objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read
layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses
for verse-by-verse study or meditation. )
The Choosing of the Seven
The Choosing of the Seven
those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic
Jews [That is, Jews
who had adopted the Greek language and culture] among
them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows
were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would
not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God
in order to wait on tables.
and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to
be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility
over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry
of the word.”
proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full
of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor,
Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their
hands on them.
the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased
rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the
often brings problems The problem here is that Jews are being
saved from both the most traditional, possibly local, Jews and
the Jews who had been spread further afield and had become part
of Greek culture and outlook, now living locally and now part
of the Jerusalem church. These distinctions created slight senses
of rivalry and the Hellenistic Jews maintained that their widows
weren't being looked after by the church in the way that the Hebraic
Jews' widows were. The apostles confronted this complaint, recognising
a new need that had to be addressed – practical caring in an ever-growing
church. The answer was to appoint what became known as ‘deacons',
spiritual men who would oversee the practical responsibilities
of the church, thus releasing up the apostles to maintain their
spiritual ministry. So obvious was the move of God that even priests
were getting saved.]
Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, performed great
wonders and signs among the people.
arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen
(as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the
provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen.
they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him
as he spoke.
they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen
speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of
the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops
speaking against this holy place and against the law.
we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy
this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen,
and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
one of the new deacons, was coming into prominence and this raised
the opposition of particular Jewish groups who couldn't refute
the wisdom with which he spoke, and so they started a hate campaign
against him and had him brought before the Sanhedrin, yet he simply
glowed with the Lord, suggesting all that followed was God-inspired.]
to chapter 7