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In Acts 8:26–40, the Bible records the account of the Ethiopian eunuch’s encounter with Philip “the evangelist.”  See Acts 21:8.  My observation of this text reveals a number of takeaways that can turbo-charge anyone’s gospel presentation.  In brief summary, these takeaways are as follows:

(1) I must be sensitive to hear God’s voice to witness and not hesitate to obey sensing the urgency of the situation. 

(2) I must be sensitive to listen to (or observe) the person to whom I plan to witness. 

(3) I must be willing to ask relevant questions that prompt a response.

(4) I must know how to present and explain the saving gospel of Jesus Christ through Scripture. 

(5) I must continually engage in evangelism. 

Let’s take a brief look at the entire passage, which reads in the New English Translation (NET):

26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.)27 So he got up and went. There he met an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship,28 and was returning home, sitting in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. He asked him, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” 31 The man replied, “How in the world can I, unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of scripture the man was reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to slaughter, and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In humiliation justice was taken from him. Who can describe his posterity? For his life was taken away from the earth.” 34 Then the eunuch said to Philip, “Please tell me, who is the prophet saying this about—himself or someone else?”35 So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. 36 Now as they were going along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water! What is to stop me from being baptized?”38 So he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any more, but went on his way rejoicing.40 Philip, however, found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through the area, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Let’s look at the takeaways and how this passage supports them.

The first takeaway is that I must be sensitive to hear God’s voice to witness and not hesitate to obey sensing the urgency of the situation. 

The first takeaway is that I must be sensitive to hear God’s voice to witness and not hesitate to obey sensing the urgency of the situation.  These four facts establish this takeaway:

●  Phillip was sensitive to hear the command (the Greek verb anistēmi is in the imperative mood which generally signifies a command) from Jesus Christ through “an angel of the Lord.”

● After hearing Jesus’ command, Phillip did not hesitate to obey “so he got up and went.”

●  For a second time, Phillip was sensitive to hear a divine command when God the Holy Spirit told him to “Go over and join the chariot.”   Here, the Greek verb proserchomai translated as “go over” is in the imperative mood. 

●  After hearing what he had been commanded, Phillip did not hesitate as evidenced by the fact that “Phillip ran up to” the eunuch and the chariot.  The Greek verb prosdramōn is translated as “ran up” and that is what it means, i.e., to run into the presence of.  See  Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 209). New York: United Bible Societies.  Phillip had to have understood the urgency of the situation necause his response to the command to “go over” was that he “ran up.”

The second takeaway is that I must be sensitive to listen to (or observe) the person to whom I plan to witness.

The second takeaway is that I must be sensitive to listen to (or observe) the person to whom I plan to witness.  The following observation establishes this takeaway.

●  When Phillip arrived at the chariot, we was attentive to what the eunuch was saying because he “heard the man reading Isaiah.”   The text was Isaiah 53:6-7.

The third takeaway is that I must be willing to ask relevant questions that prompt a response.

The third takeaway is that I must be willing to ask relevant questions that prompt a response.  This takeaway is demonstrated by the exchange in verses 30b-31, 34:

He asked him, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” 31 The man replied, “How in the world can I, unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. … 34 Then the eunuch said to Philip, “Please tell me, who is the prophet saying this about—himself or someone else?”

The fourth takeaway is that I must know how to present and explain the saving gospel of Jesus Christ through Scripture. 

The fourth takeaway is that I must know how to present and explain the saving gospel of Jesus Christ through Scripture.  Verse 35 validates this fourth takeaway:

35 So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him.

The NET translates the Greek verb euangelizō as “proclaimed” and it means to communicate good news concerning something (in the NT a particular reference to the gospel message about Jesus).  See Louw et al. , electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 411.  The Logos 8 sense of this verb “is convey the Gospel – to bring the good news concerning the now present instantiation of Jesus’ divine dominion and way of salvation by His death and resurrection.”  Notice that Philip began with the passage from Isaiah that the eunuch was reading and not with a canned gospel presentation.  Philip was well-versed in the Scriptures so he could begin where he needed to and carry on from there.

By verse 36-39, we then see that God saved the Ethiopian eunuch.

The fifth takeaway is that I must continually engage in evangelism.

The fifth takeaway is that I must continually engage in evangelism.  You will notice that Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch was a part of his larger evangelism efforts.  Acts 8:40 reads (NASB95):

40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

Also see acts 21:8-9.

I hope you found these takeaways helpful to become a more effective witness for Jesus Christ.

The Professor Grant Horner Bible Reading System is a great 500 day Bible reading plan.   The following link presents a description of the plan ( https://sohmer.net/media/professor_grant_horners_bible_reading_system.pdf).  My goal is to briefly share my thoughts on the passage that stands out the most for me each day.  For Day 176, Acts 8:26-40 was the passage that stood out.

If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell.  But, your destiny can change.  Today can be the day of your salvation.  Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.

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