Slides: Acts 8

Slide 1

8:5-13 The Conversion of Samaria

8:5: Prob. main Samaritan city, Neapolis, on the site of ancient Shechem (cf.7:15-16)

8:9: Magic

-       Gentile: love, sports, etc

-       Jewish practitioners Name


-       Nearby Sebaste: Greeks one universal male deity, female one

-       Justin Martyr (2nd Cent): Simon as incarnation of male deity; Helena female

Slide 2


-already circumcised, Samaritans would’ve converted to Judaism by baptism alone

- but a Samaritan’s conversion to Judaism viewed as tantamount to denying Samaria

- for a Jew to invite Sam’s to follow Messiah viewed as betrayal of Judaism

- follows theological program of decentralized witness argued in ch 7 and 8


-POWER ENCOUNTER: pagan sorcerers duplicate some of God’s signs (Ex. 7-11, 22, 8:7), but limit (Ex 8:18-19, 9:11)

- Many places in world today: sorcerers converted

Slide 3

8:14-25 Apostolic Ratification of the Samaritan Conversions


-       Theologically: Spirit’s work one package (2:38-39)

-       Experientially: not all aspects necessarily simultaneously

-       Most: after conversion

-       Biggest point:

a.    Sam’s receive gift also

b.    Peter and John want this

c.     Power for witness (1:8)

d.    Thus partners in mission

Slide 4


- in ancient Judaism, rare examples of laying on hands for prayer (DSS)

- hands were laid on to impart blessings in prayer in OT (Gen 48:14-20)


-Sorcerers worked signs

-bought magical formulas

But no one could buy the Spirit

Slide 5

8:26-40 Conversion of an African Official

1st full Gentile convert:

- eunuch:5x

- male servants of queens often eunuchs

- can’t be proselyte (Deut 23:1)

- God- fearer

- 1st fully Gentile Christian from Africa

later, Axum converted c. AD. 333

Slide 6

God welcomes foreigners, eunuchs (Isa 56:3-5)

Ethiopian “eunuch” in OT turns out to be one of Jeremiah’s few allies and saves his life (Jer 38:7-13)

-       Not as much play as Cornelius (repeated 3x)

-       Because Peter’s role: Cornelius 1st official convert

-       Change of thinking in Jerusalem church

-       But Luke meets Phillip in Acts 21

Luke traces mission to W., heart of his audience’s empire

But also cares about E. S. N. “ends of earth”

As much space as Samaritan revival: significant in reaching int’l visitors

Slide 7


“South” (toward Gaza) or “midday” (very urgent)

2 roads from near Jerusalem S.

-       One through Hebron into Idumea (Edom)

-       Other joining the coast road before Gaza heading for Egypt

-       Roman milestones as road-markers

-       Old Gaza: deserted town near the culturally Greek Askelon and New Gaza

After revival in Samaria, must appear absurd

-       God often tests faith through “absurd” commands (Ex. 14:16, 1K 17:3-4, 9-14; 2 Kings 5:10)

Slide 8



-       Med. Legends placed at S. end of the earth (Memnon, Andromeda)

-       Most commonly mentioned: black skin (Greeks, OT, etc.

-       Nubian empires since 3000BC


-       Black Nubian kingdom S. of Egypt in what is now the Sudan

-       Since c. 750 BC

-       Main cities were Meroe and Napata

Slide 9


-       Greeks used as title of ruling queen mother

-       Africans probably used more widely

-       One beat Augustus

-       One ruling in this period: QUEEN NAWIDEMAK

-       Nubian are: queen’s jewels; wide girth

Queen’s treasurer: powerful

-       Wealthy kingdom

-       Greek used in trade ties with Egypt

Slide 10

8:28. Only wealthiest had chariots

-       People occasionally read sitting in expensive carriages

-       Might have a reader

-       LXX: in Greek


-       Reading silently rare in antiquity

-       A divine set-up (cf. e.g., Gen. 24:13-27)

Slide 11


-       Servant in Isa 42= Israel

-       In 49:5 the Servant is distinguished from rest of Israel

-       53:1-3, rejected by Israel

-       53:4-12, bears the sins of Israel

-       though not guilty (53:9)

-       suffers voluntarily (53:12)

Slide 12

8: 36-38

- wadis near Gaza

- full immersion presupposed in Jewish baptism

- as God-fearer, Ethiopian prob. understood need for baptism


- Spirit catching away; 1 Kings 18:12; 2 Kings 2:16; Ezek. 3:12,14

- Here real and physical

Slide 13

8:40: Coastal cities:

- Azotus (ancient Ashdod): 25 miles N. of Gaza; c. 35 miles W. of Jerusalem

- Caesara Maritma: over 50 miles N. of Azotus, of same coastal road

Caesarea significant

- 10:1: Cornelius

- 21:8 Philip later

Judean-Roman war

Philip as Peter’s forerunner:

- With Samaritans

- With Gentiles

- With Caesarea

- (Lk probably has these stories from Philip)

Last modified: Sunday, April 7, 2019, 3:57 PM