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Church Leaders Are Chosen

In those days the group of followers was getting larger. Greek-speaking Jews in the group complained against the Jews living in the country around Jerusalem. The Greek-speaking Jews said that their women whose husbands had died were not taken care of when the food was given out each day. So the twelve missionaries called a meeting of the many followers and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the Word of God to hand out food. Brothers, choose from among you seven men who are respected and who are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will have them take care of this work. Then we will use all of our time to pray and to teach the Word of God.”

These words pleased all of them. They chose Stephen who was a man full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit. They also chose Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas of Antioch who had become a Jew. These men were taken to the missionaries. After praying, the missionaries laid their hands on them.

The Word of God spread further. The group of followers became much larger in Jerusalem. Many of the religious leaders believed in the faith of the Christians.

Stephen Is Brought in Front of the Religious Leaders’ Court

Stephen was a man full of faith and power. He did many great things among the people. But some men came from their place of worship who were known as the Free people. They started to argue with Stephen. These men were from the countries of Cyrene and Alexandria and Cilicia and Asia. 10 Stephen spoke with wisdom and power given by the Holy Spirit. They were not able to say anything against what he said. 11 So they told other men to say, “We have heard him say things against Moses and God.” 12 In this way they got the people talking against Stephen. The leaders of the people and the teachers of the Law came and took him to the religious leaders’ court. 13 The people were told to lie and say, “This man keeps on talking against this place of worship and the Law of Moses. 14 We have heard him say, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is going to pull down this place. He is going to change what Moses taught us.’”

15 The men sitting in the religious leaders’ court were looking at Stephen. They all saw that his face looked like the face of an angel.