Acts 8:37. To Be or Not To Be?

Q. I so appreciate your taking the time to answer all questions offered to you. I love your site!!! Last night I felt the need to check a reference in the Bible, Acts 8:37 to be exact. I was reading the NIV and low and behold it wasn’t there. It skips from 8:36-8:38. The RSV is the same. It is however in the KJV. It turns out to be important because if the translation is correct, Phillip tells the eunuch that since he believes Jesus is the Messiah he, the eunuch, can be baptized. Why has this verse been deleated from the other versions?

A. Of 15 popular translations I checked, about half (7) include verse 37. Those who omit it say that the earliest and most accurate Greek manuscripts did not have verse 37 and it didn’t appear in any of them until about 500 years after the cross. Those who include it say the early manuscripts left it out because early church leaders felt they needed some time to observe new converts to be sure they didn’t hold any erroneous beliefs before baptizing them.

Whether it’s there or not doesn’t alter the fact that the Lord knew the eunuch was saved because He whisked Philip off to his next assignment, his work there being finished. The argument over verse 37 is between theologians. God knows if a person is saved or not. If he isn’t, 100 baptisms won’t help, and if he is he doesn’t really need even one.

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