Passage: Acts 8, 9 (RSV)

Acts 8

1And Saul was consenting to his death. And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Sama'ria, except the apostles.
2Devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him.
3But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
4Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
5Philip went down to a city of Sama'ria, and proclaimed to them the Christ.
6And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did.
7For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.
8So there was much joy in that city.
9But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the nation of Sama'ria, saying that he himself was somebody great.
10They all gave heed to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is that power of God which is called Great."
11And they gave heed to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.
12But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
14Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Sama'ria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,
15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
16for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
17Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
18Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,
19saying, "Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
20But Peter said to him, "Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
21You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
22Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.
23For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity."
24And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."
25Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.
26But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert road.
27And he rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of the Can'dace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship
28and was returning; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
29And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot."
30So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
31And he said, "How can I, unless some one guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this: "As a sheep led to the slaughter or a lamb before its shearer is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.
33In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken up from the earth."
34And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, pray, does the prophet say this, about himself or about some one else?"
35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he told him the good news of Jesus.
36And as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?"
38And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught up Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
40But Philip was found at Azo'tus, and passing on he preached the gospel to all the towns till he came to Caesare'a.

Acts 9

1But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him.
4And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
5And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting;
6but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
7The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
8Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
9And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Anani'as. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Anani'as." And he said, "Here I am, Lord."
11And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying,
12and he has seen a man named Anani'as come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."
13But Anani'as answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem;
14and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name."
15But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;
16for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."
17So Anani'as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized,
19and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
20And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, "He is the Son of God."
21And all who heard him were amazed, and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests."
22But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
23When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
24but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night, to kill him;
25but his disciples took him by night and let him down over the wall, lowering him in a basket.
26And when he had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.
27But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
28So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem,
29preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists; but they were seeking to kill him.
30And when the brethren knew it, they brought him down to Caesare'a, and sent him off to Tarsus.
31So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Sama'ria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.
32Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints that lived at Lydda.
33There he found a man named Aene'as, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed.
34And Peter said to him, "Aene'as, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed." And immediately he rose.
35And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
36Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.
37In those days she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him entreating him, "Please come to us without delay."
39So Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing tunics and other garments which Dorcas made while she was with them.
40But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, rise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
41And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive.
42And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
43And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.

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