Bible Study of Acts – Lesson 9

Phillip Preaches in Samaria (Acts 8)


Welcome to Lesson 9 in your Bible Study of Acts.

In this lesson we look more closely at two narratives in Acts – Chapter 8:

  1. Philip extends the gospel into Samaria
  2. Philip preaches the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch.

Philip extends the gospel into Samaria

Read Acts 8:1-4

Notice three important elements:

  1. Stephen is buried and mourned.  This essentially closes the narrative of Peter and the Jerusalem church in Acts 1-7.
  2. Paul is introduced as a figure who is persecuting the church.  Luke thus anticipates the rest of Acts since Paul will play a major role in Chapters 13-28 and in the extension of the gospel among the Gentile world.
  3.  The persecution is what forces the disciples to flee Jerusalem and to extend the gospel beyond the holy city (8:1, 4 and 11:19)

Read Acts 8:4-8, 14-17

  1.  Who is Philip? (See Acts 6:1-6) What exactly did Philip do in Samaria and what effect did he have on the inhabitants of this region?  Describe his ministry.
  2. Who are the Samaritans?  (It would be worthwhile to consult a Bible dictionary for this question.  The history of the Samaritans is very interesting and insightful for Acts and the gospels.)
  3. Why was it important that the Samaritans received the gospel, from the standpoint of the relationship between Jews and Samaritans?
  4. What happend to the Samaritans after Peter and John arrived?  Why is this event important in terms of the Samaritans and the gospel?

For Reflection

  1. Are there particular prejudices you have toward certain groups that prohibit you from fully extending God’s grace toward them?

Read 8:26-40

  1. How did Philip know to meet up with the Ethiopian eunuch and when to approach the chariot?
  2. What passage of Scripture was the Ethiopian eunuch reading when Philip approached the chariot? How was it possible that Philip preached the gospel to this man using only the Old Testament?  (See Luke 24:27)
  3. What effect does Philip’s preaching have on the eunuch?  What is his response?
  4. Read Deut 23:1. How do we reconcile the passage in Deuteronomy with what transpired in Acts 8 and the Ethiopian eunuch?

For Reflection

  1. Have you ever experienced something like a “divine appointment” where God lead you to be in a certain place and / or time?  What happened? Does God still work in this way with his people?
  2. How does the passage in Luke 24:27 transform your perspective about the Old Testament?
  3. What impact does the gospel have in terms of class, social status, different ethnic groups and races? Can you describe a personal experience?