Acts 7:51
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

King James Bible
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Darby Bible Translation
O stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, *ye* do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers, *ye* also.

World English Bible
"You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do.

Young's Literal Translation
'Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and in ears! ye do always the Holy Spirit resist; as your fathers -- also ye;

Acts 7:51 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Ye stiff-necked - Σκληροτραχηλοι. A metaphor taken from untoward oxen, who cannot be broken into the yoke; and whose strong necks cannot be bended to the right or the left.

Uncircumcised in heart and ears - This was a Jewish mode of speech, often used by the prophets. Circumcision was instituted, not only as a sign and seal of the covenant into which the Israelites entered with their Maker, but also as a type of that purity and holiness which the law of God requires; hence there was an excision of what was deemed not only superfluous but also injurious; and by this cutting off, the propensity to that crime which ruins the body, debases the mind, and was generally the forerunner of idolatry, was happily lessened. It would be easy to prove this, were not the subject too delicate. Where the spirit of disobedience was found, where the heart was prone to iniquity, and the ears impatient of reproof and counsel, the person is represented as uncircumcised in those parts, because devoted to iniquity, impatient of reproof, and refusing to obey. In Pirkey Eliezer, chap. 29, "Rabbi Seira said, There are five species of uncircumcision in the world; four in man, and one in trees. Those in man are the following: -

"1. Uncircumcision of the Ear. Behold, their Ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken, Jeremiah 6:10.

"2. The uncircumcision of the Lips. How shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised Lips? Exodus 6:12.

"3. Uncircumcision of Heart. If then their uncircumcised Hearts be humbled, Leviticus 26:41. Circumcise therefore the Foreskin of Your Heart, Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4. For all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the Heart, Jeremiah 9:26.

"4. The uncircumcision of the Flesh. Ye shall circumcise the Flesh of your Foreskin, etc., Genesis 17:11."

Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost -

1. Because they were uncircumcised in heart, they always resisted the influences of the Holy Spirit, bringing light and conviction to their minds; in consequence of which they became hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, and neither repented at the preaching of John, nor credited the glad tidings told them by Christ and the apostles.

2. Because they were uncircumcised in ears, they would neither hear nor obey Moses, the prophets, Christ, nor the apostles.

As your fathers did, so do ye - They were disobedient children, of disobedient parents: in all their generations they had been disobedient and perverse. This whole people, as well as this text, are fearful proofs that the Holy Spirit, the almighty energy of the living God, may be resisted and rendered of none effect. This Spirit is not sent to stocks, stones, or machines, but to human beings endued with rational souls; therefore it is not to work on them with that irresistible energy which it must exert on inert matter, in order to conquer the vis inertiae or disposition to abide eternally in a motionless state, which is the state of all inanimate beings; but it works upon understanding, will, judgment, conscience, etc., in order to enlighten, convince, and persuade. If, after all, the understanding, the eye of the mind, refuses to behold the light; the will determines to remain obstinate; the judgment purposes to draw false inferences; and the conscience hardens itself against every check and remonstrance, (and all this is possible to a rational soul, which must be dealt with in a rational way), then the Spirit of God, being thus resisted, is grieved, and the sinner is left to reap the fruit of his doings. To force the man to see, feel, repent, believe, and be saved, would be to alter the essential principles of his creation and the nature of mind, and reduce him into the state of a machine, the vis inertiae of which was to be overcome and conducted by a certain quantum of physical force, superior to that resistance which would be the natural effect of the certain quantum of the vis inertiae possessed by the subject on and by which this agent was to operate. Now, man cannot be operated on in this way, because it is contrary to the laws of his creation and nature; nor can the Holy Ghost work on that as a machine which himself has made a free agent. Man therefore may, and generally does, resist the Holy Ghost; and the whole revelation of God bears unequivocal testimony to this most dreadful possibility, and most awful truth. It is trifling with the sacred text to say that resisting the Holy Ghost here means resisting the laws of Moses, the exhortations, threatenings, and promises of the prophets, etc. These, it is true, the uncircumcised ear may resist; but the uncircumcised heart is that alone to which the Spirit that gave the laws, exhortations, promises, etc;, speaks; and, as matter resists matter, so spirit resists spirit. These were not only uncircumcised in ear, but uncircumcised also in heart; and therefore they resisted the Holy Ghost, not only in his declarations and institutions, but also in his actual energetic operations upon their minds.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Exodus 32:9 And the LORD said to Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff necked people:

Exodus 33:3,5 To a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the middle of you; for you are a stiff necked people...

