Acts 6

Choosing of the Seven

1 Now at this time while the 1disciples were 2increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the 3Hellenistic Jews against the native 4Hebrews, because their 5widows were being overlooked in 6the daily serving of food.
2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
3 "Therefore, 7brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, 8full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
4 "But we will 9devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose 10Stephen, a man 11full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and 12Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a 13proselyte from 14Antioch.
6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after 15praying, they 16laid their hands on them.
7 17The word of God kept on spreading; and 18the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to 19the faith.
8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great 20wonders and signs among the people.
9 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both 21Cyrenians and 22Alexandrians, and some from 23Cilicia and 24Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.
10 But they were unable * to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
11 Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God."
12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they 25came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before 26the Council.
13 They put forward 27false witnesses who said, "This man incessantly * speaks against this 28holy place and the Law;
14 for we have heard him say that 29this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter 30the customs which Moses handed down to us."
15 And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the 31Council saw his face 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 31

  • 1. Acts 11:26
  • 2. Acts 2:47; Acts 6:7
  • 3. Acts 9:29; Acts 11:20
  • 4. 2 Corinthians 11:22; Philippians 3:5
  • 5. Acts 9:39, 41; 1 Timothy 5:3
  • 6. Acts 4:35; Acts 11:29
  • 7. John 21:23; Acts 1:15
  • 8. Acts 2:4
  • 9. Acts 1:14
  • 10. Acts 6:8f; Acts 11:19; Acts 22:20
  • 11. Acts 6:3; Acts 11:24
  • 12. Acts 8:5f; Acts 21:8
  • 13. Matthew 23:15
  • 14. Acts 11:19
  • 15. Acts 1:24
  • 16. Numbers 8:10; Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9; Mark 5:23; Acts 8:17f; Acts 9:17; Acts 13:3; Acts 19:6; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:2
  • 17. Acts 12:24; Acts 19:20
  • 18. Acts 6:1
  • 19. Acts 13:8; Acts 14:22; Galatians 1:23; Galatians 6:10; Jude 3, 20
  • 20. John 4:48
  • 21. Matthew 27:32; Acts 2:10
  • 22. Acts 18:24
  • 23. Acts 15:23, 41; Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3; Acts 23:34; Acts 27:5; Galatians 1:21
  • 24. Acts 16:6; Acts 19:10; Acts 21:27; Acts 24:18
  • 25. Luke 20:1; Acts 4:1
  • 26. Matthew 5:22
  • 27. Matthew 26:59-61; Acts 7:58
  • 28. Matthew 24:15; Acts 21:28; Acts 25:8
  • 29. Matthew 26:61
  • 30. Acts 15:1; Acts 21:21; Acts 26:3; Acts 28:17
  • 31. Matthew 5:22

Footnotes 12

Acts 6 Commentaries