Acts 8: Spirit and Scripture

Churches in our culture tend to lean heavy on either Spirit or Scripture. Spirit churches are the emotion-driven, charismatic experiences-stereotype. Scripture churches are the “teaching” churches, focused almost solely on education and information.

Individual Christians also often land more toward one side of this spectrum that the other, depending on personality, background, church affiliation, and other factors. But is this a good thing?

In one sense, God has provided a variety of gifts. Yet in another way, Scripture offers examples of Christ’s followers emphasizing both a Spirit-led life and a Scripture-saturated life, sometimes in the same story.

Philip’s experience in Acts 8 is a good example. There we read:

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

Here we find Philip being “led” by the Spirit to do something. In this case it was to stay near this man’s chariot. The guy was reading the prophet Isaiah and wanted to know what it meant. Philip proceeded to teach about Jesus from those very words.

In the end, the man believed in Jesus and was baptized. So a Spirit-led, Scripture-focused life can lead to helping others come to faith in Jesus.

If that’s true, then let’s focus on doing both today. We may help someone change their mind about Jesus. And even if we don’t, our lives will be better for it.


Dillon Burroughs is the author or co-author of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of the New Testament in 2011 at Find out more about Dillon at or

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