What does Acts 7:31 mean?
ESV: When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord:
NIV: When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say:
NASB: When Moses saw it, he was astonished at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, the voice of the Lord came:
CSB: When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he was approaching to look at it, the voice of the Lord came:
NLT: When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him,
KJV: When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him,
NKJV: When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him,
Verse Commentary:
In the previous section, Stephen tore down the argument that Moses was always worthy of respect. He murdered an Egyptian, earned the derision of the Israelites, and fled from Pharaoh for forty years (Acts 7:23–29). Now, Stephen shows why Moses became worthy of respect: because God chose him to be. While tending his father-in-law's sheep, Moses came upon a bush, on fire but not burned, and "the angel of the LORD" in the midst of the flames. The Old Testament seems to make a distinction between "an angel of the LORD" and "the angel of the LORD." Scholars believe the latter is often the pre-incarnate Christ. That makes sense as the angel of the Lord is in the fire in the bush and God called out to Moses from the bush (Exodus 3:1–4).

It is this voice of God that gives Moses authority. He says, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt" (Acts 7:34). The Jews in Stephen's audience think they respect Moses, but Stephen reminds them: God commissioned Moses to rescue the Israelites and the Israelites rebelled against him (Acts 7:39–41). In the same way, this Moses told them that God would send another prophet like him (who would be the Messiah), and this same voice of God validated Jesus (Mark 1:9–11; John 1:32–34; 12:28). But Stephen's audience killed Him (Acts 7:52).

Stephen's accusers are devout Jews from northern Africa and modern-day Asia Minor. They have traveled at great expense to come to Jerusalem to worship at the temple. They should know Samuel's words: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams" (1 Samuel 15:22). And the words of Jeremiah who quoted God: "For in that day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them: 'Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you'" (Jeremiah 7:22–23). It was never the burnt offerings, the temple, or even the Law that pleased God; it was always having faith in His words.

His words, throughout Israel's history, pointed to Jesus.
Verse Context:
Acts 7:30–34 records Stephen as he continues the story of Moses. He is instructing the Sanhedrin and a crowd of Jews with a short version of Israel's history to show them how to put the things they love, like the Law and the temple, into proper perspective. The account of God calling Moses to rescue his people sets up Stephen's argument that neither the Israelites in Moses' time nor those in Stephen's ever really respected Moses. This is a quick synopsis of Exodus 3:1—4:23.
Chapter Summary:
Stephen is a Greek-speaking Jewish Christian and one of the first deacons in the church in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1–7). He's also a skilled apologist and has been debating Jews from outside Judea about the proper place of the Mosaic law and the temple (Acts 6:8–15). His opponents cannot counter his arguments so they resort to lies. They tell the Sanhedrin that Stephen wants to destroy the temple and repeal the Mosaic law. Stephen counters that his accusers don't respect Moses or the Law, and the temple isn't necessary to worship God. This enrages the mob, and Stephen is stoned, becoming the first Christian martyr.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 7 is one of the pivot points of the book of Acts. Until recently, the early church has seen favor from the people and indifference from the Sanhedrin. Now, the Sanhedrin has beaten the apostles and ordered them not to preach about Jesus (Acts 5:40), and the people are starting to realize how different Christianity is. In Jerusalem, a Hellenist Jewish Jesus-follower named Stephen has been in a debate with other foreign Jews who finally accuse him of wishing to destroy the temple, like Jesus (Acts 6:8–15). This is Stephen's defense, which leads to his death and the introduction of Paul.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 6/14/2024 10:24:43 PM
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