Philip the Evangelist (mentioned in Section 6 of Sacrament Lesson for 7-11-11 and in Acts 6, 8, and 21) Researched by Ben Gladden, Framingham, MA/Formatted by Warren Huff, CedarS Director
Philip’s “Answered-Prayer/Promise (A.P.) History”: what he chose & did, one step at a time
- Philip the Evangelist was an early Christian, but this Philip was not one of the apostles.
- Philip first appears in Acts as one of the seven “men of honest report” chosen by early Christians to help distribute charity among Christians (Acts 6:1-6). Some of the Christians who weren’t previously Jewish were complaining that the charity was being given mainly to former Jews. Philip, Stephen, and five other men were chosen to deal justly with the alms.
- Philip was one of the early Christians who was chased out of Jerusalem by Saul (who later became Paul) following Stephen’s death (Acts 7:59-8:5).
- After leaving Jerusalem, Philip travels north through Samaria healing and preaching (Acts 8:5-8).
- Philip meets and converts to Christianity a man named Simon, who had used sorcery to convince the people that he had power from God (Acts 8:9-13) This man is often referred to as Simon the Sorcerer.
- An angel tells Philip to leave Samaria and travel south back towards Jerusalem.
- As he travels south he meets an Ethiopian eunuch who works for the Ethiopian Queen Candace (Acts 8:27-39). This man has great authority under the queen and is in charge of all her money.
- Philip finds the man reading the book of Isaiah (53:8) and asks him if he understands what he is reading. The man replies that he does not because he has no one to explain it to him.
- Philip explains the text to the man and converts him to Christianity.
- Philip baptises the man. Then “”when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
- Philip is later found preaching at Azotus (or Ashdod), then moves on to Caesarea.
- It is about 20 years before we hear about Philip again – he is still in Caesarea and has four daughters “which did prophecy” (Acts 21:8-9). He hosted “Paul’s company” as they traveled to Jerusalem. This is the end of the biblical record of Philip the Evangelist.
The eunuch was most likely a “god-fearer” – someone who was interested in Judaism and who followed most of its laws, but who wasn’t Jewish. These god-fearers might follow the Ten Commandments and live a good, moral life, but they didn’t observe the Jewish dietary code and were considered Gentiles.
Although the word eunuch implies castration, that wasn’t necessarily the case. In a strict sense, the word means “bed-keeper” – or one who is in charge of the bed chamber. If the keeper of the queen’s bedchamber was a male, he was most likely castrated. So, the eunuch that Philip met was most likely castrated as a result of his high position – in order to protect the queen and the order of succession.
Ways in which Philip’s story illustrates Christ’s eternal presence – how does it deepen our faith?
In what ways was Philip guided by Christ?
How is our understanding of Scriptures expanded by Philips explanations?
Where in Philip’s life can we see evidence of Christ’s presence?
How does Philip’s story help us understand Jesus’ role in fulfilling prophecy?
How does Philip’s obedience to the angel message deepen our faith in Christ and our trust in Love?
Are we more or less likely to have faith in the Lord because of Philip’s example?
How did Philip fulfill Jesus’ command that we go “into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”?
How does Philip’s experience with the eunuch help us understand Mrs. Eddy’s the following statement from Mrs. Eddy? “Millions of unprejudiced minds – simple seekers for Trust, weary wandered, athirst in the desert – are waiting and watching for rest and drink.” p. 570, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy.
In what ways does Philip’s story illustrate God’s design – how does it fits into history?
Where does Philip’s story fit into early Christianity?
How did Philip turn his retreat from Jerusalem into a success?
How did Philip’s willingness to follow the angel message change history?
How does Philip’s willingness to convert a Gentile change history? This conversion precedes the discussion among early Christians about whether or not a new Christian had to follow the Jewish laws.
In what ways can going “back to the Bible” for Philip’s story light our path “Back to our Future” – how can it help you to take its lessons home?
How does Philip’s fearlessness in sharing God’s word inspire us?
How is Philip’s response to being chased out of Jerusalem set an example for us?
What does Philip’s willingness to follow the angel message tell us about listening?
How did Philip approach the eunuch? As one who was thought the eunuch needed to hear his message or as a humble servant?
What qualities did Philip demonstrate that we can emulate?
Obedience in the face of opposition