Acts 8 Bible Study

Acts chapter 8 Bible study & commentary

Acts chapter 8 commentary Bible study


Acts 8:5-8 Samaria
Acts 8:9-13 Simon the Sorcerer
Acts 8:14-19 Receive the Holy Spirit
Acts 8:20-25 Simony
Acts 8:26-40 Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
Acts 8 Bible Study Questions (Handout)
ACTS 8:1  1 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Who was Saul and to whose death was he "consenting" (Acts 8:1)?
Saul was the "young man" who looked after the clothes of the mob while they stoned Stephen (see Stephen stoned). He then became a leading persecutor of Christians (see below).

ACTS 8:2  2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

Why would "devout men" (Acts 8:2) lament over Stephen's exemplary courage for Christ?
Jewish law prohibited public mourning of any kind for a condemned criminal. By making "great lamentation" (Acts 8:2) over Stephen's death, these men were publicly expressing that he was not a criminal but a righteous man, and in effect protesting against those who murdered him.

ACTS 8:3-4  3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. 4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

Who among the Christians stayed in Jerusalem?
"The apostles" (Acts 8:1)

Why were the other Christians "scattered" (Acts 8:1, 4)?
Saul might have thought that they scattered to avoid capture and some of the Christians who scattered might have thought that as well. But they then "went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). διασπαρεντες (diasparentes), the original Greek word translated "were scattered," gives us the English word diaspora and means "to disperse," as well as “to sow throughout.” Whenever a true Christian church grows, Satan attacks, but God uses that persecution for His purpose, to spread the Gospel to other regions, as happened when the persecution in Europe later spread the Gospel to North America. Satan trying to extinguish Jesus' work is like trying to extinguish an oil fire by throwing water on it - it spreads the fire and makes it bigger.

To what extent did Jesus foresee this scattering?
He didn't just foresee it; He commanded it. See Acts 1:8 Promise of the Father.

What is meant by "every house" (Acts 8:3)?
It could mean literally every single house in Jerusalem or every house that Saul suspected of having Christians, or it could mean "every" in the figurative sense of him having been very vigorous in his endeavors, like saying a basketball player was "everywhere" on the basketball court during a game.

What happened to the Christians Saul dragged off and imprisoned?
Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, is recorded in Acts 26:10 as saying: "This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them." So, many of them were killed and Saul/Paul had blood on his hands. He was a murderer of Christians.

What did Saul/Paul say about that later on?
"For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." (1 Corinthians 15:9)

What does that mean for Satanists, witches, even Muslim terrorists who abuse and even murder Christians?
Great are your sins, but greater still is the forgiving power of the blood of Jesus. Repent and confess your sins to Jesus, ask Him to forgive you, and worship Him as your true Savior, God, and Lord. Jesus forgave Saul and turned him into Paul. It isn't too late for you either.