Philip’s Approach to a Man from Africa

Though we have heard, read, and taught about the conversion of an Ethiopian eunuch countless times, it still thrills us to contemplate that great occasion! We want to focus on what Philip did as he reached out to a man who was in charge of a queen’s treasury.

Philip had an obedient spirit. When the Lord told him to arise and go, that is just what he did (8:26,27). When the Spirit told him to go approach the eunuch’s chariot, he did so (8:29,30). When a disciple of Jesus has such a spirit, he is ready to go anywhere to do anything his Lord desires, including teach the gospel.

Philip did not delay. In doing what? He had been busy preaching in Samaria, an effort that resulted in souls being saved. Then, the Lord charged him to go to another area (to work). Philip’s response: “So he arose and went” (Acts 8:26,27).

Philip ran to his prospect. It is written, “So Philip ran to him” (8:30). Does that not show his enthusiasm for what he was doing? When followers of the Christ get excited about approaching and teaching prospects, the devil will tremble and souls will be reached!

Philip poured his heart into reaching one person. He went from a scenario in which he was teaching many, to focusing on one precious soul. One soul is worth more than all the material world (Mark 8:36,37).

Philip approached the eunuch with a question, asking, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (8:30). Asking a question can kick-start a discussion by getting a prospect to focus on a specific matter.

When this man from Africa “asked Philip to come up and sit with him” (8:31), the evangelist accepted the invitation. While we never would endorse the idea of participating in a sinner’s sin in order to win his favor, we must be able to connect with people, to sit where they sit and see things from their vantage point. We recall that Jesus ate with the unconverted.

“Then Philip opened his mouth . . . and preached” (8:35). I call it “open-mouth evangelism.” In order for there to be evangelism, there must be communication. People cannot believe and submit to God’s gospel if they do not hear/learn it (Romans 10:14-17).

Philip used the Scriptures to present Jesus. The eunuch was reading from what we call Isaiah 53. When the Ethiopian man asked about the meaning of the Bible text, Philip started at that Scripture and preached Jesus to him. Regardless of the method of teaching we choose to employ, we must use the Bible!

Preaching Jesus included water baptism. How do we know? After hearing Philip’s message, the eunuch asked about baptism (8:35-38). Learn from Philip!

— Roger D. Campbell