spirit had given
them new hearts. The coming of the Holy Spirit with obvious signs
(cf. 10:44-48) as in Jerusalem would make it plain.

8:16 {He was fallen} (\ēn epipeptōkos\). Periphrastic past
perfect active of \epipiptō\, old verb. The participle is neuter
here because of the grammatical gender of \pneuma\, but the
translation should be "he" (natural gender), not "it." We should
not use "it" for the Holy Spirit. {Only they had been baptized}
(\monon de babaptismenoi hupērchon\). Periphrastic past perfect
passive of \baptizō\ with \huparchō\ (see verse 9
, instead of \ēsan\. {Into the name} (\eis to
. Better, in the name (see on ¯2:38).

8:17 {Laid they their hands} (\epetithesan tas cheiras\).
Imperfect active, repetition. The laying on of hands did not
occur at the great Pentecost (2:4,33) nor in 4:31; 10:44 nor
is it mentioned in 1Co 12; 14. It is mentioned in Ac 6:7
about the deacons and in 13:3 when Barnabas and Saul left
Antioch. And in Saul's case it was Ananias who laid his hands on
him (9:17). Hence it cannot be concluded that the Holy Spirit
was received only by the laying on of the hands of the apostles
or by the hands of anyone. The so-called practice of
"confirmation" appeals to this passage, but inconclusively. {They
(\elambanon\). Imperfect active, repetition as before
and \pari passu\ with the laying on of the hands.

8:18 {When Simon saw} (\Idōn de ho Simōn\). This participle
(second aorist active of \horaō\) shows plainly that those who
received the gift of the Holy Spirit spoke with tongues. Simon
now saw power transferred to others. Hence he was determined to
get this new power. {He offered them money} (\prosēnegken
. Second aorist active indicative of \prospherō\. He
took Peter to be like himself, a mountebank performer who would
sell his tricks for enough money. Trafficking in things sacred
like ecclesiastical preferments in England is called "Simony"
because of this offer of Simon.

8:19 {Me also} (\kamoi\). This is the whole point with this
charlatan. He wants the power to pass on "this power." His notion
of "The Holy Spirit" was on this low level. He regarded spiritual
functions as a marketable commodity. Money "can buy diamonds, but
not wisdom, or sympathy, or faith, or holiness" (Furneaux).

8:20 {Perish with thee} (\sun soi eiē eis apōleian\). Literally,
Be with thee for destruction. Optative for a future wish. The use
of \eis\ with the accusative in the predicate is especially
common in the LXX. The wish reveals Peter's indignation at the
base offer of Simon. Peter was no grafter to accept money for
spiritual power. He spurned the temptation. The natural meaning
of Peter's language is that Simon was on the road to destruction.
It is a warning and almost a curse on him, though verse 22
shows that there was still room for repentance. {To obtain}
(\ktāsthai\). To acquire. Usual meaning of the present tense
(infinitive middle) of \ktaomai\.

8:21 {Lot} (\klēros\). Same idea as "part" (\meris\), only as a
figure. {Matter} (\logoi\). Literally, word or subject (as in Lu
1:4; Ac 15:6)
, the power of communicating the Holy Spirit. This
use of \logos\ is in the ancient Greek. {Straight} (\eutheia\).
Quotation from Ps 78:37. Originally a mathematically straight
line as in Ac 9:11, then moral rectitude as here.

8:22 {Wickedness} (\kakias\). Only here in Luke's writings,
though old word and in LXX (cf. 1Pe 2:1,16). {If perhaps} (\ei
. _Si forte_. This idiom, though with the future indicative
and so a condition of the first class (determined as fulfilled),
yet minimizes the chance of forgiveness as in Mr 11:13. Peter
may have thought that his sin was close to the unpardonable sin
(Mt 12:31), but he does not close the door of hope. {The
(\hē epinoia\). Old Greek word from \epinoeō\, to think
upon, and so purpose. Only here in the N.T.

