Acts 8:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 8:4, NIV: Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

Acts 8:4, ESV: Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.

Acts 8:4, KJV: Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Acts 8:4, NASB: Therefore, those who had been scattered went through places preaching the word.

Acts 8:4, NLT: But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.

Acts 8:4, CSB: So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the word.

What does Acts 8:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After enjoying relative peace (Acts 5:12–16), the church in Jerusalem is now under attack. One of their greatest preachers, Stephen, has been murdered by a mob with the approval of the Sanhedrin (Acts 7:54–60). The Jewish leadership is commissioning people to arrest Jesus-followers and bring them to trial—or try to get them to deny their faith in Jesus (Acts 8:1–3; 22:19; 26:10–11). In fear, the Jesus-followers flee Jerusalem, but take the gospel with them. Jesus' mandate in Acts 1:8, that His followers would take His story to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth, is coming to fruition.

It's unclear who remains in Jerusalem. The apostles are still there but it's unclear to whom the "all" of Acts 8:1 refers. Possible interpretations are that "all" refers to all Stephen's group—possibly the deacons of Acts 6:1–6 of which Philip is included. Another theory is that the Hellenistic Jewish Christians received the brunt of the wrath of the Hellenistic Freedmen and the Hellenistic Saul (Acts 6:9; 9:11). Or it could mean that every Jesus-follower who could escaped Jerusalem except the apostles.

Stephen's trial and death were the catalyst for the flight from Jerusalem, but his deathbed message provides hope and assurance. In Acts 7:2–16, he proved that God works for His people without a temple. Jesus promised this in John 4:21–24. "Heaven is [God's] throne" (Acts 7:49; Psalm 11:4). The church doesn't need the temple to worship Jesus. Later, Paul will explain that God often uses persecution to make sure the message of forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice gets to those who need it (Colossians 1:24–25).