Bible: Acts 6:8-7:53
Stephen is Arrested
6:8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and miraculous signs 1 among the people. 6:9 But some men from the Synagogue 2 of the Freedmen (as it was called), 3 both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, 4 stood up and argued with Stephen. 6:10 Yet 5 they were not able to resist 6 the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 6:11 Then they secretly instigated 7 some men to say, “We have heard this man 8 speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 6:12 They incited the people, the 9 elders, and the experts in the law; 10 then they approached Stephen, 11 seized him, and brought him before the council. 12 6:13 They brought forward false witnesses who said, “This man does not stop saying things against this holy place 13 and the law. 14 6:14 For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs 15 that Moses handed down to us.” 6:15 All 16 who were sitting in the council 17 looked intently at Stephen 18 and saw his face was like the face of an angel. 19
Stephen’s Defense Before the Council
7:1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things true?” 20 7:2 So he replied, 21 “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather 22 Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, 7:3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your country and from your relatives, and come to the land I will show you.’ 23 7:4 Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God 24 made him move 25 to this country where you now live. 7:5 He 26 did not give any of it to him for an inheritance, 27 not even a foot of ground, 28 yet God 29 promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him, 30 even though Abraham 31 as yet had no child. 7:6 But God spoke as follows: ‘Your 32 descendants will be foreigners 33 in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years. 34 7:7 But I will punish 35 the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there 36 and worship 37 me in this place.’ 38 7:8 Then God 39 gave Abraham 40 the covenant 41 of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old, 42 and Isaac became the father of 43 Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 44 7:9 The 45 patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold 46 him into Egypt. But 47 God was with him, 7:10 and rescued him from all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made 48 him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 7:11 Then a famine occurred throughout 49 Egypt and Canaan, causing 50 great suffering, and our 51 ancestors 52 could not find food. 7:12 So when Jacob heard that there was grain 53 in Egypt, he sent our ancestors 54 there 55 the first time. 7:13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family 56 became known to Pharaoh. 7:14 So Joseph sent a message 57 and invited 58 his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people 59 in all. 7:15 So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there, 60 along with our ancestors, 61 7:16 and their bones 62 were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money 63 from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
7:17 “But as the time drew near for God to fulfill the promise he had declared to Abraham, 64 the people increased greatly in number 65 in Egypt, 7:18 until another king who did not know about 66 Joseph ruled 67 over Egypt. 68 7:19 This was the one who exploited 69 our people 70 and was cruel to our ancestors, 71 forcing them to abandon 72 their infants so they would die. 73 7:20 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful 74 to God. For 75 three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned, 76 Pharaoh’s daughter adopted 77 him and brought him up 78 as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained 79 in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful 80 in his words and deeds. 7:23 But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind 81 to visit his fellow countrymen 82 the Israelites. 83 7:24 When 84 he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, 85 Moses 86 came to his defense 87 and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. 7:25 He thought his own people 88 would understand that God was delivering them 89 through him, 90 but they did not understand. 91 7:26 The next day Moses 92 saw two men 93 fighting, and tried to make peace between 94 them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ 7:27 But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed 95 Moses 96 aside, saying, ‘Who made 97 you a ruler and judge over us? 7:28 You don’t want to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ 98 7:29 When the man said this, 99 Moses fled and became a foreigner 100 in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
7:30 “After 101 forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert 102 of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 103 7:31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to investigate, there came the voice of the Lord, 7:32 ‘I am the God of your forefathers, 104 the God of Abraham, Isaac, 105 and Jacob.’ 106 Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. 107 7:33 But the Lord said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 108 7:34 I have certainly seen the suffering 109 of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. 110 Now 111 come, I will send you to Egypt.’ 112 7:35 This same 113 Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ 114 God sent as both ruler and deliverer 115 through the hand of the angel 116 who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs 117 in the land of Egypt, 118 at 119 the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 120 for forty years. 7:37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 121 ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 122 7:38 This is the man who was in the congregation 123 in the wilderness 124 with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, 125 and he 126 received living oracles 127 to give to you. 128 7:39 Our 129 ancestors 130 were unwilling to obey 131 him, but pushed him aside 132 and turned back to Egypt in their hearts, 7:40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt 133 – we do not know what has happened to him!’ 134 7:41 At 135 that time 136 they made an idol in the form of a calf, 137 brought 138 a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing 139 in the works of their hands. 140 7:42 But God turned away from them and gave them over 141 to worship the host 142 of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices 143 forty years in the wilderness, was it, 144 house of Israel? 7:43 But you took along the tabernacle 145 of Moloch 146 and the star of the 147 god Rephan, 148 the images you made to worship, but I will deport 149 you beyond Babylon.’ 150 7:44 Our ancestors 151 had the tabernacle 152 of testimony in the wilderness, 153 just as God 154 who spoke to Moses ordered him 155 to make it according to the design he had seen. 7:45 Our 156 ancestors 157 received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, 158 until the time 159 of David. 7:46 He 160 found favor 161 with 162 God and asked that he could 163 find a dwelling place 164 for the house 165 of Jacob. 7:47 But Solomon built a house 166 for him. 7:48 Yet the Most High 167 does not live in houses made by human hands, 168 as the prophet says,
7:49 ‘Heaven is my throne,
and earth is the footstool for my feet.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is my resting place? 169
7:51 “You stubborn 172 people, with uncircumcised 173 hearts and ears! 174 You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors 175 did! 7:52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors 176 not persecute? 177 They 178 killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, 179 whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! 180 7:53 You 181 received the law by decrees given by angels, 182 but you did not obey 183 it.” 184