Spreading the Gospel

Acts 8:1

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

(a) Saul; see entry for Acts 7:58.

(b) They were all scattered. Jesus told his followers to go to the world after they received power from on high, that is, after Pentecost (Acts 1:8). But most of them didn’t leave Jerusalem until persecution drove them out.

« Better to obey God. Hanging on to their nationial or cultural pride did nothing. Hanging onto their relgious temple and sacrifices did nothing. »

Acts 8:3

But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.

(a) Saul; see entry for Acts 7:58.

(b) Dragging off men and women. Saul was an equal-opportunities persecutor responsible for the arrest and execution of Christian men and women.

Why kill women who as recently as the cross had gone largely unnoticed by the authorities? After Pentecost, women stepped up, and those who became partners in ministry became partners in martyrdom. Men and women both were filled with the spirit, spoke in tongues, and proclaimed the word of God boldly (see Acts 2:17-18, 4:31).

Act 4:31 NET

When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously.

John Chrysostom, the Archbishop of Constantinople, said this about the women of the early church: “The women of those days were more spirited than lions, sharing with the Apostles their labors for the Gospel’s sake. In this way they went travelling with them, and also performed all other ministries” (source: “Homily 31 on Romans”).

(c) Prison. In Biblical times, people did not go to prison for years of incarceration but for a short period to await trial. After their trial they were either punished or released. Saul arrested Christians in the expectation that they would be executed (see Acts 9:1, 22:4).

Acts 8:4

Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.

(a) Those who had been scattered. Jesus had told his followers to go into all the world after they had received the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4, 8). Pentecost had come and gone but the Jerusalem Christians stayed put. It took the pressure of persecution to get them out the door.

Acts 8:4

Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.

  • Those who had been scattered. Jesus had told his followers to go into all the world after they had received the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4, 8). Pentecost had come and gone but the Jerusalem Christians stayed put. It took the pressure of persecution to get them out the door.

Act 1:4

While he was with them, he declared, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my Father promised, which you heard about from me .

Act 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.”

  • Preaching the word. The early Christians preached the word of God (Acts 8:14) which is to say the preached the gospel of Jesus. If they had preached the old covenant law, they would not have been persecuted by the religious leaders. Jesus was the Word of God.

Act 8:14

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.

Acts 8:12

But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.

Some they were baptised with water. Somes say they were baptised with the fire of the holy spirit. Some say both. But I say the importance was being baptised in the name of Jesus. Meaning evey thing He accomplished, and in Acts 1 it was the gift of the holy spirit that poured onto everyone that heard.

Acts 8:13

Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.

(a) Simon himself believed. The man who operated in counterfeit signs and wonders marvelled when he saw the real thing. He believed Philip’s message and was water baptized, but he was not filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 8:16) and his subsequent actions show he did not have a good grasp of the grace of God (see Acts 8:18).

  • Signs and great miracles. The gospel of the kingdom is a show and tell gospel (Matt 4:23). When we preach the good news, the Holy Spirit confirms the word with supernatural signs (Mark 16:20).


Mar 16:20

They went out and proclaimed everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through the accompanying signs.]]

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