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Everyone in the church loved this idea.[a] So they chose seven men. One of them was Stephen,[b] who was known as a man full of faith and overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Along with him they chose Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas from Antioch,[c] who had converted to Judaism. All seven stood before the apostles, who laid their hands on them and prayed for them, commissioning them to this ministry.[d]

God’s word reigned supreme[e] and kept spreading. The number of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem quickly grew and increased by the day. Even a great number of Jewish priests became believers and were obedient to the faith!

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  1. Acts 6:5 The Aramaic can be translated “This proposal appeared beautiful.”
  2. Acts 6:5 It is most likely that Stephen was not a gentile but a Jewish believer. His Hebrew name, Tzephania, is transliterated into Greek as Astaphanos (Stephen in English). Tzephania is the name of the prophet Zephaniah. Zephaniah means “Yah has treasured [him].” Stephen was not a gentile proselyte to Judaism but a Greek-speaking Hebrew. He spoke in Acts 7 and addressed his hearers as “fellow Jews and fathers.” Although he was a powerful minister of the Word, Stephen was humble to accept the task of serving.
  3. Acts 6:5 The Aramaic can be translated “Nicholas, the hero of Antioch.”
  4. Acts 6:6 The practice of laying on of hands indicates approval, impartation of authority, commissioning, and ordaining. As the Old Testament priest laid hands on a sacrifice and transferred the guilt of sins upon the animal, the New Testament apostles laid their hands on men and appointed them to ministry. See Lev. 16:21-22; Num. 27:18-20; Heb. 6:2.
  5. Acts 6:7 As translated from the Aramaic.