Acts 6

The Choosing of the Seven

1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews[a] among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
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.
3 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
4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
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.
6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
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.

Stephen Seized

8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
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.
10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
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.
13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.
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.”
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.

Acts 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

The appointment of deacons. (1-7) Stephen falsely accused of blasphemy. (8-15)

Verses 1-7 Hitherto the disciples had been of one accord; this often had been noticed to their honour; but now they were multiplied, they began to murmur. The word of God was enough to take up all the thoughts, cares, and time of the apostles. The persons chosen to serve tables must be duly qualified. They must be filled with gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, necessary to rightly managing this trust; men of truth, and hating covetousness. All who are employed in the service of the church, ought to be commended to the Divine grace by the prayers of the church. They blessed them in the name of the Lord. The word and grace of God are greatly magnified, when those are wrought upon by it, who were least likely.

Verses 8-15 When they could not answer Stephen's arguments as a disputant, they prosecuted him as a criminal, and brought false witnesses against him. And it is next to a miracle of providence, that no greater number of religious persons have been murdered in the world, by the way of perjury and pretence of law, when so many thousands hate them, who make no conscience of false oaths. Wisdom and holiness make a man's face to shine, yet will not secure men from being treated badly. What shall we say of man, a rational being, yet attempting to uphold a religious system by false witness and murder! And this has been done in numberless instances. But the blame rests not so much upon the understanding, as upon the heart of a fallen creature, which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Yet the servant of the Lord, possessing a clear conscience, cheerful hope, and Divine consolations, may smile in the midst of danger and death.

Cross References 30

  • 1. S Acts 2:41
  • 2. Acts 9:29
  • 3. Acts 9:39,41; 1 Timothy 5:3
  • 4. Acts 4:35
  • 5. S Acts 11:26
  • 6. S Hebrews 4:12
  • 7. S Acts 1:16
  • 8. S Luke 1:15
  • 9. Exodus 18:21; Nehemiah 13:13
  • 10. S Acts 1:14
  • 11. ver 8; Acts 7:55-60; Acts 11:19; Acts 22:20
  • 12. S Luke 1:15; Acts 11:24
  • 13. Acts 8:5-40; Acts 21:8
  • 14. S Acts 1:24; Acts 8:17; Acts 13:3; 2 Timothy 1:6
  • 15. Numbers 8:10; Numbers 27:18; Acts 9:17; Acts 19:6; Acts 28:8; 1 Timothy 4:14; S Mark 5:23
  • 16. Acts 12:24; Acts 19:20
  • 17. S Acts 2:41
  • 18. S John 4:48
  • 19. S Matthew 27:32
  • 20. Acts 15:23,41; Acts 22:3; Acts 23:34
  • 21. S Acts 2:9
  • 22. Luke 21:15
  • 23. 1 Kings 21:10
  • 24. Matthew 26:59-61
  • 25. S Matthew 5:22
  • 26. Exodus 23:1; Psalms 27:12
  • 27. Matthew 24:15; Acts 7:48; Acts 21:28
  • 28. S John 2:19
  • 29. Acts 15:1; Acts 21:21; Acts 26:3; Acts 28:17
  • 30. S Matthew 5:22

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. That is, Jews who had adopted the Greek language and culture

Acts 6 Commentaries