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Acts 7 Worldwide English (New Testament) (WE)

Then the high priest asked, `Is this true?'

Stephen replied, `Men, brothers and fathers, listen to me. When our father Abraham was in the country of Mesopotamia, before he lived in the country of Haran, the God who is great and wonderful came to him.

God said, "Leave your country and your family and come to the country that I will show you."

Then Abraham came out of the country of the Chaldeans and lived for a while in the country of Haran. After his father died, God led him from there to this country where you are living now.

But God did not give any of the land to Abraham, not even a small part. But he promised that the land would belong to him. After him it would belong to his children, even though he did not have a child then.

This is what God told Abraham. He told him that his children would travel and live in another land. They would be slaves to the people there. They would have a hard time for four hundred years.

And God said, "I will judge the people who make them slaves. After that, they will come out of that land and serve me here."

God made the agreement of circumcision with Abraham. Abraham had a son Isaac. He made the mark of circumcision on the child's body and circumcised him on the eighth day. Isaac had a son Jacob, and Jacob had twelve sons who were our fathers.

`Because they were jealous, they sold Joseph to be a slave in the country of Egypt. But God was with Joseph.

10 He took him out of all his troubles. He blessed him and made him wise in the eyes of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh made him president in Egypt and a ruler over all the people of his house.

11 For a long, long time there was no rain in Egypt and Canaan. And so there was very little food. This caused much trouble. Our fathers had nothing to eat.

12 Then Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt. He sent his sons on their first trip to buy some. They were our fathers of long ago.

13 The second time they went, Joseph told his brothers who he was. And Pharaoh found out who Joseph's family was.

14 Then Joseph sent for Jacob his father and all the family to come. There were seventy-five people.

15 So Jacob went to Egypt. There he and our fathers died.

16 They were taken back to the place called Shechem and buried. Abraham had bought a grave from the family of Hamor in Shechem. He had paid money for it.

17 `Then it was almost time for God to do what he had promised to Abraham. The family of Jacob had become very large in Egypt.

18 Then a new king who did not know Joseph ruled over Egypt.

19 This king was not kind to our fathers but he gave them a hard time. They had to put their babies outside to die.

20 `Moses was born during that time. He was a very fine baby. For three months he was raised in his own father's home.

21 When he was put outside to die, Pharaoh's daughter took him. She raised him as her own son.

22 Moses was taught all the things the Egyptians knew. He knew how to talk and could do great things.

23 `When he was forty years old he decided to visit his own family, the people of Israel.

24 There he saw one of them being hurt by an Egyptian. So he helped him. He fought for him and knocked down the Egyptian.

25 He thought his people would know that God wanted him to make them free. But they did not understand.

26 The next day he saw two of his own people fighting and he wanted to make peace. "You are brothers," he said. "Why are you fighting?"

27 But the one who was fighting his neighbour pushed Moses away. He said, "Who made you our ruler and our judge?

28 Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?"

29 When Moses heard these words, he left Egypt at once. He lived as a stranger in the country of Midian. While he was there, two sons were born to him.

30 `When forty years had passed, he was in the wilderness near the hill called Sinai. There he saw fire in a small tree. An angel of the Lord was in the fire.

31 Moses looked at it. He was very much surprised. He came closer to look at it better. Then he heard the Lord speak to him.

32 The Lord said, "I am the God of your fathers. I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob." Moses began to shake. He was afraid to look.

33 Then the Lord said, "Take off your shoes. You are standing on holy ground.

34 I have looked and seen the trouble my people have in Egypt. I have heard them crying and I have come to make them free. Now come, I will send you to Egypt."

35 `This is the same Moses the people would not accept when they said, "Who made you our ruler and our judge?" This is the one God sent to be their ruler and to make them free when he spoke through the angel in the small tree.

36 It was Moses who led the people out of Egypt. He had done wonderful things and signs there, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness, for forty years.

