Acts 8

Seven Chosen to Serve

Now in these days kwhen the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists1 arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in lthe daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. mTherefore, brothers,2 pick out from among you seven men nof good repute, ofull of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But pwe will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, qa man full of faith and rof the Holy Spirit, and sPhilip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, ta proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and uthey prayed and vlaid their hands on them.

And wthe word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests xbecame obedient to ythe faith.

Stephen Is Seized

And Stephen, full of grace and zpower, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But athey could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then bthey secretly instigated men who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God. 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they cset up false dwitnesses who said, This man never ceases to speak words against ethis holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth fwill destroy this place and will gchange hthe customs that Moses delivered to us. 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face iwas like the face of an angel.

Stephen's Speech

And the high priest said, Are these things so? And Stephen said:

jBrothers and fathers, hear me. kThe God lof glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, mbefore he lived in Haran, and said to him, nGo out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you. mThen he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And oafter his father died, pGod removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but promised qto give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, rthough he had no child. And God spoke to this effectthat shis offspring would tbe sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them ufour hundred years. But vI will judge the nation that they serve, said God, and after that they shall come out wand worship me in this place. And xhe gave him the covenant of circumcision. And yso Abraham became the father of Isaac, and zcircumcised him on the eighth day, and aIsaac became the father of Jacob, and bJacob of the twelve patriarchs.

And the patriarchs, cjealous of Joseph, dsold him into Egypt; but eGod was with him 10 and rescued him out of all his afflictions and fgave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, gwho made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 11 Now hthere came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food. 12 iBut when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit. 13 And jon the second visit kJoseph made himself known to his brothers, and lJoseph's family became known to Pharaoh. 14 And mJoseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, nseventy-five persons in all. 15 And oJacob went down into Egypt, and phe died, he qand our fathers, 16 and rthey were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that sAbraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17 But tas the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, uthe people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18 until there arose over Egypt another king vwho did not know Joseph. 19 wHe dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, xso that they would not be kept alive. 20 yAt this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God's sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father's house, 21 and zwhen he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses awas instructed in ball the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was cmighty in his words and deeds.

23 When he was forty years old, it came into his heart dto visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 eAnd on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other? 27 But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, fWho made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday? 29 At this retort gMoses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, hwhere he became the father of two sons.

30 Now when forty years had passed, ian angel appeared to him jin the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 kI am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, lTake off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 mI have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and nhave heard their groaning, and oI have come down to deliver them. pAnd now come, I will send you to Egypt.

35 This Moses, whom they rejected, qsaying, Who made you a ruler and a judge?this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer rby the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 sThis man led them out, performing twonders and signs uin Egypt and vat the Red Sea and win the wilderness for xforty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, God will raise up for you ya prophet like me from your brothers. 38 This is the one zwho was in the congregation in the wilderness with athe angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. bHe received cliving doracles to give to us. 39 Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and ein their hearts they turned to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, fMake for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him. 41 And gthey made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and hwere rejoicing in ithe works of their hands. 42 But jGod turned away and kgave them over to worship lthe host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:

mDid you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices,

nduring the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?

43  You took up the tent of oMoloch

and the star of your god Rephan,

the images that you made to worship;

and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.

44 Our fathers had pthe tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses qdirected him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. 45 Our fathers in turn rbrought it in with Joshua when they sdispossessed the nations tthat God drove out before our fathers. So it was uuntil the days of David, 46 vwho found favor in the sight of God and wasked to find a dwelling place for xthe God of Jacob.1 47 But it was ySolomon who built a house for him. 48 zYet the Most High does not dwell ain houses made by hands, as the prophet says,

49  bHeaven is my throne,

cand the earth is my footstool.

What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,

or what is the place of my rest?

50  Did not my hand make all these things?

51 dYou stiff-necked people, euncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. fAs your fathers did, so do you. 52 gWhich of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of hthe Righteous One, iwhom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law jas delivered by angels and kdid not keep it.

The Stoning of Stephen

54 Now when they heard these things lthey were enraged, and they mground their teeth at him. 55 But he, nfull of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw othe glory of God, and Jesus standing pat the right hand of God. 56 And he said, Behold, I see qthe heavens opened, and rthe Son of Man standing pat the right hand of God. 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together2 at him. 58 Then sthey cast him out of the city and tstoned him. And uthe witnesses laid down their garments vat the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, whe called out, Lord Jesus, xreceive my spirit. 60 And yfalling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, zLord, do not hold this sin against them. And when he had said this, ahe fell asleep.

Saul Ravages the Church

And bSaul capproved of his execution.

And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and dthey were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But eSaul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he fdragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

Philip Proclaims Christ in Samaria

Now gthose who were scattered went about preaching the word. hPhilip went down to the city1 of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. iAnd the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him jand saw the signs that he did. For kunclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So lthere was much joy in that city.

Simon the Magician Believes

But there was a man named Simon, mwho had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, nsaying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, oThis man is the power of God that is called pGreat. 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had qamazed them with his magic. 12 But when rthey believed Philip as he preached good news sabout the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, rthey were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And tseeing signs and ugreat miracles2 performed, vhe was amazed.

14 Now when wthe apostles at Jerusalem heard that xSamaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them ythat they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for zhe had not yet afallen on any of them, but bthey had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then cthey laid their hands on them and dthey received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit. 20 But Peter said to him, eMay your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God fwith money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for gyour heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, hif possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in ithe gall3 of bitterness and in jthe bond of iniquity. 24 And Simon answered, kPray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.

