Acts 7:46

ESV who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
NIV who enjoyed God's favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
NASB David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob.
CSB He found favor in God's sight and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
NLT David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob.
KJV Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.

What does Acts 7:46 mean?

In the time of the Old Testament, pagan religions had temples, but they also were free to worship outside their temple; the Bible calls these areas "high places." When God brought Israel out of Egypt, He wanted to focus their worship, keeping it separate from the influence of false faiths (Leviticus 17:7). To do so, He gave very specific instructions on how to worship and how the place of worship—the tabernacle—should be made.

The tabernacle served as the Israelites' temple from the time of Moses until Solomon. It was a tent made of fabric and hide panels, hung from frames and surrounded by a courtyard defined by a wall of fabric and frames. God ordained it, and He presented Himself to the priests there. For years, it sat at Shiloh (Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 1:3, 21) until David settled his capital in Jerusalem. After David was made king, he brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and built a tent for it (2 Samuel 6:17). Before long, David realized God had blessed him with a house and rest from his enemies, but the ark still resided in a tent. David asked God, through the prophet Nathan, if he could build a temple for it. God told him no, but his son could (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 28:1–8).

As Stephen defends himself against disrespecting the temple (Acts 6:8–15), he points out that although God allowed the temple, He wasn't desperate for it. When David offered to build it, God waited an entire generation (Acts 7:45–47). Both David (Psalm 11:4) and Isaiah (Isaiah 66:1–2) affirmed that God cannot be confined to a building made with human hands. When dedicating the newly built temple Solomon proclaimed that "heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain" God, much less the temple he had built (1 Kings 8:27).

In addition, David, the greatest monarch of Israel and the man after God's own heart, asked to build God a temple around 1,100 years after God told Abraham to leave Haran. God did not allow David to do so. Instead, God promised to establish David's house forever. He also said David's son could build Him a temple. The temple was not essential for the existence or identity of the nation of Israel, nor for proper worship of God.
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