Acts 7:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:2, NIV: To this he replied: 'Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran.

Acts 7:2, ESV: And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

Acts 7:2, KJV: And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

Acts 7:2, NASB: And Stephen said, 'Listen to me, brothers and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

Acts 7:2, NLT: This was Stephen's reply: 'Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran.

Acts 7:2, CSB: "Brothers and fathers," he replied, "listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran,

What does Acts 7:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Stephen is giving his defense before the Sanhedrin (Acts 6:12). He starts by addressing the crowd which includes "fathers," or the priests, scribes, and elders of the court, and "brothers," or the other Jews in the audience—particularly the Hellenist Jews who have accused him (Acts 6:8–15). In this section, he shows how God's favor is not confined by geography.

Israelite leaders recited their history to teach or remind the people of God's faithfulness throughout the ages (Joshua 24:1–13; Nehemiah 9:6–15). In this case, Stephen uses the historical account to confirm his own Jewish faith and to prove a point: the Jewish forefather, Abraham, experienced God's glory far from Judea and hundreds of years before the temple was built.

Where Stephen mentions Mesopotamia, Genesis 11:31 says Abraham started in "Ur of the Chaldeans." Ur was a city-state on the Euphrates near the Persian Gulf. The Chaldeans are a people group that in Abraham's time settled along the two rivers from the Persian Gulf up to modern-day Mosul. Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean. Mesopotamia is the geographic area along the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending from the Persian Gulf, northwest to modern-day Turkey, and down along the coast of the Mediterranean. Mesopotamia is also known as the Fertile Crescent.

Abraham left Ur with his wife Sarah, his father Terah, and his nephew Lot. Lot was the son of Terah's late son Haran who was also Sarah's brother. They traveled up the Euphrates to the northern-most point where they stopped at the city of Haran. After Terah died, God called Abraham to continue his journey to Canaan (Genesis 11:27–12:1).