The chapter begins with the high priest asking Stephen whether “these things” were so. What he meant by “these things” was the false witness that had been given about Stephen as he was arrested back in Acts 6:12-14. Although the text doesn’t say, the high priest was officially Caiaphas until 36 A.D., according to Josephus. But as we saw in Acts 4:5-6, the deposed Annas was still regarded as such.
Instead of answering the question directly, though, Stephen instead begins a speech saying “Brothers and fathers, hear me.” He begins with God’s promises to Abraham. At first, it doesn’t seem like Stephen is answering the question of blasphemy at all, but we will see by the end of the chapter that what Stephen has to say does in fact deal with the worst kind of blasphemy.
When Stephen refers to God sending Abraham from Mesopotamia to Canaan after his father died, he is speaking of Terah (Genesis 11:32), who was about 8 generations descended from Shem. He reminds the council he is addressing of the 400 years they spent in bondage to Egypt before God led them out, and into the land they now occupied. But his focus for the time being is still on Abraham, the promise, and through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob, the twelve patriarchs (verse 8).
As Stephen was speaking the word of God, these men had no quarrel with what he had to say at this point. Things were going to change, however.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.