November 20

Acts 7:1 — 8:40

But the high priest said: “Are these things so?” 2 He said: “Men, brothers and fathers, hear. The God of glory appeared to our forefather Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia, before he took up residence in Haran, 3 and he said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your relatives and come on into the land I shall show you.’ 4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and took up residence in Haran. And from there, after his father died, [God] caused him to change his residence to this land in which YOU now dwell. 5 And yet he did not give him any inheritable possession in it, no, not a footbreadth; but he promised to give it to him as a possession, and after him to his seed, while as yet he had no child. 6 Moreover, God spoke to this effect, that his seed would be alien residents in a foreign land and [the people] would enslave them and afflict [them] for four hundred years. 7 ‘And that nation for which they will slave I shall judge,’ God said, ‘and after these things they will come out and will render sacred service to me in this place.’

8 “He also gave him a covenant of circumcision; and thus he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve family heads. 9 And the family heads became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. But God was with him, 10 and he delivered him out of all his tribulations and gave him graciousness and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And he appointed him to govern Egypt and his whole house. 11 But a famine came upon the whole of Egypt and Canaan, even a great tribulation; and our forefathers were not finding any provisions. 12 But Jacob heard there were foodstuffs in Egypt and he sent our forefathers out the first time. 13 And during the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers; and the family stock of Joseph became manifest to Pharaoh. 14 So Joseph sent out and called Jacob his father and all his relatives from that place, to the number of seventy-five souls. 15 Jacob went down into Egypt. And he deceased; and so did our forefathers, 16 and they were transferred to Shechem and were laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a price with silver money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

17 “Just as the time was approaching for [fulfillment of] the promise that God had openly declared to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, 18 until there rose a different king over Egypt, who did not know of Joseph. 19 This one used statecraft against our race and wrongfully forced the fathers to expose their infants, that they might not be preserved alive. 20 In that particular time Moses was born, and he was divinely beautiful. And he was nursed three months in [his] father’s home. 21 But when he was exposed, the daughter of Pharaoh picked him up and brought him up as her own son. 22 Consequently Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. In fact, he was powerful in his words and deeds.

23 “Now when the time of his fortieth year was being fulfilled, it came into his heart to make an inspection of his brothers, the sons of Israel. 24 And when he caught sight of a certain one being unjustly treated, he defended him and executed vengeance for the one being abused by striking the Egyptian down. 25 He was supposing his brothers would grasp that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not grasp [it]. 26 And the next day he appeared to them as they were fighting, and he tried to bring them together again in peace, saying, ‘Men, YOU are brothers. Why do YOU treat each other unjustly?’ 27 But the one that was treating his neighbor unjustly thrust him away, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? 28 You do not want to do away with me in the same manner that you did away with the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ 29 At this speech Moses took to flight and became an alien resident in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

30 “And when forty years were fulfilled, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai an angel in the fiery flame of a thornbush. 31 Now when Moses saw it he marveled at the sight. But as he was approaching to investigate, Jehovah’s voice came, 32 ‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ Seized with trembling, Moses did not dare to investigate further. 33 Jehovah said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have certainly seen the wrongful treatment of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you off to Egypt.’ 35 This Moses, whom they disowned, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge?’ this man God sent off as both ruler and deliverer by the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the thornbush. 36 This man led them out after doing portents and signs in Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.

37 “This is the Moses that said to the sons of Israel, ‘God will raise up for YOU from among YOUR brothers a prophet like me.’ 38 This is he that came to be among the congregation in the wilderness with the angel that spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our forefathers, and he received living sacred pronouncements to give YOU. 39 To him our forefathers refused to become obedient, but they thrust him aside and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us to go ahead of us. For this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ 41 So they made a calf in those days and brought up a sacrifice to the idol and began to enjoy themselves in the works of their hands. 42 So God turned and handed them over to render sacred service to the army of heaven, just as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘It was not to me that YOU offered victims and sacrifices for forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? 43 But it was the tent of Moloch and the star of the god Rephan that YOU took up, the figures which YOU made to worship them. Consequently I will deport YOU beyond Babylon.’

44 “Our forefathers had the tent of the witness in the wilderness, just as he gave orders when speaking to Moses to make it according to the pattern he had seen. 45 And our forefathers who succeeded to it also brought it in with Joshua into the land possessed by the nations, whom God thrust out from before our forefathers. Here it remained until the days of David. 46 He found favor in the sight of God and asked for [the privilege of] providing a habitation for the God of Jacob. 47 However, Solomon built a house for him. 48 Nevertheless, the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; just as the prophet says, 49 ‘The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What sort of house will YOU build for me? Jehovah says. Or what is the place for my resting? 50 My hand made all these things, did it not?’

