Acts 8:9

ESV But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.
NIV Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great,
NASB Now a man named Simon had previously been practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great;
CSB A man named Simon had previously practiced sorcery in that city and amazed the Samaritan people, while claiming to be somebody great.
NLT A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great.
KJV But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
NKJV But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

What does Acts 8:9 mean?

Few things are more despicable, spiritually, than when genuine seekers are deceived by frauds. Ever since the northern kingdom of Israel was established, the people of Samaria have been pushed away from legitimate worship in Jerusalem and toward idolatry (1 Kings 12:25–33). Jesus promised the Samaritan woman at the well that her people would soon be welcome to worship God properly in their own land (John 4:20–24). But before that time comes, an imposter moves in. This person doesn't just say or believe wrong things, he actively tells other people they should see him as "great."

We're not told who Simon is—whether he's a Jew, a Samaritan, or some other nationality. We do know that some Gentiles are so intrigued by the Jewish culture that hucksters sometimes defrauded the people, claiming to be from God but using power from a demonic source. This was similarly the case with Bar-Jesus, also known as Elymas, whom Paul and Barnabas will meet on Cyprus (Acts 13:4–12) and possibly the sons of Sceva in Corinth (Acts 19:11–16). Such trickery was not a new practice, we even see it in the time of Judges when a man named Micah convinced a Levite to be his personal priest (Judges 17).

It's important to remember that all supernatural power comes from one of two sources: God or demons. There is no such thing as "white" magic; every supernatural ability or event not of God is evil. The people of Corinth realize this when the evil spirits throw the sons of Sceva out of the house, naked and wounded. Presented with Paul's Holy Spirit-empowered miracles and the stripped and wounded Jewish exorcists, the people surrender their books of divination, worth 50,000 pieces of silver, and gladly watch them burn (Acts 19:17–20).
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