2. The gospel spreads into Palestine, 6:1-12:25

vii] Philip and the Ethiopian


Following the stoning of Stephen, the Hellenist Jews escape the ensuing persecution in Jerusalem and begin the work of extending the gospel. In chapter 8, Luke focuses on Philip the evangelist, one of the deacons (not the apostle Philip). His ministry in Samaria has produced spectacular results, although there is a need for the apostles, Peter and John, to ground and authorise his ministry. In the passage before us Luke describes Philip's encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch, a man who is not a Jew, but who is interested in the Jewish faith. Confronted with the gospel, the eunuch believes, is baptized, and continues on his way.


The gospel continues to extend its influence - from Jerusalem to the ends of the world, from Jew to Gentile. Even an excluded Ethiopian eunuch finds salvation in the way.


i] Context: See 8:1-8. Up to this point in Acts, Luke has recorded the conversion of large groups, but now, in the next three chapters, he records the conversion of individuals, the eunuch, Saul and Cornelius.


ii] Background: See

iThe movement of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, 1:1-11;

iWater Baptism in Acts, 2:37-41


iii] Structure: Philip and the Ethiopian:

Setting, v26;

Philip meets an Ethiopian eunuch, v27-29;

The Ethiopian is confused by the scriptures, v30-31;

The confusing text, v32-33;

Philip explains the text, v34-35;

Philip baptises the Ethiopian, v36-38;

Philip abruptly leaves, v39-40.


iv] Interpretation:

Although the passage reads like a simple conversion story, it is important to note the miraculous elements present in it, in particular, Philip's arranged meeting with the Ethiopian by an angel, and his sudden removal from the scene by the Spirit, v39. The point Luke seems to make is "that all that was done was done by the will of God", so authorising the baptism of a eunuch from a foreign land, while illustrating "the power of the Gospel and the oversight of the mission by God", Barrett. So, for Luke, this is something more than just a conversion story.

The fulfilment of God's covenant-promise to Abraham, the promise of a blessing to the world, is realised in this story. As the Samaritans were barred from the worship of God at Jerusalem / the temple, so is an Ethiopian eunuch. He may have gone up "to Jerusalem to worship", but as a eunuch he could never enter the temple, never touch the promised covenant blessings. As the Queen of Sheba was once drawn to God's majesty evident in Solomon's kingdom, so the Ethiopian eunuch is drawn to worship God in Jerusalem / the temple, but access to the truth is denied him, and he is left confused. Yet, like the Samaritans, this Ethiopian is now able to experience the promised blessings of the covenant; he is now free to come into the presence of the Most High, free to enter the assembly of God's people.

So again, Luke demonstrates the divine authority by which the news of God's coming kingdom makes its move from Jerusalem / the temple / the law. The miraculous way Philip both meets and leaves the Ethiopian eunuch authorises this move.

In an organisational sense, the story is part of Philip's Samaritan ministry. So, what we have here in both this story, and the account of the Samaritans' conversion, is the first step in the gospel's movement from Jews to Gentiles. Here we have people estranged from God's grace by Israel's exclusive cult, standing on the fringe, as it were, of God's long-promised blessings to mankind, but now, through the gospel, they are included, and so are able to possess all of God's promised blessings.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 8:26

The conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch, v26-40. i] Setting, v26: In Old Testament prophetic style, Philip is guided by an angel to minister to a seeker on the Gaza road. The divine management of this conversion further authorises the outward move of the gospel.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

kuriou (oV) gen. "of the Lord" - [an angel] of the lord. The genitive is ablative, expressing source / origin. Culy suggests that the phrase in the OT is a periphrasis for "the Lord" and that Luke may be using it here with the same connotation, eg., Gen.16:7-14, 21:14-19, etc.... It does seem likely that this type of descriptive language is simply making the point that Philip received divine guidance to undertake a particular task. The descriptive language used in v29 probably make a similar point.

legwn (legw) pres. part. "[said to Philip]" - [spoke to philip] saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say." See legonteV, 1:6.

kata + acc. "-" - [get up and go] according to [the south]. The preposition introduces an adverbial phrase which may either be temporal or local. So, the instruction is either, go south on the road that is in the desert, (the road known as) the desert road, or go at midday on the desert road. Either way, the instruction is making sure Philip gets to meet the Ethiopian. "Get yourself ready and go South", TEV.

epi + acc. "to" - upon [the road]. Spatial; "up to, to, on, ..."

