Acts 6

Listen to Acts 6

Seven Chosen to Serve

1 Now in these days 1when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists[a] arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in 2the daily distribution.
2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
3 3Therefore, brothers,[b] pick out from among you seven men 4of good repute, 5full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.
4 But 6we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, 7a man full of faith and 8of the Holy Spirit, and 9Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, 10a proselyte of Antioch.
6 These they set before the apostles, and 11they prayed and 12laid their hands on them.
7 And 13the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests 14became obedient to 15the faith.

Stephen Is Seized

8 And Stephen, full of grace and 16power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen.
10 But 17they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
11 Then 18they secretly instigated men who said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God."
12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council,
13 and they 19set up false 20witnesses who said, "This man never ceases to speak words against 21this holy place and the law,
14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth 22will destroy this place and will 23change 24the customs that Moses delivered to us."
15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face 25was 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 25

  • 1. Acts 2:41, 47; Acts 4:4; Acts 5:14; [ver. 7]
  • 2. [Acts 4:35]
  • 3. [Deuteronomy 1:13]
  • 4. [1 Timothy 3:7]
  • 5. ver. 5; Acts 7:55; Acts 11:24; [Luke 1:15; Luke 4:1]
  • 6. See Acts 1:14
  • 7. Acts 11:24
  • 8. ver. 3
  • 9. Acts 8:5; Acts 21:8
  • 10. Acts 2:11; Acts 13:43; Matthew 23:15
  • 11. Acts 1:24; Acts 13:3
  • 12. 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; [Acts 8:17; Acts 9:17; Acts 19:6; Hebrews 6:2]
  • 13. Acts 12:24; Acts 19:20; [Colossians 1:5, 6]
  • 14. See Romans 1:5
  • 15. Acts 13:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 16:5
  • 16. See Acts 1:8
  • 17. See Luke 21:14, 15
  • 18. [1 Kings 21:10, 13; Matthew 26:59, 60]
  • 19. ver. 11
  • 20. Acts 7:58
  • 21. [Acts 21:28; Acts 25:8; Matthew 24:15]
  • 22. [Daniel 9:26; Matthew 26:61]
  • 23. [Matthew 5:17]
  • 24. Acts 15:1; Acts 21:21
  • 25. [Judges 13:6; Ecclesiastes 8:1]

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. That is, Greek-speaking Jews
  • [b]. Or brothers and sisters

Acts 6 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.