Acts 6: Focus on Ministry

Why was there a problem in distributing food to the needy?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:1 As the days passed and the number of believers rapidly grew, those speaking Greek complained to the Hebrew community that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.
King James
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

Do you think the problem really greater among the Greek widows? Why or why not?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:1 As the days passed and the number of believers rapidly grew, those speaking Greek complained to the Hebrew community that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.
King James
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

The apostles thought they should spend their time in prayer and teaching God’s word. Why was this a good decision? What might have been the disadvantages?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:2 The twelve apostles called the fellowship together and said, “It’s not right that we should spend our time with ministry details and neglect the preaching of the gospel.
6:3 Therefore, fellow servants, let’s choose seven good men, full of wisdom and led by the Holy Spirit, to handle the daily business affairs
6:4 so we can spend our time in prayer and teaching God’s Word.”
King James
Acts 6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

How were the seven chosen men commissioned to handle the needs? How do you suppose the work was assigned?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:5 This sounded good to everyone, so they chose Stephen, a man strong in faith and full of the Spirit, then Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a convert from Antioch.
6:6 These seven stood before the apostles who laid hands on them and prayed.
King James
Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6:6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

With the spreading of God’s word, what is the significance of many priests joining the fellowship of believers?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:7 With the spreading of God’s word came a great increase in the number of believers in Jerusalem, including many priests.
King James
Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

The Holy Spirit worked many miracles through the hands of Stephen. Other than the twelve apostles, how many others do you think were being used by God in this way?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:8 Stephen, full of grace and the power of the Spirit, did wondrous signs and miracles among the people.
King James
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

When Jews from synagogues in foreign countries came to Jerusalem, where do you suppose they were when they got into an argument with Stephen?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:9 Men from the synagogues of Cyrene and Alexandria, with freed slaves and Jews from Cilicia and Asia disputed with Stephen,
6:10 but they were unable to counter the wisdom of his words and the power of the Holy Spirit.
King James
Acts 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
6:10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

What was the nature of the men’s dispute with Stephen? Why might they have been upset when they couldn’t prove themselves right and Stephen wrong?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:9 Men from the synagogues of Cyrene and Alexandria, with freed slaves and Jews from Cilicia and Asia disputed with Stephen,
6:10 but they were unable to counter the wisdom of his words and the power of the Holy Spirit.
King James
Acts 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
6:10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

What false testimony would the bribed men have given to prove Stephen guilty of “blasphemous words against Moses and God”?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:11 They bribed men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”
King James
Acts 6:11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

Why do you think the people (1) believed the false testimony and (2) took Stephen before the Sanhedrin?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:12 This angered the people, so the Jewish leaders and teachers of the Law grabbed Stephen and took him before the Sanhedrin.
King James
Acts 6:12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council.

What was required in a trial before the Sanhedrin in order for a man to be convicted of blasphemy?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Deuteronomy 17:6 By the word of only one witness, never put a person to death. There must always be the agreement of two or three witnesses.
Acts 6:13 Lying witnesses gave their testimonies, saying, “This man is continually speaking against the Temple and the Law.
6:14 We have heard him say that this Jesus from Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change our customs established by Moses.”
King James
Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Acts 6:13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
6:14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

While facing the stares from his judges, how did Stephen’s appearance change?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 6:15 As the men of the council stared at Stephen, his face became radiant like an angel.
King James
Acts 6:15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.