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

Acts 8:8, NIV: So there was great joy in that city.

Acts 8:8, ESV: So there was much joy in that city.

Acts 8:8, KJV: And there was great joy in that city.

Acts 8:8, NASB: So there was much rejoicing in that city.

Acts 8:8, NLT: So there was great joy in that city.

Acts 8:8, CSB: So there was great joy in that city.

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

Upon the death of King Solomon, his son, Rehoboam, acted so unwisely the nation of Israel split into the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam, the king of the northern kingdom, wanted the people to break religiously as well as politically, but he knew that couldn't happen if his people continually returned to Jerusalem to worship at the temple where the ark of the covenant sat. So he built two golden calves and set them in Bethel and Dan. Idolatry became a trademark of the northern kingdom at its inception (1 Kings 12).

When the sin of the northern kingdom grew too great, God had Assyria come down and conquer them. They took many of the people into exile and moved in people from other nations they had conquered (2 Kings 17:6, 24). The Samaritans are the descendants of the mixed people. Years later, King Hezekiah invited the Samaritans to come to Jerusalem and celebrate Passover—and some came (2 Chronicles 30). But after the people of Judah returned from their own exile in Babylon, they refused the Samaritans' offer to help them rebuild the temple (Ezra 4:1–5). In response, the Samaritans built a temple on Mount Gerizim. Although John Hyrcanus I, son of Simon Maccabeus, destroyed the temple in 129 BC, the site was still used for worship at the time Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:20).

This is why the Samaritan woman asked Jesus where they were supposed to worship. Jesus told her, "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23–24).

Now, Philip, the Greek-cultured Jew has come to them, explaining that Jesus the Messiah is for Samaritans as well as Jews. They are certainly grateful for the healing powers Philip so liberally uses, but they are in great joy because they are again invited to worship God.