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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The Acts of the Apostles

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Frameworks: Acts 6

 

(The 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. )

v.1-7 The Choosing of the Seven
v.8-15 Stephen Seized

 

v.1-7 The Choosing of the Seven

 

v.1  In 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.

v.2  So 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.

v.3,4  Brothers 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.”

v.5  This 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.

v.6  They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

v.7  So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

 

[Passage Synopsis: Success 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.]

 

 

v.8-15 Stephen Seized

 

v.8  Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.

v.9  Opposition 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.

v.10  But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.

v.11  Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”

v.12  So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.

v.13  They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.

v.14  For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”

v.15  All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

 

[Passage Synopsis: Stephen, 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.]

     

    

Continue to chapter 7