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Bible study: Loving our enemies

A mandate for loving our enemies based on the life and ministry of Stephen in Acts 6 and 7

1998 Available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese

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From: Coping with conflict – Footsteps 36

Ideas for helping to resolve conflict within and between communities

Loving our enemies

Read Acts 6 and 7.

Stephen was a young man richly blessed by God and full of power. He performed great miracles and wonders among the people. But some men did not like him. They started arguing with Stephen, but God gave him great wisdom and no-one could stand against him. So, they bribed some bad men to tell lies about Stephen. Finally, he was arrested and brought before the Council (the highest religious court of the Jews) and the High Priest. When young Stephen appeared before this awesome group, he had so much peace that his face shone like that of an angel. After he had given a speech challenging these leaders for rejecting God’s salvation, they became angry, chased him out of the city and stoned him to death. As Stephen lay dying, he had no hatred for his persecutors. With love in his heart, his final prayer was, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’

  • What did God’s love for mankind cost him?
  • What difference did this love make to the state of mankind?
  • Fairness means that those who do wrong must be judged and punished. Does the reading above agree with this? Are there any lessons here for us as Christians? Discuss.


Quietly read I Corinthians 13:4-13. To examine your love for others, replace the word ‘love’ with your own name all the way through. For example: ‘Mary is patient and kind. Mary is not jealous or…’ Note down areas in your life that need change.


Lord Jesus, I have not loved others as I should. Remembering how much you loved me and gave up your life for me, I am deeply sorrowful that I have failed to love. Help me from today to share your love with others. Remind me that love is much more powerful than hatred.

Memory verse

John 13:34 ‘And now I give you a new commandment, love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.’

Gladys and Benson work with Oasis Counselling Centre, PO Box 76117, Nairobi, Kenya. This study is from a Bible study guide (see page 12).

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