Acts 7-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)
7 Now the [a]high priest asked [Stephen], “Are these charges true?”
2 And he answered, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory [the Shekinah, the radiance of God] appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come to the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God sent him to this country in which you now live. 5 But He did not give him inheritable property, not even enough ground to take a step on, yet He promised that He would give it to Him as a possession, and to his descendants after him. 6 And this is, in effect, what God spoke [to him]: That his descendants would be aliens (strangers) in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. 7 ‘And I will judge any nation to whom they will be in bondage,’ said God, ‘and after that they will come out and serve Me [in worship] in this place.’ 8 And God gave Abraham a covenant [a formal agreement to be strictly observed] of [which] circumcision [was the sign]; and so [under these circumstances] Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac [became the father] of [b]Jacob, and Jacob [became the father] of the [c]twelve patriarchs.
9 “The [ten elder] patriarchs, overwhelmed with jealousy, sold [their younger brother] Joseph into [slavery in] Egypt; but God was with him, 10 and He rescued him from all his suffering, and gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made Joseph governor over Egypt and over his entire household.
11 “Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great distress and our fathers could not find food [for their households and livestock]. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13 And on the second visit Joseph identified himself to his brothers, and Joseph’s family and background were revealed to Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. 15 And Jacob (Israel) went down into Egypt, and [d]there he died, as did our fathers; 16 and [from Egypt] [e]their bodies were taken back to Shechem and placed in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17 “But as the time [for the fulfillment] of the promise which God had made to Abraham was approaching, the [Hebrew] people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18 until [the time when] there arose another king over egypt who did not know joseph [nor his history and the merit of his service to Egypt]. 19 He shrewdly exploited our race and mistreated our fathers, forcing them to expose their [male] babies so that they would die. 20 It was at this [critical] time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and for three months he was nourished in his father’s house. 21 Then when he was set outside [to die], Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him and claimed him for herself, and cared for him as her own son. 22 So Moses was educated in all the wisdom and culture of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. 23 But when he reached the age of forty, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel. 24 And when he saw one [of them] being treated unfairly, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking and killing the Egyptian. 25 He expected his countrymen to understand that God was granting them freedom through him [assuming that they would accept him], but they did not understand. 26 Then on the next day he suddenly appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and he tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you wrong one another?’ 27 But the man who was injuring his neighbor pushed Moses away, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 At this remark Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he fathered two sons.
30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount [f]Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was astonished at the sight; but as he went near to look more closely, the voice of the Lord came [to him, saying]: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground [worthy of reverence and respect]. 34 I have most certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, and I will send you to Egypt [as My messenger].’
35 “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the very one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer, with the [protecting and helping] hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. 36 This man led them out [of Egypt] after performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a Prophet [g]like me from your countrymen.’ 38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles [divine words that still live] to be handed down to you. 39 Our fathers were unwilling to be subject to him [and refused to listen to him]. They rejected him, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They said to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us; for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ 41 In those days they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced and celebrated over the works of their hands. 42 But God turned away [from them] and handed them over to serve the [h]host of heaven. As it is written and forever remains written in the book of the prophets, ‘It was not [really] to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices for forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? 43 You also took along the tabernacle (portable temple) of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship; and I will remove you beyond Babylon [carrying you away into exile].’
44 “Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as God directed Moses to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. 45 Our fathers also brought it in [with them into the land] with Joshua when they dispossessed the [i]nations whom God drove out before our fathers, [and so it remained here] until the time of David, 46 who found favor (grace, spiritual blessing) in the sight of God and asked that he might [be allowed to] find a dwelling place for the [j]God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48 However, the Most High [the One infinitely exalted above humanity] does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet [Isaiah] says,
51 “You stiff-necked and stubborn people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always actively resisting the Holy Spirit. You are doing just as your fathers did. 52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained and delivered to you by angels, and yet you did not obey it!”
Stephen Put to Death
54 Now when [k]they heard this [accusation and understood its implication], they were cut to the heart, and they began grinding their teeth [in rage] at him. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit and led by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory [the great splendor and majesty] of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56 and he said, “Look! I see the heavens opened up [in welcome] and [l]the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 But they shouted with loud voices, and covered their ears and together rushed at him [considering him guilty of blasphemy]. 58 Then they drove him out of the city and began stoning him; and the witnesses placed their outer robes at the feet of a young man named [m]Saul. 59 They continued stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit!” 60 Then falling on his knees [in worship], he cried out loudly, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them [do not charge them]!” When he had said this, he fell asleep [in death].
Saul Persecutes the Church
8 Saul wholeheartedly approved of Stephen’s death.
And on that day a great and relentless persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem; and the believers were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and [n]mourned greatly over him [expressing a personal sense of loss]. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church [and assaulting believers]; entering house after house and dragging off men and women, putting them in prison.
Philip in Samaria
4 Now those [believers] who had been scattered went from place to place preaching the word [the good news of salvation through Christ]. 5 [o]Philip [the evangelist] went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) to them. 6 The crowds gathered and were paying close attention to everything Philip said, as they heard [the message] and saw the [miraculous] signs which he was doing [validating his message]. 7 For unclean spirits (demons), shouting loudly, were coming out of many who were possessed; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was great rejoicing in that city.
9 Now there was a man named Simon, who previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 They all paid [a great deal of] attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God!” 11 They were paying attention to him because for a long time he had mystified and dazzled them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the [p]good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon believed [Philip’s message of salvation]; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he watched the attesting signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that [the people of] Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 They came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; 16 for He had not yet fallen on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [as His possession]. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them [one by one], and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this authority and power too, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your money be destroyed along with you, because you thought you could buy the [free] gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart (motive, purpose) is not right before God. 22 So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are [q]provoked by bitterness and bound by sin.” 24 But Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me both of you, so that nothing of what you have said will come upon me.”
An Ethiopian Receives Christ
25 So, when Peter and John had given their testimony and preached the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, preaching the good news [about salvation] in many Samaritan villages [along the way].
26 But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south to the road that runs from Jerusalem down to Gaza.” (This is a desert road). 27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch [a man of great authority], a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning, and sitting in his chariot he was reading [the scroll of] the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the [Holy] Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah, and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I [understand] unless someone guides me [correctly]?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now this was the passage of Scripture which he was reading:
“Like a sheep He was led to the slaughter;
34 The eunuch replied to Philip, “Please tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? About himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip spoke and beginning with this Scripture he preached Jesus to him [explaining that He is the promised Messiah and the source of salvation]. 36 As they continued along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch exclaimed, “Look! Water! What forbids me from being baptized?” 37 [r][Philip said to him, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [suddenly] took Philip [and carried him] away [to a different place]; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at [s]Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the good news [of salvation] to all the cities, until he came to [t]Caesarea [Maritima].
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