Acts 6:9 – 7:2 — Stephen accused of blasphemy

Stephen, one of the seven servants the 12 picked to serve the Yerushalayim congregation, is brought before the Sanhedrin on a number of serious accusations that the law of God indicates are worthy of death. Before looking at his defense in Acts 7, we should look at what blasphemy is.

PDF Download study notes in PDF format (Overview of the Accusations and “What is blasphemy?”).

Part 1 — Stephen accused of blasphemy against Moses and God

Sept. 13, 2008

What were some of the accusations leveled against Stephen? What were some of the similarities between Stephen’s arraignment and some of the previous trials recorded, such as the trials of Yeshua (Jesus), Peter and Yokhanan (John)? What does Stephen’s defense have in common with prior encounters between the Sanhedrin and Peter, John and Yeshua?

What were the charges against Stephen?

What is blasphemy? Against whom was Stephen accused of blaspheming? 

How can one act blasphemously against Moses? What does the term “Moses” mean here? What were the “traditions of the fathers” or the “customs which Moses delivered to us”?

How does one truly blaspheme God (Rom. 2:17-25)?

Part 2 — What is blasphemy?

Sept. 27, 2008

In our second preview of Stephen’s defense before Israel’s Supreme Court, we look at the various shades of meaning behind blasphemy. Sadly, a misunderstanding of blasphemy has led some otherwise great teachers of God to advocate that Yeshua and apostle Paul tossed out the Torah.

Were the charges leveled against Stephen valid? What crime was he accused of committing?

Converts have a boldness that can be easily taken advantage of by leaders of religion.

How many words do the Greeks have for the English word blasphemy? How many words does the ancient Hebrew language have for blasphemy?

What is blasphemy? Why should we as believers care about it?

What does the Hebrew word barak mean (Strong’s lexicon No. 1288)?

How many times does the term barak show up in the Tanak (a Hebrew acronym for Torah, Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketavim (Writings))?

How many times does this word show up in the Tanak in reference to cursing rather than blessing?

“A blessing that is overdone so it becomes a curse” what does that mean? 

Examples of the word barak:

  • 1st Kings 21 — How does Naboth’s story match the story of Stephen?
  • Job 1:5,11 and Job 2:5,9 — How can you curse God by kneeling? How do the stories of Mordechai and the 3 friends of Daniel help us understand how kneeling or the lack thereof could be a curse rather than a blessing?

Psa. 10:3 uses the word na’ats (Strong’s 5006). What does it mean? How does it help us understand what blasphemy means? How is this word translated?

2 Samuel 12:14 uses this term. What is the context of this verse?

How did David cause people to possibly blaspheme the Lord by his actions with Bathsheba?

Psa. 74:10 we find the Hebrew word kharaph (Strong’s 2778) translated as defame, scorn, revile, blaspheme. What shades of meaning do we find in this word?

Kharaph shows up several times in the story of David and Goliath (1st Samuel 17). What was Goliath’s challenge? How did Goliath’s comments blaspheme God? How did David respond to Goliath’s challenge? How did David respond to Israel’s army’s lack of faith?

2nd Kings 18-19 — How is this example of “blasphemy” more blatant and vivid than the other texts we have read so far? How did King Hezekiah respond?

What does the Hebrew word gadaph (Strong’s 1442) mean? Did Stephen’s ministry try to change the rules and laws of God and Moses while speaking in the Name of God?

Isaiah 65:1-6 (cf. Num. 15:30) — How does this text help us understand the Day of the Lord? How does it help us understand what blasphemy really mean?

Lev 24:11-16 — What does the Hebrew word naqab (Strong’s 5344) mean? What does the Hebrew word qalal (Strong’s 7044) mean, and how does it go with the word naqab?

How does this help us understand the Third Commandment (Exodus 20)?

Speaker: Jeff.

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