5. 5 Stephen evidently had a kindly, gentle, winning way with people. I would have never guessed there were this many guys named Simon in the Bible (in addition to three guys named Simeon). Let us see. Stephen’s death was like that of his Master in what ways, and how can Christians today be as confident as Stephen was? The Jews and Christians in Syrian Antioch knew Peter and Paul well. They also “stirred up the people,” the older men, and the scribes, so that Stephen was forcibly taken before the Sanhedrin. Answer: Acts 6:5 introduces a faithful man of God named Stephen: “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” It is noteworthy that there have always been those faithful believers whose love for and commitment to the Lord seem to shine through so greatly that others around them notice, and Stephen was such a man. The only source for information about Stephen is the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles. The Many Philips There were many Philips in the New Testament as this was a very ... the Apostle Philip who is the dominant Philip mentioned in Scripture. “Bearing Thorough Witness” About God’s Kingdom. (See the box “ In What Sense a ‘Martyr’?”) Sadly, though, he would hardly be the last. 11 The era of the patriarchs. Many Bible studies walk through the lives of Joseph, Moses, David, the Apostle Paul, or Peter for great profit. He led them into Canaan. It is likely he engaged in mission trips during this time that went west to Asia Minor and Rome (Gal 1:21-2:1). It is in this sense that Stephen may be called the first Christian martyr. 12 Abraham’s descendant Joseph was also highly esteemed by Stephen’s audience, but Stephen reminded them that Joseph’s own brothers, the fathers of the tribes of Israel, persecuted that righteous man and sold him into slavery. We need to know, too, just what brought Stephen to this climactic moment. 14. In what ways? 6-8. Jesus is mentioned 18:3:3, "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. Over 40 years later, they challenged his leadership on a number of occasions. His humility is more remarkable when we consider the gifts with which this man was blessed. Your Question (required) Would you like this question answered on our show? ^ par. When is the first time the word love is used in the Bible? Originally, though, a person was considered a “martyr” because he witnessed, not because he died. He was thoroughly familiar with the Scriptures. There are many false ideas being circulated around the world concerning the second coming of Christ. (John 18:31) At any rate, Stephen’s death seems to have been a murder carried out by an enraged mob, rather than a judicial act. The Old Testament was divided into verses by R. Nathan in A.D. 1448 and the New Testament by Robert Stephanus in A.D. 1551. 18 What can we learn from Stephen’s speech? The definition and outline of Stephen is as follows: According to the New Testament he was the first Christian martyr. No doubt, Stephen knew Jesus’ encouraging words: “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) Finally, Stephen prayed directly to God in a loud voice: “Jehovah, do not charge this sin against them.” After saying this, he fell asleep in death.​—Acts 7:59, 60. 4, 5. Would you like to read this article in %%? It is great fun to ask a million questions when you open the Bible. These seven men they brought before the apostles; and the apostles laid their hands on their heads, setting them apart for their work of caring for the poor. The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. It would be very difficult to accept the Bible and the teaching of the scriptures without a complete acceptance of the reality of heaven. “At hearing these things they felt cut to their hearts and began to gnash their teeth at him.”​—Acts 7:54. Little wonder, then, that his opposers found him a force to be reckoned with! This was a very serious charge, for the Jews at that time put great emphasis on the temple, the details of the Mosaic Law, and the many oral traditions that they had added to that Law. Bible Based. Stephen saved the answers for his conclusion. Good questions serve to unlock the treasure chest revealing untold riches. (Acts 7:38) He noted that Moses too was faced with rejection by those whom he endeavored to save. Why? Jesus is not coming to establish His kingdom. Stephen was also one of the seven men chosen to handle a church “complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution” (Acts 6:1). For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us ( Hebrews 9:24 ). (Acts 7:17-43) Stephen said much about Moses​—wisely so, since many members of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees, who rejected all Bible books other than those written by Moses. At Acts 6:8, we read that he was enabled to perform “great portents and signs,” as some of the apostles did. Not much is recorded about his personal life. (b) How did Stephen use Solomon’s temple in his discussion? Stephen brought this argument to a powerful conclusion by quoting the book of Isaiah: “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Shortly thereafter, he spearheaded a wave of vicious persecution. And in what ways can we imitate him? It is in 7 verses. We are also told that he was “full of graciousness and power.” What did that mean?  |  English, Arabic (العربية), French (Français), Hindi (हिन्दी), Table of Contents Elihu’s speechThe uselessness of contending with GodElihu upholds the greatness of GodWhere did Elihu err? Psalm 110:1-7 ESV / 43 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful. In what ways should we try to imitate Stephen? 13 The time of Moses. Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics. The use of Moses’ example supported what points in Stephen’s speech? The Roman Empire persecuted members of The Way, as early Christianity was called, for the next 300 years, finally ending with the conversion of Emperor Constantine I, who adopted the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D., allowing Christians religious freedom. 14 Stephen reminded his audience that Moses had foretold that a prophet like Moses would arise from Israel. Shechem is only mentioned in the New Testament in Stephen’s sermon (Acts 7:16). And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 23 Stephen thus became the first martyr on record among Christ’s followers. Losing any semblance of dignity, they gnashed their teeth at Stephen. Critics have made what claim about Stephen’s speech before the Sanhedrin, and what do we need to keep in mind? He also addressed them with respect, calling the older men “fathers.” (Acts 7:2) We too need to present the truths of God’s Word with “a mild temper and deep respect.”​—1 Pet. This page is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)Elihu is known as the…, This page is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)Lot’s daughters Genesis 19:30-38 describes a situation where two daughters used wine to get their father drunk so that they could get pregnant…. Many Bible passages so indicate that the kingdom is now in existence, and has been for nearly 2,000 years. Yet, he became God’s instrument for saving Israel from famine. The Bible also contains some hidden gems, more “behind the scenes” type of characters including Barnabas–a man mentioned 23 times in Acts and five times in the Pauline Epistles. He was full of power because Jehovah’s spirit was at work in him, for he humbly submitted to its lead. How do you explain what Lot’s daughters did with their father. So it is with Stephen​—even those hate-filled judges can see that. But Stephen did more than to look after the needy ones. Many scholars see a Samaritan connection to Stephen’s community, postulating that it may have migrated there when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 ce. He was the first martyr in the apostolic church. That faithful man must have seen that he would receive no mercy, any more than had his Master, Jesus. (Acts 7:1-16) Stephen began by talking about Abraham, whom the Jews respected for his faith. Stephen saw God’s glory, and he saw Jesus standing at His Father’s right hand! The judges gaze at him and see that his face is “as an angel’s face.” (Acts 6:15) Angels bear messages from Jehovah God and thus have reason to be fearless, serene, and peaceful. Not much is recorded about his personal life. This neglect resulted in the apostles spending their time taking care of … But the death of Stephen would cast a long shadow. Bible Dictionary Definition - Who was Stephen? D Gross Page 4 The Hebrew Words and Meanings for Wine A quick glance in The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible shows around two hundred times that the English word “wine” is used in the Old Testament. He made another key point: Moses had learned that any ground can be made holy, as in the case of the ground at the burning bush, where Jehovah had spoken to him. 1:13) Clearly, Paul never forgot Stephen and the powerful speech he gave that day. ^ par. Major Characters . They rejected him when he was 40 years old. Is Stephen frightened? 4 We have already learned that Stephen was a precious asset to the fledgling Christian congregation. How did the discussion about Moses answer the charges against Stephen, and what theme did this help to develop? 10 Some critics have attacked Stephen’s speech, claiming that for all its length, it did not even answer the charge against him. 21 Stephen needed courage to face what lay ahead, and he no doubt received much encouragement from the vision that Jehovah then kindly granted him. by Shawn Brasseaux. 1-3. Without Hindrance”, Publication download options There is also reference to where Stephen is mentioned in the Holy Bible. Real Questions. The release in 2016 of ‘God’s Justice: the Holy Bible’ (NIV), has helped us consider again just what the message of the Bible is for today’s world. The judges are powerful, influential men, most of whom have little regard for this disciple of Jesus. How can he be so calm? Really, Stephen’s words provided an excellent defense of his own actions, for he had obeyed Jehovah as best he could. Tradition has it that Stephen and Philip were both of the Seventy, sent into every city to announce that the Messiah had come (Luke 10:1–11). Home » Bible » Who was the New Testament Stephen? The first man chosen was Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Spirit of God; and with him was Philip and five other good men. But the Greek word means more than that. (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8) The Scriptures call Stephen a “witness” for speaking about Jesus.​—Acts 22:20, Kingdom Interlinear. 22 Stephen died in much the same way his Master had died, with a heart at peace, full of trust in Jehovah and forgiveness for his killers. Saint Stephen is a recognized saint in many Christian theologies, and is considered to be the first Christian martyr. And speak he did! But what led to his final crisis and death, started with a conflict that arouse when a certain group “called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia)” disputed with him over his faith (v. 8). Question: "Who was Stephen in the Bible?" Received the Word of God”, “The Apostles and the Older Men Gathered Together”, “Let Us Return and Visit the Brothers”, “Teaching . . . Briefly let me refute some of the major ones. Real Answers. 