The Story of Jesus

Lessons We Can Learn

The Good News of Jesus Christ is the most exciting story you will ever hear. It is told in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and it is told in the many stories of conversion found in the book of Acts. One of these stories is that of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch and is found in Acts 8:26-40.

I want to share this story with you and also help you understand how to study God’s Word for yourself. We will work right through the test, and at the conclusion I will share some principles of Bible study that have helped me.

If you do not have your own Bible, please let us know and would be glad to send you one.

“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:

‘He was lead like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from earth.’

The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns, until he reached Caesarea.”

- Acts 8:26-40

Acts 8:26-28

In the first part of Acts 8, we see that Philip has left Jerusalem and traveled to Samaria to preach about Jesus. He has a very successful ministry with many conversions. An angel tells him to go to a desert road, and so he starts on his journey. He encounters an important official from Ethiopia; a man in charge of the treasury. This man has been to Jerusalem to worship, so he believes in God. As he travels, he is reading the book of Isaiah out of the Bible.

Acts 8:29-31

The Holy Spirit tells Philip to go to the chariot, and he runs toward it. Philip hears the Ethiopian reading from Isaiah and asked him if he understands what he is reading. The Ethiopian invited Philip to join him and explain the Scriptures to him. Both of these men are eager to follow God. Philip leaves a successful ministry to obey God, and he runs to obey Him. The Ethiopian has made a long journey to worship, he is reading his Bible, and he is eager to understand it. God puts them together: a seeker and a preacher.

Acts 8:32-35

When the Ethiopian wants to know who this Scripture is talking about, Philip tells him about Jesus. The passage refers to the death of Jesus (a sheep to the slaughter) for our sins (deprived of justice – he did not deserve to die). It also predicts the resurrection of Jesus (his life was taken from the earth). This is the Good News: that Jesus died for our sins, and that he was raised from the dead.

Acts 8:36-38

As soon as they found water, the Ethiopian wanted to be baptized. The Good News of Jesus demands a response. Philip must have taught the Ethiopian that the response to Jesus was to be buried and raised with him in the act of baptism. So they both went down into the water and Philip baptized him. Your response to the Good News of Jesus today is to be baptized just like the Ethiopian.

Acts 8:39-40

After baptizing the Ethiopian, Philip was taken away by the Spirit. He stayed with the Ethiopian until he responded to Jesus. It is not enough to just know about Jesus, you must respond to him. When Philip was dropped at Azotus, he just continued preaching about Jesus. Wherever you find yourself, tell others about Jesus.

How Do I Learn These Lessons for Myself?

Here are some helpful hints for studying the Bible, and how they were used to study the story of Philip and the Ethiopian.

1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

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