Saturday, August 7, 2010

Acts Chapter Seven

Acts Chapter Seven (NIV)
Acts Chapter Seven (NASB)


Verses 1-16: Stephen begins his address to the Sanhedrin with the history of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendents, briefly telling how the people came to Egypt.

Verses 17-50: Stephen tells of the life of Moses and how although he led the Israelites out of Egypt by miraculous wonders and signs, they turned away from God to idols.

Verses 51-60: Stephen’s rebuke of his Jewish listeners enraged them so much that they stoned him, making Stephen the first follower of Christ to be martyred.


(A) Acts 7:9-10, 35-36--Stephen is drawing attention to how throughout their history, the Israelites have rejected the prophets sent by God to save them. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, but what was intended for evil God used for good in preserving a remnant. Moses was rejected by the Israelites when he attempted to help them, however God made Moses both “ruler and redeemer” who led the people out of Egypt performing great “wonders and signs.”

(B) Acts 7:51-53--Stephen lambasts his listeners as “stiff-necked”, “uncircumcised in heart and ears”, and always resisting the Holy Spirit because they followed the pattern of their forefathers by rejecting the “Righteous One” whom God sent to save them. Notice how the rejection of those sent by God is seen as a rejection of God, a rejection also identified as resistance against the Holy Spirit, indicating that the Holy Spirit is God.

(C) Acts 7:58-60--The angry mob stones Stephen, while Saul--later Paul-- looks on. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen cries out in prayer for the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit and before his final breath he speaks a prayer of mercy for those who are murdering him, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Stephen’s prayers are very like those of the Lord Jesus Christ who prayed before His own death, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,”(Luke 23:34) and “Into Your hands, I commit my spirit,” (Luke 23:46). So great a longing for the repentance and salvation of the lost should mark the follower of Christ that even if he is killed by the very unbelievers he seeks to convert, the Christian would not ask God to punish them but rather plead for the Lord to have mercy.


Charis kai Eirene said...

I've been thinking about how Stephen is introduced in Acts chapter 6 as one of those chosen to "wait tables" so that the apostles can focus on prayer and teaching, and then in chapter 7 Stephen is given the honor of being the first martyr for Jesus Christ. It makes me recall the words of the Lord in Mark 9:35, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."

trencherbone said...

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Zack_Tiang said...

Just a thought, did Stephen die due to the stoning... or because he submitted his spirit to the Lord?
Just a thought. Nothing particularly special.

Just wanted to ask for better understanding regarding the bit about Abraham and him leaving for the promised land.
As some of us may be aware, there's a bit of a discrepancy between the passage Acts 7:2-4, as compared to Genesis 12:4.

In Acts 7, Stephen explained that "After the death of his father [Terah], God sent [Abraham] to this land where you are now living."
While in Genesis 12, it is written "Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran."

In Genesis 11:32, it is recorded Terah as living up to 205 years (and in v.26, he 'fathered' Abraham, Nahor and Haran).

Calculate the age, in Genesis, Abraham is 75 when he left Haran, while in Acts, it seems to suggest he left a lot later (205-70=135; 50 years difference).

Can please anyone help to better understand this 'contradiction'?

I'm quite certain somewhere some critic will use this as a 'contradiction' against the bible.
So, I wish to be better prepared to answer.
Much appreciated.

Tom ta tum Tom said...

The will of The Heavenly Father is that not even one should be lost. Stephen truly had within himself the heart of the Father (see also: the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15).

"Father God, I have become too complacent and I have become too willing for lost souls to enter eternity without a saving knowledge of your Precious Son."

"Sovereign God, I repent of my callousness and I plead for you to change my heart by the renewing of your Holy Spirit, that I can be more like my heroes of old, Stephen, Peter, Paul, Mary, Martha and Priscilla."

"And Father, grant me boldness, wisdom and determination like that of my heroes of today, David Wood, Nabeel Qureshi, Sam Shamoun, Paul Rezkella, Pastor Joe, Robert Spencer, Negeen Mayel, Rifqa Bary, Ayaan Hersi Ali, Pamela Geller and others."

"Beloved Lord, surely you have shown us that you love us still, not only through the presence of Your Holy Spirit but also because you are still raising up prophets to warn us, to lead us and to celebrate you with us! How beautiful are the feet of those that bring good news! Thank YOU, precious Lord, for loving us still!"

Kafir and Proud and repenting of my wooden heartedness - out loud. May Jesus Christ Be Praised!

Zack_Tiang said...

Oh sorry.. seems I overlooked something..

In Genesis 11:32, it is recorded Terah as living up to 205 years (and in v.26, he 'fathered' Abraham, Nahor and Haran at age 70).

Anonymous said...


Q: In Gen 12:4, how could Abram be 75 years old when he left the town of Haran after Terah died? In Gen 11:26, since Terah was 70 when he had his three sons, Acts 7:4 says Abram left Haran after Terah died, and Terah died at 205 (Gen 11:32), then his three sons would be 135 years old.

A: Unless Abrah, Nahor, and Haran were triplets (which is unlikely), Genesis 11:26 refers to Terah being 70 years old when he started having children. Abram was not born until Terah was at least 130.

See Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.136-137, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.378, When Critics Ask p.45-46, and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.309-310 for more info


otto said...


maybe this will be of some help, if there are any grammatical mistakes its because I had to transcribe it from Kindle:

Although Mesopotamia included Haran (Gen 25.10), Stephen here appears to regard Haran as being outside it; he is thinking Mesopotamia as primarily the area around Ur. The story rests on Gen 11.31. According to Stephen, Abraham left for Canaan after the death of his father (Gen 12.4-5). Here again there is a problem in that Abraham was seventy-five at this point, but according to Gen 11.26, 32, Terah was seventy when Abraham was born and died at the age of 205; on the basis of these figures, Abraham would have left Haran when Terah was 145 – that is, sixty years before he died. Stephens’s chronology can be supported by a combination of the statement of Philo (Migration 177) that Terah’s age at death as 145. This would suggest that there was a variant tradition from the MT that might have found its way into some Greek version (Wilcox 1965: 28-29; cf. Bruce: 134n21). Another suggestion is made by Larkin (1995: 106n) that Gen 11.26 does not name Terah’s sons in chronological order but places Abram, the youngest, first because of his importance. However, Barrett (1994-1998: 342-43) holds that Stephen and Philo made the same simple mistake of reading the events in Gen 11.32; 12.1 as being in the order in which they occurred.

Taken from Commentary on the New Testament by G.K. Beale

Zack_Tiang said...

Thanks, Rafa-el & Odo. Much appreciated for the information. =D