Week 5
Day 32
An Ethiopian’s Question – “Do you understand what you are reading?”
Read Acts 8:26-40

Acts 8:26-40

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

An educated Ethiopian Jew was reading the Scriptures alone in the desert at a rest stop on the highway in Gaza. God seized the opportunity by supernaturally moving Philip to the man’s chariot in a “divine appointment.” In this passage we see the benefit of studying the Scriptures “inductively,” which is to say simply asking questions of the text, and then searching the rest of Scripture for the answer. The two most basic questions of Inductive Bible Study are:

What does the passage say? (The result is a careful consideration of what is written, how the parts of speech relate, how the concepts fit together in the passage, and how it fits into the context of what came before and after it.)

What does it mean? (Any author generally writes down a concept with a single meaning behind it – the real skill behind studying the Scriptures is to understand the meaning behind the passage. A verse of Scripture CANNOT mean something different out of context and still be true. Context (grammatical, situational, historical) is KING in understanding the meaning of any passage of Scripture). 

Take the passage below and practice this Inductive Bible Study method using the above two questions: Colossians 1:28-29 “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”

What does it say?

What does it mean?

Memory Verses
Primary Verse:

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Romans 10:17
Secondary Verse:

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

1 Peter 2:2-3
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