auth estin erhmoV "the desert road" - this is the desert road. This may be a reference to "the road" or to "Gaza", so either the road through the desert, as NIV, or Gaza in the desert, the original town of Gaza which was destroyed in 93BC and then known as "Desert Gaza"; "from Jerusalem to Gaza, the town now deserted" / "out in the desert", Knox. The road known as "the Desert Road" was actually the road that ran from Gaza to Egypt.

katabainousan (katabainw) pres. part. "that goes down" - going down. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "road", as NIV.

apo + gen. "from" - from [jerusalem]. Expressing separation; "away from."


ii] Philip meets an Ethiopian eunuch, v27-29: The Ethiopian was an official from an ancient kingdom that stretched from the first cataract on the Nile at Aswan, south to Khartoum. It was viewed as the end of the known world, and beyond Roman rule. The rulers of this kingdom went by the title Candace. The Nubian kings were regarded as children of the sun, divine, and so secular duties were carried out by the queen mother who bore the title Candace. As a court official, he may have been a eunuch, or may just have carried the title. He was obviously a God-fearer of sorts, a Gentile follower of the Jewish faith, although as a eunuch, his participation in religious celebrations would have been very limited, cf., Deut.23:1 - this restriction may well have been lifted by now following the promise in Isaiah 56:3ff. From Luke's perspective, he fits somewhere between a Samaritan and a Gentile. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship God and was on his way home when he meets Philip along the way.

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "So [he started out]" - [and] having arisen [we went]. The aorist indicating punctiliar action and participle is either attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the main verb "he went", or consecutive, expressing result, "so he got up and went on his way", Moffatt. Philip immediately responds to the angel's directive.

epi + gen. "in charge of [all the treasury]" - [and behold, an ethiopian man, a eunuch] over [all the treasury of her]. The preposition is used here to express subordination.

KandakhV (h) gen. "of the Kandake" - [a court official] of candace. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic, limiting "court official", "a court official who was in the pay of / .... Candace"; "her chancellor of the exchequer", Barclay.

Aiqiopwn (y opoV) gen. "[which means queen] of the Ethiopians" - [queen] of the ethiopians. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / subordination, limiting "queen"; "queen over the Ethiopians."

proskunhswn (proskunew) fut. part. "to worship" - [who had come] worshipping [into jerusalem]. The participle is adverbial, probably final, expressing purpose; "he had visited Jerusalem in order to worship the God of Israel." The use of the word here may imply a pilgrimage, cf. 24:11; "he had been to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage", REB.


The eunuch was sitting in his carriage reading aloud from the prophet Isaiah 53:7-8. In the ancient world, people read aloud.

te "and" - and. Again, the function of this correlating conjunction, commonly found in Acts, is not overly clear. With kai ... kai, it may coordinate "returning" and "sitting" and "reading", although Culy, following Levinsohn Acts Gk., suggests it "indicates that the previous clause is preliminary, whereas the subsequent clause introduces the primary events."

hn uJpostrefwn (uJpostrefw) pres. part. "on his way home" - he was returning. This participle, along with the imperfect verb to-be h\n, forms a periphrastic imperfect construction, "he was one his way home", although Barrett says it is best viewed as a descriptive; "who was now on his way home", Barclay.

kaqhmenoV (kaqhmai) pres. part. "sitting" - [and] sitting. The participle is technically another periphrastic imperfect, "he was returning and was sitting in his chariot", although treated adverbially makes better sense, modal, as NIV, or temporal, "he was on his way home and while reclining in his estate wagon he was reading ..."

epi + gen. "in" - upon, on. Spatial.

aJrmatoV (aJrma) gen. "chariot" - the wagon [of him]. Not necessarily a chariot, given that a chariot didn't have a seat, but rather a covered wheeled wagon of some sort with a seat / bed and supplies, useful for a trip that would actually take many weeks. "Carriage."

aneginwsken (anaginwskw) imperf. "reading" - [and] he was reading. The normal practice was to read aloud, which is why Philip heard him. The eunuch's wealth is evidenced by him owning a copy of Isaiah (or part of). The ownership of such a valuable text indicates his dedication to the faith of Israel.

ton profhthn Hsaian "the Book of Isaiah the prophet" - the prophet isaiah. A metonymy - the substitution of one term for another for which it is associated / idiomatic; "the book that the prophet Isaiah wrote", as NIV.


