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Bible Commentaries
Acts 8

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

Death [αναιρεσει] . Lit., taking off. See on Luke 23:32.

Verse 2

Devout. See on Luke 2:25.

Carried to his burial [συνεκομισαν] . Only here in New Testament. Lit., to carry together; hence, either to assist in burying or, better, to bring the dead to the company [συν] of the other dead. The word is used of bringing in harvest.

Stephen [στεφανον] . Meaning crown. He was the first who received the martyr's crown.

Lamentation [κοπετον] . Lit., beating (of the breast). Only here in New Testament.

Verse 3

Made havoc [ελυμαινετο] . Only here in New Testament. In Septuagint, Psalms 79:13, it is used of the laying waste of a vineyard by the wild boar. Compare Acts 9:21, where the A. V. has destroyed, but where the Greek is porqhsav, devastated. Canon Farrar observes : "The part which he played at this time in the horrid work of persecution has, I fear, been always underrated. It is only when we collect the separate passages - they are no less than eight in number - in which allusion is made to this sad period, 16 it is only when we weigh the terrible significance of the expressions used that we feel the load of remorse which must have lain upon him, and the taunts to which he was liable from malignant enemies" (" Life and Work of St. Paul "). Note the imperfect, of continued action.

Verse 5

Philip. The deacon (Acts 6:5). Not the apostle. On the name, see on Mark 3:18.

Christ [τον χριστον] . Note the article, "the Christ," and see on Matthew 1:1.

He did [εποιει] . Imperfect. Kept doing from time to time, as is described in the next verse.

Verse 7

Taken with palsies [παραλελυμενοι] . Rev., more neatly, palsied. See on Luke 5:18.

Were healed. See on Luke 5:15.

Verse 9

Used sorcery [μαγευων] . Only here in New Testament. One of the wizards so numerous throughout the East at that time, and multiplied by the general expectation of a great deliverer and the spread of the Messianic notions of the Jews, who practiced upon the credulity of the people by conjuring and juggling and soothsaying.

Bewitched [εξιστων] . Better as Rev., amazed. See on ch. Acts 2:7.

Verse 10

The great power of God. The best texts add hJ kaloumenh, which is called, and render that power of God which ms called great. They believed that Simon was an impersonated power of God, which, as the highest of powers, they designated as the great.

Verse 11

Bewitched. Amazed, as ver. 9

Verse 13

Continued with. See on ch. Acts 1:14.

Miracles and signs [σημεια και δυναμεις] . Lit., signs and powers. See on Matthew 11:20; Acts 2:22.

Which were done [γινομεας] . The present participle. Lit., are coming to pass.

He was amazed. After having amazed the people by his tricks. See ver. 9. The same word is employed.

Verse 14

Samaria. The country, not the city. See vv. 5, 9.

Verse 16

They were [υπηρχον] . See on James 2:15. Rev., more literally, had been.

In the name [εις το ονομα] . Lit., "into the name." See on Matthew 28:19.

Verse 20

Perish with thee [συν σοι ειν εις απωλειαν] . Lit., be along with thee unto destruction. Destruction overtake thy money and thyself.

Verse 21

Part nor lot. Lot expresses the same idea as part, but figuratively. Matter [λογω] . The matter of which we are talking : the subject of discourse, as Luke 1:4; Acts 14:6.

Right [ευθεια] . Lit., straight.

Verse 22

If perhaps. The doubt suggested by the heinousness of the offense. Thought [επινοια] . Only here in New Testament. Lit., a thinking on or contriving; and hence implying a plan or design.

Verse 23

In the gall [εις χολην] . Lit., into. Thou hast fallen into and continuest in. Gall, only here and Matthew 27:34. Gall of bitterness is bitter enmity against the Gospel.

Bond of iniquity [συνδεσμον αδικιας] . Thou hast fallen into iniquity as into fetters. The word sundesmon denotes a close, firm bond [συν, τογετηερ] . It is used of the bond of Christian peace (Ephesians 4:3); of the close compacting of the church represented as a body (Colossians 2:19); and of love as the bond of perfectness (Colossians 3:14). See Isaiah 58:6.

Verse 26

The south [μεσημβριαν] . A contracted form of meshmeria, midday, noon, which is the rendering at Acts 22:6 the only other passage where it occurs. Rev. gives at noon in margin.

Desert. Referring to the route. On desert, see on Luke 14:4. There were several roads from Jerusalem to Gaza. One is mentioned by the way of Bethlehem to Hebron, and thence through a region actually called a desert.

Verse 27

Of Ethiopia. The name for the lands lying south of Egypt, including the modern Nubia, Cordofan, and Northern Abyssinia. Rawlinson speaks of subjects of the Ethiopian queens living in an island near Meroe, in the northern part of this district. He further remarks : "The monuments prove beyond all question that the Ethiopians borrowed from Egypt their religion and their habits of civilization. They even adopted the Egyptian as the language of religion and of the court, which it continued to be till the power of the Pharaohs had fallen, and their dominion was again confined to the frontier of Ethiopia. It was through Egypt, too, that Christianity passed into Ethiopia, even in the age of the apostles, as is shown by the eunuch of Queen Candace."

Of great authority [δυναστης] . A general term for a potentate.

Candace. The common name of the queens of Meroe : a titular distinction, like Pharaoh in Egypt, or Caesar at Rome.

Treasure [γαζης] . Only here in New Testament. A Persian word.

Verse 29

Join thyself [κολληθητι] . See on Luke 14:15; Luke 10:11; Acts 5:12.

Verse 30

Understandest thou what thou readest [αρα γε γινωσκεις α αναγινωσκεις] ; The play upon the words cannot be translated. The interrogative particles which begin the question indicate a doubt on Philip's part.

Verse 31

How can I [πως γαρ αν δυναιμην] ? Lit., for how should I be able? the for connecting the question with an implied negative : "No; for how could I understand except," etc.

Verse 32

The place of the scripture [η περιοχη της γραφης] . Strictly, the contents of the passage. See on Mark 12:10; 1 Peter 2:6.

He read. Rev., correctly, was reading; imperfect.

Verse 33

Humiliation. See on Matthew 11:29.

Generation. His contemporaries. Who shall declare their wickedness ?

Verse 35

Opened his mouth. Indicating a solemn announcement. Compare Matthew 5:2.

Verse 37

The best texts omit this verse.

Verse 39

Caught away. Suddenly and miraculously.

And he went, etc. [επορευετο γαρ] . A mistranslation. Rev., rightly, "for he went." A reason is given for the eunuch 's seeing Philip no more. He did not stop nor take another road to seek him, but went on his way.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 8". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/acts-8.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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