Acts + Letters Lesson 5 Day 3

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Acts 7:1-53


6. Stephen’s speech

Acts 7:1-38 – God revealed his glory to Abraham in Mesopotamia and to Moses in Egypt and Mount Sinai. The presence of God was with Joseph in Egypt. So clearly, God is not confined to a tabernacle or a temple.

Acts 7:39-50 – Even after Moses led Israel out of Egypt working wonders and signs in Egypt, the Red Sea, and the wilderness, Israel still rejected him, rebelling against God.

Acts 7:51-53 – Stephen explains how his speech applies to those listening and confronts them with their idolatry and similarly rejecting God’s messengers and his Holy Spirit.

7. Stephen turns the tables.

He was “Apparently not making a special defense at all or with one syllable referring to his accusers and their false witnesses, he is yet utterly refuting them and making the most effective defense.” (Lenski)

Stephen points out some things the Sanhedrin may not have considered about God’s habitation.

He confronts them about idolizing the temple by quoting Isaiah 66:1-2.

Yahweh says,

“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build to me?
Where will I rest?
For my hand has made all these things,
and so all these things came to be,” says Yahweh:
“but I will look to this man,
even to he who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and who trembles at my word. (WEB)

God cannot be confined especially not within a man-made structure.

“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do. Which of the prophets didn’t your fathers persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become betrayers and murderers. You received the law as it was ordained by angels, and didn’t keep it!” (Acts 51-53 WEB)

You now have become the betrayers and murderers: Stephen’s main point was unmistakable: “As Israel was in its history, so you are today. God gave you the law, but you have not kept it.” (Enduring Word)

8. Stephen vs Sanhedrin

The Sanhedrin conspired with unscrupulous men to present false accusations against Stephen.

Stephen used examples from scripture and the words of the prophet Isaiah whom, according to tradition, their ancestors had sawed in two.

Full of grace and truth

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses sinned. But God kept His covenant with them because they repented, maintaining a relationship with him.

Even though Joseph’s brothers betrayed him, he forgave them and became their savior. (Guzik)

The Jews, deeply convicted by the Holy Spirit, were seething with anger so that they started grinding their teeth at him.

The council had a decision to make. Would they admit their likeness to Israel’s rejection of Moses and uncircumcision of heart? Or would they act on their rage and stone Stephen to death?


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My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 5 Day 3