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Acts 8:5-14

Context
8:5 Philip went down to the main city of Samaria 1  and began proclaiming 2  the Christ 3  to them. 8:6 The crowds were paying attention with one mind to what Philip said, 4  as they heard and saw the miraculous signs 5  he was performing. 8:7 For unclean spirits, 6  crying with loud shrieks, were coming out of many who were possessed, 7  and many paralyzed and lame people were healed. 8:8 So there was 8  great joy 9  in that city.

8:9 Now in that city was a man named Simon, who had been practicing magic 10  and amazing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 8:10 All the people, 11  from the least to the greatest, paid close attention to him, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called ‘Great.’” 12  8:11 And they paid close attention to him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God 13  and the name of Jesus Christ, 14  they began to be baptized, 15  both men and women. 8:13 Even Simon himself believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed close to 16  Philip constantly, and when he saw the signs and great miracles that were occurring, he was amazed. 17 

8:14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem 18  heard that Samaria had accepted the word 19  of God, they sent 20  Peter and John to them.

1 tn The word “main” is supplied in the translation to clarify that “Samaria” is not the name of the city (at least in NT times). See both BDAG 912 s.v. Σαμάρεια, and L&N 93.568.

sn The main city of Samaria most likely refers to the principal city of Samaria, rebuilt by Herod the Great as Sebaste in honor of Augustus (J. Boehmer, “Studien zur Geographie Palästinas bes. im Neuen Testament,” ZNW 9 [1908]: 216-18; D. Gill and C. Gempf, eds., The Book of Acts in its Graeco-Roman Setting, 272). This is the best option if the article before “city” is taken as original. If the reading without the article is taken as original, then another city may be in view: Gitta, the hometown of Simon Magus according to Justin Martyr (cf. C. K. Barrett, Acts [ICC], 1:402-3; F. F. Bruce, Acts [NICNT], 165).

2 tn The imperfect ἐκήρυσσεν (ekhrussen) has been translated as an ingressive, since this is probably the first time such preaching took place.

3 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.

4 tn Grk “to what was being said by Philip,” a passive construction that has been changed to active voice in the translation.

5 tn Here the following context indicates the miraculous nature of the signs mentioned. This term appears 13 times in Acts, but only twice more after Acts 8:13 (i.e., 14:3; 15:12).

6 sn The expression unclean spirits refers to evil supernatural spirits which were ceremonially unclean, and which caused the persons possessed by them to be ceremonially unclean.

7 tn Grk “For [in the case of] many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out, crying in a loud voice.”

8 tn Grk “and there came about,” but this is somewhat awkward in English.

9 sn Great joy. The reason for eschatological joy was that such events pointed to God’s decisive deliverance (Luke 7:22-23). Note how the acts of healing extend beyond the Twelve here.

10 tn On the idiom προϋπῆρχεν μαγεύων (prouphrcen mageuwn) meaning “had been practicing magic” see BDAG 889 s.v. προϋπάρχω.

11 tn Grk “all of them”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tn Or “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” The translation “what is called the Great Power of God” is given by BDAG 263 s.v. δύναμις 5, but the repetition of the article before καλουμένη μεγάλη (kaloumenh megalh) suggests the translation “the power of God that is called ‘Great.’”

13 sn The kingdom of God is also what Jesus preached: Acts 1:3. The term reappears in 14:22; 19:8; 28:23, 31.

14 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

15 tn The imperfect verb ἐβαπτίζοντο (ebaptizonto) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.

16 tn Or “he kept close company with.”

17 sn He was amazed. Now Simon, the one who amazed others, is himself amazed, showing the superiority of Philip’s connection to God. Christ is better than anything the culture has to offer.

18 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

19 tn Or “message.”

20 sn They sent. The Jerusalem church with the apostles was overseeing the expansion of the church, as the distribution of the Spirit indicates in vv. 15-17.



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