1 The Apostles, 3 appoint the office of Deaconship, 5 to seven chosen men: 8 Of whom Stephen, full of faith, is one:  12 He is taken, 13 and accused as a transgressor of Moses’ Law.

And [a]in those days, as the number of the disciples grew, there arose a murmuring of the [b]Grecians towards the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the [c]daily ministering.

[d]Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples together, and said, It is not [e]meet that we should leave the word of God to serve the [f]tables.

[g]Wherefore brethren, look you out among you seven men of honest report, and full of the holy Ghost, and of wisdom, which we may appoint to this business.

And we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministration of the word.

And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen a man full of faith and of the holy Ghost, and (A)Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a Proselyte of Antioch,

[h]Which they set before the Apostles: and they prayed, and [i]laid their hands on them.

[j]And the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples was multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the Priests were obedient to the [k]faith.

[l]Now Stephen full of faith and [m]power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

[n]Then there arose certain of the [o]Synagogue, which are called Libertines, and Cyrenians, and of Alexandria, and of them of Cilicia, and of Asia, and disputed with Stephen.

10 [p]But they were not able to resist the wisdom, and the Spirit by the which he spake.

11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and God.

12 [q]Thus they moved the people and the Elders, and the Scribes: and running upon him, caught him, and brought him to the Council,

13 [r]And set forth false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the Law.

14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the ordinances which Moses gave us.

15 And as all that sat in the Council looked steadfastly on him, they [s]saw his face as it had been the face of an Angel.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 6:1 When Satan has assailed the Church without, and that to small purpose and in vain, he assaileth it within, with civil dissension and strife betwixt themselves: but the Apostles take occasion thereby to set order in the Church.
  2. Acts 6:1 Of their parts which of Grecians became religious Jews.
  3. Acts 6:1 In the bestowing of alms according to their necessity.
  4. Acts 6:2 The office of preaching the word and dispensing the goods of the Church, are different one from another, and not rashly to be joined together, as the Apostles do here institute: And the Apostles do not choose so much as the Deacons without the consent of the Church.
  5. Acts 6:2 It is such a matter, as we may in no wise accept of it.
  6. Acts 6:2 Banquets though by the name of tables, other offices are also meant, which are annexed to it, such as pertain to the care of the poor.
  7. Acts 6:3 In choosing of Deacons (and much more of Ministers) there must be examination both of their learning and manners of life.
  8. Acts 6:6 The ancient Church did with laying on of hands, as it were consecrate to the Lord, such as were lawfully elected.
  9. Acts 6:6 This ceremony of laying on of hands came from the Jews, who used this order both in public affairs, and offering of sacrifices, and also in private prayers and blessings, as appeareth Gen. 28, and the Church observed this ceremony, 1 Tim. 5:22; Acts 8:17, but here is no mention made either of cream, or shaving, or raising, or crossing, etc.
  10. Acts 6:7 An happy end of temptation.
  11. Acts 6:7 This is the figure Metonymy, meaning by faith, the doctrine of the Gospel which engendereth faith.
  12. Acts 6:8 God exerciseth his Church first with evil words and slanders, then with imprisonments, afterward with scourgings, and by these means prepareth it in such sort, that at length he causeth it to encounter with Satan and the world, even to bloodshed and death, and that with good success.
  13. Acts 6:8 Excellent and singular gifts.
  14. Acts 6:9 Schools and Universities were of old time addicted to false pastors, and were the instruments of Satan to blow abroad and defend false doctrines.
  15. Acts 6:9 Of the company and College as it were.
  16. Acts 6:10 False teachers, because they will not be overcome, flee from disputations to manifest and open slandering and false accusations.
  17. Acts 6:12 The first bloody persecution of the Church of Christ began and sprang from a Council of Priests by the suggestion of the University doctors.
  18. Acts 6:13 An example of cavillers or false accusers, which gather false conclusions of things that are well uttered and spoken.
  19. Acts 6:15 Hereby it appeareth that Stephen had an excellent and goodly countenance, having a quiet and settled mind, a good conscience, and sure persuasion that his cause was just: for seeing he was to speak before the people, God beautified his countenance, to the end that with the very beholding of him, the Jews’ minds might be pierced and amazed.

The Choosing of the Seven

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing,(A) the Hellenistic Jews[a](B) among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows(C) were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.(D) So the Twelve gathered all the disciples(E) together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God(F) in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters,(G) choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit(H) and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them(I) and will give our attention to prayer(J) and the ministry of the word.”

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen,(K) a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit;(L) also Philip,(M) Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed(N) and laid their hands on them.(O)

So the word of God spread.(P) The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly,(Q) and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Stephen Seized

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs(R) among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene(S) and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia(T) and Asia(U)—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.(V)

11 Then they secretly(W) persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”(X)

12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.(Y) 13 They produced false witnesses,(Z) who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place(AA) and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place(AB) and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”(AC)

15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin(AD) looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 6:1 That is, Jews who had adopted the Greek language and culture

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