Acts 7-8 New Revised Standard Version

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Stephen's Defense

7 1  Then the high priest asked him, "Are these things so?" 2  And Stephen replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3  and said to him, "Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.' 4  Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living. 5  He did not give him any of it as a heritage, not even a foot's length, but promised to give it to him as his possession and to his descendants after him, even though he had no child. 6  And God spoke in these terms, that his descendants would be resident aliens in a country belonging to others, who would enslave them and mistreat them during four hundred years. 7  "But I will judge the nation that they serve,' said God, "and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.' 8  Then he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 9  "The patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him, 10  and rescued him from all his afflictions, and enabled him to win favor and to show wisdom when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 11  Now there came a famine throughout Egypt and Canaan, and great suffering, and our ancestors could find no food. 12  But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there on their first visit. 13  On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh. 14  Then Joseph sent and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five in all; 15  so Jacob went down to Egypt. He himself died there as well as our ancestors, 16  and their bodies were brought back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17  "But as the time drew near for the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to Abraham, our people in Egypt increased and multiplied 18  until another king who had not known Joseph ruled over Egypt. 19  He dealt craftily with our race and forced our ancestors to abandon their infants so that they would die. 20  At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful before God. For three months he was brought up in his father's house; 21  and when he was abandoned, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22  So Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds. 23  "When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his relatives, the Israelites. 24  When he saw one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25  He supposed that his kinsfolk would understand that God through him was rescuing them, but they did not understand. 26  The next day he came to some of them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, "Men, you are brothers; why do you wrong each other?' 27  But the man who was wronging his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying, "Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28  Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' 29  When he heard this, Moses fled and became a resident alien in the land of Midian. There he became the father of two sons.

30  "Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31  When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight; and as he approached to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32  "I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look. 33  Then the Lord said to him, "Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34  I have surely seen the mistreatment of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.' 35  "It was this Moses whom they rejected when they said, "Who made you a ruler and a judge?' and whom God now sent as both ruler and liberator through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36  He led them out, having performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37  This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, "God will raise up a prophet for you from your own people as he raised me up.' 38  He is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living oracles to give to us. 39  Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him; instead, they pushed him aside, and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40  saying to Aaron, "Make gods for us who will lead the way for us; as for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.' 41  At that time they made a calf, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and reveled in the works of their hands.

42  But God turned away from them and handed them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: "Did you offer to me slain victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43  No; you took along the tent of Moloch, and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; so I will remove you beyond Babylon.' 44  "Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the wilderness, as God directed when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. 45  Our ancestors in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors. And it was there until the time of David, 46  who found favor with God and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. 47  But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48  Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands; as the prophet says, 49  "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? 50  Did not my hand make all these things?'

51  "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. 52  Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. 53  You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it."

The Stoning of Stephen

54  When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. 55  But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56  "Look," he said, "I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" 57  But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58  Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59  While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60  Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he died.

Saul Persecutes the Church

8 1  And Saul approved of their killing him. That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. 2  Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. 3  But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.

The Gospel Preached in Samaria

4  Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. 5  Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. 6  The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, 7  for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralyzed or lame were cured. 8  So there was great joy in that city. 9  Now a certain man named Simon had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he was someone great. 10  All of them, from the least to the greatest, listened to him eagerly, saying, "This man is the power of God that is called Great." 11  And they listened eagerly to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12  But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13  Even Simon himself believed. After being baptized, he stayed constantly with Philip and was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that took place.

14  Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15  The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit 16  (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). 17  Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, 19  saying, "Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." 20  But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God's gift with money! 21  You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God. 22  Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and the chains of wickedness." 24  Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may happen to me." 25  Now after Peter and John had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, proclaiming the good news to many villages of the Samaritans.

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

26  Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a wilderness road.) 27  So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28  and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29  Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over to this chariot and join it." 30  So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31  He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32  Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. 33  In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth." 34  The eunuch asked Philip, "About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?" 35  Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36  As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?" 37   38  He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39  When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40  But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

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