Daily Truth Bible Study Acts 8:1-25 part 2
After reading the Bible text, lets continue with verse 5. Philip was in Samaria preaching Christ to the local people. His preaching was accompanied by signs and wonders via God’s power. Many heard, listened, and believed. These were apparently true conversions because verse 14 begins a section telling that Peter and John came to Samaria to lay hands on the believers so they would receive the Holy Spirit and they did.
However, there is mention of a sorcerer named Simon in this section as well. It seems as though he was not a true believer. Earlier in the Bible text, we see that Simon is a sorcerer who gave shows before the Samaritans and they thought him to be a great and powerful man…perhaps even a man of God. Remember that the Samaritans practiced a form of worship of the true God. This form was not without its problems but they were aware of the Old Testament writings and the fundamentals of the Jewish religion.
Simon was likely a practitioner of a combination of pseudo-science, magician’s tricks, and maybe even the occult. Once he encountered Philip, he saw that his tricks were no match for the real thing. He made a profession of belief and followed Philip but he was not a true convert. Watch what the text says in verse 18 and following. When Simon saw the Holy Spirit was received by those whom Peter and John laid hands upon, he asked to purchase with money the ability to confer the Holy Spirit.
Wow. How sad. I believe this confirms that Simon just didn’t get the picture of what was happening and why. He apparently wanted to be able to maintain a career being able to mesmerize an audience with a new trick in his toolkit. He thought the power of God could be manipulated for personal gain. Even back then, people saught to gain financially and self-righteously from God’s work.
In verse 20 of Acts 8, we see Peter sharply rebuke Simon for thinking God’s power could be bought! I presume that Simon was not a true believer since he was not struck dead like Ananias and Sapphira were in chapter 5. Ananias and Sapphira were true believers who tested God’s patience by lying to His Spirit for personal gain. Simon also saught personal gain but he apparently was not a true believer. Watch what Peter says next.
In verse 22, Peter tells Simon to repent for his wickedness and to ask for forgiveness. Peter also told Simon he was poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity. Simon’s response in verse 24 implies that he feared Peter’s words not so much for the conviction of God’s wrath but for fear of not having Peter’s favor. Simon may have had his own idea of what was occurring before him but apparently did not have grace through faith resulting in salvation.
There is no more mention of Simon. I see him as being similar to the rich, young ruler of Mark 10:17-22. He wanted to ‘add Jesus to his already structured life’. He wanted to purchase a new way to make a living and be assured of power and prosperity. It could have been he was afraid of impending judgement as well. For some reason, there was no conversion. God did not grant it at this time.
This is an awesome and fearful subject. People going through the motions but not being saved. I will attempt to expand this subject a bit more in the next post. May God bless the study of His word.