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The Answer Key

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I took a class in college that was known for being easy—not because the content was simple or because there wasn’t much work to do, but because of how the professor prepared us for tests. Before each unit test, she would hand out the answer key. Not a study guide, not flashcards, or unit outlines, but the actual test answer key. Before every test, each student was given the exact questions that would be asked and the correct answers.

Although every student had the same access to the answer keys, not everyone aced the class. In fact, some students didn’t even pass every test! Being given access to the answers wasn’t enough to guarantee success.

In Acts chapter 7, Stephen has been brought before the high council. Some men have spread lies about him, accusing him of blasphemy and speaking against the Word of God (Acts 6:9-15).

Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these accusations true?”

This was Stephen’s reply:  “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran.” (Acts 7:1-2 NLT)

Instead of defending himself against the false allegations, Stephen gives the high council an overview of the Old Testament. From Abraham to David, Stephen gives a detailed, Spirit-filled account of God’s Word, pointing to Jesus as the Messiah (vv. 1-50)!

What’s interesting is that Stephen is presenting this account to Old Testament scholars. This high council, the Sanhedrin, was composed of the leading scholars of the Jewish religion. They would have been familiar with every person and event Stephen mentioned. Both Stephen and the high council had access to the same answer key!

However, just as having the answer key didn’t guarantee success in my college class, having the answer key wasn’t enough to convince the Sanhedrin that Jesus was the Messiah. In fact, they vehemently disagreed with Stephen on this point! It was this address to the high council that led to Stephen becoming the first martyr of the Christian church (vv. 57-60).

The main difference between Stephen and the scholars on the high council was not their knowledge, intellect, or even the Scriptures they were reading! The main difference was that Stephen had been transformed by a relationship with Jesus Christ and was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). He was so convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, that he lost his life proclaiming the truth.

As Paul encouraged the church of Philippi:

Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)

Let us study Scripture with the desire to know Christ more intimately. May the Holy Spirit enable not just our minds to comprehend what we read, but also our hearts to be transformed. Let us become so filled with the truth that it overflows from our lives.

Father God, we thank You for Your perfect unchanging Word. We pray that through our relationship with Your Son, Your Holy Spirit would fill us and empower us to know and understand Your Word with new clarity. Please renew our love for Your truth and our desire to study the living, breathing Word of God.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. (Colossians 3:16)


Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About The Author

Tori Trocone

Tori, a graduate of Evangel University, has been an Email Marketing Specialist at CBN since October 2021. She’s always loved reading and writing and feels honored to write for CBN. Tori and her husband, Luke, love sports and spending time outdoors with their spoiled dog, Dodger, in their hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania.

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