Stephen is known as the Christian Church’s first martyr. His defense speech recorded in Acts 7 is positioned in a pivotal position in the narrative flow of Acts, not only in the thematic structure of the book, but also in the providential, prophetic history of the people of God. The speech itself is not only a homiletic masterpiece, it also emphasizes the role of the heavenly sanctuary service in a way not usually detected by commentators. Taken together with Stephen’s function as an imitation of Christ, these perspectives combine to make Stephen’s speech one of the most magnificent reads of Scripture.
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