8 Saul was there. He had agreed that Stephen should die.
The Church Is Scattered
On that day the church in Jerusalem began to be attacked and treated badly. All except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
2Godly Jews buried Stephen. They sobbed and sobbed over him.
3But Saul began to destroy the church. He went from house to house. He dragged men and women away and put them in prison.
4The believers who had been scattered preached the word everywhere they went. 5Philip went down to a city in Samaria. There he preached about the Christ. 6The crowds listened to Philip. They saw the miraculous signs he did. They all paid close attention to what he said. 7Evil spirits screamed and came out of many people. Many who were disabled or who couldn’t walk were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city.
9A man named Simon lived in the city. For quite a while he had practiced evil magic there. He amazed all the people of Samaria. He claimed to be someone great. 10All of the people listened to him, from the least important of them to the most important. They exclaimed, “This man is known as the Great Power of God!” 11He had amazed them for a long time with his magic. So they followed him.
12But Philip preached the good news of God’s kingdom. He preached the name of Jesus Christ. So men and women believed and were baptized. 13Simon himself believed and was baptized. He followed Philip everywhere. He was amazed by the great signs and miracles he saw.
14The apostles in Jerusalem heard that people in Samaria had accepted God’s word. So they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived there, they prayed that the believers would receive the Holy Spirit. 16The Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them. And they received the Holy Spirit.
18Simon watched as the apostles placed their hands on them. He saw that the Spirit was given to them. So he offered money to Peter and John. 19He said, “Give me this power too. Then everyone I place my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.”
20Peter answered, “May your money be destroyed with you! Do you think you can buy God’s gift with money? 21You have no part or share in this holy work. Your heart is not right with God. 22Turn away from this evil sin of yours. Pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23I see that you are very bitter. You are a prisoner of sin.”
24Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me. Pray that nothing you have said will happen to me.”
25Peter and John gave witness and preached the Lord’s word. Then they returned to Jerusalem. On the way they preached the good news in many villages in Samaria.
Philip and the Man From Ethiopia
26An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. “Go south to the desert road,” he said. “It’s the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So Philip started out. On his way he met an Ethiopian official. The man had an important position. He was in charge of all the wealth of Candace. She was the queen of Ethiopia. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship. 28On his way home he was sitting in his chariot. He was reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The Holy Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot. Stay near it.”
30So Philip ran up to the chariot. He heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip asked.
31“How can I?” he said. “I need someone to explain it to me.” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32Here is the part of Scripture the official was reading. It says,
“He was led like a sheep to be killed.
Just as lambs are silent while their wool is being cut off,
he did not open his mouth.
33 When he was treated badly, he was refused a fair trial.
Who can say anything about his children?
His life was cut off from the earth.” (Isaiah 53:7, 8)
34The official said to Philip, “Tell me, please. Who is the prophet talking about? Himself, or someone else?” 35Then Philip began with that same part of Scripture. He told him the good news about Jesus.
36/37As they traveled along the road, they came to some water. The official said, “Look! Here is water! Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” 38He gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the official went down into the water. Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away. The official did not see him again. He went on his way full of joy. 40Philip was seen next at Azotus. From there he traveled all around. He preached the good news in all the towns. Finally he arrived in Caesarea.
About New International Reader’s Version (1998)
The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) was developed to help early readers understand the Bible. Begun in 1992, the NIrV is a simplification of the New International Version (NIV). The NIrV uses shorter words and sentences so that those with a typical fourth grade reading level can comprehend what they are reading. The chapters have been separated into shorter sections and most have titles that clearly indicate what the section is all about. The NIrV will be a valuable translation to those for whom English is a second language. The NIrV still relies on the best and oldest copies of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts for its translation, guaranteeing that those who read it are getting the actual Word of God.
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