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Acts 7 Commentary


Please choose a passage to read our commentary:

Acts 7:1-8

The Sanhedrin asks Stephen if he is an enemy against the Temple and Moses. He begins his defense by teaching the history of Israel to the Jewish leaders. God appeared to Abraham and told him to go to a land which He would give him. God told Abraham that before his descendants would inherit the land, they would be enslaved for 400 years. As commanded, Abraham circumcised his son, Isaac, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Acts 7:9-15

Stephen teaches how Joseph, the son of Jacob, was sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph rose to power in Egypt, stored food for a coming famine, and was able to help his family who had rejected him. Jacob and his household moved to Egypt to be with Joseph.

Acts 7:17-34

Stephen continues his sermon recounting the history of his people. The time of the Hebrews’ bondage had come. A Pharaoh rose to power and feared these people, so he enslaved them. Moses, a Hebrew raised in the Egyptian court, tried to help the Hebrews when he saw an Egyptian abusing them. He killed the Egyptian in defense of the Hebrews. But the Hebrews rejected Moses, so he fled east to Midian and started a family there. God appeared to Moses in the form of an angel standing in a burning thorn bush. God reveals Himself as the God of the patriarchs of the Hebrews: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The time has come to rescue the Hebrews from their slavery in Egypt.

Acts 7:35-43

Moses, who was rejected by his people, returned to Egypt as a deliverer. He performed wonders and signs to show God’s power in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness. He prophesied that God would send a second prophet like him, which was Jesus. Moses received the Law from God on Mt. Sinai, while the Hebrews made a golden calf to worship down in the camp. This was the pattern of Israel. God sent them a savior, they rejected the savior, and worshipped false gods.

Acts 7:44-50

Stephen changes subjects to the Temple, because he has been accused of being an enemy of the Temple. He describes the history of the tabernacle, designed by God to reflect Heaven, which eventually became the Temple in Jerusalem. But Stephen points out that God is not contained to the Temple. God is God; His throne is Heaven. He is above all things. He made all things. The man-made Temple is not the point. It’s our hearts He desires.

Acts 7:51-60

Stephen concludes his sermon by turning his focus on the Sanhedrin. They are just like the sinful Israelites who kept rejecting their deliverers, rejecting the will of God, and worshipping idols instead. Stephen compares them to the Israelites from the past who killed the prophets for prophesying about the Messiah. And when Jesus the Messiah came, they killed him too. The Sanhedrin proves Stephen’s point and stones him to death. He has a vision of Heaven, and asks God to forgive the men stoning him. A young pharisee named Saul is present for this episode and approves of the execution. This is Luke’s first introduction of the man who will become the Apostle Paul.