Acts 8:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 8:12, NIV: But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:12, ESV: But 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.

Acts 8:12, KJV: But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:12, NASB: But when they believed Philip as he was preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were being baptized.

Acts 8:12, NLT: But now the people believed Philip's message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized.

Acts 8:12, CSB: 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.

What does Acts 8:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After the Jesus-follower Stephen was murdered by a mob (Acts 7:54–60), the Jewish leadership began the persecution of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). Many Jesus-followers flee the city, taking the good news about Jesus with them (Acts 8:4). Philip, Stephen's fellow deacon (Acts 6:1–6), and not the disciple or Herod Antipas' brother, heads north to Samaria, to preach to a people group who long ago forgot how to worship God (1 Kings 12:25–33; Acts 8:5). Surprisingly, they respond immediately.

"The kingdom of God" means any time creation displays God's glory and character. Philip is teaching the Samaritans the truth about God and His relationship to His creation—specifically them. When the Bible talks about the name of God or the name of Jesus, it doesn't mean the letters and sounds that make up their identifier. It means their identity, character, and reputation. The name of Jesus includes the facts that He is the Son of God and yet wholly man, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose on the third day, and that if anyone trusts in His sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sins, their sins will be forgiven and they will be reconciled to God.

The role of baptism here is particularly informative. First, the Samaritans believe in Jesus and are immediately baptized. In this culture, baptism is a way of publicly identifying with the baptizer's message; this is often accomplished at the same time the person first chooses to believe (see Acts 8:35–39).

Second, the Holy Spirit doesn't come on them yet (Acts 8:14–16). Technically, the Holy Spirit "should" indwell them the moment they believe. This is a special circumstance, however. He will wait until Peter and John—the two most important leaders in the church at this time—come up and lay their hands on the people. That way, Peter and John will know for certain that Samaritans are saved, and the Samaritans will know their faith and church are authenticated by Jesus' two closest disciples.

Third, this passage shows the relationship between baptism and salvation. Baptism is not required for salvation, and baptism does not mean you are saved.