Acts 8:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 8:21, NIV: You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.

Acts 8:21, ESV: You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.

Acts 8:21, KJV: Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

Acts 8:21, NASB: You have no part or share in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.

Acts 8:21, NLT: You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God.

Acts 8:21, CSB: You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God.

What does Acts 8:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Philip has fled persecution in Jerusalem and come north to Samaria where he has been preaching the gospel and baptizing new believers. Peter and John have followed to verify that the Samaritans are really accepting Christ and to welcome them into the church. They lay their hands on the converts and as they do, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell the Samaritans. Simon, a popular magician, was fairly interested in Jesus' story until he saw the Holy Spirit come on his neighbors. Now, he has asked Peter if he can buy the power to impart the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:5–20).

Simon is a grifter: a petty swindler who tricks people for money. Alternatively, he might have been legitimately empowered, but by demons. He seems to think he's talking to other grifters who through trickery or demonic power are convincing people they have spiritual power. Simon seemingly has no concept of sacrificing for others (1 John 3:16), laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19–21), or giving up worldly comforts for the cause of Christ (Luke 18:18–30). If he believes in Jesus, it is shallow and has no effect on his actions, not as the man who cast out demons in Jesus' name—despite not being in Jesus' company (Mark 9:38–41), or even the doubting but desperate father of the possessed boy who cried out, "I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).

Peter's words are a strong warning for anyone in Christian ministry. Earlier, he established that serving God is not about gaining earthly approval; when Ananias and Sapphira donated money to look good, they were killed instead (Acts 5:1–11). Peter's warning that ministry is not for financial gain comes with an even more serious threat—the destruction of Simon's soul (Acts 8:22–23).

Any self-labeled "Christian" leader who uses their position for fame, power, or money should be warned they have "no part or share in this ministry." Simon's attitude not only marks him as a false minister, but seemingly as a non-believer. It's fitting, then, that the bulk of Peter's rebuke involves a call for repentance.