In those days when the number of disciples was increasing,1 the Hellenistic Jews2 among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows3 were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.4
So the Twelve gathered all the disciples5 together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God6 in order to wait on tables.
Brothers and sisters,7 choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit8 and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them9
and will give our attention to prayer10 and the ministry of the word."
This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen,11 a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit;12 also Philip,13 Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented them to the apostles, who prayed14 and laid their hands on them.15
So the word of God spread.16 The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly,17 and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, performed great wonders and signs18 among the people.
Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene19 and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia20 and Asia21--who began to argue with Stephen.
But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.22
Then they secretly23 persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God."24
So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.25
They produced false witnesses,26 who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place27 and against the law.
For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place28 and change the customs Moses handed down to us."29
All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin30 looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.