Act 8:1 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Act 8:2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. Act 8:3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. Stephen is now executed and God has loosed the influence of Satan onto the Church, that they might not commit the sin of selfishness as the Jewish believers had. Now the message of God would go to all te peoples of the known world at that time. Act 8:4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Act 8:5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. Act 8:6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. Act 8:7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. Act 8:8 So there was much rejoicing in that city. Here we see that Philip has broken Jewish tradition and law and has gone to preach to and to teach the Samaritans. Everyone wanted to hear Philip because he was healing people just as Jesus had done and that brought out their raw, untempered, faith. Act 8:9 Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; Act 8:10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, "This man is what is called the Great Power of God." Act 8:11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. Act 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Unlike Simon's magic, Philip's teaching had life changing effects on people and they were making public professions of their faith in the Baptismal Waters. Act 8:13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Act 8:14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, Act 8:15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Act 8:16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Act 8:17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Some, today, have taken these verses out of context and use them for the formula for salvation. We must never be rash enough to do this, it is placing limits on what God is capable of and there is not a formula for salvation, it is the gift of God to sinful men. Act 8:18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, Act 8:19 saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." Act 8:20 But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! Act 8:21 "You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Act 8:22 "Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. Act 8:23 "For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity." Act 8:24 But Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me." It is a popular quest today to seek after what it is that Simon did wrong. If we have paid attention to the text it is likely that even the Lost Man could understand what is wrong here had he not been so indoctrinated with greed and capital gain. I see it as rather clear that Simon had found a new and likely more profitable scheme to generate income but Spiritual Gifts are not for sale! Act 8:25 So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. Peter and the other disciples have taken the hint and have, now, become evangelical.