The initial message was from an angel, but now the Spirit instructs Philip to approach the cart carrying the eunuch. Some commentators draw a distinction between the two, but Luke seems to be using the terms interchangeably. Technically one might say, the Spirit speaks through the angel, but as already noted, whether an angel, or the Spirit, the sense is "the Lord directed Philip." A Jewish deference toward God is always evident in such language.

tw/ Filippw/ (oV) dat. "[the Spirit told] Philip" - [and said the spirit] to philip. Dative of indirect object.

tw/ a{rmati (a) "[that] chariot" - [go toward = approach and join this] cart. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to go toward"; "go and join the carriage", Barclay.


iii] The Ethiopian is confused by the scriptures, v30-31. Traveling in a covered carriage, the Ethiopian is reading from Isaiah 53. The ancient practice of reading aloud was due to the manuscripts of the time; they were not easy to read. Philip is prompted by the Spirit to run beside the wagon. Philip asks whether the Ethiopian understands what he is reading. He doesn't, so Philip is asked to interpret. As was typical of religious texts of the day, a person may understand the literal sense of the text, but it is the allegorical interpretation and ethical applications that required technical input. The Ethiopian is struggling with technical issues; "Who is the prophet speaking about; it is himself or someone else?"

prosdramwn (prostrecw) aor. part. "then [Philip] ran up to the chariot" - [but/and] having run out, run toward the cart. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "heard", "ran .... and heard", but possibly adverbial, temporal, as NIV; "When Philip ran up, he heard him reading ....", Moffatt.

hkousen (akouw) aor. "heard" - [philip] heard. As was the practice up until recent times, people read aloud, or at least mouthed the words.

anaginwskontoV (anaginwskw) gen. pres. part. "reading" - [him] reading [isaiah the prophet, and he said]. The genitive participle serves as the complement of the genitive object autou, "him", genitive of direct object after the verb "heard", standing in a double genitive construction and asserting a fact about the object "him".

a\ra ge "-"- then [do you know, understand what you are reading]? The particle a\ra introduces a question which expects neither a positive nor negative answer, the doubt of which is strengthened by ge, so Moule. "Do you really / do you indeed have any idea about what you are reading?"


The sentence opens with an irregular conditional clause.

oJ de "-" - but/and he [he said]. Transitional, indicating a change in subject from Philip to the Ethiopian.

twV "how" - how. Introducing a rhetorical question.

gar a]n + opt. "[can I]" - for [indeed/then might i be able]. The particle a]n indicates that the sentence is contingent on the previous statement. This indicates that gar, "for", is probably introducing a causal clause explaining why he cannot understand what he is reading; "'do you understand what you are reading?' 'Of course I do not understand', he said, 'for how should I be able to do so .....", Barrett.

ean mh + fut. ind. "unless [someone explains]" - unless [someone]. An aorist subjunctive would normally be required to follow this particle so as to form the protasis of conditional clause, 3rd class; "unless, as the case may be, someone will guide me, then how might I be able to understand." Barrett notes that the fut. ind. and aor. subj. sound the same. Although, following the optative, it is possible that it introduces the reasoning associated with the answer. "How can I unless I have someone to guide me", Phillips.

oJdhghsei (oJdhgew) fut. ind. "explains" - will instruct, guide, show the way. The Old Testament does speak of Jesus, but, of itself, it is not possible to understand how it speaks of Jesus and his fulfilment of Old Testament scripture without the New Testament / gospel serving as a guide to its exegesis. The best that Jewish exegetes could come up with, particularly of this passage from Isaiah's servant song, was that he was some mysterious person suffering for his righteousness, possibly the prophet himself, or the messiah, or even Israel. None of this is very helpful. Only in Jesus, and his sacrifice for sins, do we understand the role of the Suffering Servant.

te .... kai "-" - [he asked, exhorted, urged philip]. Introducing a correlative series; "both to come up and to sit with him."

anabanta (anabainw) aor. part. "to come up" - having come up. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the infinitive "to sit"; "to come up and to sit." "He invited Philip to ride along in the carriage with him."

kaqisai (kaqizw) aor. inf. "to sit" - to sit. The infinitive serves to introduce a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the eunuch urged Philip to do.

sun + dat. "with [him]" - with [him]. Expressing association.


iv] A confusing text, v32-33: Neither the prophets, nor the teachers of the law, ever made the link between the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, the Davidic Messiah of Isaiah 11, and the glorious Son of Man of Daniel 7. Jesus certainly made the link, and it was not till after his death and resurrection that the disciples started to work on that link.

