Acts 7:49 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:49, NIV: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?

Acts 7:49, ESV: “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?

Acts 7:49, KJV: Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

Acts 7:49, NASB: ‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND THE EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord, ‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REST?

Acts 7:49, NLT: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that?' asks the LORD. 'Could you build me such a resting place?

Acts 7:49, CSB: Heaven is my throne,and the earth my footstool.What sort of house will you build for me?says the Lord,or what will be my resting place?

What does Acts 7:49 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Stephen continues his defense against charges that both he and Jesus wanted to tear down the temple (Acts 6:13–14). The accusers know it's a lie, just as the Sanhedrin knows Jesus never really threatened the temple (Mark 14:57–59). But in Roman law, destroying a place of religion carries the death penalty. If they can make this charge stick, they can get the Romans to execute Stephen. Never mind that their real problem is that they can't defend their beliefs against Stephen's truth (Acts 6:10).

Acts 7:49–50 is a quote from Isaiah 66:1 and the first line of verse 2. Stephen is pointing out that God created the stone, bronze, linen, gold, and wood from which the temple is made. The temple is only sacred if God dwells in it. When Solomon built and dedicated the Israelites' first temple, God consecrated it, coming down to fill it with such glory the priests couldn't even enter (2 Chronicles 7:1–2). More than 400 years before the temple was built, He had done the same to the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34–35).

Paul will use this same argument with Athenian philosophers, saying, "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything" (Acts 17:24–25). He will go on to quote a Greek philosopher who affirmed that God created humans (Acts 17:28).

At the time this commentary is being written, much of the world is under quarantine because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are coming to understand that with Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, the place where we worship isn't so important. The Holy Spirit indwells believers (Romans 8:9), not buildings. Believers are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). This is why Jesus could tell the Samaritan woman, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23).