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Tanya~
Oct 20th 2008, 09:40 PM
Acts 8:1-3 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%208:1-3;&version=50;)

1 Now Saul was consenting to his death.

At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
NKJV

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

1.
Read this verse along with Acts 7:57-60 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%207:57-60;&version=50;). What did Saul do that demonstrated his consent to the unjust execution of Stephen?

What do we learn about the church at Jerusalem?
*From what we read in the preceding chapter and Acts 6:8-15 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%206:8-15;&version=50;), what do you think was the cause of this persecution?

Who was scattered, and who remained in Jerusalem?
Where did they go?

2.
Describe what happened with Stephen after his death.

3.
What part did Saul play in the persecution?
Read Acts 22:3-5, 26:9-11, and Galatians 1:13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2022:3-5,%20%2026:9-11,%20Galatians%201:13;&version=50;). What was Saulís motivation and intention?


Please read discussion about this passage at my blog here (http://bibleonlinestudy.blogspot.com/2008/10/church-at-jerusalem-persecuted.html)!

RoadWarrior
Oct 20th 2008, 10:35 PM
1.
Read this verse along with Acts 7:57-60 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%207:57-60;&version=50;). What did Saul do that demonstrated his consent to the unjust execution of Stephen?
Saul guarded the cloaks of those who were stoning Stephen. In that sense, he was an accomplice, like the guy who drives the getaway car in a bank robbery.

What do we learn about the church at Jerusalem?
A great persecution arose against them, and they were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria ... except for the Apostles.

*From what we read in the preceding chapter and Acts 6:8-15 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%206:8-15;&version=50;), what do you think was the cause of this persecution?
Stephen had been teaching about Jesus in a way that the persecutors knew he was holding them responsible for the death of Jesus. They could not refute his charges, any more than they had been able to quell the ministry of Jesus. This enrages them, and they think the best way to end it is to get rid of the person.

Who was scattered, and who remained in Jerusalem?
The church was scattered. The Apostles remained.
Where did they go?
Throughout Judea and Samaria.
2.
Describe what happened with Stephen after his death.
Devout men carried him to his burial, and made a great lamentation over him.

3.
What part did Saul play in the persecution?
He entered into homes where he had people arrested, and dragged off to prison.
Read Acts 22:3-5, 26:9-11, and Galatians 1:13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2022:3-5,%20%2026:9-11,%20Galatians%201:13;&version=50;). What was Saulís motivation and intention?
He was a very strict Jew and zealous for God. He saw Jesus as an enemy of God, and he sought to stamp out the movement, which meant destroying the people who were faithful believers in Jesus.


Please read discussion about this passage at my blog here (http://bibleonlinestudy.blogspot.com/2008/10/church-at-jerusalem-persecuted.html)!

RoadWarrior
Oct 20th 2008, 10:43 PM
Thanks for the blog entry and the suggestion to read James at this point. It is interesting to see how the rest of the New Testament books fit into the historical narrative of the book of Acts.

Thanks for doing this study, Tanya. :hug:

mcgyver
Oct 21st 2008, 02:20 AM
Excellent study Tanya...and I appreciated your blog also :)

A couple of observations here, if I may.

In verse 57-58 we see: Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. (emphasis mine).

Though to us this rather innocuous, when taken in the context of first century culture and tradition; it can be seen that Saul was much more than merely an accomplice, he was probably one of the instigators. Certainly he was there in a different capacity, as I'll explain in a bit.

The stoning of Stephen was actually in violation of Jewish law (as was the trial of Jesus btw), and was not the result of a properly convened trial of the Sanhedrin. In its purest sense it was a lynching by a lynch mob.

Kind of an interesting thing here: Although under Roman law the Sanhedrin in theory (technically) could execute someone for blasphemy...and blasphemy only (thus the charge against Stephen), it was very rarely carried out at an "official" level. This is because, due to the famous Roman sense of justice ("fair play"), The Roman procurator could at any time demand an account of the trial that sent one to death...and the Sanhedrin was wroth to air their "dirty laundry" before Roman justice.

Understanding this fact goes a long way in explaining why Jesus was charged (officially) with sedition (a Roman criminal offense) instead of blasphemy...which after a properly convened and conducted trial gave the Sanhedrin authority to execute.

Stoning took two forms in those days: The preferred method was to take the condemned to a height and cast him down (the witnesses against him had to be the ones to throw the person down), if the fall killed him..well and good. If the fall failed to kill him then they would cast down large rocks or boulders until the victim succumbed. The other method was to simply put him against the wall so to speak and throw rocks at him.

The language of the text would indicate that the first method was used...it's easier, after all.

Here now is where Saul comes in. Remember that this was a lynching...therefore any Rabbi or member of the Sanhedrin who took part in this would be in blatant violation of Jewish law and subject to censure or expulsion from the Sanhedrin. It was after all illegal! A transgression of the law!

The reference to Saul being a young man is two fold: Obviously his age...but at this young age Saul was already the ruler of the Synagogue of Freedmen and a member of the Sanhedrin...but because of his youth he was the "low man on the totem pole"...Someone had to be there from the Sanhedrin to make sure that Stephen didn't escape, to make sure that this "pernicious blasphemer" paid the price. The witnesses...the ones who had to actually throw Stephen down...cast the first stone as it were...laid their cloaks at the feet of Saul as a symbolic gesture and recognition of Saul's authority as a member of the Sanhedrin. Should the matter come to Roman ears and they get arrested...they could have pointed at Saul and said "we were operating by the authority of the Sanhedrin!"

