In today’s study, we read about the disagreements within the membership as they continually grew. They discussed the negligence of the widows in their daily distribution. The disciples came together and selected seven persons filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom, people who were ready to lay down their lives to serve, Stephen was one of them; others were Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas.
Due to this decision and appointments, the word of God was widely spread abroad because of the division of labour coupled with the fact that the priests were also obedient to the faith. Stephen who was full of faith and power; he did mighty and great works, signs and wonders among the people. But in the midst of all these wonderful works, there were some people from the Synagogue of freedom who were not in agreement with him. Unfortunately, they couldn’t resist the wisdom and the spirit in which he spoke and that shows the mighty power and wisdom of God cannot be defeated, so they devised a means by using people, false witnesses to speak and testify against him.
Whatsoever good deeds you are involved with, there could be some people who will despise you. We therefore need the Holy Spirit as our help to strengthen us during challenging situations.
Lord, I declare that I will be able to declare by your Spirit the undivided word of truth.
Reading – Acts 5:41-6:15
41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
The Choosing of the Seven
6 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 disciplestogether and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of Godin 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 them4 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 prayedand 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.
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signsamong 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 6:1 That is, Jews who had adopted the Greek language and culture