Philip the evangelist was one of the original “servers of tables” or deacons. His name in the list of deacons follows Stephen’s. “And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch” (Acts 6:5). Bible students assume that this Philip was one of the seventy-two men whom Jesus sent out (Luke 10:1).
His work was described as that of the “evangelist” (Acts 8:5–13, 26–40). The evangelist designation is not to be thought of as a title, but as a description of his ministry, the result of his reception of that particular gift from the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:11; Acts 13:1).
Philip was engrossed in preaching the Word, but when the “great persecution” took place in Acts 8:1, he left Jerusalem to preach in Samaria (Acts 8:5–12). After that, the Holy Spirit led Philip to witness to an Ethiopian eunuch, who was a member of the court of Candace, the Ethiopian queen. Philip saw the eunuch sitting in his chariot trying to understand the passage in the book of Isaiah chapter 53 about the Messiah, so Philip “preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35). The eunuch accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and got baptized (Acts 8:26–39). Immediately after the baptism, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away to Azotus, where he continued to evangelize all the cities till he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).
Philip’s labors as an evangelist took him far beyond the limits of Caesarea, where he was last seen (Acts 8:40). He may have preached up and down the coasts of Palestine and Phoenicia, along with others who were scattered abroad during the persecution following Stephen’s death (Acts 11:19).
Many years later, Paul and Luke came from Caesarea and visited with Philip and stayed at his house (Acts 21:8). This is probably the first time Philip and Luke had met, and likewise also the first time Philip and Paul had crossed paths. The gift of prophecy was also given to Philip’s family members for he had four unmarried daughters at that time, all of whom had the gift of prophecy (Acts 21:9).
In His service,
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