A Camel Through… What?

Posted by on 11/21/2017 in: ,

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'” —Matthew 19:23

A CAMEL THROUGH… WHAT?

If you’ve read this passage before, you have probably pictured something like this:

But the Archaeological Study Bible notes have information on this passage that you have probably NEVER heard. At least, I hadn’t!

THE LEGEND OF THE NEEDLE’S EYE GATE

“Since the Middle Ages commentators have considered the possibility that Jesus’ statement concerning the ‘eye of a needle’ (Mt 19:24) may have been a reference to certain doors or gates that actually existed in his day. Some homes did in fact have large doors that would allow a fully loaded camel to enter into the courtyard. Since such doors were cumbersome and required great effort to open, there were often smaller doors cut within them, permitting easy passage of people and smaller animals into the house.

Some interpreters have argued that this smaller door was the ‘needle’s eye gate,’ while others have suggested that the needle’s eye referred to smaller doors within larger city gates, such as those at Jaffa and Hebron. Passage through the smaller gate, it was said, would have forced a camel to its knees. Thus, the point of Jesus’ teaching in verse 24 is supposedly that a rich man can enter the kingdom of heaven only if he falls down to his knees.” — Archaeological Study Bible notes

IS THE LEGEND TRUE?

“As illustrative as these theories are, they in fact diminish the force of Jesus’ words. The point is not that salvation is difficult without God but that it is impossible without him.

Jesus’ contrast of the largest animal known in Palestine with the smallest of holes created a vivid and memorable illustration. The fact that modern-day gates have been so named can most likely be attributed to the influence of this and similar statements within the Talmud and the Koran. In other words, the term “needle’s eye gate” most likely did not precede the teaching; rather, the popularity of the term evidently came about because of the teaching.

But in Jesus’ original setting, it is very likely that a needle’s eye was simply a needle’s eye and not a gate at all.” — Archaeological Study Bible notes

BE CAREFUL!

Lastly, the Archaeological Study Bible warns Bible readers to beware of legendary, pseudo-archaeological interpretations. Why? Because they can be misleading and undermine the true meaning of a Biblical text.

We should always be careful about what we believe! Refer to reliable resources (like this one!), ask lots of questions, and seek input.

LEARN MORE

Interested in more of what the Archaeological Study Bible has to offer? Great! Here are two ways to learn more:

  1. Visit our blog post What’s in the Archaeological Study Bible – simple enough!
  2. Visit our website to read the product description and watch a video on how study Bibles work in the app.

Continue Reading

What’s Inside the Archaeological Study Bible?

Posted by on 11/20/2017 in: ,

When I first heard about the Archaeological Study Bible, I wasn’t sure what to think.  My initial thought was how could there be an entire Bible devoted to archaeological study?  And honestly, how could a study Bible devoted to archaeological study not be a snoozer?

So, I got a copy of the Archaeological Study Bible and began looking through it.  Wow, was I impressed (and wrong)!

WHAT MAKES IT GREAT?

The Archaeological Study Bible is a great resource.  There are 520 articles covering five main categories:

  1. Archaeological Sites
  2. Cultural and Historical Notes
  3. Ancient Peoples and Lands
  4. Reliability of the Bible
  5. Ancient Texts and Artifacts.

IT’S  ENHANCED!

Additionally, our app enriches the Archaeological Study Bible. As you read through your Bible, the Study Center will keep you synced with your reading. If this study Bible has content related to the passage of the Bible you are reading, the Resource Guide will let you know.

Here’s an example of an article on the Zealots and Essenes:

SO MANY PHOTOS

Also included are almost 500 full-color photographs throughout the text.  Here’s two examples:

Throughout the text there are detailed charts like this one:

At the end of the Archaeological Study Bible there are several maps that help you get an idea of the placement of biblical events:

The authors of the Archaeological Study Bible also included detailed book introductions for every book of the Bible. Other study tools include a glossary, extensive concordance and several indexes to help you find articles relevant to your study.

LEARN MORE

As you can see, you can spend hours learning the historical background of the Bible and the settings in which biblical events took place.  The articles and pictures will give you insights into the Bible and make you feel like you could have been there. Interested? Check out the Archaeological Study Bible in our store.