8:23 {That thou art} (\se onta\). Participle in indirect
discourse after \horō\ (I see). {In the gall of bitterness} (\eis
cholēn pikrias\)
. Old word from \cholas\ either from \cheō\, to
pour, or \chloē\, yellowish green, bile or gall. In the N.T. only
in Mt 27:34 and here. In LXX in sense of wormwood as well as
bile. See De 29:18; 32:32; La 3:15; Job 16:14. "Gall and
bitterness" in De 29:18. Here the gall is described by the
genitive \pikrias\ as consisting in "bitterness." In Heb 12:15
"a root of bitterness," a bitter root. This word \pikria\ in the
N.T. only here and Heb 12:15; Ro 3:14; Eph 4:31. The "bond of
iniquity" (\sundesmon adikias\) is from Isa 58:6. Paul uses
this word of peace (Eph 4:3), of love (Col 3:14), of the body
(Col 2:19). Peter describes Simon's offer as poison and a

8:24 {Pray ye for me} (\Deēthēte humeis huper emou\). Emphasis on
\humeis\ (you). First aorist passive imperative. Simon is
thoroughly frightened by Peter's words, but shows no sign of
personal repentance or change of heart. He wants to escape the
penalty for his sin and hopes that Peter can avert it. Peter had
clearly diagnosed his case. He was an unconverted man in spite of
his profession of faith and baptism. There is no evidence that he
ever changed his life at all. {Which} (\hōn\). Genitive by
attraction of the accusative relative \ha\ to case of the
unexpressed antecedent \toutōn\ (of those things), a common Greek

8:25 {They therefore} (\hoi men oun\). Demonstrative \hoi\ with
\men\ (no following \de\) and the inferential \oun\ (therefore)
as often in Acts (1:6, etc.). {Returned} (\hupestrephon\).
Imperfect active picturing the joyful journey of preaching
(\euēggelizonto\, imperfect middle) to the Samaritan villages.
Peter and John now carried on the work of Philip to the
Samaritans. This issue was closed.

8:26 {Toward the South} (\kata mesēmbrian\). Old word from
\mesos\ and \hēmera\, midday or noon as in Ac 22:16, the only
other example in the N.T. That may be the idea here also, though
"towards the South" gets support from the use of \kata liba\ in
Ac 27:12. {The same is desert} (\hautē estin erēmos\). Probably
a parenthetical remark by Luke to give an idea of the way. One of
the ways actually goes through a desert. Gaza itself was a strong
city that resisted Alexander the Great five months. It was
destroyed by the Romans after war broke out with the Jews.

8:27 {A eunuch of great authority} (\eunouchos dunastēs\).
Eunuchs were often employed by oriental rulers in high posts.
_Dynasty_ comes from this old word \dunastēs\ used of princes in
Lu 1:52 and of God in 1Ti 6:15. Eunuchs were not allowed to
be Jews in the full sense (De 23:1), but only proselytes of the
gate. But Christianity is spreading to Samaritans and to eunuchs.
{Candace} (\Kandakēs\). Not a personal name, but like Pharaoh and
Ptolemy, the title of the queens of Ethiopia. This eunuch
apparently brought the gospel to Ethiopia. {Treasure} (\gazēs\).
Persian word, common in late Greek and Latin for the royal
treasure, here only in the N.T. {For to worship} (\proskunēsōn\).
Future active participle expressing purpose, a common idiom in
the ancient Greek, but rare in the N.T. (Robertson, _Grammar_, p.

8:28 {Was reading} (\aneginōsken\). Imperfect active descriptive,
not periphrastic like the two preceding verbs (was returning and
. He was reading aloud as Philip "heard him reading"
(\ēkousen auton anaginōskontos\), a common practice among
orientals. He had probably purchased this roll of Isaiah in
Jerusalem and was reading the LXX Greek text. See imperfect again
in verse 32.

