Acts 8:31

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

Acts 8:31 in Other Translations

KJV
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
ESV
31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
NLT
31 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
MSG
31 He answered, "How can I without some help?" and invited Philip into the chariot with him.
CSB
31 "How can I," he said, "unless someone guides me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Acts 8:31 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 8:31

And he said, how can I, except some man should guide me?
&c.] Which shows that he was of an excellent spirit and temper; since instead of answering in a haughty and disdainful manner, as great men are too apt to do; and instead of charging Philip with, impertinence and insolence, in interrupting him whilst reading, and putting such a question to him, he expresses himself with great and uncommon modesty; with a sense and confession of his ignorance and incapacity and of the necessity and usefulness of the instructions of men, appointed of God to open and explain the Scriptures: and though he wanted such a guide, and could have been glad of one, yet he was willing to use all diligence himself in reading, that he, might, if possible, come at some knowledge of the truth; which was very commendable in him; and no doubt but the spirit he was in was much owing to his reading the word, and to the Spirit of God disposing his mind in this manner:

and he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him;
which is an instance of his great humanity and courteousness, and of his meekness and condescension, as well as of his vehement thirst after the knowledge of the Scriptures; he concluding, or at least hoping by Philip's question, and by the air and look of the man, that he was one that might be useful to him this way.

Acts 8:31 In-Context

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.”