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Acts 6:11-14

Context
6:11 Then they secretly instigated 1  some men to say, “We have heard this man 2  speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 6:12 They incited the people, the 3  elders, and the experts in the law; 4  then they approached Stephen, 5  seized him, and brought him before the council. 6  6:13 They brought forward false witnesses who said, “This man does not stop saying things against this holy place 7  and the law. 8  6:14 For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs 9  that Moses handed down to us.”

1 tn Another translation would be “they suborned” (but this term is not in common usage). “Instigate (secretly), suborn” is given by BDAG 1036 s.v. ὑποβάλλω.

2 tn Grk “heard him”; but since this is direct discourse, it is more natural (and clearer) to specify the referent (Stephen) as “this man.”

3 tn Grk “and the,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

4 tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 4:5.

5 tn Grk “approaching, they seized him”; the referent (Stephen) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn Or “the Sanhedrin” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews). Stephen suffers just as Peter and John did.

7 sn This holy place is a reference to the temple.

8 sn The law refers to the law of Moses. It elaborates the nature of the blasphemy in v. 11. To speak against God’s law in Torah was to blaspheme God (Deut 28:15-19). On the Jewish view of false witnesses, see Exod 19:16-18; 20:16; m. Sanhedrin 3.6; 5.1-5. Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 may indicate why the temple was mentioned.

9 tn Or “practices.”

sn Will destroy this place and change the customs. Stephen appears to view the temple as a less central place in light of Christ’s work, an important challenge to Jewish religion, since it was at this time a temple-centered state and religion. Unlike Acts 3-4, the issue here is more than Jesus and his resurrection. Now the impact of his resurrection and the temple’s centrality has also become an issue. The “falseness” of the charge may not be that the witnesses were lying, but that they falsely read the truth of Stephen’s remarks.



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