Acts 7:30 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:30, NIV: After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.

Acts 7:30, ESV: “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush.

Acts 7:30, KJV: And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

Acts 7:30, NASB: 'After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush.

Acts 7:30, NLT: 'Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush.

Acts 7:30, CSB: After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush.

What does Acts 7:30 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Jews of Stephen's time claim to be extremely devout. Those accusing him have come all the way from northern Africa and modern-day Asia Minor to worship at the temple in Jerusalem. They arrived to find a new sect has grown around a man named Jesus who had been crucified and whom His followers attest rose again. Stephen, one of the first deacons in the church, has been debating them, and they have no way to counter his arguments. So they resort to false accusations, claiming that he is blaspheming God and Moses and that he is encouraging the disrespect of the temple and the Mosaic law (Acts 6:8–14).

Stephen is countering with the argument that God worked in the lives of the Israelites centuries before they had Moses, the Law, the temple, or even a place to call their own. In addition, not even the Israelites of Moses' time respected him.

In that context, Stephen has explained how in Moses' earlier years he wasn't worthy of respect because he murdered an Egyptian. He did so in an attempt to rescue an Israelite, but the action proved to increase the distance between him and his people even more—not to mention incite the Pharaoh to put a price on his head. To save his life, Moses fled to Midian on the western coast of the Arabian Peninsula where he married Zipporah and became father to two sons (Acts 7:23–29).

Now, Stephen reminds his audience of the supernatural event that accompanied God's call. While tending his father-in-law's sheep, Moses encountered the angel of the Lord in a flame that engulfed a bush without burning it. Stephen's accusers know this story, that Moses trembled in fear before the fire, and that he gave several excuses as to why he wasn't fit to serve God. All of this points to something Moses and Stephen were well aware of but the Jews seemed to have forgotten: it is not Moses who is worthy of worship but the God Who is speaking to him (Exodus 3:1–2).