Acts 7
Codex laudianus (The S.S. Teacher
Acts 15:22–24 in Latin (left column) and Greek (right column) in Codex Laudianus, written about AD 550.
BookActs of the Apostles
CategoryChurch history
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part5

Acts 7 is the seventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It records the address of Stephen before the Sanhedrin and his execution outside [1] Jerusalem, and introduces Saul (who later became Paul the Apostle). The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.[2]


The original text was written in Koine Greek and is divided into 60 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

In Greek
In Latin

Old Testament references

Stephen's speech (7:1–53)

On the surface, Stephen's speech seemingly did match the charges against him, but the recorded words apparently are a part of a 'larger polemical discourse, building on and developing the arguments already put forward in the sermons and trial speeches of the apostles'. It can be categorized into 'rewritten Bible', "a selective retelling of biblical history from a particular theological standpoint", in similar form as Psalm 105, among others in the Bible.[5]

Verse 16

This verse has been studied extensively by theologians because the speech of Stephen seems to contradict Genesis:[6]

and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.[7]

Stephen's death (7:54–60)

The reaction of the audience to Stephen's speech reached a dramatic high point in verse 54 and heightened even further Stephen's description of his vision in verses 55–56.[8] Stephen's vision of God's glory has a continuity with his speech on Abraham (7:2) and Moses (cf. Exodus 33:18—23), but now extends to the open heaven (verse 56) with the figure of Jesus himself positioned 'at the right hand of God' (verse 55) denoting the highest place of honor and confirming Stephen's claim that the rejected savior is in fact God's 'Righteous One'.[9] Stephen as 'the prototype for Christian martyrdom' dies 'calling on the name of the Lord' expecting the exalted Jesus to receive his spirit (verse 59) and then cries out 'in a loud voice' (verse 60; cf. Luke 23:46) for forgiveness that echoes the prayer of Luke 23:34.[10]

Verse 55

But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,[11]

Verse 58

and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.[13]
Take the blasphemer outside the camp ... and they took the blasphemer outside the camp, and stoned him to death.[14]

Verse 59

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."[15]

The Pulpit Commentary notes Stephen's words in Acts 7:59 as a 'striking acknowledgment of the divinity of Christ: only he who gave the spirit could receive it back again'.[16]

Verse 60

Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.[17]

Alexander MacLaren noted that this verse contains 'the only narrative in the New Testament of a Christian martyrdom or death'.[18]


The phrase "Living oracles" or "Living words", taken from Acts 7:38, appears in Greek on the heraldric seal of Columbia University, printed on the book held in the central figure's hand, and signifying the passing down of knowledge.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Acts 7:58
  2. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 316.
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick, A. F. (1901). The Book of Psalms: with Introduction and Notes. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Vol. Book IV and V: Psalms XC-CL. Cambridge: At the University Press. p. 840. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  5. ^ Alexander 2007, p. 1036.
  6. ^ "Why is there a conflict between Acts 7:15-16 and Genesis 50:13?".
  7. ^ Acts 7:16 ESV
  8. ^ Alexander 2007, p. 1037.
  9. ^ Alexander 2007, pp. 1037–1038.
  10. ^ Alexander 2007, p. 1038.
  11. ^ Acts 7:55 KJV
  12. ^ Note [d] on Acts 7:55 in NET Bible.
  13. ^ Acts 7:58 NKJV
  14. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Acts 7, accessed 29 November 2018
  15. ^ Acts 7:59 NKJV
  16. ^ Pulpit Commentary on Acts 7, accessed 14 August 2015
  17. ^ Acts 7:60 NKJV
  18. ^ MacLaren, Alexander. Expositions Of Holy Scripture, on Acts 7, accessed 14 August 2015
  19. ^ cmm_admin (2017-12-04). "Deciphering the Columbia Seal, Motto, and More". Columbia Medicine Magazine. Retrieved 2021-07-15.