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Seven Men Are Chosen

More and more people were becoming followers of Jesus. But during this same time, the Greek-speaking followers had an argument with the other Jewish followers. The Greek-speaking Jews said that their widows were not getting their share of the food that was given out every day. The 12 apostles called the whole group of followers together. They said, “It is not right for us to stop our work of teaching God’s word in order to serve tables. So, brothers, choose seven of your own men. They must be men who are good. They must be full of wisdom and full of the Spirit. We will put them in charge of this work. Then we can use all our time to pray and to teach the word of God.”

The whole group liked the idea. So they chose these seven men: Stephen (a man with great faith and full of the Holy Spirit), Philip,[a] Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (a man from Antioch who had become a Jew). Then they put these men before the apostles. The apostles prayed and laid their hands on[b] the men.

The word of God was reaching more and more people. The group of followers in Jerusalem became larger and larger. A great number of the Jewish priests believed and obeyed.

Stephen Is Arrested

Stephen was richly blessed by God. God gave him the power to do great miracles and signs among the people. But some Jews were against him. They belonged to a synagogue of Free Men[c] (as it was called). (This synagogue was also for Jews from Cyrene and from Alexandria.) Jews from Cilicia and Asia were also with them. They all came and argued with Stephen.

10 But the Spirit was helping him to speak with wisdom. His words were so strong that they could not argue with him. 11 So they paid some men to say, “We heard him say things against Moses and against God!”

12 This upset the people, the Jewish elders, and the teachers of the law. They came to Stephen, grabbed him and brought him to a meeting of the Jewish leaders. 13 They brought in some men to tell lies about Stephen. They said, “This man is always saying things against this holy place and the law of Moses. 14 We heard him say that Jesus from Nazareth will destroy this place. He also said that Jesus will change the things that Moses told us to do.” 15 All the people in the meeting were watching Stephen closely. His face looked like the face of an angel.

Footnotes

  1. 6:5 Philip Not the apostle named Philip.
  2. 6:6 laid their hands on Here, doing this showed that these men were given a special work of God.
  3. 6:9 Free Men Jews who had been slaves or whose fathers had been slaves, but were now free.

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