The believers choose seven men to do special work
1 At that time, more and more people became disciples of Jesus. Among the believers, some were Jews who spoke the Greek language. Others were Jews who spoke the Aramaic language. The Jews who spoke Greek had a problem with the other Jews. They said, ‘The widows in our group do not receive the right help. Each day, when you give out the food and money, our widows receive less than they should get.’
6:1Greek means the language that people spoke in Greece. Or it means someone who comes from that country. The Jews who were born in Israel spoke the Aramaic language.
2 The 12 apostles heard about the problem. They told all the believers to meet together with them. The apostles said, ‘Our work is to teach people God's message about Jesus. If we have to give out the food and money to people, then we will not be able to teach so well. That would not be good. 3 So, friends, please choose seven men from among you. You must know that each of them is full of the Holy Spirit. They must also be very wise. We will ask these seven men to do this work for us. 4 Then we will have more time to pray. We will also have more time to teach people God's message.’
5 The whole group of believers was happy with the apostles' words. So first they chose a man called Stephen. Stephen believed strongly in God and he was full of the Holy Spirit. The believers also chose six other men: Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolaus. Nicolaus was from Antioch. He was not born as a Jew, but he had joined the Jews later. 6 The group of believers put these seven men in front of the apostles. The apostles prayed for each man and they put their hands on them. They gave them authority to do this special work.
7 So more and more people heard the message from God. The number of people in Jerusalem who believed in Jesus grew more and more. Many of the Jewish priests also believed the message about Jesus.
6:7A very large number of priests lived in Jerusalem and they worked in God's Great House.
The important Jews take hold of Stephen
8 God helped Stephen in many special ways. God's power was with him. He did many miracles among the people which showed God was with him. 9 But some men spoke against Stephen. They did not agree with what he taught people. These men were from one of the Jewish meeting places in Jerusalem. People called them, ‘The Group of Free Men’. These men were Jews from the cities called Cyrene and Alexandria, and some of them were from towns in Cilicia and Asia. They began to argue with Stephen. 10 But the Holy Spirit helped Stephen to be very wise when he spoke. So these men could not say that he was wrong.
11 Then those men secretly gave money to some bad men. They told them to say to the Jewish leaders, ‘We heard this man, Stephen, say bad things against Moses and against God.’
12 This made the people become angry against Stephen. The important Jews and the teachers of God's Law also became very angry. So they took hold of Stephen. They took him to stand in front of the group of Jewish leaders. 13 Then they brought in some men to say bad things about Stephen. The things that these men said were not true. They said about Stephen, ‘This man is always saying bad things about God's Great House. He says bad things against God's Law. 14 We also heard him talk about Jesus, the man who comes from Nazareth. He said that Jesus will destroy this Great House of God. He also said that Jesus will change the way that Moses taught us to live.’
15 All the Jewish leaders who sat there in the meeting looked carefully at Stephen. They saw that his face was very beautiful. It was like the face of an angel.