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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.
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.