Bible Study Moment

Now in Acts 8:26-40 Philip meets and baptizes an unnamed treasury official for the Kandace of Ethiopia. The person was also a eunuch. This person has been to Jerusalem on a religious pilgrimage, and is now reading out loud Isaiah 53:7-8.

Now some explanations: the Isaiah passage is one of several from Isaiah that the church has traditionally called “suffering servant” passages that are prophecies about Christ. He(?) is also Jewish, perhaps a convert, and being from Ethiopia, dark skinned. Perhaps he has been made into a eunuch because as treasurer he has knowledge that could pose a threat to the Kandace, Kandace being the title for the woman ruler of Ethiopia. In Matthew 19:13 Jesus states “For there are eunuchs who have been eunuchs from birth. And there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by other people. And there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs because of the kingdom of heaven.” So being a eunuch may have come from the first way Jesus mentioned.

Depending on the translation there may not be a verse 37. It doesn’t appear in many of the oldest original manuscripts and seems to be added to make the interaction between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch to be more like the liturgy used in most churches at baptism.

Mark Phillips