Acts 8:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 8:22, NIV: Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.

Acts 8:22, ESV: Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

Acts 8:22, KJV: Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

Acts 8:22, NASB: Therefore, repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart will be forgiven you.

Acts 8:22, NLT: Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts,

Acts 8:22, CSB: Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your heart's intent may be forgiven.

What does Acts 8:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter is warning a magician in Samaria about the dire risks of taking God lightly. Simon has watched new Jesus-followers receive the Holy Spirit as Peter and John lay their hands on them. He offers to buy the ability to impart the Holy Spirit. Apparently, he either thinks it's a trick or an effect of the demons he's likely used to working with. Peter explains how heretical and dangerous his offer is (Acts 8:14–21).

Although Simon was baptized in Jesus' name (Acts 8:13), he doesn't understand who Jesus or the Holy Spirit really are. He thinks he can use them for his own purposes: to regain the popularity he had before Philip came to town and started spreading the gospel (Acts 8:5–13). What Simon sees as a business opportunity Peter reveals as great wickedness that has filled him with bitterness (Acts 8:23). So far, Simon's sin is still in his heart. It's important to remember that we don't have to act to sin, and our sinful hearts are enough to condemn us (Matthew 5:21–30).

Even so, even despite his heresy and sin, Simon is not hopeless. He still can repent. To repent is to change one's paradigm about right and wrong, to accept that God's point of view is always right, and to recognize that to obey, trust, and love Him is always the right choice. In this moment, Simon still has the opportunity to change his worldview and really follow Christ.

In fact, everyone who is still living has that opportunity. It doesn't matter if they tried to use God to make money, performed miracles through demonic power, or murdered Christians (Acts 26:10), Jesus offers to forgive every sin and reconcile anyone to God. There is no sin He will not forgive except to continue to reject His death to cover their sins.