Choosing of the Seven
1Now about this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, a complaint was made by the Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews) against the [native] Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 2So the Twelve called the disciples together and said, “It is not appropriate for us to neglect [teaching] the word of God in order to serve tables and manage the distribution of food. 3Therefore, brothers, choose from among you seven men with good reputations [men of godly character and moral integrity], full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4But we will [continue to] devote ourselves [steadfastly] to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5The suggestion pleased the whole congregation; and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith [in Christ Jesus], and [filled with and led by] the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (Nikolaos), a proselyte (Gentile convert) from Antioch. 6They brought these men before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them [to dedicate and commission them for this service].
7And the message of God kept on growing and spreading, and the number of disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem; and a large number of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith [accepting Jesus as Messiah and acknowledging Him as the Source of eternal salvation].
8Now Stephen, full of grace (divine blessing, favor) and power, was doing great wonders and signs (attesting miracles) among the people. 9However, some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (freed Jewish slaves), both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and [the province of] Asia, rose up and questioned and argued with Stephen. 10But they were not able to successfully withstand and cope with the wisdom and the intelligence [and the power and inspiration] of the Spirit by whom he was speaking. 11Then [to attack him another way] they secretly instructed men to say, “We have heard this man [Stephen] speak blasphemous (slanderous, sacrilegious, abusive) words against Moses and against God.” 12And they provoked and incited the people, as well as the elders and the scribes, and they came up to Stephen and seized him and brought him before the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court). 13They presented false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking against this holy place and the Law [of Moses]; 14for we have heard him say that this Jesus the Nazarene will tear down this place and will change the traditions and customs which Moses handed down to us.” 15Then all those who were sitting in the Council, stared [intently] at him, and they saw that Stephen’s face was like the face of an angel.