PDA

View Full Version : NIC Bible Study Acts Week 11



Tanya~
Oct 7th 2008, 06:47 PM
Last week we only got in one lesson, but that's okay. We will go at a pace that is workable for everyone who wants to participate. If you are new, catching up is easy. You can read over the previous chapters of Acts and then jump in where we are. The studies are also in the Bible Study forum if you want to see the previous questions and discussion.


Acts 7:51-53 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%207:51-53;&version=50;)

51 "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it."
NKJV

~~ Question numbers below correspond to verse numbers above. ~~
~~ Questions marked with an *asterisk are optional challenge or for extra study. ~~~

51.
How does Stephen characterize the council? (See Deut 10:16 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deut%2010:16;&version=50;))
What do you think “stiff-necked” means?
Why do you think Stephen says this about their heart and ears?
Of what does he accuse them?

52.
How does Stephen define their forefathers’ rejection of the Holy Spirit?
*Who do you think is the Just One? How can you tell?

In what way did they follow in their footsteps?

53.
What was Stephen’s final indictment against them?
*Why might this be a particularly offensive statement to the council members?


Additional comments available on this passage here (http://bibleonlinestudy.blogspot.com/).

tango
Oct 7th 2008, 08:40 PM
Stephen launches what appears to be an all-out attack on the council. He accuses them of being stiff-necked (i.e. stubborn) and uncircumcised in their hearts and ears.

He goes on to remind the assembly that their forefathers had persecuted all of the prophets sent by God, killed the prophets who foretold the coming of Jesus, and despite watching and waiting for their promised Messiah they had had him killed as well.

Finally Stephen lambasts them for receiving the law but not keeping it.


This is a very interesting attack on the integrity of the councils, highlighting their hypocrisy at every turn. They would all have been physically circumcised (outwardly, and anatomically) but were still hard-hearted towards God. They claimed to follow God and to obey his laws, but persecuted the prophets who tried to guide them. They had undergone an external ritual but had not changed inside, they were effectively old goods in new packaging.

Finally he pointed out that they had received the Law by the direction of angels. Because they were God's chosen people they had been given the Law, from the time of Moses onwards. They were very proud of the fact they kept the Law very strictly, but Stephen's point was much like the points Jesus frequently made to the Pharisees - they were rigidly adhering to the very letter of the Law while ignoring its spirit completely.

This passage reminds me of the words of Isaiah:

Isa 1:11 "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.
Isa 1:12 "When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts?
Isa 1:13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
Isa 1:14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
Isa 1:15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

Even back in the days of Isaiah God had grown weary of the repeated sacrifices of the people. He wanted them to live a holy life, not look at the Law from a legalistic perspective and figure out that they could sin all they wanted because forgiveness appeared to cost nothing more than the life of an animal.

It is interesting to see Stephen telling the assembly that they had not kept the Law because they had ignored the purpose of the Law - this would have been a very specific insult to the people whose very livelihood was dependent on the fact they did keep the Law, and enforced it rigorously throughout their community.

In the next section we see how they responded to Stephen's accusations.

RoadWarrior
Oct 7th 2008, 08:46 PM
Thanks, Tanya! I've been missing this, and it's good to have you back on the job. :hug:


51.
How does Stephen characterize the council? (See Deut 10:16 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deut%2010:16;&version=50;))
stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears!
What do you think “stiff-necked” means?
stubborn?
Sorry, I had to go search this out when I read the Deut passage!

Deuteronomy 31:27 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=5&chapter=31&verse=27&version=31&context=verse)
rebellious against the LORD
2 Kings 17:14 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=12&chapter=17&verse=14&version=31&context=verse)
did not trust in the LORD their God.
2 Chronicles 30:8 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=14&chapter=30&verse=8&version=31&context=verse)
did not submit to the LORD.
2 Chronicles 36:13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=14&chapter=36&verse=13&version=31&context=verse)
hardened his heart and would not turn to the LORD, the God of Israel.
Why do you think Stephen says this about their heart and ears?
There is a connection between hearing (ears) and believing (heart). When we hear something we have the option of choosing to examine it for truth, and believing it. When he says their ears and hearts are uncircumcised, it is like saying that they are refusing to listen, and refusing to allow themselves to experience the truth.
Of what does he accuse them?
of resisting the Holy Spirit.

52.
How does Stephen define their forefathers’ rejection of the Holy Spirit?
they persecuted and killed the prophets who prophesied to them of the coming of the Lord
*Who do you think is the Just One? How can you tell?
Jesus. This is the focus of Stephen's witness.

In what way did they follow in their footsteps?
The men before Stephen now are being accused by Stephen of being the ones who betrayed and murdered Jesus.

53.
What was Stephen’s final indictment against them?
They had received the law by the direction of the angels, but have not kept the law.
*Why might this be a particularly offensive statement to the council members?
These are people who think they keep the law to the letter, tithing even their herbs.

Phroggie
Oct 8th 2008, 09:44 PM
51.
How does Stephen characterize the council? (See Deut 10:16 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deut%2010:16;&version=50;)) Stiff-necked and uncircumcised in hearts and ears
What do you think “stiff-necked” means? stubborn
Why do you think Stephen says this about their heart and ears? their hearts and ears aren't yet opened to the truth of Jesus
Of what does he accuse them? Resisting the Holy Spirit, just like their forefathers did.

52.
How does Stephen define their forefathers’ rejection of the Holy Spirit? They persecuted each of the prophets sent by God, killing those who told of the coming of the Messiah. If that wasn't bad enough, they betrayed and murdered HIM as well!
*Who do you think is the Just One? How can you tell? Jesus, because he was betrayed and murdered

In what way did they follow in their footsteps? They're doing exactly the same thing now!

53.
What was Stephen’s final indictment against them? The people received the law from the hands of the angels yet STILL chose to disobey it.
*Why might this be a particularly offensive statement to the council members? Weren't members of the council, at that time, also writers of the law?:hmm:

Tanya~
Oct 14th 2008, 07:18 AM
Thank you everyone for your patience! You're doing a great job, I'm a little slow! The next installment is available now, look for the new sticky!