At that time, as the number of disciples grew, Greek-speaking Jews complained about the Hebrew-speaking Jews. The Greek-speaking Jews claimed that the widows among them were neglected every day when food and other assistance was distributed.
The twelve apostles called all the disciples together and told them, "It's not right for us to give up God's word in order to distribute food.
So, brothers and sisters, choose seven men whom the people know are spiritually wise. We will put them in charge of this problem.
However, we will devote ourselves to praying and to serving in ways that are related to the word."
The suggestion pleased the whole group. So they chose Stephen, who was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and they chose Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, who had converted to Judaism in the city of Antioch.
The disciples had these men stand in front of the apostles, who prayed and placed their hands on these seven men.
The word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem grew very large. A large number of priests accepted the faith.
Stephen was a man filled with God's favor and power. He did amazing things and performed miracles.
[One day] some men from the cities of Cyrene and Alexandria and the provinces of Cilicia and Asia started an argument with Stephen. They belonged to a synagogue called Freedmen's Synagogue.
They couldn't argue with Stephen because he spoke with the wisdom that the Spirit had given him.
Then they bribed some men to lie. These men said, "We heard him slander Moses and God."
The liars stirred up trouble among the people, the leaders, and the scribes. So they went to Stephen, took him by force, and brought him in front of the Jewish council.
Some witnesses stood up and lied about Stephen. They said, "This man never stops saying bad things about the holy place and Moses' Teachings.
We heard him say that Jesus from Nazareth will destroy the temple and change the customs that Moses gave us."
Everyone who sat in the council stared at him and saw that his face looked like an angel's face.