College Notes
The Acts
Chapter 8

Church in Canaan (8:1-8:40)
Saul - Persecution (8:1-3)

vs. 1
Saul and Jewish persecution of Church.  Paul consents to Stephen's death.

Note:  All scattered except apostles.

vs. 3
"made havock" means brutal cruelty i.e. like the ravaging of a body by wild animals.

Works of Philip (8:4-8)

vs. 4
As a result of persecution, it forced Christians out of Jerusalem to preach the Gospel where, e.g.  Philip to Samaria. vs. 5 "down" to Samaria because of Jerusalem's elevation.

Samaritans - descendents of foreign settlers.  Babylonian Assyrian transplants.  Pentateuch worshippers II Kg. 17:23-41.

  1. Judaism of Samaritans
  2. Paganism of Chaldeans

Note:  Jews did not associate with Samaritans.  John 4:9 -- were looked upon as half-breeds spiritually and socially (racially).

Point:  Salvation now open to whole world -- starting to reach out.

vs. 6
Miracles accompanied Philip's speaking.

Simon the Sorcerer (8:9-24)
Background (8:9-13)

vs. 9
Simon Magus.  We believe is Simon Peter of Rome.  Descendent of Nimrod and Balaam.  A man who fascinated the people, like an astrologer or magician.

Speculation:  He had an important position in Roman Catholic Church.

Possibly the first pope.

Account is given to expose Simon as the leader and founder of false church.


Point:  Luke describes the intentions of this man at such full length in order to show the Church of 62 A.D. that this man was not part of the Christian Church.

vs. 12
"believed" and were baptized, of  course repentance also necessary.


  1. Acts the key -- Beginning of true Church and false church.
  2. Only records those events absolutely necessary for God's Church to be clear on.
  3. Geography covered is Asia Minor, Greece and Rome.
  4. Reason for the account in Acts 8 is to expose Simon as leader and founder of false system.
  5. *Simon (see above)
  6. Babylonian religion had come to Samaria through Babylonians who were brought in (II Kings l7:30, 3l).
  7. Simon mixed some Christian teachings with Babylonian ideas in effort to gain "universal religion."
  8. Simon arrogated to himself central position in his religion. He always carried Christian name.
  9. Simon went to Rome in 45 A.D. in days of Claudius Caesar and was honored as a god because of his magical powers.  Called "Holy God Simon" on statue.  Emperor and Senate had to grant approval for erection of statue.
  10. This was the Simon who went to Rome not Simon Peter. Emperor Habrian was willing to have Simon's religion established in Rome in second century.
  11. Found a female prostitute, Helen, in Tyre who became female principle to go along with Babylonian system.
  12. Simon claimed he was creator.  He and Helen were worshipped under titles of "Lord and Lady."  She also held title of "Queen of Heaven."
  13. Simon Peter (means father) taught out of scriptures but said not necessary to heed scriptures if believed in him and his grace.
  14. (Catholic view is same on law.)
  15. Simon had priests and images made of himself and Helen.
  16. Simon honored (lst) eighth day of week instead of seventh.
  17. Simon died and was buried in cemetery on Vatican Hill where chief gods of Rome buried.
  18. Simon's teaching slipped into Catholic church, name Samaritan dropped, "Christian" came out.
  19. It is now a "universal religion" that is Catholic church.

Peter and John (8:14-17)

vs. 14
Peter and John to Samaria.

Note:  Philip may not have been necessarily authorized to lay hands on them.

Note:  If authorized, an unordained man can baptize and lay hands on for the Holy Spirit, but ordained man are required to anoint sick and conduct marriages.

vs. 17
Laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit.

Simony (8:18-19)

vs. 18
"Simony" means buying for self a religious office.  Apparently, Simon had never received the Holy Spirit.

Point:  This example of Simon Magus led to the coining of the word, simony. This word came to mean the offering of money to purchase a position or office within the church.

Also he was exposing Simon Magus himself.

Peter's Rebuke (8:20-24)

vs. 20-21
Ministry is a gift of God

vs. 23
Point:  Wrong attitude

Ethiopian Eunuch (8:25-40)

vs. 27
"eunuch" may not have been a full proselyte (rather a proselyte of the gate) because private parts missing.

Note:  Jews wouldn't allow him to be a Jewish convert.  Ethiopian by citizenship.

"Candace" a title, not name of person.  A mother queen.

vs. 28
Ancient custom to read aloud, even by themselves.

Note:  Probably a carriage, not a war-type chariot.

vs. 31
A right attitude for help (Rom. 10:14).

vs. 32
Isa. 53:7, 8 -- Quote from Old Testament.

vs. 35
Sidelight:  When explaining, begin with the scripture in question.

vs. 37
Believe with all your heart

vs. 38
"into the water" signifies total immersion.

KEY:  "they" . . . "both" -- which rules out sprinkling.

vs. 39
"out of the water" signifies total immersion.

vs. 40
Philip was taken and dropped off about 20 or 30 miles north at Azotus.

Index | Chapter 7 | Chapter 9