Acts 7:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:4, NIV: So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.

Acts 7:4, ESV: Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.

Acts 7:4, KJV: Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

Acts 7:4, NASB: Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living.

Acts 7:4, NLT: So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran until his father died. Then God brought him here to the land where you now live.

Acts 7:4, CSB: "Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this land in which you are now living.

What does Acts 7:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Stephen is one of the first deacons in the church and a committed Jesus-follower. His close relationship with and submission to the Holy Spirit has made him a very powerful apologist for Jesus. So powerful, in fact, that his opponents lose every debate. They have resorted to falsely accusing him of disrespecting the Mosaic law and the temple. Stephen's defense goes in an interesting direction: he points out that God has been with the Jewish people since long before the Law or the temple. The Jews should worship God, not the Law which they cannot follow or the temple which cannot contain God.

The explanation Stephen offers starts with the story of God calling Abraham. Abraham was one of three sons (one died) of a man named Terah who lived in a town called Ur on the Euphrates river in modern-day Iraq. Ur was home to the Chaldeans, a people-group that included Nebuchadnezzar several hundred years later. God called Abraham in Ur and told him to go to another land that God would give Abraham's descendants. Abraham, his wife Sarah, Terah, and Abraham's nephew Lot left Ur and traveled up the Euphrates to a settlement in modern-day eastern Turkey. There, Terah died (Genesis 11:27–32).

After Terah's death, Abraham followed God's call to leave Haran and head south into the land of Canaan. Eventually, this land became Israel, but not yet. God promised Abraham his descendants would possess this land even though he had no son and would never possess it in his lifetime (Genesis 12:1–3). Abraham traveled as a sojourner around the area, and he did buy land for a tomb for Sarah when she died (Genesis 23:1–20). But his descendants didn't own the area God promised until the time of Joshua.

Abraham worshipped God in the land where Stephen and his accusers stand, but he had no Law and no temple—not even a tabernacle. Neither was necessary to follow God.