Continue Reading

NEW! NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible

Posted by on 11/17/2017 in: ,

ANSWERS FOR TODAY

Have you ever wished that the Bible spoke directly about controversial issues we face today? The NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible hopes to bridge the gap between God’s instruction and today’s questions. But how?

The goal of this Bible is to inspire believers to Christlike thought, belief, speech, and action. It is intended to help Christians from all walks of life to live their lives according to biblical principles, using information and encouragement based on a wealth of resources from around the glove and from ancient times up to the present day.

Normally, when you have a question about a present-day issue, you have to thumb through your Bible hoping to find a passage that relates somehow. Or, it’s the other way around. Reading the Bible doesn’t always seem to speak to things related to today, and you’re stuck trying to make connections on your own.

With this study Bible, you can be pointed in a good direction, without leaving your Bible app.

WHAT’S INSIDE?

There are eight subject areas covered in this study Bible:

  1. Church
  2. Corruption
  3. Economics
  4. Education
  5. Family
  6. Government
  7. Sanctity of Life
  8. Virtue

Emmanuel A. Kampouris, the publisher of Kairos Journal, wrote this study Bible. The notes and features of the NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible are based on his extensive online resource. Each of the listed subject areas contain articles regarding controversial topics such as: Taxation, Evolution, Parenting, Abortion, and more.

Here is an example!

Here is a list of everything included in this resource:

  • Book Introductions: Provide key passages and background information for each book
  • Articles: Over 220 articles placed near relevant Scripture passages bring keen biblical insight to the current issues of the day
  • Quotations: Over 60 quotations from historical figures help you understand, first, that the issues of the day are not new; and second, that wise people throughout history have been challenged to live by biblical standards, just as we are today
  • Unapologetic Profiles: Over 40 profiles of historical figures inspire you with biblical faith lived out in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances
  • Indexes: Categorize each of the above features to assist you in a topical study
    of the issues that matter to you

HOW IT WORKS IN THE APP

As expected, this study Bible works in our Resource Guide. As you are reading the Bible in the main window, the Resource Guide will show you what study Bibles notes (and any other notes or articles!) from the NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible line-up with what you are reading.

Additionally. this study Bible can be used with any translation you own, unlike a paper Bible.

Meaningful Bible study can happen now, with just a tap.

LEARN MORE

Visit our website to learn more about the NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible.

Continue Reading

5 Benefits of the Word Biblical Commentary

Posted by on 11/15/2017 in: ,

With 61 volumes and 26,000+ pages of content, the Word Biblical Commentary is a hefty commentary series.  With this much content, how do you navigate it all?

With the Olive Tree Bible App, you can easily read and study the WBC anywhere.  Here are 5 benefits of using the WBC in the Olive Tree Bible App (Screenshots are from the Mac OS version of the Olive Tree Bible App.  Click on Images for a larger view)

1. RESOURCE GUIDE & SPLIT WINDOW

Open your preferred Bible translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window.  You’ll see relevant Word Biblical Commentary “hits” in the split window.

If you prefer to just read one resource at a time, you can open the WBC in the split window. The Olive Tree Bible App also keeps up with the scripture passage you’re reading in the main window with sync scrolling.

This means that as you move along in the Bible text, the WBC syncs to exactly where you are in your study.  No more flipping pages back and forth.  No more holding the commentary text open on your desk in one spot, reading through your Bible text, and having to go back and find your place in the commentary. You’ll save an enormous amount of time with these first two features alone.

2. EASILY NAVIGATE TO COMMENTARY SECTIONS

Each section of commentary in WBC (covering a range of verses) is further divided into a number of sub-sections. Each approach the entire set of verses from different perspectives like “Bibliography,” “Translation,” and more. Each of the sub-sections has been individually tagged based on content. So, if you have a particular Bible passage open in the main window, the Resource Guide will display the commentary notes for that passage in the WBC for each of the subsections.

Using it with the Resource Guide like this makes it easy to drill down to one sub-section, then jump back quickly.

3. SEARCH & LOOKUP FEATURES

Search the Word Biblical Commentary for words or passages.  Take “elder” as an example.  You can search the entire series for where “love” is mentioned in the commentary series.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

When your search hits are displayed, you can tap on the result to go directly to that section in the WBC.  You can also choose to open the search in a pop out window making this search accessible for further study.

4. LINKED REFERENCE POP-UPS

One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary.  For example, when I’m reading in Genesis 12 about Abram, there are multiple Scripture references in the WBC that help me with this passage.

