Acts 8:9

Simon the Magician Believes

9 But there was a man named Simon, 1who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, 2saying that he himself was somebody great.

Acts 8:9 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 8:9

But there was a certain man called Simon
Who, as Justin Martyr F6 says, was a Samaritan, and of a village called Gitton; and so a Jewish writer F7 calls him Simeon, (ynwrmvh) , "the Samaritan", a wizard: here is a

upon this new church, the success of the Gospel in this place, and the joy that was there; a man of great wickedness and sophistry plays the hypocrite, feigns himself a believer, and gets in among them; (See Gill on Acts 5:1),

which beforetime in the same city used sorcery;
who before Philip came thither, practised magic arts; wherefore he is commonly called "Simon Magus", for he was a magician, who had learned diabolical arts, and used enchantments and divinations, as Balaam and the magicians of Egypt did:

and bewitched the people of Samaria;
or rather astonished them, with the strange feats he performed; which were so unheard of and unaccountable, that they were thrown into an ecstasy and rapture; and were as it were out of themselves, through wonder and admiration, at the amazing things that were done by him:

giving out that himself was some great one;
a divine person, or an extraordinary prophet, and it may be the Messiah; since the Samaritans expected the Messiah, as appears from ( John 4:25 ) and which the Syriac version seems to incline to, which renders the words thus, "and he said, I am that great one"; that great person, whom Moses spake of as the seed of the "woman", under the name of Shiloh, and the character of a prophet.


F6 Apolog. 2. p. 69.
F7 Juchasin, fol. 242. 2.

Acts 8:9 In-Context

7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.
8 So there was much joy in that city.
9 But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.
10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the power of God that is called Great."
11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.

Cross References 2

  • 1. ver. 11; Acts 13:6
  • 2. See Acts 5:36
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.