Daily Bible Reading
Today's reading: Acts 7-9
Look for the promises in God’s word. As you read and find them, write them in your journal along with the scripture reference.
Stephen’s Defense Before the Council
1. Then the high priest said, “Are these things true?”
2. So he replied, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran,
3. and said to him, ‘Go out from your country and from your relatives, and come to the land I will show you.’
4. Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God made him move to this country where you now live.
5. He did not give any of it to him for an inheritance, not even a foot of ground, yet God promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him, even though Abraham as yet had no child.
6. But God spoke as follows: ‘Your descendants will be foreigners in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years.
7. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there and worship me in this place.’
8. Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
9. The patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt. But God was with him,
10. and rescued him from all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.
11. Then a famine occurred throughout Egypt and Canaan, causing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food.
12. So when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there the first time.
13. On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh.
14. So Joseph sent a message and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people in all.
15. So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there, along with our ancestors,
16. and their bones were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17. “But as the time drew near for God to fulfill the promise he had declared to Abraham, the people increased greatly in number in Egypt,
18. until another king who did not know about Joseph ruled over Egypt.
19. This was the one who exploited our people and was cruel to our ancestors, forcing them to abandon their infants so they would die.
20. At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful to God. For three months he was brought up in his father’s house,
21. and when he had been abandoned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.
22. So Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds.
23. But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind to visit his fellow countrymen the Israelites.
24. When he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, Moses came to his defense and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian.
25. He thought his own people would understand that God was delivering them through him, but they did not understand.
26. The next day Moses saw two men fighting, and tried to make peace between them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’
27. But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?
28. You don’t want to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’
29. When the man said this, Moses fled and became a foreigner in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
30. “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush.
31. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to investigate, there came the voice of the Lord,
32. ‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely.
33. But the Lord said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.
34. I have certainly seen the suffering of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, I will send you to Egypt.’
35. This same Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ God sent as both ruler and deliverer through the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.
36. This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.
37. This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’
38. This is the man who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, and he received living oracles to give to you.
39. Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him, but pushed him aside and turned back to Egypt in their hearts,
40. saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt – we do not know what has happened to him!’
41. At that time they made an idol in the form of a calf, brought a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing in the works of their hands.
42. But God turned away from them and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, house of Israel?
43. But you took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rephan, the images you made to worship, but I will deport you beyond Babylon.’
44. Our ancestors had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as God who spoke to Moses ordered him to make it according to the design he had seen.
45. Our ancestors received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, until the time of David.
46. He found favor with God and asked that he could find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob.
47. But Solomon built a house for him.
48. Yet the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands, as the prophet says,
49. ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth is the footstool for my feet. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is my resting place?
50. Did my hand not make all these things?’
51. “You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did!
52. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become!
53. You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it.”
Stephen is Killed
54. When they heard these things, they became furious and ground their teeth at him.
55. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
56. “Look!” he said. “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
57. But they covered their ears, shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent.
58. When they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59. They continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”
60. Then he fell to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he died.
Saul Begins to Persecute the Church
1. And Saul agreed completely with killing him.Now on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.
2. Some devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him.
3. But Saul was trying to destroy the church; entering one house after another, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Philip Preaches in Samaria
4. Now those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word.
5. Philip went down to the main city of Samaria and began proclaiming the Christ to them.
6. The crowds were paying attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the miraculous signs he was performing.
7. For unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, were coming out of many who were possessed, and many paralyzed and lame people were healed.
8. So there was great joy in that city.
9. Now in that city was a man named Simon, who had been practicing magic and amazing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great.
10. All the people, from the least to the greatest, paid close attention to him, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called ‘Great.’”
11. And they paid close attention to him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.
12. But when they believed Philip as he was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they began to be baptized, both men and women.
13. Even Simon himself believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed close to Philip constantly, and when he saw the signs and great miracles that were occurring, he was amazed.
14. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
15. These two went down and prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit.
16. (For the Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17. Then Peter and John placed their hands on the Samaritans, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18. Now Simon, when he saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, offered them money,
19. saying, “Give me this power too, so that everyone I place my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20. But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could acquire God’s gift with money!
21. You have no share or part in this matter because your heart is not right before God!
22. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that he may perhaps forgive you for the intent of your heart.
23. For I see that you are bitterly envious and in bondage to sin.”
24. But Simon replied, “You pray to the Lord for me so that nothing of what you have said may happen to me.”
25. So after Peter and John had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, proclaiming the good news to many Samaritan villages as they went.
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
26. Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.)
27. So he got up and went. There he met an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship,
28. and was returning home, sitting in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah.
29. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”
30. So Philip ran up to it and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. He asked him, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”
31. The man replied, “How in the world can I, unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32. Now the passage of scripture the man was reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to slaughter, and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
33. In humiliation justice was taken from him. Who can describe his posterity? For his life was taken away from the earth.”
34. Then the eunuch said to Philip, “Please tell me, who is the prophet saying this about – himself or someone else?”
35. So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him.
36. Now as they were going along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water! What is to stop me from being baptized?”
38. So he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
39. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any more, but went on his way rejoicing.
40. Philip, however, found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through the area, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
The Conversion of Saul
1. Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats to murder the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest
2. and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
3. As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
4. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
5. So he said, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!
6. But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do.”
7. (Now the men who were traveling with him stood there speechless, because they heard the voice but saw no one.)
8. So Saul got up from the ground, but although his eyes were open, he could see nothing. Leading him by the hand, his companions brought him into Damascus.
9. For three days he could not see, and he neither ate nor drank anything.
10. Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias,” and he replied, “Here I am, Lord.”
11. Then the Lord told him, “Get up and go to the street called ‘Straight,’ and at Judas’ house look for a man from Tarsus named Saul. For he is praying,
12. and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he may see again.”
13. But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem,
14. and here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call on your name!”
15. But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel.
16. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
17. So Ananias departed and entered the house, placed his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18. Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
19. and after taking some food, his strength returned. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus,
20. and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This man is the Son of God.”
21. All who heard him were amazed and were saying, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem was ravaging those who call on this name, and who had come here to bring them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
22. But Saul became more and more capable, and was causing consternation among the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
Saul’s Escape from Damascus
23. Now after some days had passed, the Jews plotted together to kill him,
24. but Saul learned of their plot against him. They were also watching the city gates day and night so that they could kill him.
25. But his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening in the wall by lowering him in a basket.
Saul Returns to Jerusalem
26. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was a disciple.
27. But Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
28. So he was staying with them, associating openly with them in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.
29. He was speaking and debating with the Greek-speaking Jews, but they were trying to kill him.
30. When the brothers found out about this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.
31. Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced peace and thus was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, the church increased in numbers.
Peter Heals Aeneas
32. Now as Peter was traveling around from place to place, he also came down to the saints who lived in Lydda.
33. He found there a man named Aeneas who had been confined to a mattress for eight years because he was paralyzed.
34. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Get up and make your own bed!” And immediately he got up.
35. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Peter Raises Dorcas
36. Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which in translation means Dorcas). She was continually doing good deeds and acts of charity.
37. At that time she became sick and died. When they had washed her body, they placed it in an upstairs room.
38. Because Lydda was near Joppa, when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Come to us without delay.”
39. So Peter got up and went with them, and when he arrived they brought him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him, crying and showing him the tunics and other clothing Dorcas used to make while she was with them.
40. But Peter sent them all outside, knelt down, and prayed. Turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
41. He gave her his hand and helped her get up. Then he called the saints and widows and presented her alive.
42. This became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
43. So Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a man named Simon, a tanner.