PHILIP THE EVANGELIST: One of the seven named in Acts vi. 5 as chosen to direct the care of the poor, to "serve tables," and possibly to direct outward concerns generally. Their office was prob-ably different from the later diaconate (see DEACON), being, in any case, dissolved with the persecution and dispersion of the congregation (Acts viii.) and later supplanted by the more comprehensive office of presbyter (Acts xi. 30, xv. 29). Since that earlier office was instituted because the Grecian members of the primitive congregation complained that their widows were neglected, it may be assumed that at least a contingent of the seven was chosen from the Hellenist members themselves, and probably one of these was Philip. Philip, like Stephen (Acts vi. 13), took a comparatively liberal stand in relation to the Jewish law and worship, and evolved from that liberal mode of teaching its practical sequel, in that after his flight from Jerusalem he began an eventful missionary activity among the Samaritans (Acts viii. 5 sqq.), who were accounted nearly the same as heathen. Moreover, he baptized an uncircumcised half-proselyte, the queen of Ethiopia's eunuch (Acts viii. 26 sqq.). Next he journeyed, preaching the Gospel, "till he came to Cæsarea." Here Paul took up his abode with him, together with his fellow travelers, on Paul's final journey (Acts, xxi. 8). And as this incident is related in Acts, Philip is designated not only with reference to his former office as "one of the seven," but also with reference to his missionary activity as "the evangelist" and as the father of "four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy" (xxi. 9). This is the last notice of him in the New Testament.
The patristic tradition in regard to the subsequent fortunes of Philip is of impaired value for the reason that he has been confused with the apostle of like name, as in Polycrates of Ephesus, who reports of the Apostle Philip (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III., xxxi. 3, V., xxiv. 2), that he rests in Hierapolis, as do two of his daughters, who grew old as virgins; whereas his third daughter, whose "walk and conversation were in the Spirit," lies buried in Ephesus. These family particulars so closely resemble what is reported in Acts xxi. 9 of the evangelist that it is hardly tenable to think of two different men of the same name in this connection. Error in the Book of Acts is the less likely since it is precisely there that the reports are from an eyewitness. It is evident that Polycrates erroneously held the Philip of Hierapolis to be the apostle, though this does not exclude the proposition that his particulars in regard to the Evangelist Philip are correct. In comparison with these details the statements of Caius of Rome (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III., xxxi.) are not so. exact. It is probably due to a confusion of the two named Philip that Clement of Rome (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III., xxx. 1) asserts that the Apostles Peter and Philip had begotten children, and that Philip had given his daughters in second marriage. Neither are those communications of Eusebius himself quite clear (III., xxxi.) which have arisen from a combination of what is stated by Polycrates and by Caius. Confusion of the apostle with the evangelist may have been easier because of the possibility that the two lived at the same time in Asia Minor. The later tradition was that the evangelist died as bishop at Tralles; that the apostle died and was buried in Ephesus.