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Acts 8:1

    Acts 8:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And Saul was consenting to his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And Saul was consenting unto his death. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And Saul gave approval to his death. Now at that time a violent attack was started against the church in Jerusalem; and all but the Apostles went away into all parts of Judaea and Samaria.

    Webster's Revision

    And Saul was consenting unto his death. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

    World English Bible

    Saul was consenting to his death. A great persecution arose against the assembly which was in Jerusalem in that day. They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And Saul was consenting unto his death. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

    Definitions for Acts 8:1

    Church - Assembly of "called out" ones.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 8:1

    Saul was consenting unto his death - So inveterate was the hatred that this man bore to Christ and his followers that he delighted in their destruction. So blind was his heart with superstitious zeal that he thought he did God service by offering him the blood of a fellow creature, whose creed he supposed to be erroneous. The word συνευδοκων signifies gladly consenting, being pleased with his murderous work! How dangerous is a party spirit; and how destructive may zeal even for the true worship of God prove, if not inspired and regulated by the spirit of Christ!

    It has already been remarked that this clause belongs to the conclusion of the preceding chapter; so it stands in the Vulgate, and so it should stand in every version.

    There was a great persecution - The Jews could not bear the doctrine of Christ's resurrection; for this point being proved demonstrated his innocence and their enormous guilt in his crucifixion; as therefore the apostles continued to insist strongly on the resurrection of Christ, the persecution against them became hot and general.

    They were all scattered abroad - except the apostles - Their Lord had commanded them, when persecuted in one city, to flee to another: this they did, but, wherever they went, they proclaimed the same doctrines, though at the risk and hazard of their lives. It is evident, therefore, that they did not flee from persecution, or the death it threatened; but merely in obedience to their Lord's command. Had they fled through the fear of death, they would have taken care not to provoke persecution to follow them, by continuing to proclaim the same truths that provoked it in the first instance.

    That the apostles were not also exiled is a very remarkable fact: they continued in Jerusalem, to found and organize the infant Church; and it is marvellous that the hand of persecution was not permitted to touch them. Why this should be we cannot tell; but so it pleased the great Head of the Church. Bp. Pearce justly suspects those accounts, in Eusebius and others, that state that the apostles went very shortly after Christ's ascension into different countries, preaching and founding Churches. He thinks this is inconsistent with the various intimations we have of the continuance of the apostles in Jerusalem; and refers particularly to the following texts: Acts 8:1, Acts 8:14, Acts 8:25; Acts 9:26, Acts 9:27; Acts 11:1, Acts 11:2; Acts 12:1-4; Acts 15:2, Acts 15:4, Acts 15:6, Acts 15:22, Acts 15:23; Acts 21:17, Acts 21:18; Galatians 1:17-19; Galatians 2:1, Galatians 2:9. The Church at Jerusalem was the first Christian Church; and consequently, the boast of the Church of Rome is vain and unfounded. From this time a new era of the Church arose. Hitherto the apostles and disciples confined their labors among their countrymen in Jerusalem. Now persecution drove the latter into different parts of Judea, and through Samaria; and those who had received the doctrine of Christ at the pentecost, who had come up to Jerusalem from different countries to be present at the feast, would naturally return, especially at the commencement of the persecution, to their respective countries, and proclaim to their countrymen the Gospel of the grace of God. To effect this grand purpose, the Spirit was poured out at the day of pentecost; that the multitudes from different quarters, partaking of the word of life, might carry it back to the different nations among whom they had their residence. One of the fathers has well observed, that "these holy fugitives were like so many lamps, lighted by the fire of the Holy Spirit, spreading every where the sacred flame by which they themselves had been illuminated."

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 8:1

    And Saul was consenting ... - Was pleased with his being put to death and approved it. Compare Acts 22:20. This part of the verse should have been connected with the previous chapter.

    And at that time. - That is, immediately following the death of Stephen. The persecution arose on account of Stephen, Acts 11:19. The tumult did not subside when Stephen was killed. The anger of his persecutors continued to be excited against all Christians. They had become so embittered by the zeal and success of the apostles, and by their frequent charges of murder in putting the Son of God to death, that they resolved at once to put a period to their progress and success. This was the first persecution against Christians; the first in a series that terminated only when the religion which they wished to destroy was fully established on the ruins of both Judaism and paganism.

    The church - The collection of Christians which were now organized into a church. The church at Jerusalem was the first that was collected.

    All scattered - That is, the great mass of Christians.

    The regions of Judea ... - See the notes on Matthew 2:22.

    Except the apostles - Probably the other Christians fled from fear. Why the apostles, who were particularly in danger, did not flee also, is not stated by the historian. Having been, however, more fully instructed than the others, and having been taught their duty by the example and teaching of the Saviour, they resolved, it seems, to remain and brave the fury of the persecutors. For them to have fled then would have exposed them, as leaders and founders of the new religion, to the charge of timidity and weakness. They therefore resolved to remain in the midst of their persecutors; and a merciful Providence watched over them, and defended them from harm. The dispersion extended not only to Judea and Samaria, but those who fled carried the gospel also to Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch, Acts 11:19. There was a reason why this was permitted. The early converts were Jews. They had strong feelings of attachment to the city of Jerusalem, to the temple, and to the land of their fathers. Yet it was the design of the Lord Jesus that the gospel should be preached everywhere. To accomplish this, he suffered a persecution to rage; and they were scattered abroad, and bore his gospel to other cities and lands. Good thus came out of evil; and the first persecution resulted, as all others have done, in advancing the cause which was intended to be destroyed.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 8:1

    8:1 At that time there was great persecution against the Church - Their adversaries having tasted blood, were the more eager. And they were all dispersed - Not all the Church: if so, who would have remained for the apostles to teach, or Saul to persecute? But all the teachers except the apostles, who, though in the most danger, stayed with the flock.
    Book: Acts