This Week's Focus Passage

Acts 8:34: ‘Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this.’

This Week’s Focus Passage: Acts 8:34

‘Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this.’


              What was the Ethiopian eunuch reading? The Holy Spirit has informed us through Luke. We are told in unmistakable terms;

Now the passage which he was reading was this,

He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before his shearer         is dumb, so he opened not his mouth; in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: His generation who shall declare? For his life is taken from the earth.   

              And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other? And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this scripture, preached unto him Jesus.—Acts 8:32-35

I suppose perhaps that New Covenant Theology would teach that there is no gospel in the Older Testament. Happily for the eunuch, Philip believed no such thing; he took this passage from Isaiah and ran with it, preaching Jesus in answer to the question of this Ethiopian, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other? Who, pray tell, is this one that was led as a sheep to the slaughter? What individual could ever stand as a lamb before his shearer, and be silent? Please tell me; I don’t understand. His judgment was taken from him because of his humiliation; because of his being humble; is that what is being taught here? And they took his life from the earth? Tell me, I pray; please help me to know.

              Beginning from this scripture, from Isaiah 53; Philip opened his mouth and began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to this sincere questioner. Now if Philip had been a Dispensationalist, I expect he would have told this inquirer to turn ahead in his Bible to John 3:16, and preach to him the love of God for the entire world, or he might have taken him to Paul’s letter to those in Rome, and chapter ten. In the 13th verse of that chapter, the apostle pronounces that, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ End of the discussion for most that are in the camp of the Arminians. Those many seem to understand that this ratifies their ‘revivalist’ methodologies. They would wrest this Pauline call to the destruction of many by inferring this to mean, for them, ‘Whoever shall raise their hand shall be saved.’ Or, ‘Whoever shall come down the aisle shall be saved.’ And, likewise, ‘Whoever shall be baptized shall be saved.’ They wrest this word out of its context. Look closely at the context which with this call is surrounded; Verse 9, If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: Verse 10, for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The context teaches that confession with the mouth is that which comes from the heart; one believes in their heart, and thus confess Jesus as Lord.*

              The preponderance of scripture testifies the need of a new heart; being born from above; being born again. There must be a new creation, as Paul speaks it to the Corinthians. Jesus chided Nicodemus for being a teacher and yet not understanding that it is the work of God upon the heart that is so desperately needed. ‘The wind bloweth where it will,’ Christ pointed out to this man of the Pharisees. The Wind must do something before any man will do anything about coming to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. In John’s record, Jesus did not leave it there. In one of the lengthiest chapters in the Bible, John’s sixth chapter, Jesus powerfully asserts;

All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Our friends espousing the vaunted free-will of man are happy to quote 37b and, commonly, pass over the first part of the verse. In calling for decisions, they love to encourage folk to ‘come to Jesus’ with that word, him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Jesus offered even more clarity just a few verses following, when He pronounced that, No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. The manner of drawing, the Word of God teaches, is that of the regenerating power of God the Holy Spirit. That Wind of which Christ spoke to Nicodemus is, in fact, the Spirit of God bringing about the new birth.

              It was to point this Ethiopian eunuch to the Lord Jesus Christ that Philip was commanded of the angel of the Lord;

Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert. And he arose and went; and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians.

Does it not seem as though this were all planned? This elect sinner was coming from Jerusalem where he had gone to worship. He was returning from that event, perhaps with many questions in his mind; and he was reading the Word of God; he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Somewhere between his starting for home and the arrival of Philip on the scene, God regenerated his heart, causing him to inquire, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other. In response, Philip opened his mouth and preached Jesus to him. Yes, it was all planned. That is the point. God has planned to save a people. He planned to save this Ethiopian, and He brought it about through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus. God has planned the salvation of a chosen people through the blood of His Son. We call it electing grace. The basis of this is God’s love for His people; this we are unable to explain.


David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


*As an aside, it is interesting, to say the least, that there are some Arminian B.M.O.C’s teaching that blasphemous remake of the old ‘Carnal Christian’ theory that one may accept Jesus Christ as their Savior now and, perhaps, accept Him as Lord sometime later. They have left out, ‘if thou shalt confess Jesus as Lord.’ Shame on them. They have ‘compassed sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is become so, ye make him twofold more a son of hell than yourselves.’—Matt. 23:15.


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