Acts 7:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:5, NIV: He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.

Acts 7:5, ESV: Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child.

Acts 7:5, KJV: And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

Acts 7:5, NASB: But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him, even though he had no child.

Acts 7:5, NLT: 'But God gave him no inheritance here, not even one square foot of land. God did promise, however, that eventually the whole land would belong to Abraham and his descendants--even though he had no children yet.

Acts 7:5, CSB: He didn't give him an inheritance in it--not even a foot of ground--but he promised to give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him, even though he was childless.

What does Acts 7:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Jesus-follower Stephen is explaining to the Sanhedrin and a crowd that God's people do not require the Mosaic law or the temple to worship Him. His first example is Abraham.

God had promised Abraham that his descendants would one day possess the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:7). Abraham would never inherit it, but his offspring would. This promise was given despite the fact that at the time, Abraham didn't have any offspring. His wife, Sarah, was infertile.

Modern-day Bible-readers have made a game of nit-picking the stories in the Bible to discover "contradictions." It's worth pointing out that what's recorded here is Stephen's speech; even if it were incorrect in some fact, Scripture is merely recording what was said. Nevertheless, this part of Abraham's story benefits from two clarifications.

First, Abraham did not inherit any land, but he did own some. After his wife, Sarah, died, Abraham bought a cave and a field for her tomb (Genesis 23:1–20). In fact, Abraham and his grandson Jacob were buried there, as well (Genesis 25:8–9; 50:12–13). But Abraham did not inherit this plot of land, he purchased it. It wasn't until the time of Joshua that God gave Canaan to the Israelites as their inheritance.

Second, Abraham's offspring inherited the land, but not all of them. Before Sarah could have a child, she had her handmaid bear Abraham's child. After Sarah died, Abraham took a wife named Keturah who bore six sons. Abraham gave an inheritance to Ishmael and Keturah's sons and sent them away; from the start God chose Isaac, Sarah's son, to receive Abraham's blessings (Genesis 17:19–21; 25:1–6).