Acts Chapter Six (NIV)
Acts Chapter Six (NASB)
Verses 1-7: The Apostles resolve an early difficulty by appointing seven men to serve the Christian community.
Verses 8-15: Unable to refute Stephen's arguments (let alone the miracles he was performing in Jesus' Name), some of his opponents spread lies about him in order to have him brought before the council.
II. KEY PASSAGES
(A) Acts 6:1--Another difficulty arises in the early church. The Hellenistic Christians would have been Jews from other lands whose primary language was Greek. Many of them converted to Christianity while visiting Jerusalem, and they remained there to learn from the Apostles. Possibly due to language difficulties (the "native Hebrews" would have primarily spoken Aramaic), the widows among Hellenistic Christians were sometimes being overlooked in the distribution of food. (Recall from earlier that people were selling property to provide for the community.) Notice how quickly the Apostles deal with this difficulty. They choose seven Hellenistic Christians to make sure that the widows are provided for, and they immediately return to praying and teaching.
(B) Acts 6:7--"The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith." Despite difficulties (beatings, jail, dealing with sin and conflict), the church continued to grow.
(C) Acts 6:9--Stephen focused on witnessing to other Hellenistic Jews. The Cyrenians, Alexandrians, etc., were all from Hellenistic Jewish communities. The "Synagogue of the Freedmen" would have been composed of former Jewish slaves.
(D) Acts 6:11--"Then they secretly induced men to say, 'We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.'" This is similar to the false testimony and charges brought against Jesus in Mark 14:55-65. Jesus said in John 15:20, "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also."