.1 ¶ Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables.
- Disciples The word means "followers." More were following
1 - Grecians and Hebrews The "Grecian Jews" would have been those who came from Greek countries. Native Greek speakers are called Hellenists. Aramaic, the contemporary language of the Jewish homeland, was likely a second language for them. The Hebrews are seen in the epistle with that name. They believed in Jesus as the Messiah but apparently had difficulty realizing that the Jewish ritual system had come to an end.
1 - Widows neglected The resolution of this problem prompted, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a significant step in the development of the administration of the church.
2 - Serve tables The idea of deacons comes from this decision. As it turned out, table waiting was not their major calling. Perhaps the apostles were battling a little ethnic pride. Of course the principle of prioritizing time is valid. An administrator who spends much time in common duties tends to neglect his gift. Still, common work is honorable (Gen. 2:15). Likely the seven planned for those who would serve.
Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report,
full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
.4 But we will continue stedfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the word.
.5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch;
- From among you The new leaders were apparently all from
among the Hellenistic Jews with the exception of Nicolaus. Notice their
4 - Ministry See on ro1207.
whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid
their hands upon them.
.7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
- Laid ... hands This is sometimes misunderstood. The Holy
Spirit was not given by those who placed their hands on the new leaders
(v.3). The act was an extension of their prayer for God and the Spirit
to work in them. It also set them apart in the eyes of the people. Also
note that the new people did not lose control of themselves in hysteria
7 - Word increased The ministry was based on Scripture and God blessed them with souls.
7 - Priests Godly leaders of every religion respond when they learn more truth.
| 8 ¶ And Stephen, full
of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
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.
10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
.11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
| 8 -
... power ... wonders Or "full of faith and power." The
"wonders" indicate that he had been blessed with the attributes of the
apostles. He apparently spoke with appeal and brought conviction.
9 - Synagogue ... Libertines The passage is unclear and from more than one translation. "It was one and the same synagogue which consisted of these several nations. Saul of Cilicia was doubtless a member of it; whence it is not at all improbable, that Gamaliel presided over it. Libertines-So they were styled, whose fathers were once slaves, and afterward made free. This was the ease of many Jews who had been taken captive by the Romans." (John Wesley's Notes).
11 - Men who said Stephen may, indeed have spoken of Moses and the law. This may have been interpreted as blasphemy re1306abl - Lu0521 as was the case with Jesus.
| 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,
.13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
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.
.15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
- This holy place This pride in the
place they controlled becomes the ultimate rebuke that ignited their rage
This and verse 15 indicate that they were meeting at the temple or a building
associated with it.
15 - Face They had ample evidence of their sin.