8:29 {Join thyself} (\kollēthēti\). See this vivid word (be glued
to, first aorist passive imperative)
already in 5:13; Lu 10:11;
15:15. Philip probably jumped on the running board on the side
of the chariot.

8:30 {Understandest thou what thou readest?} (\Ara ge ginōskeis
ha anaginōskeis?\)
The interrogative particle \ara\ and the
intensive particle \ge\ indicate doubt on Philip's part. The play
(\paranomasia\) upon the words in the Greek is very neat: {Do you
know what you know again (read)?}
The verb for read
(\anaginōsko\) means to know the letters again, recognize, read.
The famous comment of Julian about the Christian writings is
often quoted: \Anegnōn, egnōn, kategnōn\ (I read, I understood, I
. The keen retort was: \Anegnōs, all'ouk egnōs, ei gar
egnōs, ouk an kategnōs\ (You read, but did not understand; for if
you had understood, you would not have condemned)

8:31 {How can I, except some one shall guide me?} (\Pōs gar an
dunaimēn ean me tis hodēgēsei me?\)
. This is a mixed condition,
the conclusion coming first belongs to the fourth class
(undetermined with less likelihood of being determined) with \an\
and the optative, but the condition (\ean\, instead of the usual
\ei\, and the future indicative)
is of the first class
(determined or fulfilled. Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1022), a
common enough phenomenon in the _Koinē_. The eunuch felt the need
of some one to guide (\hodēgeō\ from \hodēgos\, guide, and that
from \hodos\, way, and \hegeomai\, to lead)

8:32 {The place} (\he periochē\). See the verb \periechei\ so
used in 1Pe 2:6. The word is used either of the section as in
Codex A before the beginning of Mark or the contents of a
passage. He was here reading one particular passage (Isa
. The quotation is from the LXX which has some variations
from the Hebrew.

8:33 {Was taken away} (\ērthē\). First aorist passive indicative
of \airō\, to take away. It is not clear what the meaning is here
either in the Hebrew or the LXX. Knowling suggests that the idea
is that justice was withheld, done away with, in his death, as it
certainly was in the death of Christ.

8:34 {Of whom} (\peri tinos\). Concerning whom, a pertinent
inquiry surely and one that troubles many critics today.

8:35 {Beginning from this scripture} (\arxamenos apo tēs graphēs
. As a text. Philip needed no better opening than this
Messianic passage in Isaiah. {Preached unto him Jesus}
(\euēggelisato autōi ton Iēsoun\). Philip had no doubt about the
Messianic meaning and he knew that Jesus was the Messiah. There
are scholars who do not find Jesus in the Old Testament at all,
but Jesus himself did (Lu 24:27) as Philip does here.
Scientific study of the Old Testament (historical research)
misses its mark if it fails to find Christ the Center of all
history. The knowledge of the individual prophet is not always
clear, but after events throw a backward light that illumines it
all (1Pe 1:11f.; 2Pe 1:19-21).

8:36 {What doth hinder me to be baptized?} (\Ti kōluei me
. Evidently Philip had said something about
baptism following faith and conversion. Verse 37 is not a
genuine part of Acts, a western addition. Later baptismal
liturgies had it.

8:39 {Out of the water} (\ek tou hudatos\). Not from the edge of
the water, but up out of the water as in Mr 1:10. {Caught away}
(\hērpasen\). Suddenly and miraculously, for \harpazō\, like the
Latin _rapio_, means to carry off. Cf. 2Co 12:2; 1Th 4:17.
{Went on his way} (\eporeueto\). Kept on going, imperfect active.

8:40 {He preached the gospel} (\euēggelizeto\). Imperfect middle
describing the evangelistic tour of Philip "till he came to
Caesarea" (\heōs tou elthein auton\, genitive articular
infinitive with the preposition \heōs\ and the accusative of
general reference)
where he made his home and headquarters
thereafter (Ac 21:28) and was known as the Evangelist.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Acts: Chapter 8)