Acts 8:34-40
New American Standard Bible 1995

34 The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

It's interesting to note that the meeting between Philip and the Ethiopian Bureaucrat Eunuch Government official was quite brief because it was immediately after Philip shared The Gospel that The Holy Spirit snatched Philip away. Does it have something to do with popular/pop psychology?

(Also, as an interesting side note: (Acts 8:26-40) narrative gives credibility to supporters of short-term Christian missionary work because some short-term Christian missionary work critics complain that short-term missionary work does not allow Christian missionaries enough time to gradually develop a strong relationship with non-Christian people who need the Gospel.)

  • "Does it have something to do with popular/pop psychology?" - I don't understand what this means and how it relates to your question.
    – user33515
    Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 23:45

3 Answers 3


As you have already quoted the passage in your question, it seems simple to draw several conclusions for the reason "why" the Holy Spirit whisked Philip away following the Eunuch's baptism.

  1. It provided a confirmation to the eunuch of the truth of what Philip had just taught him, and that he had taken the right step in choosing to become a Christian and be baptized.

    As the text says of the eunuch: "...he went on his way rejoicing" (vs. 39).

  2. It gave Philip an experience in soul-winning among non-Jews that inspired him to do more of the same. Whenever a miraculous event occurs during one's ministry, it confirms one in that ministry; and this energized Philip for his next missionary efforts.

  3. It put Philip immediately into a new situation where his missionary efforts were needed and could be used at that very time. God knew what He was doing, and He had a schedule to meet.

    We are not told how long or difficult the journey might have been for Philip had he taken it on foot, but it is probable that it would have been arduous and perhaps even a danger to him (consider meeting robbers along the way, or running out of water with no one else around to help, etc.).

  4. God did this for Philip to give others, even to our present time, courage that God would work beside His missionaries in every place, and that He could even transport them, if necessary, as He did with Philip.

(I have heard of a couple of fascinating cases, and experienced an unusual case myself one night very late in a large city where I had become lost--but I wasn't transported, merely helped by what appeared to be normal people, as Philip also was, and with public transportation that had appeared past its usual time.)

It may even sometimes be best to say little after helping someone to reach a decision for Christ while under conviction of the Holy Spirit, rather than to speak unguardedly or without carefulness to maintain the sincerity of the truth and have their impressions lessened thereby, decreasing their resolve to stand for the right. Many, even among evangelists, make the mistake of speaking lightly, or of trivial, non-spiritual matters, after having just brought their listeners to a point of genuine conviction--thus spoiling forever the good they might have accomplished.

God knows the true reasons as to why Philip was transported away, all of them, and we can only stand amazed to try to grasp the significance of them.


Though we may love to see miracles, but the scripture does not promote miracle in our faith, and therefore sometimes it did have a hardship to explain some occasions, like this one.

In studying this account of Philip and the Ethiopian, there are some questions

  1. Who was the origin of telling this account?
  2. If Philip was took away when they came up out of the water, who witnessed the Ethiopian went on his way rejoicing?
  3. If the Spirit took away Philip at the end of the account, why would the Spirit not taken Philip to the Ethiopian at the beginning, instead the Spirit only led Philip the direction to find the Ethiopian?

Some studies queried the account missed a key information, i.e. Did the Ethiopian receive the Spirit? Which led to a doubt whether the record of the account had an accidental error in the context.

As I believe faith does not rely on miracle, there was no need for the Ethiopian to earn his faith by seeing Philip suddenly disappear. Therefore the account might be like that;

The Spirit led Philip to find the Ethiopian, they came to a river in the region of Gaza and the Ethiopian got baptised. The Ethiopian received the Spirit, both Philip and the Ethiopian were rejoiced. The Spirit led Philip to move north to Azotus. When the Ethiopian got back to his chariot, he didn't notice Philip was not walking with him on the way back. But Philip did notice he was walking back to his chariot so rejoicing that the world didn't matter to him anymore.


I'd like to propose a Popular / pop psychology perspective.

I suppose the saying "focusing on the message instead of focusing ( in a positive sense, idolizing/worshipping Or in a negative sense, being angry at ) the messenger" is relevant.

I don't know if others have experienced this before. However, If I meet -"a stranger who yells at me for doing something wrong like cutting them off in traffic, and then just drives on" Or -"a preacher shouting out "(Deuteronomy 3:22)Do Not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you." while I'm rushing to an office morning meeting that I'm late for"

then it usually makes me focus on the message , and Not the messenger.

  • 1
    God knows how each one will react to things. Seeking advice on learning a foreign language before going abroad on mission service, I was once told "just learn to speak it...it is very difficult to learn to read it." The individual giving me this tidbit probably felt smugly superior, because they could read the language, and here they were telling me not to try, as it was too hard. Ha! I told myself: "What?! Do you think I am stupid? I'm going to learn to read!" And I did. I was reading before I could understand it--I think God knew that this "reverse psychology" would motivate me.
    – Biblasia
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 18:35
  • I am struggling to understand what you are suggesting here. Do you have any Scripture support for these assertions?
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 20:11
  • @Dottard are you asking me Or Biblasia ? I'm just talking about myself. It's sort of my life experience. I'm saying that psychologically if someone tells me something shockingly / joltingly good or bad, and then just leaves, and I never see him/her again. Then I tend to just remember the message all the time. Do you follow? Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 20:33
  • I am speaking to you not Biblasia. This site is not for personal reflections but is aimed at understanding the Biblical text alone.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 20:39

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