Seven Leaders Are Chosen
1In those days the number of believers was growing. The Greek Jews complained about the non-Greek Jews. They said that the widows of the Greek Jews were not being taken care of. They weren’t getting their fair share of food each day. 2So the 12 apostles gathered all the believers together. They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to give up teaching God’s word. And we’d have to stop teaching to wait on tables. 3Brothers and sisters, 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 God’s 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 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. That’s because the Holy Spirit gave Stephen wisdom whenever he spoke.
11Then in secret they talked some men into lying about Stephen. They said, “We heard Stephen speak evil things against Moses and 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 witnesses who were willing to tell lies. These liars 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.