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13 They brought forward false witnesses who said, “This man does not stop saying things against this holy place[a] and the law.[b] 14 For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs[c] that Moses handed down to us.” 15 All[d] who were sitting in the council[e] looked intently at Stephen[f] and saw his face was like the face of an angel.[g]

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  1. Acts 6:13 sn This holy place is a reference to the temple.
  2. Acts 6:13 sn The law refers to the law of Moses. It elaborates the nature of the blasphemy in v. 11. To speak against God’s law in Torah was to blaspheme God (Deut 28:15-19). On the Jewish view of false witnesses, see Exod 19:16-18; 20:16; m. Sanhedrin 3.6; 5.1-5. Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 may indicate why the temple was mentioned.
  3. Acts 6:14 tn Or “practices.”sn Will destroy this place and change the customs. Stephen appears to view the temple as a less central place in light of Christ’s work, an important challenge to Jewish religion, since it was at this time a temple-centered state and religion. Unlike Acts 3-4, the issue here is more than Jesus and his resurrection. Now the impact of his resurrection and the temple’s centrality has also become an issue. The “falseness” of the charge may not be that the witnesses were lying, but that they falsely read the truth of Stephen’s remarks.
  4. Acts 6:15 tn Grk “And all.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  5. Acts 6:15 tn Or “Sanhedrin” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).
  6. Acts 6:15 tn Grk “at him”; the referent (Stephen) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  7. Acts 6:15 sn His face was like the face of an angel. This narrative description of Stephen’s face adds to the mood of the passage. He had the appearance of a supernatural, heavenly messenger.