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.

7:17But 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.

7:30After 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,

7:49Heaven 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 

7:50 Did my hand 170  not make all these things? 171 

7:51You 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 apostleshands, 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.

8:33 In humiliation 281  justice was taken from him. 282 

Who can describe his posterity? 283 

For his life was taken away 284  from the earth.” 285 

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 Judashouse 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.

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