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Acts: Chapter 6

Categories: ActsTags: 3.1 min read

As we read in Acts 5:42 the apostles ‘never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.’ They believed that this was the most important part of their ministry.

Acts 6:1 The early Christians were Jews but there were two distinct sects of Jews at this time, the Grecian Jews and the Hebraic Jews. The Grecian Jews were in the minority. These were Jews that were born outside of Palestine and spoke the Greek language and were more Greek in their customs. The Hebraic Jews spoke the Hebrew language and preserved Jewish culture and customs. We can see from Acts 4:32 that the early Christians ‘shared everything that they had.’ It appears that the apostles had the responsibility of ensuring that those in need received help but the widows of the Grecian Jews complained that they were not receiving any support when they were in need.

Acts 6:2 As the number of Christians grew (see Acts 2:47) it became impossible for the apostles to do both preaching and care for the needy. The apostles, at this point, were probably responsible for every leadership decision made in the church, including the care for the needy.

Acts 6:3 – 4 The apostles decide to delegate the responsibility of caring for the needy to a group of seven men, to be chosen by themselves and the other disciples.. The number seven may have been chosen because it is considered a holy number by the Jews.

Acts 6:5 Of the seven men chosen only two are mentioned again in the Bible. They are Stephen and Philip. We are given a detailed description of Stephen’s character and works in Acts 6 and 7.

Acts 6:6 Athough all the disciples had helped choose the seven men they still needed the apostles to offer prayers and blessings for them before they started their work. The disciples at this time acknowledged the authority of the apostles.

Acts 6:7 The Jewish priests had been badly affected by the teaching of the apostles as we can see in Acts 4:1 – 2 so it is interesting to read that ‘a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.’

Acts 6:8 -10 Stephen’s faith was such that he was given the power to do ‘great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.’ But the Synagogue of the Freedmen, that was the Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia, argued with Stephen. The mention of Cilicia suggests that this may have been the synagogue where Paul worshipped as he came from Tarsus in Cilicia. The Jews from this synagogue were unable to get the better of Stephen because they could not ‘stand up against the wisdom or the Spirit by which he spoke.’

Acts 6:11 – 14 The opposing Jews, who had been defeated in the debate with Stephen, knew that they could do nothing without popular opinion on their side. They decided to produce false witnesses against him in an effort to have him put to death. Under Jewish law one witness was not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense. The matter had to be established by two or three witnesses. These false witnesses accused Stephen of blasphemy (showing contempt for the teachings of God through Moses). But the truth, that Stephen was preaching that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law, and that Jesus was greater than their religious customs and traditions, was what made them so angry with Stephen. They were afraid of losing their important place in Jewish society and didn’t want the old ways changed.

Acts 6:15 The Greek word ‘angelos’ means messenger. In the New Testament this refers to a messenger of God. Stephen’s face reflected the confidence of an angel, of one who knows and trusts that he is delivering God’s message in truth.

ADDITIONAL READING

FURTHER THOUGHTS

Mark 8

Categories: Mark|Tags: |

Read Online: AV NIV The Bible reading group continues to be enjoyable and thought provoking. The setting for chapter 8

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