Philip the Evangelist
Below is an outline of our Tuesday Night Bible Study held at Christ Bible Church – October 28, 2014. The story of Philip the Evangelist takes place mostly in the book of Acts chapter eight. We will be looking at Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. I would encourage you to read all of the chapter on your own, as to all the Bible for that matter.
Introduction: At least 15 people in the New Testament are referred to as apostles, a few as prophets, several as teachers, and a few (local church elders) as pastors of the churches. Only one person, however, is called an evangelist. Paul instructs Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist” 2 Tim 4:5, but he was never called an evangelist. Only Philip, one of the original seven is called an evangelist Acts 21:8. Eph 4:11 is the only other mention of an evangelist in the New Testament.
The term evangelist was used to describe all preachers of the good news. Although a part of every minister’s duty, there are those whose entire ministry is devoted to preach the gospel and bring the opportunity of salvation to the unsaved. Philip is the only New Testament example we are given of this ministry. (Not counting our Lord Jesus) Victor Reichenbach Casper Open Bible Church, Casper, Wyoming
Who is Philip? In Acts 6:1-6 we see that Philip is one of the seven that were chosen by the people to attend to the distribution of food to the widows. Philip is one to have the character that was sought for such a position; good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom. Philip the Evangelist is not to be confused with the Apostle Philip who was one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus.
Verses 26 through 28
Philip left a revival in Samaria to go to a secluded desert road, not knowing what was next. The revelation God gave him was a little at a time. First it was go toward the south on a road, and then it was to go near and overtake the chariot. Philip obeyed without question. We must do the same; whether it is across the room or across the world we must go. Let’s discuss the eunuch a moment.
Verses 29 through 31
In most cases in your witnessing you will have to take the initiative. Asking a question is one way to start. This is a good way to “break the ice”. This was truly a “divine appointment” by the Lord. After asking the eunuch the question, Philip got the green light and proceeded with boldness.
Verses 32 through 34
This passage taken from Isaiah 53 is the famous chapter about the suffering Messiah. Most Jewish rabbis believe this passage to be Messianic. Some would say it is talking about the nation of Israel. This would be a great distortion of the text. Even the eunuch understood what was intended by the writer by asking if this were the prophet himself or some other man that was spoken about as we see in verse 34.
Verse 35 – Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
Opened his Mouth; as an evangelist or witness you will have to open your mouth at some point. a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assai which says, “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.” The idea here is to live your life as a Christian and keep your mouth shut, and in that way you will be a better witness by letting them see how you live. It is true that we shouldn’t have all talk and no action, and we should certainly live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Like two wings of an airplane – demonstrating it and talking about it. Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use an amp.
Beginning at this Scripture; we need to use the Scriptures in either verses or in its entirety. Sharing verbally a memory verse can be the most instantaneous way. Go through the passage with the person as we see here Philip doing, or give them a Gospel of John or a Bible.
Preached; preaching or preached is found 7 times in Acts 8 using three Greek words. They are: Kerysso (kēryssō), Euaggelizō (you-on go liz0) and Laleo (laleō) (see bottom of page). In this particular verse Philip was Euaggelizō. Let’s look at the other sheet and briefly go over the different words used.
Jesus; the focus should be Jesus – (could have a whole Bible study on just this!) The person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ is the centrality of eternal life and the Christian faith. Therefore we preach about Him. There are many aspects to preaching on Jesus Christ but a good thing to remember is the death, burial, and resurrection.
This statement by the eunuch indicates that Philip mentioned baptism in his presentation. Also this is a good indicator of a genuine faith, the fact that the eunuch brought it up and not Philip prodding him. Pray for wisdom in your witnessing. I think it best to let the person express their heart instead of being asked a series of questions that foster a premature commitment.
This verse is not found in the majority of manuscripts and not until later. It is believed a second-century scribe added it since by this time it was established in the church a confession as such before the baptism took place.
Here we see that he got baptized. This was most likely baptism by submersion. Bye the way, the early Church baptized people immediately upon their profession. They associated it more with conversion and not discipleship like we do today.
The eunuch went on his way rejoicing; you never know that who you witness to may go on and do something great. Church tradition tells us that the eunuch took the Gospel back to Ethiopia (Africa) and that is how Christianity grew there. Matthew was thought to have gone to Africa as well. Went on his way rejoicing… In Isaiah 56 there are some great promises to eunuchs who obey the Lord. I wonder if this Ethiopian eunuch continued to read this on the way back home.
Philip was caught away. This is the same word used in Thessalonians about the “rapture” Most agree that this was a supernatural transport by God. Perhaps like when the boat that the disciples and Jesus were in immediately found itself at the shore. Here Philip was once again preaching. He preached in many cities until he came to Caesarea thus the pattern for itinerant ministry.
In the Bible concerning Philip; there is nothing to indicate that he did anything to train others. He didn’t follow up on converts or do anything else but preach to new people in new areas led by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps once settled in Caesarea he did these other things. At some point he was married and perhaps his wife traveled with him. This is unknown. Philip was submissive to the apostles, but generally worked alone. Philip preached to crowds and witnessed to individuals (one-on-one). Philip displayed sign gifts and baptized those who were converted under his ministry.
Evangelism is for everyone not just the “pros”. We give even though we do not have the gift of giving (Romans chapter 12)
Four things I want to point out regarding your evangelism
- Be available, willing & obedient: verse 26 arise and go – verse 27 Philip arose and went…
- Be Spirit led – verse 29
- Open your mouth – verse 35 Philip opened his mouth…
- Use the scriptures – verse 35 Beginning at this scripture…
- Witness with the character of Philip (and other Biblical examples of character & demeanor)
Greek Words Used for Preaching in Acts Chapter 8
Euaggelizō – (you-on go liz0) to bring good news, to announce glad tidings a) used in the OT of any kind of good news 1) of the joyful tidings of God’s kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings b) in the NT used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ, and of what relates to this salvation c) glad tidings are brought to one, one has glad tidings proclaimed to him d) to proclaim glad tidings 1) instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation. Examples: Usage in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) when talking about and kind of good news as in a battle victory 2 Sam. 18:27. Used in the New Testament by an angel to announce the birth of Christ. Luke 2:10
Kēryssō – to be a herald, to officiate as a herald a) to proclaim after the manner of a herald b) always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed 2) to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done 3) used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers. Examples: Usage of Paul when talking of his ministry. Acts 20:25 Usage of both words in these passages. Luke 4: 18 and Rom 10:14-15
Laleo – 1) to utter a voice or emit a sound 2) to speak a) to use the tongue or the faculty of speech b) to utter articulate sounds 3) to talk 4) to utter, tell 5) to use words in order to declare one’s mind and disclose one’s thoughts a) to speak. The apostles leaving Samaria Acts 8:25