More in a bit :)

ph33r
Oct 21st 2008, 03:47 AM
Acts 8:1-3 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%208:1-3;&version=50;)

1 Now Saul was consenting to his death.

At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
NKJV
~~ Question numbers below correspond to verse numbers above. ~~
~~ Questions marked with an *asterisk are optional challenge or for extra study. ~~~

1.
Read this verse along with Acts 7:57-60 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%207:57-60;&version=50;). What did Saul do that demonstrated his consent to the unjust execution of Stephen?
He stood by and watched over the false witnesses coats symbolizing he had authority and probably oversaw this.

What do we learn about the church at Jerusalem?
It came under great persacution.
*From what we read in the preceding chapter and Acts 6:8-15 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%206:8-15;&version=50;), what do you think was the cause of this persecution?
They were scared and convicted by him, he not only represented a threat to their power but he also reminded them of their sins.

Who was scattered, and who remained in Jerusalem?
All the followers accept the apostles.
Where did they go?
They were scattered through out Judea and Samaria
2.
Describe what happened with Stephen after his death.
He was carried away by believers and lamented over.
3.
What part did Saul play in the persecution?
He was the lead persecutor going into houses and seeking out Christians to send them off to prison.
Read Acts 22:3-5, 26:9-11, and Galatians 1:13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2022:3-5,%20%2026:9-11,%20Galatians%201:13;&version=50;). What was Saulís motivation and intention?
He was thinking he was serving God by destroying the Christian faith. He goal was to destroy anything that was a threat to God.

ph33r
Oct 21st 2008, 03:48 AM
Excellent study Tanya...and I appreciated your blog also :)

A couple of observations here, if I may.

In verse 57-58 we see: Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. (emphasis mine).

Though to us this rather innocuous, when taken in the context of first century culture and tradition; it can be seen that Saul was much more than merely an accomplice, he was probably one of the instigators. Certainly he was there in a different capacity, as I'll explain in a bit.

The stoning of Stephen was actually in violation of Jewish law (as was the trial of Jesus btw), and was not the result of a properly convened trial of the Sanhedrin. In its purest sense it was a lynching by a lynch mob.

Kind of an interesting thing here: Although under Roman law the Sanhedrin in theory (technically) could execute someone for blasphemy...and blasphemy only (thus the charge against Stephen), it was very rarely carried out at an "official" level. This is because, due to the famous Roman sense of justice ("fair play"), The Roman procurator could at any time demand an account of the trial that sent one to death...and the Sanhedrin was wroth to air their "dirty laundry" before Roman justice.

Understanding this fact goes a long way in explaining why Jesus was charged (officially) with sedition (a Roman criminal offense) instead of blasphemy...which after a properly convened and conducted trial gave the Sanhedrin authority to execute.

Stoning took two forms in those days: The preferred method was to take the condemned to a height and cast him down (the witnesses against him had to be the ones to throw the person down), if the fall killed him..well and good. If the fall failed to kill him then they would cast down large rocks or boulders until the victim succumbed. The other method was to simply put him against the wall so to speak and throw rocks at him.

The language of the text would indicate that the first method was used...it's easier, after all.

Here now is where Saul comes in. Remember that this was a lynching...therefore any Rabbi or member of the Sanhedrin who took part in this would be in blatant violation of Jewish law and subject to censure or expulsion from the Sanhedrin. It was after all illegal! A transgression of the law!

The reference to Saul being a young man is two fold: Obviously his age...but at this young age Saul was already the ruler of the Synagogue of Freedmen and a member of the Sanhedrin...but because of his youth he was the "low man on the totem pole"...Someone had to be there from the Sanhedrin to make sure that Stephen didn't escape, to make sure that this "pernicious blasphemer" paid the price. The witnesses...the ones who had to actually throw Stephen down...cast the first stone as it were...laid their cloaks at the feet of Saul as a symbolic gesture and recognition of Saul's authority as a member of the Sanhedrin. Should the matter come to Roman ears and they get arrested...they could have pointed at Saul and said "we were operating by the authority of the Sanhedrin!"

More in a bit :)

Where in the world did you learn all this? I read the bible and it doesn't teach me this. :)

mcgyver
Oct 21st 2008, 04:02 AM
A lot of time spent in research :lol: :lol:

All started when as a new Christian, hungry for the word...I ran across things that didn't make any sense to me. After getting a zillion answers, I decided the best thing to do to figure out the meaning was to look at the cultural context, and cross reference it with other scripture and commentary. Been doing that 18 years now...:P

If you're interested, let me know by PM and I'll give you a list of a couple of books to get you started...that way we don't derail TanyaP's study. ;)

Tanya~
Oct 21st 2008, 05:50 AM
Discussion is fine in this thread for this passage so if it applies...

But I didn't know Saul was associated with the Synagogue of the Freedmen... how do you learn that?

mcgyver
Oct 21st 2008, 03:26 PM
Discussion is fine in this thread for this passage so if it applies...

But I didn't know Saul was associated with the Synagogue of the Freedmen... how do you learn that?

Now I've got to dig out my old books and commentaries and find some citations :lol: :lol:

Seriously, I've run across that more than once...and I'll get you some references soon as I can dig them out :)

Just as an aside, there is an absolutely wonderful book out there (if it's still in print, that is...)

The Life and Epistles of St. Paul by W.J. Conybeare and J. S. Howson

Really gives background and insights into the life and ministry of Paul.