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SAUL was pleased to have had a part in the murder of Stephen.
At that very time there was severe persecution against the church at Jerusalem;
and they were all, with the exception of the apostles, dispersed throughout the towns of Judea and Samaria.
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And devout men took up Stephen and buried him, and they mourned over him in great sorrow.
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As for Saul, he continued to persecute the church of God, entering into houses and dragging out men and women and delivering them to prison,
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¶ So that they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word of God.
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Then Philip went down to a Samaritan city and preached to them about Christ.
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And when the people of that place heard his word, they gave heed and listened attentively to everything Philip said, because they saw the miracles which he did.
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Many who were mentally afflicted cried with loud voices and were restored;
and others who were paralytic and lame were healed.
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And there was great joy in that city.
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Now there was there a man called Semon, who had lived in that city a long time, and who had deceived the Samaritan people by his magic, boasting of himself and saying, I am the greatest one.
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And both the noblest and the least followed him, saying, He is the greatest power of God.
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All of them listened to him, because for a long time he had bewitched them with his sorceries.
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But when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
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Semon himself also believed and was baptized and attached himself to Philip, and as he saw the miracles and great signs performed by his hand, he marvelled greatly.
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¶ Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that the Samaritan people had accepted the word of God, they sent to them Simon Peter and John,
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Who, when they went down, prayed over them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
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For as vet it had not come upon them although they had been baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus.
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Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
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And when Semon saw that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
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Saying, Give me also this authority so that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.
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Simon Peter said to him, Let your money perish with you because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with wealth.
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You have no part nor lot in this faith because your heart is not right in the sight of God.
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Repent, therefore, of this evil of yours, and beseech God that he may perhaps forgive you for the guile which is in your heart.
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For I see your heart is as bitter as gall and you are in the bonds of iniquity.
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Then Semon answered, saying, Pray God for me so that none of these things which you have spoken may come upon me.
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Now when Simon Peter and John had testified and taught them the word of God, they returned to Jerusalem after they had preached in many Samaritan villages.
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¶ And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise and go south by way of the desert that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza;
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So he arose and went;
and he was met by a eunuch, who had come from Ethiopia, an official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to worship at Jerusalem.
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While he was returning, sitting in his chariot, he read the book of the prophet Isaiah.
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And the Spirit said to Philip, Go near and keep close to the chariot.
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And as Philip drew near and heard him reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah, he said to him, Do you understand what you are reading?
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And the Ethiopian said, How can I understand unless some one teach me?
and he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
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The portion of the scripture which he was reading was this: He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and like a ewe lamb before the shearer, so he opened not his mouth.
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In his humiliation, he suffered imprisonment and judgment;
none can tell his struggle, for even his life is taken away from the earth.
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And the eunuch said to Philip.
I pray you, of whom does this prophet speak?
of himself or of some other man?
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Then Philip opened his mouth and began at that same scripture and preached to him concerning our Lord Jesus.
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And as they went on their way, they came to a place where there was water;
and the eunuch said.
Behold here is water;
what prevents me from being baptized?
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And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may.
And he answered, saying, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
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And he commanded the chariot be stopped;
and both went down into the water, and Philip baptized the eunuch.
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And when they came up from the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away and the eunuch saw him no more;
and he went on his way rejoicing.
40
Philip was found at Azotus;
and from there he traveled around and preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.