Acts 6:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 6:14, NIV: For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.'

Acts 6:14, ESV: for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.”

Acts 6:14, KJV: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

Acts 6:14, NASB: for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses handed down to us.'

Acts 6:14, NLT: We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.'

Acts 6:14, CSB: For we heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us."

What does Acts 6:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Stephen's martyrdom story parallels that of Jesus. The Jewish religious leaders had long wished to destroy Jesus, ever since the beginning of His ministry in Capernaum (Mark 3:6). They were finally able to arrest Him the night of the Passover but had nothing to charge Him with. Eventually, false witnesses accused Him of threatening to tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days (Mark 14:56–58). This would have been an effective accusation; not only would it have enflamed the Jewish people, who adored Jesus, desecration of a religious monument was against Roman law and punishable by death.

There were two immense problems with the Sanhedrin's campaign against Christ. The first was that the witnesses couldn't get their story straight about what Jesus had said (Mark 14:59). Second, Jesus never threatened the temple. He dared the Jewish leadership to destroy Him, promising that in three days, He would rise again (John 2:19–22). He proved this when He did rise again three days after the Jewish leaders had Him crucified.

We don't know exactly what Stephen and the Jews are debating. The Jews incite others to accuse Stephen of saying Jesus will destroy the temple and change the Mosaic law (Acts 6:11–13). But Stephen's defense explains that the temple is not necessary for proper God-worship (Acts 7:1–50). In fact, in less than forty years, the Roman army will burn the temple to the ground. A temple can't enclose God. God didn't even ask for a temple—a single building can't confine His followers' worship. As Jesus told the woman at the well, "The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:21, 24).

The Hellenist Jews know their argument is weak. They convince false witnesses to charge Stephen with nonsense (Acts 6:11) and even insult Jesus, calling Him "this Nazarene" (NASB). A common slur was that nothing good can come out of Nazareth (John 1:46). Fortunately for Stephen's accusers, most of the Sanhedrin is more interested in preserving their hold over the people than the truth.