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Philip the evangelist was one of seven men (including Stephen) chosen by the apostles to oversee the distribution of food to Jewish widows in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-3). Those seven were chosen as "full of the Spirit and wisdom" and were ordained to that ministry by the apostles, with a laying on of hands (Acts 6:6).

Stephen's martyrdom and the ensuing persecution of the Jerusalem church drove Philip to Samaria (Acts 8:4) where he preached, did miraculous works, cast out evil spirits, and healed the sick. Many people of Samaria, "both high and low", who had only recently been fascinated by a magician, believed Philip and were baptized. Later, led by the Spirit, Philip overheard a senior court official from Ethiopia reading Isaiah and used the opportunity to lead him to faith and baptize him (Acts 8:26-38). It is thus not surprising that Luke knew Philip as "the evangelist" (Acts 12:8).

According to Acts 21:8-9, Philip settled in Caesarea, where he raised a family of four daughters.