thV grafhV (h) gen. "of Scripture" - [but/and this was the passage] of the scripture [which he was reading]. The genitive may be treated ablative, expressing source / origin, "from Scripture", or adjectival, partitive, "the portion of Scripture." The eunuch was obviously reading the LXX, the Greek Old Testament, as Luke's quote is from this version and not the Hebrew version of Isaiah 53:7-8. The eunuch's question concerns the one who suffers without complaint? The antecedent of the pronoun h}n, "which", is unclear; it is either "which passage he was reading", or "which scripture he was reading." Barrett opts for the second option thus indicating that the text is but identifying the scripture under consideration, namely the Servant Song, Isaiah 52:13-53:12. This also indicates that the Servant Song may be summarised by these verses, namely, Christ's vicarious suffering.

wJV "like" - [he was led away] as [a sheep upon = to the slaughter]" - Comparative. Culy notes the different possible ways to express this comparative: "like a sheep led to slaughter", or "he was led to slaughter like a sheep."

enantion + gen. "before" - [he was silent, speechless as a lamb] before. Spatial. "He was as silent as a lamb whose wool is being cut of, and he did not say a word", CEV.

tou keirontoV (keirw) gen. aor. part. "[its] shearer" - the one having cut the hair off, sheared. The participle serves as a substantive.

ouJtwV "so" - therefore [he does not open the mouth of him]. Inferential; here serving to restate, summarise the point being made; "he never opened his mouth", Cassirer.


en + dat. "in" - in [the humiliation of him]. Local, expressing context or circumstance - within the humiliating circumstance he experienced; "he was humiliated and received no justice", Barclay.

hJ krisiV (iV ewV) "justice" - the judgment, decision [of him was taken away]. Nominative subject of the verb "to take away." Both the MT and LXX expression "he was deprived of justice" is obscure. It could mean his condemnation was removed, but more likely that justice was removed, possibly, "he has no redress", REB, although the denial of justice, as NIV, seems best. "Fair judgment was denied him", NJB. The genitive pronoun autou, "of him", is adjectival, identifying the possession of a derivative characteristic, "justice pertaining to him was taken away", or adverbial, reference / respect, "justice was taken away with respect to him."

thn genean (a) "his descendants" - [who will tell, recite, narrate] the generation [of him]? Possibly referring to his contemporary generation, so AV, but most likely making the point that because of his untimely death he has no descendants, as NIV. "Who will be able to recount the story of his posterity?" Cassirer.

oJti "for" - that. Introducing a causal clause explaining why people are no longer able to describe his generation, namely because his life was taken from him. "How can he have children if his life is snatched away?", CEV.

airetai "(airw) pres. pas. "was taken" - [the life of him] is taken up. For some reason the LXX uses the verb, "to lift, take up" for the Hebrew "to cut off." There is little doubt that the prophet is telling us that the servant dies, rather than he is "lifted up from the earth"; an ascended / resurrected servant. So, best in the sense of his life being "taken away", ie., "killed", although "taken up to glory" is possible. "His life is being cut off from the earth", Knox.

apo + gen. "from" - from [the earth]. Expressing separation, "away from."


v] Philip explains the text, v34-35: The Ethiopian's question allows Philip to explain the gospel. Starting with the Isaiah passage, Philip would be able to explain that "the time is fulfilled" in the person of Jesus, the Suffering Servant, who died for the sins of the many, and then go on to announce that "the kingdom of God is at hand", this time contextualised for an Ethiopian God-fearer.

apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "-" - [but/and the eunuch] having answered. Attendant circumstance participle, expressing action accompanying the verb "to say"; redundant Semitic construction.

tw/ Filippw/ (oV) dat. "[asked] Philip" - [said] to philip. Dative of indirect object.

sou gen. pro. "please" - [I beg, ask of] you. Genitive of direct object after the verb deomai, "to ask", which takes a genitive of persons.

peri + gen. "[who .....] about" - about [whom the prophet says this,] about [himself, or] about [certain other]? Reference / respect; "about, concerning, with reference to." "Who is the prophet speaking about? Is it about himself or about someone else", Barclay.


anoixaV (anoigw) aor. part. "-" - [but/and philip] having opened [the mouth of him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to preach". This descriptive / idiomatic phrase / biblicism, is often used in the LXX when announcing important news / prophetic discourse; it can be left untranslated.

arxamenoV (arcw) aor. part. "began" - [and] having begun [from this scripture]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "to preach". The action is supported by apo, "from", used here of a starting point rather than a source. Philip begins explaining the scripture of concern to the eunuch.

euhggelisato (euanggelizw) aor. "told [him] the good news [about Jesus]" - he preached, communicated important news. Meanings such as "bring good news", "preach good tidings" reads a meaning back into the word which it originally did not carry. The messenger from the battle-front announces important news, either good or bad, and this is what Philip is doing. "He told him important information about Jesus", or given the context, "explained how Jesus has fulfilled the Isaiah passage."

