Bible: Acts 7
Stephen’s Defense Before the Council
7:1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things true?” 1 7:2 So he replied, 2 “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather 3 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.’ 4 7:4 Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God 5 made him move 6 to this country where you now live. 7:5 He 7 did not give any of it to him for an inheritance, 8 not even a foot of ground, 9 yet God 10 promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him, 11 even though Abraham 12 as yet had no child. 7:6 But God spoke as follows: ‘Your 13 descendants will be foreigners 14 in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years. 15 7:7 But I will punish 16 the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there 17 and worship 18 me in this place.’ 19 7:8 Then God 20 gave Abraham 21 the covenant 22 of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old, 23 and Isaac became the father of 24 Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 25 7:9 The 26 patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold 27 him into Egypt. But 28 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 29 him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 7:11 Then a famine occurred throughout 30 Egypt and Canaan, causing 31 great suffering, and our 32 ancestors 33 could not find food. 7:12 So when Jacob heard that there was grain 34 in Egypt, he sent our ancestors 35 there 36 the first time. 7:13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family 37 became known to Pharaoh. 7:14 So Joseph sent a message 38 and invited 39 his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people 40 in all. 7:15 So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there, 41 along with our ancestors, 42 7:16 and their bones 43 were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money 44 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, 45 the people increased greatly in number 46 in Egypt, 7:18 until another king who did not know about 47 Joseph ruled 48 over Egypt. 49 7:19 This was the one who exploited 50 our people 51 and was cruel to our ancestors, 52 forcing them to abandon 53 their infants so they would die. 54 7:20 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful 55 to God. For 56 three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned, 57 Pharaoh’s daughter adopted 58 him and brought him up 59 as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained 60 in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful 61 in his words and deeds. 7:23 But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind 62 to visit his fellow countrymen 63 the Israelites. 64 7:24 When 65 he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, 66 Moses 67 came to his defense 68 and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. 7:25 He thought his own people 69 would understand that God was delivering them 70 through him, 71 but they did not understand. 72 7:26 The next day Moses 73 saw two men 74 fighting, and tried to make peace between 75 them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ 7:27 But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed 76 Moses 77 aside, saying, ‘Who made 78 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?’ 79 7:29 When the man said this, 80 Moses fled and became a foreigner 81 in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
7:30 “After 82 forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert 83 of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 84 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, 85 the God of Abraham, Isaac, 86 and Jacob.’ 87 Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. 88 7:33 But the Lord said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 89 7:34 I have certainly seen the suffering 90 of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. 91 Now 92 come, I will send you to Egypt.’ 93 7:35 This same 94 Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ 95 God sent as both ruler and deliverer 96 through the hand of the angel 97 who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs 98 in the land of Egypt, 99 at 100 the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 101 for forty years. 7:37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 102 ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 103 7:38 This is the man who was in the congregation 104 in the wilderness 105 with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, 106 and he 107 received living oracles 108 to give to you. 109 7:39 Our 110 ancestors 111 were unwilling to obey 112 him, but pushed him aside 113 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 114 – we do not know what has happened to him!’ 115 7:41 At 116 that time 117 they made an idol in the form of a calf, 118 brought 119 a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing 120 in the works of their hands. 121 7:42 But God turned away from them and gave them over 122 to worship the host 123 of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices 124 forty years in the wilderness, was it, 125 house of Israel? 7:43 But you took along the tabernacle 126 of Moloch 127 and the star of the 128 god Rephan, 129 the images you made to worship, but I will deport 130 you beyond Babylon.’ 131 7:44 Our ancestors 132 had the tabernacle 133 of testimony in the wilderness, 134 just as God 135 who spoke to Moses ordered him 136 to make it according to the design he had seen. 7:45 Our 137 ancestors 138 received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, 139 until the time 140 of David. 7:46 He 141 found favor 142 with 143 God and asked that he could 144 find a dwelling place 145 for the house 146 of Jacob. 7:47 But Solomon built a house 147 for him. 7:48 Yet the Most High 148 does not live in houses made by human hands, 149 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? 150
7:51 “You stubborn 153 people, with uncircumcised 154 hearts and ears! 155 You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors 156 did! 7:52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors 157 not persecute? 158 They 159 killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, 160 whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! 161 7:53 You 162 received the law by decrees given by angels, 163 but you did not obey 164 it.” 165
Stephen is Killed
7:54 When they heard these things, they became furious 166 and ground their teeth 167 at him. 7:55 But Stephen, 168 full 169 of the Holy Spirit, looked intently 170 toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing 171 at the right hand of God. 7:56 “Look!” he said. 172 “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 7:57 But they covered their ears, 173 shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. 7:58 When 174 they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, 175 and the witnesses laid their cloaks 176 at the feet of a young man named Saul. 7:59 They 177 continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 7:60 Then he fell 178 to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” 179 When 180 he had said this, he died. 181