New Defender's Study Bible Notes
8:1 church which was at Jerusalem. The church at Jerusalem had grown inordinately large. In addition to the three thousand converts on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41), there were many others who had joined. After Peter’s second sermon, it was noted that the believers numbered five thousand men, evidently not even counting the women and children (Acts 4:4). Later the disciples were called a “multitude” (Acts 4:32), and still later it was said that “the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly” (Acts 6:7). They were all staying in Jerusalem, enjoying one another’s fellowship and the preaching of the apostles. The Lord, however, had commissioned them to go throughout all Judaea and Samaria, and eventually “to the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Since they had not even started to do this, perhaps it was the Lord who allowed this persecution to arise. Soon they were, indeed, scattering into the rest of Judaea and into Samaria, and as they scattered, they “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Perhaps modern churches that desire to become large and powerful should be advised by this example (note also, for example, the later church at Laodicea, which had become big and rich in material things, but lukewarm in doctrine and devotion to Christ—Revelation 3:14-20). When the Lord blesses a church with many converts and disciples, it may well be more efficient as well as Christ honoring for many of its members to “scatter abroad” to form new churches in other areas where they are more needed. Philip’s glad reception in Samaria (Acts 8:5-8) is a case in point.