Acts 8:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 8:5, NIV: Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.

Acts 8:5, ESV: Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.

Acts 8:5, KJV: Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Acts 8:5, NASB: Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming the Christ to them.

Acts 8:5, NLT: Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah.

Acts 8:5, CSB: Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them.

What does Acts 8:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Philip is a Jesus-follower and a deacon in the church (Acts 6:1–5). He is not the disciple (Matthew 10:3) or Herod Antipas' brother (Matthew 14:3). He and Stephen were deacons of the church in Jerusalem. Their responsibility was to oversee the donations given to the Jesus-following widows. With the other church members, they learned from the twelve apostles (Acts 2:42). First Stephen (Acts 6:8–10) and now Philip have been "promoted" to teachers in their own right. Where Stephen gave a great apologetic dissertation about Jesus in the moments before his consequent death (Acts 7), Philip is called "the evangelist" because of his preaching in Samaria, Judea (Acts 8:26), and up the Mediterranean coast from Azotus, also called Ashdod, in Gaza to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).

Samaria was the district between Galilee to the north and Judea to the south. When Solomon's son Rehoboam alienated the northern ten kingdoms, Jeroboam led them to secede. In order to unify them apart from Judah, Jeroboam made two golden calves and placed them in Bethel and Dan so the people wouldn't return to Jerusalem to worship God and, thus, reunite with the southern kingdom (1 Kings 12). Generations later, because of their ongoing idolatry, God allowed Assyria to take away many of the people in the northern kingdom of Israel; they were replaced by people from other conquered lands who combined their own pagan practices with nominal worship of the Hebrew God (2 Kings 17).

When King Hezekiah of the southern tribe of Judah found the law and reestablished the Passover, he invited the Israelites who still lived in Assyrian-controlled territory (2 Chronicles 30:1, 6–11). But by the time the people of Judah had returned from their own exile in Babylon, the people of Samaria were so intermarried that devout Jews looked down on them as less than Gentiles. Josephus records that the Jews did not let the now-called Samaritans help rebuild the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 4:1–5). In response, the Samaritans built their own temple on the hill Gerizim, but it was destroyed in the second century BC. It is this hill the woman at the well refers to when she asks Jesus where God-followers should worship (John 4:20).

Jesus responds to the woman that soon God will not be worshiped at any specific place (John 4:23–24). Stephen's speech in Acts 7 gives the justification for Jesus' bold pronouncement in that God was with the Israelites before the temple was built and He is and has always been too great to be confined to a human dwelling.

Now, Philip gets to tell the Samaritans that the time Jesus prophesied has come. They are free to worship God, through Christ, where they are. Despite hundreds of years of cultural separation with His chosen people, God has provided a way to be reconciled to Him. They are not dependent on the good will of the Jews to have a relationship with the One they had abandoned.