The first three verses of chapter 8 really belong with chapter 7 in this writer’s opinion because they really mark the end of what could easily be considered the first section of the book of Acts. The significance of the previous chapter’s cold-blooded murder of murder of Stephen cannot be understated. A t the end, they stoned Stephen to death, laying their garments at the feet of Saul. Verse one begins
And Saul approved of the execution.
The reality of those words from verse one would haunt the apostle Paul for the rest of his life. Known at this time as “Saul of Tarsus,” Paul was himself a Pharisee, having been “educated at the feet of Gamaliel” (Acts 22:3), a much revered member of the Sanhedrin council. Though himself not a member of the Sanhedrin, the last few verses confirm that Paul did enjoy a somewhat revered status himself. That status afforded him some authority as well. The fury over Stephens speech was not quenched by his death by way of stoning. The wrath of the council was then turned upon all Christians, and Saul acted upon their authority as he “was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison (verse 3).
The tremendous growth of the church from the day of Pentecost up until Stephen’s death had been a great blessing mixed with the growing pains we saw in chapter 6. Now as the church scattered, that growth would ensure that many more in many other places would be taught, as well as become teachers of, the gospel of Jesus Christ. The apostles, of course, remained where they were.
(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.