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

Ihsoun (ouV ou) acc. "about Jesus" - jesus. Accusative of reference / respect. The content of the communication concerned Jesus, indicating that Philip, along with Christian exegetes ever since, view Jesus, in his life, death, resurrection and ascension, as the proper fulfilment of Isaiah's Servant Song.


vi] Although not recorded, Philip probably concluded his gospel presentation with a call to repent and be baptized. Following the practice of John the Baptist, repentance was usually expressed outwardly in water immersion, or splashing. The Ethiopian obviously felt that the time was right, for they were soon on the lookout for some water. The Western text adds Philip's reply to the Ethiopian, v37.

wJV "as" - [but/and] while. Temporal use of the conjunction serving to introduce a temporal clause.

eporeuonto (poreuomai) imperf. "they traveled" - they were going. "As they were going along the road", CEV.

kata acc. "along [the road]" - according to [the way]. Expressing a standard, "in conformity with", but a common idiomatic phrase for "along the road", Barrett. "As they travelled on", Moffatt.

epi + acc. "to" - [they came] upon. Spatial; "upon, to, near."

uJdwr (wr atoV) "water" - [certain] water. Unstated as to a pool, stream etc. So, is this the desert road? The Wadi el Hasi, north of Gaza, is often identified as the source of the water, but this is only a guess.

kwluei (kwluw) "[why] shouldn't / [what] can stand in the way of" - [what] prevents, debars, hinders, forbids. What objection can be raised. The word is used by Luke in his gospel, 18:16, of not preventing little children coming to him, cf., also 11:52. "Is there any reason why I shouldn't be baptized?", Barclay.

baptisqhnai (baptizw) aor. pas. inf. "be baptized / being baptized" - [me] to be immersed = baptised. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to prevent", with the pronoun me, "me", serving as its accusative subject. Philip has seemingly covered the necessary response to the gospel, namely, "repent and be baptized" 2:38 - turn to Jesus and express this outwardly in water immersion / dipping, so Fitzmyer. It is also possible that the eunuch knew of the necessity for a God-fearer to undergo water baptism to become a Jewish proselyte and he has assumed a similar practice for a disciple of Jesus. Either way, "all the barriers are down, and so a eunuch, a black, God-fearing Gentile, is baptized", Bock, and this clearly by divine authority.


This verse is found in the Western text, but probably dates from the 2nd century. "He said to him, 'It is allowed if you believe with all your heart.' He answered, 'I believe Jesus is the Christ the son of God." It is interesting to note that Irenaeus, in Against Heresies, quotes the verse. This serves to support the theory that the Western text is the edited version of Luke's Acts.


The Ethiopian is baptised, but by what method? Jesus probably doesn't mind either dunking or splashing, especially as he never baptized anyone with water! As Barrett notes, "there is nothing in the passage to tell us how Luke understood baptism." Neil, for example, argues for full immersion and suggests that, where possible, it was performed in running water. His evidence is that this is how Jesus was baptized, but he forgets that a description is not a prescription.

sthnai (iJsthmi) aor. inf. "to stop" - [and he commanded the cart, chariot] to stand. Introducing an object clause / dependant statement of indirect speech / command; "he commanded that the chariot stop. The accusative "cart, chariot" serves as the accusative subject of the infinitive. "He ordered the carriage to halt", Barclay.

kai "then" - and. Coordinative, but with the sense next in time; "and then", as NIV.

eiV "into" - [both went down] to, into [the water]. This preposition expresses the direction of the action and arrival at, so "to the water's edge", but possibly "into/in the body of the water." The verb katebainw, "to come down", similarly makes no specific statement, other than that they left the road and went down to a body of water.

te ..... kai "-" - both [philip] and [the eunuch]. A correlative construction.

ebaptisen (baptizw) aor. "Philip baptized [him]" - [and] he baptized [him]. The agent of the action, "Philip", is often added for clarity. It is interesting that Philip, who is not an apostle, happily performs the baptism.


