Acts 8:15
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

King James Bible
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

Darby Bible Translation
who, having come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit;

World English Bible
who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit;

Young's Literal Translation
who having come down did pray concerning them, that they may receive the Holy Spirit, --

Acts 8:15 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Were come down - To Samaria. Jerusalem was generally represented as "up," or "higher" than the rest of the land, Matthew 20:18; John 7:8.

Prayed for them - They sought at the hand of God the extraordinary communications of the Holy Spirit. They did not even pretend to have the power of doing it without the aid of God.

That they might receive the Holy Ghost - The main question here is, what was meant by the Holy Spirit? In Acts 8:20, it is called "the gift of God." The following remarks may make this plain:

(1) It was not that gift of the Holy Spirit by which "the soul is converted," for they had this when they believed, Acts 8:6. Everywhere the conversion of the sinner is traced to his influence. Compare John 1:13.

(2) it was not the ordinary influences of the Spirit by which "the soul is sanctified"; for sanctification is a progressive work, and this was sudden.

(3) it was something that was discernible by "external effects"; for Simon saw Acts 8:18 that this was done by the laying on of hands.

(4) the phrase "the gift of the Holy Spirit," and "the descent of the Holy Spirit," signified not merely his "ordinary" influences in converting sinners, but those "extraordinary" influences that attended the first preaching of the gospel - the power of speaking with new tongues Acts 2, the power of working miracles, etc., Acts 19:6.

(5) this is further clear from the fact that Simon wished to "purchase" this power, evidently to keep up his influence among the people, and to retain his ascendency as a juggler and sorcerer. But surely Simon would not wish to "purchase" the converting and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit; it was the power of working miracles. These things made it clear that by the gift of the Holy Spirit here is meant the power of speaking with new tongues (compare 1 Corinthians 14) and the power of working miracles. And it is further clear that "this" passage should not be adduced in favor of "the rite of confirmation" in the Christian church. For, besides the fact that there are now no "apostles," the thing spoken of here is entirely different from the rite of confirmation. "This" was to confer the extraordinary power of working miracles; "that" is for a different purpose.

If it be asked "why" this power was conferred on the early Christians, it may be replied that it was to furnish striking proof of the truth of the Christian religion; to impress the people, and thus to win them to embrace the gospel. The early church was thus armed with the power of the Holy Spirit; and this extraordinary attestation of God to his message was one cause of the rapid propagation and permanent establishment of the gospel.

Acts 8:15 Parallel Commentaries

Seed Scattered and Taking Root
'And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 4. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Twenty-Sixth Day for the Holy Spirit on Young Converts
WHAT TO PRAY.--For the Holy Spirit on Young Converts "Peter and John prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost; for as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus."--ACTS viii. 15, 16. "Now He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."--2 COR. i. 21, 22. How many new converts who remain feeble; how many who fall into sin; how many who backslide
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Whether Simony is an Intentional Will to Buy or Sell Something Spiritual or Connected with a Spiritual Thing?
Objection 1: It would seem that simony is not "an express will to buy or sell something spiritual or connected with a spiritual thing." Simony is heresy, since it is written (I, qu. i [*Can. Eos qui per pecunias.]): "The impious heresy of Macedonius and of those who with him impugned the Holy Ghost, is more endurable than that of those who are guilty of simony: since the former in their ravings maintained that the Holy Spirit of Father and Son is a creature and the slave of God, whereas the latter
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The Holy Spirit Sending Men Forth to Definite Lines of Work.
We read in Acts xiii. 2-4, "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed into Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus." It is evident from this passage that the Holy Spirit calls men into definite lines of work and sends them forth into the work. He not
R. A. Torrey—The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit

Cross References
Acts 2:38
Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:2
He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."

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