Exit Parallel Mode
 
6
Seven Leaders Are Chosen
1In those days the number of believers was growing. The Jews who followed Greek practices complained against the Jews who followed only Jewish practices. They said that the widows of men who followed Greek practices were not being taken care of. They weren't getting their fair share of food each day. 2So the Twelve gathered all the believers together. They said, "It wouldn't be right for us to give up teaching God's word in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers, choose seven of your men. They must be known as men who are wise and full of the Holy Spirit. We will turn this important work over to them. 4Then we can give our attention to prayer and to teaching the word."
5This plan pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen. He was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon and Parmenas were chosen too. The group also chose Nicolas from Antioch. He had accepted the Jewish faith. 6The group brought them to the apostles. Then the apostles prayed and placed their hands on them.
7So God's word spread. The number of believers in Jerusalem grew quickly. Also, a large number of priests began to obey Jesus' teachings.
Stephen Is Arrested
8Stephen was full of God's grace and power. He did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9But members of the group called the Synagogue of the Freedmen began to oppose him. Some of them were Jews from Cyrene and Alexandria. Others were Jews from Cilicia and Asia Minor. They all began to argue with Stephen. 10But he was too wise for them. They couldn't stand up against the Holy Spirit who spoke through him.
11Then in secret they talked some men into lying about Stephen. They said, "We heard Stephen speak evil things against Moses. He also spoke evil things against God."
12So the people were stirred up. The elders and the teachers of the law were stirred up too. They arrested Stephen and brought him to the Sanhedrin. 13They found people who were willing to tell lies. The false witnesses said, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place. He also speaks against the law. 14We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place. He says Jesus will change the practices that Moses handed down to us."
15All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked right at Stephen. They saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
6
Selection of seven to serve
1About that time, while the number of disciples continued to increase, a complaint arose. Greek-speaking disciples accused the Aramaic-speaking disciples because their widows were being overlooked in the daily food service. 2The Twelve called a meeting of all the disciples and said, "It isn’t right for us to set aside proclamation of God’s word in order to serve tables. 3Brothers and sisters, carefully choose seven well-respected men from among you. They must be well-respected and endowed by the Spirit with exceptional wisdom. We will put them in charge of this concern. 4As for us, we will devote ourselves to prayer and the service of proclaiming the word." 5This proposal pleased the entire community. They selected Stephen, a man endowed by the Holy Spirit with exceptional faith, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6The community presented these seven to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7God’s word continued to grow. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased significantly. Even a large group of priests embraced the faith.
Arrest and murder of Stephen
8Stephen, who stood out among the believers for the way God’s grace was at work in his life and for his exceptional endowment with divine power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9Opposition arose from some who belonged to the so-called Synagogue of Former Slaves. Members from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and Asia entered into debate with Stephen. 10However, they couldn’t resist the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. 11Then they secretly enticed some people to claim, "We heard him insult Moses and God." 12They stirred up the people, the elders, and the legal experts. They caught Stephen, dragged him away, and brought him before the Jerusalem Council. 13Before the council, they presented false witnesses who testified, "This man never stops speaking against this holy place and the Law. 14In fact, we heard him say that this man Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and alter the customary practices Moses gave us." 15Everyone seated in the council stared at Stephen, and they saw that his face was radiant, just like an angel’s.