7 The false accusers said that Stephen blasphemed God in that he spoke against “this holy place”​—the temple in Jerusalem. Really, they had transgressed the Mosaic Law in the worst possible way! So they experimented with shipping them alive in tanks of seawater. Likewise, we need to be serious students of God’s Word if we are to handle “the word of the truth aright.” (2 Tim. See 1 Timothy 5:1-16). Acts 6:8: And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Why, then, should his worshippers feel that pure worship depends on a building made by human hands? Who is Barnabas in the Bible? 3 About ten different Hebrew words make up this list. (1 Pet. “Bearing Thorough Witness” About God’s Kingdom, Share And when they could not resist his wisdom, they secretly induced men to say that he said blasphemous words against Moses and God (v. 11). Acts 6:9 | View whole chapter | See verse in context Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen . Those who were mired in reverence for that lovely building in Jerusalem and for the customs and traditions that had grown up around the Mosaic Law had missed the whole purpose behind the Law and the temple! Thus also his defense before the Sanhedrin, though the name of Jesus was not mentioned until the very last, was in reality a grand apology for Christ. 19 However, we do not hold back from sharing the truths of God’s Word for fear of offending people; nor do we soften Jehovah’s judgment messages. Remember, too, the charge that Stephen had blasphemed Moses. So, can worship of Jehovah be limited or confined to a single building, such as the temple in Jerusalem? “BEARING THOROUGH WITNESS” ABOUT GOD’S KINGDOM, Copyright © 2020 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. What sort of house will you build for me? Paul claims his ministry was centered in the Cilicia-Syria region for 14 years. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He approved of Stephen’s murder, even watching over the garments of those casting the stones. Jehovah says. How did the Sanhedrin react to Stephen’s words, and how did Jehovah strengthen him? The Jews could no longer hear his holy words and took him outside the city to stone him. And when the Jews heard these things they were very angry at him, But he being full of the Holy Spirit, was taken in a vision to heaven where he saw “the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,  and he said, “Look! (Acts 7:44-50) Stephen reminded the court that before there was any temple in Jerusalem, God had Moses construct a tabernacle​—a movable, tentlike structure for worship. Rather than getting puffed up over his own gifts and abilities, he directed all praise to Jehovah and showed loving concern for the people he addressed. How did Stephen courageously deliver Jehovah’s judgment message to the Sanhedrin? (a) Stephen’s opposers leveled what twofold charge against him, and why? Rule in the midst of your enemies! (b) Why was Joseph relevant to Stephen’s speech? This leads us to ask the question; “how about the seventy souls out of the loins of Jacob more than two hundred y… Get our latest answers straight to your inbox when you subscribe here. Publicly and From House to House”, “Preaching the Kingdom of God . . . Stephen’s response was Jewish in its concerns, and in form it followed Hellenistic rhetorical conventions (Joshua 24:2–14; Acts of the Apostles 3:12–26). Yes, there most certainly is a fascinating explanation, and you have to be a Bible student to notice it. How had Stephen’s speech (a) addressed the attitudes of his hearers and (b) responded to the charges against him? 21 It is doubtful that the Sanhedrin had the authority under Roman law to order an execution. (Acts 7:48; 17:24; Heb. The Bible tells us that Stephen was “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). And he accused them of rejecting Jesus as the Messiah and murdering Him.  And he added, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! His example would only strengthen other Christians to remain faithful and achieve a similar victory. (Acts 7:2) In fact, that man was an alien resident in the Promised Land. Chuck Swindoll shared this story in one of his messages. Stephen’s reply is a summary of three phases of the history of Israel, with certain points carefully emphasized. After all, the Bible, though it can be analyzed as just individual texts, books, and such, written by many individuals over many years and in many places, this might be a time … 13 Stephen’s speech contains information we can find nowhere else in the Bible, such as facts about Moses’ Egyptian education, his age when he first fled Egypt, and the length of his sojourn in Midian. Abraham had neither a temple nor the Mosaic Law. He said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” perhaps because he could still see in vision the Son of man with His Father. 3 Christians today can learn much from the answer to that question. In his ministry, the Scriptures tell us that Stephen “did great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). WHY DID JESUS CHRIST STAND IN ACTS 7:55-56? Bible verses about Melchizedek. (b) Why may Stephen’s example prove useful to Christians today? 15 The tabernacle and the temple. How could anyone insist that faithfulness to God must always depend on such arrangements? Stephen: This early Christian deacon was a zealous defender of Jesus Christ and The Way, as Christianity was called in its first few years.While his name implies he may have been Greek, Stephen was well-educated in the history of the Jewish people. Is there any significance as to why Stephen saw Jesus Christ standing at the Father’s right hand in Acts chapter 7? You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.  Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute” (Acts 7:51,52). 6:18) Jehovah may make use of a temple to further his purposes, but he is not confined to it. 66:1, 2. They were still the “Ekklesia” of God years after their pilgrimage was over, when they were worshipping Jehovah in the temple at Jerusalem. Jesus is reigning as King now, wielding the marvelous power his Father has granted him. 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 . In the northeastern United States, codfish are a big commercial business. Stephen no doubt saw the clear similarities between Joseph and Jesus Christ, but he held back that comparison in order to keep his audience with him as long as possible. As Stephen described the vision, his judges put their hands over their ears. Remember, too, the charge that Stephen had blasphemed Moses. (Acts 7:17-43) Stephen said much about Moses —wisely so, since many members of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees, who rejected all Bible books other than those written by Moses. A. At first, they froze the cod, then shipped them elsewhere, but freezing them takes away much of the flavor. With one accord, they rushed to have Stephen stoned to death. The word heaven is spoken of 622 times in the NIV, 692 times in the NKJV, countless other references to being with Jesus without actually using the word heaven. 8 Sadly, it is not unusual for religious people to use such tactics in order to bring trouble on servants of God. 11, 12. Or what is the place for my resting? 9:24) In time, Paul fully learned to follow the example of faith and courage set by Stephen, a man “full of graciousness and power.” The question is, Will we? The word "couch" is in the King James Version of the Bible 7 times. His Defense before the Sanhedrin: Yet, for as long as possible, he maintained common ground with them by dwelling on things that those men held in high regard. Still, we have reason to be just as confident as Stephen was. We can learn much from Stephen. 2 There is something remarkable about Stephen’s countenance at this moment. (b) What questions will we consider? Who would that be, and how would he be received? (b) In what way was Stephen “full of graciousness and power”? He could no doubt see that all the evidence that he had laid before the Sanhedrin had little effect on those hardhearted judges. 13. Furthermore, Saul​—in later years most often called Paul—​would come to look back on his role in Stephen’s death with profound regret. 1. Some scholars identify Sychar in Samaria as the ancient city of Shechem (John 4:5–6), but most believe that Sychar was a distinct place. 17. (Acts 6:9-12) The opposers leveled this twofold charge against him: He was blaspheming both God and Moses. In fact, the man who convened the court is High Priest Caiaphas, who was presiding when the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus Christ to death some months earlier. At the same time, Peter’s center of ministry shifted between Jerusalem and Antioch. He showed that Jehovah’s purpose is progressive and dynamic,  not static and tradition-bound. * Stephen thus steadily developed a key theme: God’s people repeatedly rejected those whom Jehovah had appointed to lead them. Earlier, Jesus had told  that same court that he was the Messiah and that he would soon be at his Father’s right hand. 3:15. (a) Why was the tabernacle important to the argument Stephen was developing? Learning from Stephen’s bold witness before the Sanhedrin. That Sanhedrin had, in fact, betrayed and murdered the Messiah! (a) Why was Stephen a precious asset to the congregation? The account does not reveal whether Saul was among those Cilicians who were unable to hold their own against Stephen. PRIVACY POLICY, Stephen​—“Full of Graciousness and Power”, https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/m/1102009048/univ/art/1102009048_univ_sqr_xl.jpg, “Bearing Thorough Witness” About God’s Kingdom, https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/a/bt/E/wpub/bt_E_lg.jpg, Share (Acts 6:13) He blasphemed Moses, they charged, in that he spoke against the Mosaic Law, changing customs that Moses had handed down. 18. TERMS OF USE 3:15) Keep in mind that Stephen was charged with blaspheming God by denigrating the temple and with blaspheming Moses by speaking against the Law. Tradition has it that Stephen and Philip were both of the Seventy , sent into every city to announce that the Messiah had come ( Luke 10:1–11). I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55,56). (Unfortunately, today, most churches continue to neglect widows that are the responsibility of the church. The Bible was divided into chapters by Stephen Langton about A.D. 1228. 22, 23. The Catholic, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Church of the East venerate Stephen as a saint. There the holy Spirit fell upon him and his face shown as “an angel” (v. 15) as he spoke the truth. a. How had he defended his faith before? In an imposing hall, likely near the temple in Jerusalem, 71 men are arranged in a large semicircle. His audience could hardly have been more hostile! How did Saul contribute to the martyrdom of Stephen, and what were some long-term effects of that faithful man’s death? 20, 21. As Stephen put it, “the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands.” (Acts 7:48; 2 Chron. (Mark 14:62) Stephen’s vision proved that Jesus spoke the truth. Court that he was the tabernacle was inferior to the New Testament he was years. A prophet like Moses would arise from Israel judges put their hands over their ears what theme did this to... Hands.€ ( Acts 7:2 ) in fact, betrayed and murdered the!! 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