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Acts 8:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Simon himself believed also - He was struck with the doctrine and miracles of Philip - he saw that these were real; he knew his own to be fictitious. He believed therefore that Jesus was the Messiah, and was in consequence baptized.

Continued with Philip, and wondered - ΕξιϚατο, He was as much astonished and confounded at the miracles of Philip as the people of Samaria were at his legerdemain. It is worthy of remark that εξιϚατο comes from the same root, εξιϚημι, as the word εξιϚων, in Acts 8:9, and, if our translation bewitched be proper there, it should be retained here; and then we should read, Then Simon himself believed and was baptized, and continued with Philip, being Bewitched, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. We may see, from this circumstance, how improper the term bewitched is, in the 9th and 11th verses.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Then Simon himself believed also - That is, he believed that Jesus had performed miracles, and was raised from the dead, etc. All this he could believe in entire consistency with his own notions of the power of magic; and all that the connection requires us to suppose is that he believed this Jesus had the power of working miracles; and as he purposed to turn this to his own account, he was willing to profess himself to be his follower. It might have injured his popularity, moreover, if he had taken a stand in opposition when so many were professing to become Christians. People often profess religion because, if they do not, they fear that they will lose their influence, and be left with the ungodly. That Simon was not a real Christian is apparent from the whole narrative, Acts 8:18, Acts 8:21-23.

And when he was baptized - He was admitted to a “profession” of religion in the same way as others. Philip did not pretend to know the heart; and Simon was admitted because he “professed” his belief. This is all the evidence that ministers of the gospel can now have, and it is no wonder that they, as well Philip, are often deceived. The reasons which influenced Simon to make a profession of religion seem to have been these:

(1)An impression that Christianity was “true.” He seems to have been convinced of this by the miracles of Philip.

(2)the fact that many others were becoming Christians; and “he” went in with the multitude. This is often the case in revivals of religion.

(3)he was willing to make use of Christianity to advance his own power, influence, and popularity - a thing which multitudes of men of the same mind with Simon Magus have been willing since to do.

He continued … - It was customary and natural for the disciples to remain with their teachers. See Acts 2:42.

And wondered - This is the same word that is translated “bewitched” in Acts 8:9, Acts 8:11. It means that he was amazed that Philip could “really” perform so much greater miracles than “he” had even pretended to. Hypocrites will sometimes be greatly attentive to the external duties of religion, and will be greatly surprised at what is done by God for the salvation of sinners.

Miracles and signs - Greek: signs and great powers, or great miracles. That is, so much greater than he pretended to be able to perform.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
As far as the gospel prevails, evil spirits are dislodged, particularly unclean spirits. All inclinations to the lusts of the flesh which war against the soul are such. Distempers are here named, the most difficult to be cured by the course of nature, and most expressive of the disease of sin. Pride, ambition, and desire after grandeur have always caused abundance of mischief, both to the world and to the church. The people said of Simon, This man is the great power of God. See how ignorant and thoughtless people mistake. But how strong is the power of Divine grace, by which they were brought to Christ, who is Truth itself! The people not only gave heed to what Philip said, but were fully convinced that it was of God, and not of men, and gave up themselves to be directed thereby. Even bad men, and those whose hearts still go after covetousness, may come before God as his people come, and for a time continue with them. And many wonder at the proofs of Divine truths, who never experience their power. The gospel preached may have a common operation upon a soul, where it never produced inward holiness. All are not savingly converted who profess to believe the gospel.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 217

The Holy Spirit was pleading with this man to become an heir of the inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. He had seen evidence of the power of Christ. Now the opportunity was his to speak to the Great Teacher, to express the desire uppermost in his heart. But like the man with the muckrake in Bunyan's allegory, his eyes were fixed on the earth. He saw not the crown above his head. Like Simon Magus he valued the gift of God as a means of worldly gain. 9T 217.1

The Saviour's mission on earth was fast drawing to a close. Only a few months remained for Him to complete what He came to do in establishing the kingdom of His grace. Yet human greed would have turned Him from His work to take up the dispute over a piece of land. But Jesus was not to be diverted from His mission. His answer was: “Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?” Luke 12:14. 9T 217.2

Christ gave the man plainly to understand that this was not His work. He was striving to save souls. He was not to be turned aside from this to take up the duties of a civil magistrate. 9T 217.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1056-7

Their teaching was a second edition of the teachings of Christ, the utterance of simple, grand truths that flashed light into darkened minds, and converted thousands in a day. The disciples began to understand that Christ was their Advocate in the heavenly courts, and that He was glorified. They could speak because the Holy Spirit gave them utterance (Manuscript 32, 1900). 6BC 1056.1

17, 18. See EGW on Joel 2:28, 29. 6BC 1056.2

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 73

Notwithstanding Christ's warning, men have sought to uproot the tares. To punish those who were supposed to be evildoers, the church has had recourse to the civil power. Those who differed from the established doctrines have been imprisoned, put to torture and to death, at the instigation of men who claimed to be acting under the sanction of Christ. But it is the spirit of Satan, not the Spirit of Christ, that inspires such acts. This is Satan's own method of bringing the world under his dominion. God has been misrepresented through the church by this way of dealing with those supposed to be heretics. COL 74.1

Not judgment and condemnation of others, but humility and distrust of self, is the teaching of Christ's parable. Not all that is sown in the field is good grain. The fact that men are in the church does not prove them Christians. COL 74.2

The tares closely resembled the wheat while the blades were green; but when the field was white for the harvest, the worthless weeds bore no likeness to the wheat that bowed under the weight of its full, ripe heads. Sinners who make a pretension of piety mingle for a time with the true followers of Christ, and the semblance of Christianity is calculated to deceive many; but in the harvest of the world there will be no likeness between good and evil. Then those who have joined the church, but who have not joined Christ, will be manifest. COL 74.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 488

Every human being, in body, soul, and spirit, is the property of God. Christ died to redeem all. Nothing can be more offensive to God than for men, through religious bigotry, to bring suffering upon those who are the purchase of the Saviour's blood. DA 488.1

“And He arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto Him again; and, as He was wont, He taught them again.” Mark 10:1. DA 488.2

A considerable part of the closing months of Christ's ministry was spent in Perea, the province on “the farther side of Jordan” from Judea. Here the multitude thronged His steps, as in His early ministry in Galilee, and much of His former teaching was repeated. DA 488.3

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