Bible: Acts 6-8

The Appointment of the First Seven Deacons

6:1 Now in those 1  days, when the disciples were growing in number, 2  a complaint arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews 3  against the native Hebraic Jews, 4  because their widows 5  were being overlooked 6  in the daily distribution of food. 7  6:2 So the twelve 8  called 9  the whole group 10  of the disciples together and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to wait on tables. 11  6:3 But carefully select from among you, brothers, 12  seven 13  men who are well-attested, 14  full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge 15  of this necessary task. 16  6:4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 6:5 The 17  proposal pleased the entire group, so 18  they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, with 19  Philip, 20  Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a Gentile convert to Judaism 21  from Antioch. 22  6:6 They stood these men before the apostles, who prayed 23  and placed 24  their hands on them. 6:7 The word of God continued to spread, 25  the number of disciples in Jerusalem 26  increased greatly, and a large group 27  of priests became obedient to the faith.

Stephen is Arrested

6:8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and miraculous signs 28  among the people. 6:9 But some men from the Synagogue 29  of the Freedmen (as it was called), 30  both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, 31  stood up and argued with Stephen. 6:10 Yet 32  they were not able to resist 33  the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 6:11 Then they secretly instigated 34  some men to say, “We have heard this man 35  speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 6:12 They incited the people, the 36  elders, and the experts in the law; 37  then they approached Stephen, 38  seized him, and brought him before the council. 39  6:13 They brought forward false witnesses who said, “This man does not stop saying things against this holy place 40  and the law. 41  6:14 For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs 42  that Moses handed down to us.” 6:15 All 43  who were sitting in the council 44  looked intently at Stephen 45  and saw his face was like the face of an angel. 46 

Stephen’s Defense Before the Council

7:1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things true? 47  7:2 So he replied, 48 Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather 49  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.’ 50  7:4 Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God 51  made him move 52  to this country where you now live. 7:5 He 53  did not give any of it to him for an inheritance, 54  not even a foot of ground, 55  yet God 56  promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him, 57  even though Abraham 58  as yet had no child. 7:6 But God spoke as follows: ‘Your 59  descendants will be foreigners 60  in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years. 61  7:7 But I will punish 62  the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there 63  and worship 64  me in this place.’ 65  7:8 Then God 66  gave Abraham 67  the covenant 68  of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old, 69  and Isaac became the father of 70  Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 71  7:9 The 72  patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold 73  him into Egypt. But 74  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 75  him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 7:11 Then a famine occurred throughout 76  Egypt and Canaan, causing 77  great suffering, and our 78  ancestors 79  could not find food. 7:12 So when Jacob heard that there was grain 80  in Egypt, he sent our ancestors 81  there 82  the first time. 7:13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family 83  became known to Pharaoh. 7:14 So Joseph sent a message 84  and invited 85  his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people 86  in all. 7:15 So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there, 87  along with our ancestors, 88  7:16 and their bones 89  were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money 90  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, 91  the people increased greatly in number 92  in Egypt, 7:18 until another king who did not know about 93  Joseph ruled 94  over Egypt. 95  7:19 This was the one who exploited 96  our people 97  and was cruel to our ancestors, 98  forcing them to abandon 99  their infants so they would die. 100  7:20 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful 101  to God. For 102  three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned, 103  Pharaoh’s daughter adopted 104  him and brought him up 105  as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained 106  in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful 107  in his words and deeds. 7:23 But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind 108  to visit his fellow countrymen 109  the Israelites. 110  7:24 When 111  he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, 112  Moses 113  came to his defense 114  and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. 7:25 He thought his own people 115  would understand that God was delivering them 116  through him, 117  but they did not understand. 118  7:26 The next day Moses 119  saw two men 120  fighting, and tried to make peace between 121  them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ 7:27 But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed 122  Moses 123  aside, saying, ‘Who made 124  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?’ 125  7:29 When the man said this, 126  Moses fled and became a foreigner 127  in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

7:30After 128  forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert 129  of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 130  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, 131  the God of Abraham, Isaac, 132  and Jacob.’ 133  Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. 134  7:33 But the Lord said to him,Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 135  7:34 I have certainly seen the suffering 136  of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. 137  Now 138  come, I will send you to Egypt.’ 139  7:35 This same 140  Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge? 141  God sent as both ruler and deliverer 142  through the hand of the angel 143  who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs 144  in the land of Egypt, 145  at 146  the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 147  for forty years. 7:37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 148 God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 149  7:38 This is the man who was in the congregation 150  in the wilderness 151  with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, 152  and he 153  received living oracles 154  to give to you. 155  7:39 Our 156  ancestors 157  were unwilling to obey 158  him, but pushed him aside 159  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 160  – we do not know what has happened to him! 161  7:41 At 162  that time 163  they made an idol in the form of a calf, 164  brought 165  a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing 166  in the works of their hands. 167  7:42 But God turned away from them and gave them over 168  to worship the host 169  of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices 170  forty years in the wilderness, was it, 171  house of Israel? 7:43 But you took along the tabernacle 172  of Moloch 173  and the star of the 174  god Rephan, 175  the images you made to worship, but I will deport 176  you beyond Babylon.’ 177  7:44 Our ancestors 178  had the tabernacle 179  of testimony in the wilderness, 180  just as God 181  who spoke to Moses ordered him 182  to make it according to the design he had seen. 7:45 Our 183  ancestors 184  received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, 185  until the time 186  of David. 7:46 He 187  found favor 188  with 189  God and asked that he could 190  find a dwelling place 191  for the house 192  of Jacob. 7:47 But Solomon built a house 193  for him. 7:48 Yet the Most High 194  does not live in houses made by human hands, 195  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? 196 