vii] Philip abruptly leaves, v39-40: The Spirit now leads Philip toward further missionary opportunities, while the eunuch continues his journey, now filled with joy. There is a miraculous touch to Philip's exit, an exit which, under the hand of the Spirit, authorises his actions. Luke tells us that Philip moves north along the coast road, preaching in the old Philistine cities on the way. In church tradition it is believed that he settled down in Caesarea, a family man with four daughters renowned as prophets.

o{te "when" - [but/and] when. Temporal conjunction, introducing a temporal clause.

anebhsan (anabainw) aor. "they came up" - they came up, rose up, advanced. Posing the same problem as above: "when they left the pool / wadi / well...", or "when they came up out of the pool / wadi / well..."

ek + "out of" - from, out of [the water]. Expressing source / origin.

kuriou (oV) "of the Lord" - [the spirit] of lord. Both nouns being anarthrous (without an article) does not negate a translation with definite articles, so Canon of Apollonius. The genitive kuriou may be treated as either ablative, source / origin, or adjectival, possessive, although the phrase is possibly just a respectful allusion to the Lord himself; see above. That Philip was whisked away by "the wind of the Lord" has been suggested, but rarely accepted.

hJrpasen (aJrpazw) aor. "suddenly took [Philip] away" - sized, snatched, carried off by force [philip]. The aorist's punctiliar action further emphasises the immediacy of "snatch away", so NIV. The Western text says an angel took him away, trying to explain the miraculous sense conveyed by the words. Of course, Philip's departure may not have been miraculous, but rather, immediate; "the Spirit of the Lord hurried Philip away", Goodspeed.

gar "-" - [and the eunuch did not see him any longer] for [he (the eunuch) was going the way]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the eunuch didn't see Philip any more. Clearly there is an ellipsis here; "The eunuch saw no more of Philip, because he, unlike Philip who was snatched away, went on his way rejoicing." He did so rejoicing", Barrett.

cairwn (cairw) pres. part. "rejoicing" - rejoicing. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his going; "the eunuch continued his journey rejoicing", Barclay. Joy overtakes the eunuch, indicating the reception of the Spirit, although there is no record of the Spirit falling on him, and particularly no reference of him speaking in tongues. It is possible that the bestowal of the Spirit (the Spirit's outward manifestation in power evidenced in the gift of tongues????), is at this time, seen as an apostolic responsibility. Yet, it is more than likely that Luke does not want to disturb the theological movement of the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles, which move finds its focus in the conversion of Cornelius and his reception of the Spirit with the outward evidence of tongues. Of course, Luke may be treating the Ethiopian as a proselyte, but this is unlikely. Whatever the case, it is an interesting omission on the part of Luke. It obviously disturbed the editors of the Western text, given their addition "the Holy Spirit fell on the eunuch, but the angel carried Philip away", instead of "the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away."


Philip moves on, working his way up the coast toward Caesarea, which is where he will later catch up with Paul, 21:8.

de "however" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

euJreqh (euJriskw) aor. pas. "appeared" - [philip] was found. Sometimes with the meaning "surprise", and possibly a Semitism for "he came", although the evidence is limited. "Appeared" reflects the miraculous, but the point is, he was off preaching the gospel after the conversion of the eunuch, and so "was found in (not blown to!) Azotus." "Arrived at", Barclay, seems best.

Azwton "Azotus" - [into = in] asotus. The old Philistine city of Ashdod some 20 miles north of Gaza, with Caesarea a further 25 miles up the coast, the then seat of Roman power in Palestine.

diercomenoV (diercomai) pres. mid. part. "travelled about" - [and] passing through. The participle is best treated as adverbial, temporal; "Philip arrived in Azotus and while touring that region he preached the gospel."

euhggelizeto (euaggilizw) imperf. "preaching the gospel" - he was preaching, communicating important news to [all the cities]. The imperfect expressing continued action. He was obviously communicating the gospel, although what he communicated is not stated, but assumed.

eJwV tou + inf. "until [he reached Caesarea]" - until [he came to caesarea]. This preposition, with the articular infinitive, introduces a temporal clause, future time, as NIV, with auton, "he", serving as the accusative subject of the infinitive. A dynamic equivalent can make better sense, "he went from town to town, all the way to Caesarea, telling people about Jesus", CEV.


Acts Introduction


Exegetical Commentaries


[Pumpkin Cottage]