Acts 8:4-25 (JDV)
Acts 8:4 So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the word.
Acts 8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them.
Acts 8:6 The crowds were all with the same passion paying attention to what Philip said, as they listened and saw the signs he was performing.
Acts 8:7 You see, unclean breaths, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.
Acts 8:8 So there was great joy in that city.
Acts 8:9 A man named Simon had previously practiced sorcery in that city and amazed the Samaritan people, while claiming to be somebody great.
Acts 8:10 They all paid attention to him, from the least of them to the greatest, and they said, “This man is called the Great Power of God.”
Acts 8:11 They were attentive to him because he had amazed them with his sorceries for a long time.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip, as he proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.
Acts 8:13 Even Simon himself believed. And after he was baptized, he stayed busily engaged with Philip and was amazed as he observed the signs and great miracles that were being performed.
Acts 8:14 When the missionaries who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had welcomed the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
Acts 8:15 After they went down there, they prayed for them so the Samaritans might receive the Sacred Breath because he had not yet come down on any of them.
Acts 8:16 (They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Acts 8:17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Sacred Breath.
Acts 8:18 When Simon saw that the Breath was given through the laying on of the missionaries’ hands, he offered them money,
Acts 8:19 saying, “Give me this right also so that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Sacred Breath.”
Acts 8:20 But Peter told him, “May your silver be thrown into destruction with you, because you figured you could obtain the gift of God with money!
Acts 8:21 You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God.
Acts 8:22 Therefore seriously change your mind about this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your heart’s intent may be forgiven.
Acts 8:23 For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by wickedness.”
Acts 8:24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon reacted, “so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
Acts 8:25 So, after they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they traveled back to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
The story of the mission to convert the Samaritans introduces us to Simon, who is a baptized believer, but who still has a bitter residue of his old life hanging on, binding him in wickedness (see verse 23).
Simon’s particular wickedness was bitterness over other people’s giftedness and authority, and greed to be more powerful. He had been a sorcerer — considered a powerful man to be feared. That residue had to be thoroughly purged from his life, or it would lead to destruction (Peter’s nickname for hell).
Lord, purge us of every residue of our past lives of wickedness.