With a hard copy, I have to open a different Bible and find each and every reference to read how the verse relates to what I am currently studying.  This is time consuming, slows down my study momentum, and requires me to keep all of my study materials out and open, spread out over a large desk space.

With the Olive Tree Bible App, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text.  All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

5. TAKE NOTES & MORE

Make the Word Biblical Commentary your own with the Olive Tree Bible App. Without having to leave your current study, you can:

Highlight

Add a Note, Copy & Paste

LEARN MORE

The Word Biblical Commentary set serves as an exceptional resource for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.

Add the Word Biblical Commentary to Your Account Today!

Continue Reading

Unpacking a Verse: Matthew 1:1

Posted by on 11/13/2017 in:

“The book of the story of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” — Matthew 1:1

Within the first verse of Matthew, there are 5 hints to Jesus being the Messiah.

Leon Morris wrote the Pillar New Testament Commentary‘s Matthew Volume, and he did a great job unpacking this verse. Here’s what I discovered from his writing!

1. BOOK

Some scholars have wondered if this word refers to the Gospel as a whole or simply to the nativity stories.

In this case, Morris looks Walter Bauer’s, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature for clarification. It appears that in later writings, this word was especially used for a “sacred, venerable book.”

Evidence leans toward the belief that this one-sentence header for the entire book of Matthew.

2. STORY

The translation of Matthew 1:1 found above was written by Morris himself. Why did he use the word “story” when so many other translations use “history” or genealogy”?

The original term is used of birth or origin or existence… but none of these concepts are easy to see in the passage. But, there’s evidence that the word was already used as the title of the first book of the Old Testament in LXX (the Septuagint, or Greek rendering of the Hebrew Old Testament).

Matthew was beginning to tell a new creation story: the new creation in Jesus Christ.

3. JESUS CHRIST

Matthew doesn’t use the full name Jesus Christ very often. In fact, this is the only location of the term in his book that isn’t disputed.

Typically, Matthew uses the personal name Jesus (̓Ιησοῦς, Yahweh is salvation). In fact, he uses this name 150 times!

Why is there such a contrast? The title Jesus Christ was not popular during Jesus’ lifetime, but grew as people came to know him as their Messiah.

4. SON OF DAVID

This tagline quickly reveals Jesus’ royal lineage and prophetic fulfillment. The expression “son of David” is probably a messianic title. Together, we can further confirm that Matthew’s book is about the one who fulfilled all that is meant in being the descendant of Israel’s greatest king.

5. SON OF ABRAHAM

All Israelites took pride in being descendants of the great patriarch, and the Christians were especially fond of him as the classic example of one who believed. In combining David and Abraham, Matthew is drawing attention to two strands in Jesus’ Hebrew ancestry.

That means, with this one, very short sentence, Matthew has bluntly stated Jesus’ qualifications for being the Messiah.

LEARNING MORE ABOUT MATTHEW

While looking through Morris’ commentary, I was really impressed with the information he shared in the introduction. He gives careful consideration to all the arguments, breaks down concepts into easy-to-understand sections, and gives great references.

This is the level of scholarship in the entire Pillar New Testament Commentary Set, edited by D. A. Carson. If you want to learn more about this series, visit our website.

Continue Reading

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Posted by on 11/10/2017 in:

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) is the best known and most widely used collection of 500,000 Scripture references and parallel passages. By using the TSK in Olive Tree Bible App you’ll save tons of time and effort.  No longer do you have to leave your original text to search for a reference.

I’ll demonstrate how to use it with the Bible App running on an Android Tablet.

First, select your preferred Bible translation in the main window. Then open the split window to access the Resource Guide in the app. The Resource Guide takes your downloaded material and connects it with the text you have open in the main window.

Under the ‘Related Verses’ section you’ll see resources listed along with a number badge. The number indicates how many entries there are in that resource for the text that is open in the main window. Since I have the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) installed, the Bible App has found cross references relevant to the Titus passage I’m reading. I can then tap on the TSK to see all of the entries that are indicated.

The TSK organizes these cross references by topic and by verse making it easy to do further study on the particular themes found in Titus.

I can then tap the reference in the TSK and view each related verse as a popup, or even split it out into a new window without leaving my original text.  This feature alone saves me valuable time that I’d otherwise spend flipping back and forth between references.

