Acts 8:9, Magic in the Bible

But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great 

//Sometimes it’s fascinating to step back just a little and consider how different the world was to the folks who wrote the Bible. For one thing, they believed unquestionably in magic, and condemned it as Satanic. There are four instances in the book of Acts that involve the use of magic.

1. Today’s verse tells about a magician named Simon, who was baptized as a Christian, but really just wanted to know how the apostles were dispensing the Holy Spirit through laying on hands. He wanted to be able to do the same trick.

2. Acts 13 tells of a man named Elymas the sorcerer, who attempted to sway another man from believing in Jesus. Paul called him a son of the devil, and cursed him with blindness.

3. Acts 16 tells of a slave girl who had a spirit of divination, and who made lots of money for her masters with this magic. The magic spirit revealed to her that Paul and Timothy were servants of the “Most High God.” Paul performed an exorcism on the spot, driving away the spirit, and this infuriated her masters.

4. Acts 19 tells of many people who were practitioners of magic, who brought their spell books together and burned them. The total value of the books was fifty thousand pieces of silver. A nice-sized bonfire, I’d imagine. I can’t even guess how much these books would be worth to historians today; their burning was a horrific loss that would have helped us better understand the world of the first Christians.

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