7:50 Did my hand 197  not make all these things? 198 

7:51You stubborn 199  people, with uncircumcised 200  hearts and ears! 201  You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors 202  did! 7:52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors 203  not persecute? 204  They 205  killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, 206  whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! 207  7:53 You 208  received the law by decrees given by angels, 209  but you did not obey 210  it.” 211 

Stephen is Killed

7:54 When they heard these things, they became furious 212  and ground their teeth 213  at him. 7:55 But Stephen, 214  full 215  of the Holy Spirit, looked intently 216  toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing 217  at the right hand of God. 7:56 Look!” he said. 218 I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! 7:57 But they covered their ears, 219  shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. 7:58 When 220  they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, 221  and the witnesses laid their cloaks 222  at the feet of a young man named Saul. 7:59 They 223  continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! 7:60 Then he fell 224  to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” 225  When 226  he had said this, he died. 227  8:1 And Saul agreed completely with killing 228  him.

Saul Begins to Persecute the Church

Now on that day a great 229  persecution began 230  against the church in Jerusalem, 231  and all 232  except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions 233  of Judea and Samaria. 8:2 Some 234  devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation 235  over him. 236  8:3 But Saul was trying to destroy 237  the church; entering one house after another, he dragged off 238  both men and women and put them in prison. 239 

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 240  and began proclaiming 241  the Christ 242  to them. 8:6 The crowds were paying attention with one mind to what Philip said, 243  as they heard and saw the miraculous signs 244  he was performing. 8:7 For unclean spirits, 245  crying with loud shrieks, were coming out of many who were possessed, 246  and many paralyzed and lame people were healed. 8:8 So there was 247  great joy 248  in that city.

8:9 Now in that city was a man named Simon, who had been practicing magic 249  and amazing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 8:10 All the people, 250  from the least to the greatest, paid close attention to him, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called ‘Great.’ 251  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 252  and the name of Jesus Christ, 253  they began to be baptized, 254  both men and women. 8:13 Even Simon himself believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed close to 255  Philip constantly, and when he saw the signs and great miracles that were occurring, he was amazed. 256 

8:14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem 257  heard that Samaria had accepted the word 258  of God, they sent 259  Peter and John to them. 8:15 These two 260  went down and prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. 8:16 (For the Spirit 261  had not yet come upon 262  any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 263  8:17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on the Samaritans, 264  and they received the Holy Spirit. 265 

8:18 Now Simon, when he saw that the Spirit 266  was given through the laying on of the apostleshands, offered them money, 8:19 saying, “Give me this power 267  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, 268  because you thought you could acquire 269  God’s gift with money! 8:21 You have no share or part 270  in this matter 271  because your heart is not right before God! 8:22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord 272  that he may perhaps forgive you for the intent of your heart. 273  8:23 For I see that you are bitterly envious 274  and in bondage to sin.” 8:24 But Simon replied, 275 You pray to the Lord for me so that nothing of what you have said may happen to 276  me.”

8:25 So after Peter and John 277  had solemnly testified 278  and spoken the word of the Lord, 279  they started back to Jerusalem, proclaiming 280  the good news to many Samaritan villages 281  as they went. 282 

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

8:26 Then an angel of the Lord 283  said to Philip, 284 Get up and go south 285  on the road that goes down from Jerusalem 286  to Gaza.” (This is a desert 287  road.) 288  8:27 So 289  he got up 290  and went. There 291  he met 292  an Ethiopian eunuch, 293  a court official of Candace, 294  queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasury. He 295  had come to Jerusalem to worship, 296  8:28 and was returning home, sitting 297  in his chariot, reading 298  the prophet Isaiah. 8:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 8:30 So Philip ran up 299  to it 300  and heard the man 301  reading Isaiah the prophet. He 302  asked him, 303  “Do you understand what you’re reading? 8:31 The man 304  replied, “How in the world can I, 305  unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 8:32 Now the passage of scripture the man 306  was reading was this:

He was led like a sheep to slaughter,

and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,

so he did 307  not open his mouth.

8:33 In humiliation 308  justice was taken from him. 309 

Who can describe his posterity? 310 

For his life was taken away 311  from the earth.” 312 

8:34 Then the eunuch said 313  to Philip, “Please tell me, 314  who is the prophet saying this about – himself or someone else? 315  8:35 So Philip started speaking, 316  and beginning with this scripture 317  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 318  from being baptized? 8:37 [[EMPTY]] 319  8:38 So he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, 320  and Philip baptized 321  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 322  went on his way rejoicing. 323  8:40 Philip, however, found himself 324  at Azotus, 325  and as he passed through the area, 326  he proclaimed the good news 327  to all the towns 328  until he came to Caesarea. 329 

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