As you can see, having the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) cross references in the Bible App will help you broaden your biblical understanding of specific themes and enable you to quickly study large portions of scripture.

What are some ways that you’ve utilized the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) to deepen your Bible Study?

Continue Reading

Using Gospel Harmonies

Posted by on 11/09/2017 in:

A Gospel Harmony seeks to take the Four Gospels and put them in a Chronological order so that you can compare how the Gospel writers address events in Jesus’ life.  We wanted to show you how to use this Bible study tool.

When Jesus goes to Pilate in Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1; John 18:28 – you can read the interactions between Jesus and Pilate in all four Gospels without having to navigate back and forth.  Because of this unique layout, the screen will default to vertical scrolling for a better viewing experience. On a larger device like a tablet you can view all (4) columns side-by-side. The side-by-side view scales down to a two or single column view as the horizontal viewable area gets smaller, or when Resource Guide is opened.

All of the Scripture references are hyperlinked, so you can tap on the headers to see that one reference in a popup.

Here’s where the Harmony of the Gospels is also very helpful. You can see that John goes into much more detail about the conversation between Jesus and Pilate than the other three Gospels.  You can also see you see that only Luke records that Jesus went before Herod, but all four Gospels record further interactions between Jesus and Pilate.

Olive Tree’s Harmony of the Gospels are divided into over 250 events in the life of Christ. The chronology is primarily ordered based on Mark and Luke’s gospels with Matthew and John’s accounts harmonizing with them, creating a seamless reading experience. A full index of the titles and passages is included. To access the full index, Tap Go To > End Matter > Go.

In the index you can view all 250 events and quickly see how many Gospels address that event.  You can even tap on the Event to go straight to the event. All of the verse references are hyperlinked so you can see each passage in a popup window.

The Olive Tree Harmony of the Gospels is currently available in the following translations:

See All Available Gospel Harmonies!

Continue Reading

The Famous Preacher: H.A. Ironside

Posted by on 11/08/2017 in: ,

ABOUT H.A. IRONSIDE

Henry Allen “Harry” Ironside was a Canadian-American Bible teacher, preacher, theologian, pastor, and author who pastored Moody Church in Chicago from 1929 to 1948. He also belong to the Plymouth Brethren,

But Ironside didn’t wait until he was a pastor to preach. When he was 11 years old, he started his own Sunday school, averaging 60 listeners per week. Then, after finishing the eighth grade, Ironside began preaching with the Salvation Army. He went on to preach all over the world, sharing the gospel with more than 1.25 million people.

Additionally, Ironside preached under Moody Bible Institute, was offered a position at Dallas Theological Seminary, and was awarded two honorary doctorates from Wheaton College and Bob Jones University. For only having completed the eighth grade, Ironside was an accomplished and well-respected man.

Lastly, Ironside’s teaching left a long-lasting mark on evangelicalism. Along with others such as Cyrus Scofield, he was influential in popularizing dispensationalism among Protestants.

HIS WRITINGS

In his lifetime, Ironside wrote fifty-one expositions on books of the Bible. Here at Olive Tree, we offer a bundled set of Ironside’s commentaries, including 11 volumes.

In his commentaries, Ironside provides some historical observations, giving commentary on the text at hand. Then he moves into application. Hear what he has to say on Psalms 9-12:

Listen to David, for David is the author of these Psalms, and he knew what it was to suffer. With Saul on the throne, he knew what it was to be driven out into the wilderness, persecuted, hated, forsaken, and yet to love in return. Instead of grumbling and complaining, his heart goes out in thanksgiving, “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart” (9:1) – not with half a heart.

And think of the people of God in that coming day in the midst of the greatest tribulation ever known, taking up these words on their lips, “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee” (vv. 1-2). We may not be able to rejoice in circumstances, but we can always rejoice in Him, for God is above all circumstances. It is a bad thing when believers get under them.

A brother said to another whom he knew had not been well, “How are you, brother?”

“I am pretty well under the circumstances,” he answered.

And the other said, “I am sorry to know that you are under the circumstances. I wish you could be above them. The Lord is able to lift you above them.”

“Oh, yes,” said the other, “I was not thinking of that.”

[…]No matter what conditions are like in the world around – the nations may rage, wars and rumors of war may cause the stoutest heart to tremble – faith looks beyond it all and recognizes God as sitting on the throne, and knows that eventually He will bring out everything for His glory.

