Bible: Acts 6:8-9:31
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
Stephen is Killed
7:54 When they heard these things, they became furious 185 and ground their teeth 186 at him. 7:55 But Stephen, 187 full 188 of the Holy Spirit, looked intently 189 toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing 190 at the right hand of God. 7:56 “Look!” he said. 191 “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 7:57 But they covered their ears, 192 shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. 7:58 When 193 they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, 194 and the witnesses laid their cloaks 195 at the feet of a young man named Saul. 7:59 They 196 continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 7:60 Then he fell 197 to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” 198 When 199 he had said this, he died. 200 8:1 And Saul agreed completely with killing 201 him.
Saul Begins to Persecute the Church
Now on that day a great 202 persecution began 203 against the church in Jerusalem, 204 and all 205 except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions 206 of Judea and Samaria. 8:2 Some 207 devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation 208 over him. 209 8:3 But Saul was trying to destroy 210 the church; entering one house after another, he dragged off 211 both men and women and put them in prison. 212
Philip Preaches in Samaria
8:4 Now those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word. 8:5 Philip went down to the main city of Samaria 213 and began proclaiming 214 the Christ 215 to them. 8:6 The crowds were paying attention with one mind to what Philip said, 216 as they heard and saw the miraculous signs 217 he was performing. 8:7 For unclean spirits, 218 crying with loud shrieks, were coming out of many who were possessed, 219 and many paralyzed and lame people were healed. 8:8 So there was 220 great joy 221 in that city.
8:9 Now in that city was a man named Simon, who had been practicing magic 222 and amazing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 8:10 All the people, 223 from the least to the greatest, paid close attention to him, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called ‘Great.’” 224 8:11 And they paid close attention to him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God 225 and the name of Jesus Christ, 226 they began to be baptized, 227 both men and women. 8:13 Even Simon himself believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed close to 228 Philip constantly, and when he saw the signs and great miracles that were occurring, he was amazed. 229
8:14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem 230 heard that Samaria had accepted the word 231 of God, they sent 232 Peter and John to them. 8:15 These two 233 went down and prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. 8:16 (For the Spirit 234 had not yet come upon 235 any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 236 8:17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on the Samaritans, 237 and they received the Holy Spirit. 238
8:18 Now Simon, when he saw that the Spirit 239 was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, offered them money, 8:19 saying, “Give me this power 240 too, so that everyone I place my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.” 8:20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, 241 because you thought you could acquire 242 God’s gift with money! 8:21 You have no share or part 243 in this matter 244 because your heart is not right before God! 8:22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord 245 that he may perhaps forgive you for the intent of your heart. 246 8:23 For I see that you are bitterly envious 247 and in bondage to sin.” 8:24 But Simon replied, 248 “You pray to the Lord for me so that nothing of what you have said may happen to 249 me.”
8:25 So after Peter and John 250 had solemnly testified 251 and spoken the word of the Lord, 252 they started back to Jerusalem, proclaiming 253 the good news to many Samaritan villages 254 as they went. 255
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
8:26 Then an angel of the Lord 256 said to Philip, 257 “Get up and go south 258 on the road that goes down from Jerusalem 259 to Gaza.” (This is a desert 260 road.) 261 8:27 So 262 he got up 263 and went. There 264 he met 265 an Ethiopian eunuch, 266 a court official of Candace, 267 queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasury. He 268 had come to Jerusalem to worship, 269 8:28 and was returning home, sitting 270 in his chariot, reading 271 the prophet Isaiah. 8:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 8:30 So Philip ran up 272 to it 273 and heard the man 274 reading Isaiah the prophet. He 275 asked him, 276 “Do you understand what you’re reading?” 8:31 The man 277 replied, “How in the world can I, 278 unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 8:32 Now the passage of scripture the man 279 was reading was this:
“He was led like a sheep to slaughter,
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did 280 not open his mouth.
Who can describe his posterity? 283
8:34 Then the eunuch said 286 to Philip, “Please tell me, 287 who is the prophet saying this about – himself or someone else?” 288 8:35 So Philip started speaking, 289 and beginning with this scripture 290 proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. 8:36 Now as they were going along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water! What is to stop me 291 from being baptized?” 8:37 [[EMPTY]] 292 8:38 So he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, 293 and Philip baptized 294 him. 8:39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any more, but 295 went on his way rejoicing. 296 8:40 Philip, however, found himself 297 at Azotus, 298 and as he passed through the area, 299 he proclaimed the good news 300 to all the towns 301 until he came to Caesarea. 302
The Conversion of Saul
9:1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats 303 to murder 304 the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest 9:2 and requested letters from him to the synagogues 305 in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, 306 either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners 307 to Jerusalem. 308 9:3 As he was going along, approaching 309 Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed 310 around him. 9:4 He 311 fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, 312 why are you persecuting me?” 313 9:5 So he said, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting! 9:6 But stand up 314 and enter the city and you will be told 315 what you must do.” 9:7 (Now the men 316 who were traveling with him stood there speechless, 317 because they heard the voice but saw no one.) 318 9:8 So Saul got up from the ground, but although his eyes were open, 319 he could see nothing. 320 Leading him by the hand, his companions 321 brought him into Damascus. 9:9 For 322 three days he could not see, and he neither ate nor drank anything. 323
9:10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The 324 Lord 325 said to him in a vision, “Ananias,” and he replied, “Here I am, 326 Lord.” 9:11 Then the Lord told him, “Get up and go to the street called ‘Straight,’ 327 and at Judas’ house look for a man from Tarsus named Saul. For he is praying, 9:12 and he has seen in a vision 328 a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he may see again.” 9:13 But Ananias replied, 329 “Lord, I have heard from many people 330 about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem, 9:14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison 331 all who call on your name!” 332 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man is my chosen instrument 333 to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel. 334 9:16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 335 9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, placed 336 his hands on Saul 337 and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came here, 338 has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 339 9:18 Immediately 340 something like scales 341 fell from his eyes, and he could see again. He 342 got up and was baptized, 9:19 and after taking some food, his strength returned.
For several days 343 he was with the disciples in Damascus, 9:20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, 344 saying, “This man is the Son of God.” 345 9:21 All 346 who heard him were amazed and were saying, “Is this not 347 the man who in Jerusalem was ravaging 348 those who call on this name, and who had come here to bring them as prisoners 349 to the chief priests?” 9:22 But Saul became more and more capable, 350 and was causing consternation 351 among the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving 352 that Jesus 353 is the Christ. 354
Saul’s Escape from Damascus
9:23 Now after some days had passed, the Jews plotted 355 together to kill him, 9:24 but Saul learned of their plot against him. 356 They were also watching 357 the city gates 358 day and night so that they could kill him. 9:25 But his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening 359 in the wall by lowering him in a basket. 360
Saul Returns to Jerusalem
9:26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, 361 he attempted to associate 362 with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe 363 that he was a disciple. 9:27 But Barnabas took 364 Saul, 365 brought 366 him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that 367 the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly 368 in the name of Jesus. 9:28 So he was staying with them, associating openly with them 369 in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 9:29 He was speaking and debating 370 with the Greek-speaking Jews, 371 but they were trying to kill him. 9:30 When the brothers found out about this, they brought him down to Caesarea 372 and sent him away to Tarsus.
9:31 Then 373 the church throughout Judea, Galilee, 374 and Samaria experienced 375 peace and thus was strengthened. 376 Living 377 in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, the church 378 increased in numbers.