8 Saul agreed with putting him to death.
On that day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and mourned deeply over him. 3 Saul, however, was ravaging the church. He would enter house after house, drag off men and women, and put them in prison.
Philip in Samaria
4 So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to a[a] city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. 6 The crowds were all paying attention to what Philip said, as they listened and saw the signs he was performing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
The Response of Simon
9 A man named Simon had previously practiced sorcery in that city and amazed the Samaritan people, while claiming to be somebody great.10 They all paid attention to him, from the least of them to the greatest, and they said, “This man is called the Great Power of God.”[b] 11 They were attentive to him because he had amazed them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip, as he proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Even Simon himself believed. And after he was baptized, he followed Philip everywhere and was amazed as he observed the signs and great miracles that were being performed.
14 When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 After they went down there, they prayed for them so the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit because he had not yet come down on any of them. 16 (They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit[c] was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also so that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter told him, “May your silver be destroyed with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God.22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your heart’s intent may be forgiven. 23 For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by wickedness.”
24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon replied, “so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
25 So, after they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they traveled back to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
The Conversion of the Ethiopian Official
26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: “Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is the desert road.[d]) 27 So he got up and went. There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem 28 and was sitting in his chariot on his way home, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud.
29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot.”
30 When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the Scripture passage he was reading was this:
He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb is silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will describe his generation?
For his life is taken from the earth.[e]
34 The eunuch said to Philip, “I ask you, who is the prophet saying this about—himself or someone else?” 35 Philip proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning with that Scripture.
36 As they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. The eunuch said, “Look, there’s water. What would keep me from being baptized?” [f] 38 So he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip appeared in[g] Azotus,[h] and he was traveling and preaching the gospel in all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
The Damascus Road
9 Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest 2 and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. 4 Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul said.
“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. 9 He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.
10 There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”
“Here I am, Lord,” he replied.
11 “Get up and go to the street called Straight,” the Lord said to him, “to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, since he is praying there. 12 In a vision[i] he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands on him so that he may regain his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is my chosen instrument to take my name to Gentiles, kings, and Israelites. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Ananias went and entered the house. He placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 And after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul Proclaiming the Messiah
Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some time. 20 Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.”
21 All who heard him were astounded and said, “Isn’t this the man in Jerusalem who was causing havoc for those who called on this name and came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
22 But Saul grew stronger and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
23 After many days had passed, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plot. So they were watching the gates day and night intending to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the wall.
Saul in Jerusalem
26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple. 27 Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the apostles and explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that the Lord had talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 Saul was coming and going with them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He conversed and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers found out, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
The Church’s Growth
31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
The Healing of Aeneas
32 As Peter was traveling from place to place, he also came down to the saints who lived in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed,”[j] and immediately he got up. 35 So all who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
Dorcas Restored to Life
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which is translated Dorcas). She was always doing good works and acts of charity. 37 About that time she became sick and died. After washing her, they placed her in a room upstairs. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples heard that Peter was there and sent two men to him who urged him, “Don’t delay in coming with us.” 39 Peter got up and went with them. When he arrived, they led him to the room upstairs. And all the widows approached him, weeping and showing him the robes and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room. He knelt down, prayed, and turning toward the body said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and helped her stand up. He called the saints and widows and presented her alive. 42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed for some time in Joppa with Simon, a leather tanner.