LEARN MORE

Interested in growing in your understanding of God’s Word and applying it to your life? Read the Bible alongside this famous, influential preacher.

Learn more about Ironside and the volumes included in this bundle by visiting our website.

Continue Reading

Un-Earned Acceptance

Posted by on 11/07/2017 in: ,

This blog post is an excerpt of C.A. Coates Commentary and Articles.

It is the privilege of every believer to be consciously in the favour of God–to be in the unclouded light and joy of Acceptance. But, alas! many who are truly converted are not in the enjoyment of this privilege. It may be helpful to consider briefly why not.

HIDDEN SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS

When I speak of self-righteousness in this connection I do not mean the proud self-righteousness of the unconverted man. I refer to the very different form of self-righteousness which leads many to doubt their acceptance with God because of the imperfections which they find in themselves.

You may say, “But ought I not to have misgivings when I find my spirit and the state of my mind so contrary to that which befits a Christian? and when I am conscious of inconsistencies and backslidings?” That you ought to judge yourself, and be humbled before God about these things, is most true; but it is in no wise true that your righteousness and acceptance with God depend upon yourself, or are measured by your condition or conduct. To have such a thought in the mind is really to suppose that you could be in the favour of God by being worthy of that favour in yourself.

It is simply self-righteousness.

TRYING TO EARN ACCEPTANCE

Then souls reason in this way: “Surely if I were converted I should be very different. There must be a great change in one who is born again. And if I had the Spirit of God He would help me to gain the victory over evil habits–over the lusts and tempers of the flesh–and to become pleasing to God. But instead of this more temptations seem to come in my way than ever before, and the evil tendencies of my heart seem to have acquired greater strength. I never felt more utterly unworthy of God’s favour and acceptance”.

It is not always easy to see that self-righteousness is hidden under all this, yet such is the case. There is the thought that, either by our own efforts, or by God’s grace and the help of His Spirit, we should become in ourselves suitable to God’s favour; and we are disappointed and distressed to find that we make so little progress in this direction.

IT’S IMPOSSIBLE—ON OUR OWN

It is important to know that the effect of the new birth, and of the grace of God, is not to bring about some change in us on which we could rest, but to convince us of the impossibility of finding righteousness, or suitability to the favour of God, in ourselves.

An unconverted man may think himself worthy of God’s favour, but every converted person is made conscious of utter unfitness in himself for that favour. The awakened soul gives account of itself in such language, as, “I have sinned”; “I am undone”; “I am vile”; “I abhor myself”.

Indeed, it is a common thing for such to suppose that since they turned to God the evil tendencies of their hearts had increased rather than otherwise. The fact is that before conversion we went with the stream, and not a ripple impeded our progress; when, by grace, we made some stand against the current, we began to feel its force, and to be distressed by it, as never before.

AN ILLUSTRATION

[…]Allow me to use a very simple illustration.

I was lately in an old English city, and I observed that the principal streets were marked out in squares, and on every square a name was written in large white letters. I asked the meaning of this, and I was told that a fair was to be held shortly in the streets of the city, and that persons had paid for the right to stand during the fair in the square spaces on which their names were written.

BUT CHRIST

Now it is a blessed thing to know that Christ has secured for us a standing in that circle of light and favour where He is.

To use my illustration, there is a place in that circle of light on which, dear fellow-believer, your name is written. You are entitled to stand there, but it may be that you have never by faith occupied your standing. I feel sure that the men whose names I saw written on the ground were not content to know that they had right and title to a standing in the fair. I think I am safe in saying that everyone would be careful to appropriate and occupy his standing.

It is a wonderful moment for the soul when by faith we appropriate and occupy our standing in the favour of God–when we know that we are received by God in all the acceptance of Christ. We do not then think of ourselves, or of our worthiness, at all.

We think of CHRIST–His perfections, His suitability to divine favour, His infinite acceptance with God–and by faith we have access into the favour of which He is so worthy.

LEARN MORE

This excerpt was taken from C.A. Coates Commentary and Articles, which contains 37 volumes of his writings. Coates’ writing is extremely applicable, speaking directly to the Christian on matters of the heart. Learn more on our website.

