Among those who were scattered abroad by the persecution was Philip, one of the seven men who had been appointed to care for the ministration to the poor. This Philip, who is called "the evangelist," to distinguish him from the apostle of the same name, went to Samaria, and preached to the Samaritans. It was a step on the way toward a Gentile mission, but the Samaritans themselves were not Gentiles but half-Jews. When the apostles at Jerusalem heard of the work of Philip, they sent Peter and John from among their own number, and through Peter and John the Samaritans received special manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:4–25. Then Philip went to a desert road leading from Jerusalem to Gaza. There he preached the gospel to an Ethiopian treasurer, who despite his employment in a foreign country may have been of Jewish descent. Vs. 26–40. Yet the preaching to him was another preparation for the spread of the gospel out into the Gentile world.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XV
- What was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira? Was the relief of the needy in the early Jerusalem church what is now called communism or socialism? If not, why not?
- What was the fundamental difference between the two first imprisonments of apostles in Jerusalem, and the persecution which began with the martyrdom of Stephen? Why was the latter more serious?
- Outline the speech of Stephen.
- Describe the progress of the gospel in Samaria.
The Conversion of Paul
The work of the Early Church was at first carried on only among the Jews. The Lord Jesus, it is true, had commanded the apostles to make disciples of all the nations, but he had not made it perfectly plain when the Gentile work should begin, or on what terms the Gentiles should be received. Conceivably, therefore, the early disciples might have thought it might be the will of God that all Israel should first be evangelized before the gospel should be brought to the