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Acts 8:21

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter - Thou hast no part among the faithful, and no lot in this ministry. That the word κληρος, which we translate lot, is to be understood as implying a spiritual portion, office, etc., see proved in the note on Numbers 26:55; (note).

Thy heart is not right - It is not through motives of purity, benevolence, or love to the souls of men, that thou desirest to be enabled to confer the Holy Ghost; it is through pride, vain glory, and love of money: thou wouldest now give a little money that thou mightest, by thy new gift, gain much.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Neither part - You have no “portion” of the grace of God; that is, you are destitute of it altogether. This word commonly denotes the “part” of an inheritance which falls to one when it is divided.

Nor lot - This word means properly a portion which “falls” to one when an estate, or when spoil in war is divided into portions, according to the number of those who are to be partakers, and the part of each one is determined by “lot.” The two words denote “emphatically” that he was in no sense a partaker of the favor of God.

In this matter - Greek: in this “word”; that is, thing. That which is referred to here is the religion of Christ. Simon was not a Christian. It is remarkable that Peter judged him so soon, and when he had seen but “one” act of his. But it was an act which satisfied him that he was a stranger to religion. One act may sometimes bring out the “whole character”; it may evince the “governing” motives; it may show traits of character utterly “inconsistent” with true religion; and then it is as certain a criterion as any long series of acts.

Thy heart - Your “affections,” or “governing motives”; your principle of conduct. Comp, 2 Kings 10:15. You love gold and popularity, and not the gospel for what it is. There is no evidence here that Peter saw this in a miraculous manner, or by any supernatural influence. It was apparent and plain that Simon was not influenced by the pure, disinterested motives of the gospel, but by the love of power and of the world.

In the sight of God - That is, God sees or judges that your heart is not sincere and pure. No external profession is acceptable without the heart. Reader, is your heart right with God? Are your motives pure; and does “God” see there the exercise of holy, sincere, and benevolent affections toward him? God “knows” the motives; and with unerring certainty he will judge, and with unerring justice he will fix our doom according to the affections of the heart.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Holy Ghost was as yet fallen upon none of these coverts, in the extraordinary powers conveyed by the descent of the Spirit upon the day of Pentecost. We may take encouragement from this example, in praying to God to give the renewing graces of the Holy Ghost to all for whose spiritual welfare we are concerned; for that includes all blessings. No man can give the Holy Spirit by the laying on of his hands; but we should use our best endeavours to instruct those for whom we pray. Simon Magus was ambitious to have the honour of an apostle, but cared not at all to have the spirit and disposition of a Christian. He was more desirous to gain honour to himself, than to do good to others. Peter shows him his crime. He esteemed the wealth of this world, as if it would answer for things relating to the other life, and would purchase the pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. This was such a condemning error as could by no means consist with a state of grace. Our hearts are what they are in the sight of God, who cannot be deceived. And if they are not right in his sight, our religion is vain, and will stand us in no stead. A proud and covetous heart cannot be right with God. It is possible for a man to continue under the power of sin, yet to put on a form of godliness. When tempted with money to do evil, see what a perishing thing money is, and scorn it. Think not that Christianity is a trade to live by in this world. There is much wickedness in the thought of the heart, its false notions, and corrupt affections, and wicked projects, which must be repented of, or we are undone. But it shall be forgiven, upon our repentance. The doubt here is of the sincerity of Simon's repentance, not of his pardon, if his repentance was sincere. Grant us, Lord, another sort of faith than that which made Simon wonder only, and did not sanctify his heart. May we abhor all thoughts of making religion serve the purposes of pride or ambition. And keep us from that subtle poison of spiritual pride, which seeks glory to itself even from humility. May we seek only the honour which cometh from God.
Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 315

The apostles Paul and Peter were for many years widely separated in their labors, it being the work of Paul to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, while Peter labored especially for the Jews. But in the providence of God, both were to bear witness for Christ in the world's metropolis, and upon its soil both were to shed their blood as the seed of a vast harvest of saints and martyrs. SR 315.1

About the time of Paul's second arrest Peter also was apprehended and thrust into prison. He had made himself especially obnoxious to the authorities by his zeal and success in exposing the deceptions and defeating the plots of Simon Magus, the sorcerer, who had followed him to Rome to oppose and hinder the work of the gospel. Nero was a believer in magic, and had patronized Simon. He was therefore greatly incensed against the apostle, and was thus prompted to order his arrest. SR 315.2

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 253

“And one of the company said unto Him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.” Through Moses, God had given directions concerning the transmission of property. The eldest son received a double portion of the father's estate (Deuteronomy 21:17), while the younger brothers were to share alike. This man thinks that his brother has defrauded him of his inheritance. His own efforts have failed to secure what he regards as his due, but if Christ will interpose the end will surely be gained. He has heard Christ's stirring appeals, and His solemn denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees. If words of such command could be spoken to this brother, he would not dare to refuse the aggrieved man his portion. COL 253.1

In the midst of the solemn instruction that Christ had given, this man had revealed his selfish disposition. He could appreciate that ability of the Lord which might work for the advancement of his own temporal affairs; but spiritual truths had taken no hold on his mind and heart. The gaining of the inheritance was his absorbing theme. Jesus, the King of glory, who was rich, yet for our sake became poor, was opening to him the treasures of divine love. The Holy Spirit was pleading with him to become an heir of the inheritance that is “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 1:4. 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 muck rake 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. COL 253.2

The Saviour's mission on earth was fast drawing to a close. Only a few months remained for Him to complete what He had come 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?” COL 253.3

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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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