Biblical People

Biblical People: Simon (8) the Sorcerer

In the city of Samaria, lives Simon. He’s a sorcerer, a wizard of sorts who amazes people with his supernatural power. He thinks he’s all that. People reinforce his misguided arrogance, calling him “the Great Power of God.” Some people even follow Simon because of his amazing abilities.

But when Philip, likely Philip (3), shows up and tells everyone about Jesus, they believe and are baptized. Even Simon believes and is baptized too. He follows Philip everywhere, astonished by the godly supernatural power that Philip wields.

When the leaders in Jerusalem hear about Philip’s work in Samaria, they send Peter and John to check things out. Once there, Peter and John place their hands on the believers, and they receive Holy Spirit power.

Simon is beside himself. He wants the ability to impart Holy Spirit power too. He offers to buy this skill. “I want to do this too. I can pay.”

Peter is quick to condemn Simon. “You can’t buy God’s gift. Change your selfish ideas now. Pray that God will forgive you for this wickedness in you.” Then Peter adds that he perceives Simon has a bitter heart and is a slave to evil.

Simon freaks out. “Please! Pray to God so that nothing bad happens to me.”

But that’s where the story ends. We don’t know what happens next to Simon. Does he repent and correct his wrong thinking, or does he persist in trying to follow Jesus and be a sorcerer at the same time?

Do we ever try to mix wrong practices and beliefs along with our faith in Jesus?

[Discover more about Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:9–24.]

Read more about other biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at