37 `This is the same Moses who said, "God will raise up one of your brothers to be a prophet, as he did me. Listen to him."

38 This is the same Moses who was with God's people in the wilderness at the hill called Mount Sinai. He was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers of long ago . It was he who received the words of life to give to us.

39 `Our fathers would not obey Moses. They did not want him to lead them. They wished they were back in Egypt.

40 They said to Aaron, "Make gods to lead us. We do not know what has happened to this Moses who brought us out of Egypt."

41 They made a young cow at that time and gave sacrifices to this god which was not the true God. They were very happy. What they had made pleased them.

42 `Then God turned away from them. He let them worship the sun, moon, and the many stars in the sky. The prophets of God wrote about it long ago. They said, "You people of Israel, did you sacrifice animals to me forty years in the wilderness?

43 You carried the house of the god called Moloch and the star of the god called Rephan. You made gods of them to worship. I will carry you away to the other side of Babylon."

44 `Our fathers had the tent for the laws of God in the wilderness. It was built the way God showed Moses to make it.

45 Our fathers brought that tent with them when they came to this country. Joshua was their leader. God put aside the people who lived here first. Our fathers kept that tent with them until the time of David.

46 God blessed David who asked God to let him make a better house for Jacob's God.

47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.

48 But even so, God is above all. He does not live in houses that people make with their hands. The prophet says,

49 "The Lord said, `The sky is the big chair from which I rule. I put my feet on the earth. So then, what kind of house will you build for me? Or where will I rest myself?

50 I have made all these things myself.''

51 `You hard-hearted people! You have hearts and ears like the people who are not Jews. You always fight against the Holy Spirit just as your fathers did long ago.

52 What did your fathers do to the prophets of God? They made a lot of trouble for every one of them. They killed the ones who told that the Right and True One would come. He is the One you gave up to be killed. You are the killers.

53 You received the law given by angels, but you have not kept it.'

54 When the men heard what Stephen said, they were very angry. They made noises with their teeth to show they hated him.

55 But Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. He looked at the sky and saw the greatness of God. He saw Jesus standing at God's right side.

56 `Look,' he said, `I see the sky open. I see the Son of man standing at God's right hand side.'

57 Then the men shouted. They put their fingers in their ears. All together they ran at Stephen.

58 They put him out of the city and threw stones at him. (Those who had talked against him laid their clothes down by the feet of a young man named Saul.)

59 They kept on throwing stones at Stephen. He spoke to God and said, `Oh, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'

60 Then he kneeled down and said in a loud voice, `Lord, do not punish them for this wrong thing they are doing,' After he said this, he died.

Acts 7 New International Version (NIV)

Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin

Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”

To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’[a]

“So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’[b] Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

“Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased. 18 Then ‘a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.’[c] 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.

20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.[d] For three months he was cared for by his family. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’

27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’[e] 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’[f] Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’[g]

35 “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.

37 “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’[h] 38 He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.

39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’[i] 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made. 42 But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets:

“‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
    forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
43 You have taken up the tabernacle of Molek
    and the star of your god Rephan,
    the idols you made to worship.
Therefore I will send you into exile’[j] beyond Babylon.

44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.[k] 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.

48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by 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 where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’[l]

51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

The Stoning of Stephen

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 7:3 Gen. 12:1
  2. Acts 7:7 Gen. 15:13,14
  3. Acts 7:18 Exodus 1:8
  4. Acts 7:20 Or was fair in the sight of God
  5. Acts 7:28 Exodus 2:14
  6. Acts 7:32 Exodus 3:6
  7. Acts 7:34 Exodus 3:5,7,8,10
  8. Acts 7:37 Deut. 18:15
  9. Acts 7:40 Exodus 32:1
  10. Acts 7:43 Amos 5:25-27 (see Septuagint)
  11. Acts 7:46 Some early manuscripts the house of Jacob
  12. Acts 7:50 Isaiah 66:1,2
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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