25 Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, lpreaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

26 Now man angel of the Lord said to Philip, Rise and go toward the south4 to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an nEthiopian, a oeunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, pwho was in charge of all her treasure. qHe had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, Go over and join this chariot. 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, Do you understand what you are reading? 31 And he said, rHow can I, unless someone sguides me? And the invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

uLike a sheep he was led to the slaughter

and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,

so he opens not his mouth.

33  In his vhumiliation justice was denied him.

Who can describe his generation?

For his life is taken away from the earth.

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and wbeginning with this Scripture xhe told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, See, here is water! yWhat prevents me from being baptized?5 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, zthe Spirit of the Lord acarried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

The Conversion of Saul

But Saul, bstill cbreathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to dthe high priest and asked him for letters eto the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to fthe Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. gNow as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting hme? And he said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus, hwhom you are persecuting. But irise and enter the city, and you will be told jwhat you are to do. kThe men who were traveling with him stood speechless, lhearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, mhe saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named nAnanias. The Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias. And he said, oHere I am, Lord. 11 And the Lord said to him, Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man pof Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and qlay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight. 13 But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many about this man, rhow much evil he has done to syour tsaints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from uthe chief priests to bind all who vcall on your name. 15 But the Lord said to him, Go, for whe is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name xbefore the Gentiles and ykings and the children of Israel. 16 For zI will show him how much ahe must suffer bfor the sake of my name. 17 So cAnanias departed and entered the house. And dlaying his hands on him he said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and ebe filled with the Holy Spirit. 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and fhe regained his sight. Then ghe rose and was baptized; 19 and htaking food, he was strengthened.

Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues

For isome days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, jHe is the Son of God. 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, Is not this the man who kmade havoc lin Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests? 22 But Saul mincreased all the more in strength, and nconfounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving othat Jesus was the Christ.

Saul Escapes from Damascus

23 pWhen many days had passed, the Jews1 plotted to kill him, 24 but their qplot became known to Saul. rThey were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and slet him down through an opening in the wall,2 lowering him in a basket.

Saul in Jerusalem

26 And twhen he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But uBarnabas took him and vbrought him to the apostles and declared to them whow on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and xhow at Damascus he had ypreached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went zin and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against athe Hellenists.3 But bthey were seeking to kill him. 30 And when cthe brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off dto Tarsus.

31 So ethe church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And fwalking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, git multiplied.

The Healing of Aeneas

32 Now has Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. 34 And Peter said to him, Aeneas, iJesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed. And immediately he rose. 35 jAnd all the residents of Lydda and kSharon saw him, and lthey turned to the Lord.

Dorcas Restored to Life

36 Now there was in mJoppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas.4 She was full of ngood works and acts of charity. 37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in oan upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, pPlease come to us without delay. 39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to qthe upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics5 and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. 40 But Peter rput them all outside, and sknelt down and prayed; and turning to the body the said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and umany believed in the Lord. 43 And he stayed in Joppa for many days vwith one Simon, a tanner.

Peter and Cornelius

10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of wwhat was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man xwho feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. yAbout the ninth hour of the day1 zhe saw clearly in a vision aan angel of God come in and say to him, Cornelius. And he stared at him in terror and said, What is it, Lord? And he said to him, Your prayers and your alms bhave ascended cas a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging dwith one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter's Vision

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, ePeter went up fon the housetop about gthe sixth hour2 to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into ha trance 11 and saw ithe heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: Rise, Peter; kill and eat. 14 But Peter said, By no means, Lord; jfor I have never eaten anything that is kcommon or lunclean. 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, mWhat God has made clean, do not call common. 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

17 Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what nthe vision that he had seen might mean, behold, othe men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate 18 and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. 19 And while Peter was pondering nthe vision, pthe Spirit said to him, Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and qaccompany them without hesitation,3 for I have sent them. 21 And Peter went down to the men and said, I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming? 22 And they said, Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and rGod-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by sa holy angel to send for you to come to his house and tto hear what you have to say. 23 So he invited them in to be his guests.

The next day he rose and went away with them, and usome of vthe brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and wfell down at his feet and xworshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, yStand up; I too am a man. 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew zto associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but aGod has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.

30 And Cornelius said, bFour days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at cthe ninth hour,4 and behold, da man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, Cornelius, eyour prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.

Gentiles Hear the Good News

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: Truly I understand that fGod gshows no partiality, 35 but fin every nation anyone who fears him and hdoes what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for ithe word that he sent to Israel, jpreaching good news of kpeace through Jesus Christ (lhe is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, mbeginning nfrom Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how oGod anointed Jesus of Nazareth pwith the Holy Spirit and with qpower. He went about doing good and healing all rwho were oppressed by the devil, sfor God was with him. 39 And twe are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. uThey put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but vGod raised him on wthe third day and made him to xappear, 41 ynot to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as zwitnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And ahe commanded us to preach to the people and to testify bthat he is the one appointed by God to be judge cof the living and the dead. 43 dTo him eall the prophets bear witness that feveryone who believes in him receives gforgiveness of sins hthrough his name.

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still saying these things, ithe Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among jthe circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because kthe gift of the Holy Spirit lwas poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them mspeaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 nCan anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit ojust as we have? 48 And he pcommanded them qto be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.