Exodus 34:9 And he said, If now I have found grace in your sight, O LORD, let my LORD, I pray you, go among us; for it is a stiff necked people...

Deuteronomy 9:6,13 Understand therefore, that the LORD your God gives you not this good land to possess it for your righteousness...

Deuteronomy 31:27 For I know your rebellion, and your stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day...

2 Chronicles 30:8 Now be you not stiff necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary...

Nehemiah 9:16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and listened not to your commandments,

Psalm 75:5 Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.

Psalm 78:8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright...

Isaiah 48:4 Because I knew that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew, and your brow brass;

Jeremiah 17:23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.

Ezekiel 2:4 For they are impudent children and stiff hearted. I do send you to them; and you shall say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD.

Zechariah 7:11,12 But they refused to listen, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear...


Leviticus 26:41 And that I also have walked contrary to them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies...

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff necked.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart...

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem...

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot listen: behold...

Jeremiah 9:25,26 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised...

Ezekiel 44:7,9 In that you have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary...

Romans 2:25,28,29 For circumcision truly profits, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision...

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Colossians 2:11 In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands...


Acts 6:10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke.

Nehemiah 9:30 Yet many years did you forbear them, and testified against them by your spirit in your prophets: yet would they not give ear...

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.


Acts 7:9,27,35,39 And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him...

Matthew 23:31-33 Why you be witnesses to yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the prophets...

Stephen's vision
'Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God'--ACTS vii. 56. I. The vision of the Son of Man, or the abiding manhood of Jesus. Stephen's Greek name, and his belonging to the Hellenistic part of the Church, make it probable that he had never seen Jesus during His earthly life. If so, how beautiful that he should thus see and recognise Him! How significant, in any case, is it he should instinctively have taken on his lips that name, 'the Son of Man,' to designate
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The Prayer of Stephen.
(Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 1832.) TEXT: ACTS vii. 60. "And Stephen kneeled down and cried with, a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep." FREE and unrestricted as we are in our church as to our choice of subjects for meditation from the treasuries of the divine Word, many of you may still perhaps wonder why I have selected this passage. For you are aware that I have often lately taken occasion to express the opinion that the state of things
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

Whether Christ's Birth Should have Been Manifested by Means of the Angels and the Star?
Objection 1: It would seem that Christ's birth should not have been manifested by means of the angels. For angels are spiritual substances, according to Ps. 103:4: "Who maketh His [Vulg.: 'makest Thy'] angels, spirits." But Christ's birth was in the flesh, and not in His spiritual substance. Therefore it should not have been manifested by means of angels. Objection 2: Further, the righteous are more akin to the angels than to any other, according to Ps. 33:8: "The angel of the Lord shall encamp round
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether it is Fitting that Christ Should Sit at the Right Hand of God the Father?
Objection 1: It would seem unfitting that Christ should sit at the right hand of God the Father. For right and left are differences of bodily position. But nothing corporeal can be applied to God, since "God is a spirit," as we read in Jn. 4:24. Therefore it seems that Christ does not sit at the right hand of the Father. Objection 2: Further, if anyone sits at another's right hand, then the latter is seated on his left. Consequently, if Christ sits at the right hand of the Father, it follows that
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Cross References
Exodus 32:9
"I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people.

Exodus 33:3
Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way."

Exodus 33:5
For the LORD had said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.'"

Leviticus 26:41
which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies--then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin,

Numbers 27:14
for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes." (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.)

2 Kings 17:14
But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the LORD their God.

Isaiah 48:4
For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze.

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