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Chapter 7

  1. This chapter has two important references to the Holy Spirit.
  2. The first is Stephen’s charge to and against them to whom he was talking that as the fathers did, so did they in his day resist the Holy Spirit who instructed them in various things (7:51). The Holy Spirit’s message, as Barnes said, is the message that has the authority of God with, behind, and in front of it.
  3. The second is the phrase identifying Stephen as one “being full of the Holy Spirit” (7:55). It is clear from the verse that this phrase had something connected to it that is beyond human capabilities, since he was able to look into the heavenly realm and see things that the ordinary person is unable to see (7:55-56). The term “full of the Holy Spirit” is used in one form or another 5 times in Acts (if I have counted correctly); these are 6:3, 5, 8; 7:55; and 11:24. In four of these contexts there is a capability that is extraordinary. This applied to Stephen (4x), but with Barnabas (1x) we have insufficient information to judge. In relationship to this is the phrase (term) “filled with”, which could apply to the Holy Spirit, wonder, joy, indignation, etc. With regard to the Holy Spirit, it is used in 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; and 13:9. It seems to me that in 2:4 and in 4:31 there is an extraordinary connection, but in 4:8 this is not clear. However, if one looks at 4:8 in relationship to 3:6-10, I think the conclusion is the same as in 4:31.[1]

Chapter 8

  1. Philip was preaching and in conjunction with his preaching the Lord did miraculous things that amazed the people, including Simon the sorcerer (8:4-13).
  2. After some in Samaria were converted to the Lord, Peter and John left Jerusalem in order that the people of Samaria would receive the Holy Spirit. Simon the sorcerer, who had already obeyed the gospel of Christ, desired to have the same capability of Peter and John. Peter sharply rebuked him (8:14-26).
  • Interestingly enough, the gift of 2:38 must not have been theirs or they had it and did not know it. Yet, even with the latter possibility, there is something extraordinary here in this scene.
  • Peter and John came to Samaria in order for them to receive the Holy Spirit.
  • Peter and John prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit had not fallen on them.
  • Peter and John laid hands on the Samaritan Christians and received the Holy Spirit.
  • Simon misconstrued the purpose of the Holy Spirit being given to the Samaritans and was severely rebuked.
  • The Holy Spirit involves Philip in the salvation of a man of Ethiopia (8:26-40). All that can be said about what the Spirit did is recorded in v. 39.

Chapter 9

  1. The Lord sent Ananias to Saul in order for Saul (Paul) to gain his sight and receive the Holy Spirit (9:17-18). Did Ananias have the ability (from the Lord) to pass on to Saul the Holy Spirit or did Paul receive it in a miraculous way when he was baptized?
  2. The saints were walking in the comfort of the Holy Spirit (9:31).


[1] Gratitude is expressed to Andrew Swango for bringing this to my attention.

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