Continue Reading

The First Martyr

Posted by on 11/06/2017 in:

Jesus tells us that we will be hated as he was hated—but not all of us will actually experience severe persecution. Instead, many of us are blessed to worship God where, when, and how we want. The first Christians did not have this luxury, and they clung to Jesus’ promises as they stood up for the Gospel. In extreme moments, Christians even gave up their lives to promote the Gospel.

You’ve probably heard about martyrs before, but let’s make sure we don’t become desensitized to these acts of self-sacrifice. Instead, let’s take some time to reflect on one of the first Christian martyrs recorded, Stephen from Acts 7.

Below is an excerpt from Barnes’ New Testament Notes:

WHY WAS STEPHEN BEING TRIED?

This chapter contains the defense of Stephen before the sanhedrim, or great council of the Jews. There has been great diversity of opinion about the object which Stephen had in view in this defense, and about the reason why he introduced at such length the history of the Jewish people. But a few remarks may perhaps show his design, He was accused of blasphemy in speaking against the institutions of Moses and the temple, that is, against everything held sacred among the Jews.

HIS DEFENSE

To meet this charge, he gives a statement, at length, of his belief in the Mosaic religion, in the great points of their history, and in the fact that God had interposed in a remarkable manner in defending them from dangers. By this historical statement he avows his full belief in the Divine origin of the Jewish religion, and thus indirectly repels the charge of blasphemy.

It is further to be remembered, that this was the best way of securing the attention of the council. Had he entered on an abstract defense, he might expect to be stopped by their cavils or their clamor. But the history of their own nation was a favorite topic among the Jews. They were always ready to listen to an account of their ancestors; and to secure their attention, nothing more was necessary than to refer to their illustrious lives and deeds.

THE GOAL OF HIS DEFENSE

In this way Stephen secured their attention, and practically repelled the charge of speaking reproachfully of Moses and the temple. He showed them that he had as firm a belief as they in the great historical facts of their nation. It is to be remembered, also, that this speech was broken off in the midst, (Ac 7:53,54) and it is therefore difficult to tell what the design of Stephen was.

It seems clear, however, that he intended to convict them of guilt, by showing that they sustained the same character as their fathers had manifested, (Ac 7:51,52) and there is some probability that he intended to show that the acceptable worship of God was not to be confined to any place particularly, from the fact that the worship of Abraham, and the patriarchs, and Moses, was acceptable before the temple was reared, (Ac 7:2, etc.,) and from the declaration in Ac 7:48, that God dwells not in temples made with hands.

STEPHEN’S TWO MAIN POINTS

All that can be said here is, that Stephen

1. Showed his full belief in the Divine appointment of Moses, and the historical facts of their religion.

2. That he laid the foundation of an argument to show that those things were not perpetually binding, and that acceptable worship might be offered in other places and in another manner than at the temple.

HOW WAS HIS DEFENSE RECORDED?

It has been asked in what way Luke became acquainted with this speech so as to repeat it. The Scripture has not informed us. But we may remark:

1. That Stephen was the first martyr. His death, and the incidents connected with it, could not but be a matter of interest to the first Christians; and the substance of his defense, at least, would be familiar to them. There is no improbability in supposing that imperfect copies might be preserved by writing, and circulated among them.

2. Luke was the companion of Paul. Paul was present when this defense was delivered, and was a man who would be likely to remember what was said on such an occasion. From him Luke might have derived the account of this defense. In regard to this discourse, it may be further remarked, that it is not necessary to suppose that Stephen was inspired. Even if there should be found inaccuracies, as some critics have pretended, in the address, it would not militate against its genuineness.

It is the defense of a man on trial under a serious charge; not a man of whom there is evidence that he was inspired, but a pious, devoted, heavenly-minded man. All that the sacred narrative is responsible for is the correctness of the report. Luke alleges only that such a speech was in fact delivered, without affirming that every particular in it is correct.

TAKEAWAYS

Here are a few ideas of how you can apply what you’ve learned:

  • Pray and thank God for martyrs, the strength He gave them in times of trouble, and for the way He also gives you strength to stand up for what is right
  • Learn more about other martyrs, continuing to reflect on the importance of the Gospel
  • Pray for missionaries that are currently serving in dangerous countries

LEARN MORE

The content of this blog was taken from Barnes’ New Testament Notes (11 Vols.), a verse-by-verse commentary set composed by American theologian, Albert Barnes.

Continue Reading