Scripture to Memorize: Acts 8:12
But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Day 1 Read: Acts 8:1-4
And Saul approved of his execution.
And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. 4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
Reflect: What happened to the church in the event of Stephen’s execution? What effect do you think this had on the early believers? Where did they go to escape the persecution?
Consider: Luke clearly wants us to understand that Stephen was deeply loved by his brothers and sisters in the Jerusalem congregation. In contrast to this wild zealot of a Pharisee named Saul, they mourned with broken hearts for their fallen comrade. The word translated “godly” is eulabes, used of Simeon in Luke 2:25 and also to describe devout Jews open to the gospel at Pentecost in Acts 2:5.1
Respond: According to verse 4, what effect did the persecution and scattering of the early church have on the believers’ faith? What can we learn from their example?
1 Kenneth O. Gangel, Acts, vol. 5, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 120–121.