Seven Chosen to Serve
1In those days, as the number of the disciples # Mt 9:10; Mk 10:10; Lk 6:1; Jn 6:3; Ac 9:1,10,19,25-26; 21:4,16 was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews # Jews of Gk language and culture against the Hebraic Jews # Jews of Aram or Hb language and culture that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. # Ac 2:41; 4:4,35; 5:14; 9:29,39; 11:20 2Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to handle financial matters. # Or to serve tables 3Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, # Dt 1:13; 1Tm 3:7 full of the Spirit # Lk 4:1; Ac 7:55; 11:19,24 and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.” 5The proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, # Ac 6:8-9; 11:19; 22:20 a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte from Antioch. # Mt 23:15; Ac 8:5,26; 21:8 6They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed # Ac 1:24; 8:17; 13:3; 2Tm 1:6 and laid their hands on # Nm 8:10; Ac 9:17; 1Tm 4:14 them. # The laying on of hands signified the prayer of blessing for the beginning of a new ministry.
7So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied # Ac 12:24; 19:20; Col 1:6 greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.
Stephen Accused of Blasphemy
8Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9Then some from what is called the Freedmen’s Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and disputed with Stephen. 10But they were unable to stand up against his wisdom and the Spirit by whom he was speaking.
11Then they persuaded some men to say, “We heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God! ” # 1Kg 21:10,13; Mt 26:59-60 12They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; so they came, dragged him off, and took him to the Sanhedrin. 13They also presented false witnesses who said, “This man does not stop speaking blasphemous words against this holy place and the law. # Mt 24:15; Ac 7:58; 21:28; 25:8 14For we heard him say that Jesus, this Nazarene, will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.” # Dn 9:26; Ac 15:1; 21:21; 26:3; 28:17 15And all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.