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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
The Appointment of the Seven
1And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Proch´orus, and Nica´nor, and Timon, and Par´menas, and Nicolas a proselyte of An´ti-och; 6whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
7And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
The Arrest of Stephen
8And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyre´nians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cili´cia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13and set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. 15And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.