The church in Jerusalem was much persecuted at this time, and all except the apostles were scattered about over the country-side of Judaea and Samaria. Stephen was buried by devout men, who mourned greatly over him. Saul, meanwhile, was making havoc of the church; he made his way into house after house, carrying men and women off and committing them to prison.
Those who had been driven away spread the gospel as they went from place to place; and Philip, who had gone down to one of the cities of Samaria, preached Christ there. The multitude listened with general accord to what Philip said, as their own eyes and ears witnessed the miracles he did. There were many possessed by unclean spirits, and these came out, crying aloud; many, too, were healed of the palsy, and of lameness, and there was great rejoicing in that city. And there was a man called Simon, who had been in the city before Philip came there, misleading the people of Samaria with sorcery, and pretending to have great powers, so that high and low hung upon his words; This, they said, is an angel called the great angel of God. Long misled by his sorceries, they continued to pay attention to him, until Philip came and preached to them about God's kingdom. Then they found faith and were baptized, men and women alike, in the name of Jesus Christ; and Simon, who had found faith and been baptized with the rest, kept close to Philip's side; he was astonished by the great miracles and signs he saw happening.
And now the apostles at Jerusalem, hearing that Samaria had received the word of God, sent Peter and John to visit them. So these two came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, who had not, as yet, come down on any of them; they had received nothing so far except baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then the apostles began to lay their hands on them, so that the Holy Spirit was given them, and Simon, seeing that the Holy Spirit was granted through the imposition of the apostles' hands, offered them money; Let me too, he said, have such powers that when I lay my hands on anyone he will receive the Holy Spirit. Whereupon Peter said to him, Take your wealth with you to perdition, you who have told yourself that God's free gift can be bought with money. There is no share, no part for you in these doings; your heart is not true in the sight of God. Repent of this baseness of yours, and pray to God, in the hope of finding pardon for the thought which your heart has conceived. I see plainly that a bitter poison has taken hold of you; you are the bondsman of iniquity. And Simon answered, Pray for me to the Lord, that none of this harm you have spoken of may fall upon me.
So, when they had borne their full witness and preached the word of the Lord, they began their journey back to Jerusalem, carrying the gospel into many Samaritan villages. Meanwhile, Philip was commanded by an angel of the Lord, Rise up, and go south to meet the road which leads from Jerusalem to Gaza, out in the desert. So he rose up and went; and found there an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, a courtier of Candace, queen of Ethiopia, and had charge of all her wealth; he had been up to worship at Jerusalem, and was now on his way home, driving along in his chariot and reading the prophet Isaias. The Spirit said to Philip, Go up to that chariot and keep close by it. And Philip, as he ran up, heard him reading the prophet Isaias, and asked, can you understand what you are reading? How could I, said he, without someone to guide me? And he entreated Philip to come up and sit beside him. The passage of scripture which he was reading was this; He was led away like a sheep to be slaughtered; like a lamb that is dumb before its shearer, he would not open his mouth. He was brought low, and all his rights taken away; who shall tell the story of his age? His life is being cut off from the earth. And the eunuch turned to Philip, and said, Tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? Himself, or some other man? Then Philip began speaking, and preached to him about Jesus, taking this passage as his theme. As they went on their way, they came to a piece of water, and the eunuch said, See, there is water here; why may I not be baptized? Philip said, If you do believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. So he had the chariot stopped, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him there. But when they came up from the water, Philip was carried off by the spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch did not see him any longer; he went on his way rejoicing. As for Philip, he was next heard of at Azotus; and from there he went preaching all round the villages, until he reached Caesarea.