Our questions (yours and mine) concerning:
. . . Stephen’s Speech / Defence (Acts 7:2-60) [58 verses altogether]
- Act 7:54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage.
- Act 7:55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honour at God’s right hand.
- Act 7:56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”
- Act 7:57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him
- Act 7:58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.
- Act 7:59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
- Act 7:60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
- Why is Stephen’s speech and following martyrdom given such a prominent position?
- Why does Luke give so much detail on Stephen’s speech? (Betty)
- Why does Acts include so many boring speeches? (Ron)
- Does the length of time spent on it infer its importance?
Our First Introduction to Saul of Tarsus and beginnings of Persecution . . . (Acts 7:58, 8:1-4) [5 verses]
- Act 8:1 Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.
- Act 7:58 His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
- Act 8:1 A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.8:1
- Act 8:2 (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.)
- Act 8:3 But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.
- Act 8:4 But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.
- Why does Luke introduce Paul as he does?
- If Paul was such a major figure of the New Testament why does he get such a bad introduction?
- Why does Luke split the coverage of (S)Paul into two parts?
- Is the persecution that came on the church linked to Paul? (Paul) [Are you worried Paul?]
- Who were the devout men who came to bury Stephen? Why is this part even included? What importance does it have? (Gillian)
- It seems as though Saul was one of the religious leaders in Jerusalam, Ian. Is that true? (Cynthia)
- Why are those places mentioned and why them only? (Cynthia)
- Why were the apostles immune to the persecution? (Gillian)
- Did Paul really go from house to house to find the Christians and put them in prison? Could that happen to us? (Gillian)
Phillip in Samaria (Acts 8:5-8) [4 verses]
- Act 8:5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah.
- Act 8:6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did.
- Act 8:7 Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed.
- Act 8:8 So there was great joy in that city.
- Who was Phillip? (Helen)
- Were the other disciples involved in similar exciting activities that aren’t included in our scripture? (Kev)
- Or was it just Phillip? (Kev – inferred)
- What do you know about it? (Kev)
- Why is verse 8 coloured in yellow? Is it important? (Bruce)
- Is the general theme irrepressible joy?
- Is the city named Samaria or is that the name of the region? (Bruce)
Simon’s Example (Acts 8:9-24) [16 verses]
- Act 8:9 A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great.
- Act 8:10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.”
- Act 8:11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.
- Act 8:12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized.
- Act 8:13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
- Act 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there.
- Act 8:15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit.
- Act 8:16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
- Act 8:17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
- Act 8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power.
- Act 8:19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!”
- Act 8:20 But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought!
- Act 8:21 You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God.
- Act 8:22 Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive your evil thoughts,
- Act 8:23 for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.”
- Act 8:24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!”
- I have never understood why the story of Simon is included in the story? Do you know Ian? (Alan)
- What is the point of this story about Simon? Why did Luke include it? (David)
- This is not the same Simon as Simon Peter is it Ian? (Alan)
- Note how much space is given to Simon in Acts 8. (16 Verses) Do you think its important?
- What does it mean these new believers received the Holy Spirit when they have already believedand been baptised? (Alan)
- Didn’t they receive the Holy Spirit when they became believers? What is the difference Ian? (Alan)
- Is there any difference between being baptised in water and being baptised in the Holy Spirit and being baptised with fire? (Alan)
- What does verse 23 mean – “I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity”? (Dewi)
Phillip in Gaza with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:25-40) [16 verses]
- Act 8:25 After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News.
- Act 8:26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
- Act 8:27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship,
- Act 8:28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
- Act 8:29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”
- Act 8:30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
- Act 8:31 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
- Act 8:32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth.
- Act 8:33 He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of His descendants? For His life was taken from the earth.”
- Act 8:34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?”
- Act 8:35 So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.
- Act 8:36 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”
- Act 8:37 [“You can,” Philip answered, “if you believe with all your heart.” And the eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”]
- Act 8:38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
- Act 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.
- Act 8:40 Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.
- Phillip himself had the Holy Spirit (proven by the miracles) why was Peter and John needed to call on the Holy Spirit for the people of Samaria? (Andre)
- Why do Peter and John come after Simon and then leave before Simon leaves? (Gillian)
- Why is it that Peter and John are often together (and James)? Is there a reason for that? (Gillian)
- Why do they stop in many Samaritan villages when Jews don’t like Samaritans? (Gillian) What is the background story for this eunuch, how come an Ethiopian went to Jerusalem to worship (as he is not a jew) ? (Andre)
- Why was an Ethiopian reading the book of Isaiah? (Cynthia)
- Did other people have the Jewish books and not just the Jews themselves? (Cynthia) Does Acts 8:39-40 mean Phillip literally gets teleported via the Holy Spirit ? (Andre)
- What is meant by “the Holy Spirit said to Philip”? It seems those words mean that the Holy Spirit spoke like a human being to Philip. Is that right? (David)
- What is a eunuch? (Dewi)
- Why did the Ethiopian asked to be baptised when he saw the water? Did he know about baptism already? How? (David)
- Does God snatch other people away like he did to Philip? What does that mean? I don’t understand it. (Ron)
- Where is Azotus Ian? Ilooked for it in the atlas but I couldn’t find it. I want to see how far Philip went when he disappeared.
. . . Picking up on Saul Again . . . (Acts 9:1 ff) [31 verses]
- Act 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest.
- Act 9:2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. . .
I just thought I would add the next section after Acts 8 just so you connect that to the text of Acts 8 as well. It is still not too late to add your question(s) if you have some. These are the ones which have come in so far and to which I have added a few of my own. Feel free to add questions before we start the explanation.
The quality of your life is set by the questions you ask yourself. The more honest & brave the questions, the further you’ll go.Rick Warren
Life is less a matter of getting the right answers and more a matter of asking the right questions.Anon
A wise man can learn more from a foolish QUESTION than a fool can from a wise ANSWER.Anon
The Answer Is Yes – Now What Is The Question?Anon
Why would a God who knows everything ask you a question? When the teacher asks the student a question, its to evaluate your progress!Anon
Learned from Noah: Stay fit and willing. When you’re 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.Anon