51 “Obstinate men and uncircumcised in hearts and ears, YOU are always resisting the holy spirit; as YOUR forefathers did, so YOU do. 52 Which one of the prophets did YOUR forefathers not persecute? Yes, they killed those who made announcement in advance concerning the coming of the righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers YOU have now become, 53 YOU who received the Law as transmitted by angels but have not kept it.”

54 Well, at hearing these things they felt cut to their hearts and began to gnash their teeth at him. 55 But he, being full of holy spirit, gazed into heaven and caught sight of God’s glory and of Jesus standing at God’s right hand, 56 and he said: “Look! I behold the heavens opened up and the Son of man standing at God’s right hand.” 57 At this they cried out at the top of the voice and put their hands over their ears and rushed upon him with one accord. 58 And after throwing him outside the city, they began casting stones at him. And the witnesses laid down their outer garments at the feet of a young man called Saul. 59 And they went on casting stones at Stephen as he made appeal and said: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then, bending his knees, he cried out with a strong voice: “Jehovah, do not charge this sin against them.” And after saying this he fell asleep [in death].

Saul, for his part, was approving of the murder of him.
        On that day great persecution arose against the congregation that was in Jerusalem; all except the apostles were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.
2 But reverent men carried Stephen to the burial, and they made a great lamentation over him. 3 Saul, though, began to deal outrageously with the congregation. Invading one house after another and, dragging out both men and women, he would turn them over to prison.

4 However, those who had been scattered went through the land declaring the good news of the word. 5 Philip, for one, went down to the city of Samaria and began to preach the Christ to them. 6 With one accord the crowds were paying attention to the things said by Philip while they listened and looked at the signs he was performing. 7 For there were many that had unclean spirits, and these would cry out with a loud voice and come out. Moreover, many that were paralyzed and lame were cured. 8 So there came to be a great deal of joy in that city.

9 Now in the city there was a certain man named Simon, who, prior to this, had been practicing magical arts and amazing the nation of Samaria, saying he himself was somebody great. 10 And all of them, from the least to the greatest, would pay attention to him and say: “This man is the Power of God, which can be called Great.” 11 So they would pay attention to him because of his having amazed them for quite a while by his magical arts. 12 But when they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself also became a believer, and, after being baptized, he was in constant attendance upon Philip; and he was amazed at beholding signs and great powerful works taking place.

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they dispatched Peter and John to them; 15 and these went down and prayed for them to get holy spirit. 16 For it had not yet fallen upon any one of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they went laying their hands upon them, and they began to receive holy spirit.

18 Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the hands of the apostles the spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying: “Give me also this authority, that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive holy spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him: “May your silver perish with you, because you thought through money to get possession of the free gift of God. 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not straight in the sight of God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this badness of yours, and supplicate Jehovah that, if possible, the device of your heart may be forgiven you; 23 for I see you are a poisonous gall and a bond of unrighteousness.” 24 In answer Simon said: “YOU men, make supplication for me to Jehovah that none of the things YOU have said may come upon me.”

25 Therefore, when they had given the witness thoroughly and had spoken the word of Jehovah, they turned back to Jerusalem, and they went declaring the good news to many villages of the Samaritans.

26 However, Jehovah’s angel spoke to Philip, saying: “Rise and go to the south to the road that runs down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 With that he rose and went, and, look! an Ethiopian eunuch, a man in power under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, and who was over all her treasure. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 but he was returning and was sitting in his chariot and reading aloud the prophet Isaiah. 29 So the spirit said to Philip: “Approach and join yourself to this chariot.” 30 Philip ran alongside and heard him reading aloud Isaiah the prophet, and he said: “Do you actually know what you are reading?” 31 He said: “Really, how could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?” And he entreated Philip to get on and sit down with him. 32 Now the passage of Scripture that he was reading aloud was this: “As a sheep he was brought to the slaughter, and as a lamb that is voiceless before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. 33 During his humiliation the judgment was taken away from him. Who will tell the details of his generation? Because his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 In answer the eunuch said to Philip: “I beg you, About whom does the prophet say this? About himself or about some other man?” 35 Philip opened his mouth and, starting with this Scripture, he declared to him the good news about Jesus. 36 Now as they were going over the road, they came to a certain body of water, and the eunuch said: “Look! A body of water; what prevents me from getting baptized?” 37 —— 38 With that he commanded the chariot to halt, and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 When they had come up out of the water, Jehovah’s spirit quickly led Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him anymore, for he kept going on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found to be in Ashdod, and he went through the territory and kept on declaring the good news to all the cities until he got to Caesarea.