6:1-7. Among The Brethren.
1. Disciples multiplied.
2. Apostle's Work. Negative.
3. Appointment proposed.
4. Apostle's Work. Positive.
5,6. Appointment made.
7. Disciples multiplied.
(By this time the church has grown considerably, and by this time it numbers well into the thousands that have joined to it. As the church growns the twelve apostles are getting quite a burden placed upon them.)
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians
(= Greek-speaking Jews, Helenists. The difference in languages seems to have brought about neglect to the Helenist over the families of the Israelites.)
against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
(= service. It was the relief of 2:44,45.
This is refering to the "daily ministration" of the Word of God, the daily teaching of the doctrines of Christ. These Greek speaking widows could not understand Hebrew in which the teaching took place. This sets the stage for other problems in languages, in which many Christians of today are confused over, and that is the speaking of two or more languages, (or tongues) are spoken during a service.
So the problem spoken of here, is in the fact that twelve men could only cover so much area on the ministry, and when they are preaching and teaching, there is simply not time to deal with other matters. Television, and radio did not exist and the mails were not developed as we have it today. They had to move fast whereby they could all be ministered to. It was an impossible task for twelve men.)
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, "It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables.
(I.e. the business of distribution. They didn't have time to pastor on an individual basis. It was more important to get the Word of God out.)
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out
(Gr.blepo = to have the power of seeing, to use the eyes, to look at; used of the act of looking, even though nothing be seen. Hence, to observe accurately and with desire; used of mental vision, and implying more contemplation perception.)
among you seven
(7 = spiritual completeness or perfection.)
men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom,
(You know what the future brings, i.e. a working knowledge of God's Word.)
whom we may appoint over this business.
(A deacon should be a scholar.
Remember that Peter and the other eleven of the Apostles were the eye witnesses to the facts concerning to Jesus teaching, and healing while He was walking on earth in the flesh. These were not called deacons at this time, but more like teaching assistants.)
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer,
(Gr. proseuchę = to speak out, utter aloud. Hence, to wish or vow. The word is quite common in the Papyri, though in the N.T. it is restricted to prayer afforded to God, having regard to the power of Him Who is invoked and giving prominence to personal devotion.)
and to the ministry of the Word."
(This is where the disciples turn the preaching of God's Word from part time to full time. They will not be distracted from this day forward, in the details of the ministry, serving at the tables, or even administering the communion. This will be the duties of those chosen as their assistants.)
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen,
(Gr. Stephanos = a crown. All the names are Greek. These are called the 7 deacons, but the word diakonos is not used in the Acts. Besides Stephen, Philip is the only one of whom anything is recorded [8:5; 21:8].)
a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip,
(= lovers of horses.)
(= leader of the chorus.)
(= victor of the people.)
(= a stranger, a new comer. See Matt.23:15.)
(= an opponent. The Antioch in Syria.)
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
(They were blessing them. Cp. Num.27:18-23.)
7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
(I.e. in the Name of Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah [Christ]. See 2:38.
Any time one person cares to participate in the work of the Lord, God blesses that work and causes His Word to grow. Here again is the requirement to receive the Holy Spirit; "To be obedient to God". To be obedient make you a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only. You become a teacher of the word and a follower of all that is taught in the Word of God.)
6:8–8:1. Among the People.
6:8. Stephen's Miracles.
6:10. Stephen's Wisdom.
6:11. False Witnesses.
6:12. Stephen's Arrest.
6:13,14. False Witnesses.
6:15–8:1. Stephen's Testimony and Martyrdom.
8 And Stephen, full of faith
(The text reads "grace", Gr. charis = free, undeserved favor.)
(Gr. dunamis = inherent power; the power of reproducing itself: from which we have Eng. dynamics, dynamo, &c. See 1:8. This was the power of the Holy Spirit, not Stephen's.)
did great wonders
(Gr. teras. This word has regard to the effect produced on those who witnessed the mighty work. The word "miracle" should be confined to this word, teras.)
and miracles among the people.
(Miracles = signs, Gr. sęmeion. This word has regard to the significance of the work wrought, whether in itself, or in the reason, object, design, and teaching intended to be conveyed by it.
It was by that Holy Spirit that was in Stephen that made these great wonders and miracles possible. Just like in Peter's miracles also, in either case the only miracles that are possible are those performed by the Holy Spirit. It is obvious that God had chosen Stephen, and gifted him in teaching also.)
9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines,
(During the Civil Wars many Jews had been enslaved, and afterwards set free by their masters. A manumitted [liberated] slave was called libertinus. These were probably the descendants of such freedmen who had returned to Jerusalem, after the decree of Tiberius expelling the Jews from Rome about 20 A.D.)
and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia
(A providence of Asia Minor, of which Tarsus was the capital. See 21:39. Probably Saul [Paul] was one of these disputers)
and of Asia, disputing
(Gr. suzęteô = to investigate jointly, i.e. discuss, controvert, cavil. Generally translated "question".)
(All these people who were disputing Stephens authority, were all part of the religious community, and in any church even today when you pick certain ones to lead, there is always others that want to gang up and challenge his authority. They were all Jews who held onto the traditions of the temple. Stephen had just been chosen, so why not pick on Stephen. They felt that if they could disprove Stephen, and make a fool out of him, they could put a stop to this doctrine that was infiltrating the temple.)
10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
(Cp. Luke 21:12-19.
These men that were challenging Stephen were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which Stephen spake; that Spirit was the Holy Spirit. The reason for this is given in Luke 21 in the end generation, when God's elect are delivered up before the "instead of Christ" [Satan, the Antichrist]. Then the Holy Spirit speaking through them will speak in such a fashion that even the gainsayers, that is to say your enemies will be convinced by what you say.
So here we have a type, Stephen, using that wisdom of the Holy Spirit that is filling him and giving him the words and wisdom that he spoke.)
11 Then they suborned
(Gr. hupoballô = to throw in stealthily, i.e. introduce by collusion. Here we have the False Witnesses.)
men, which said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses,
(Here meaning the Law.)
and against God."
(The religious community will really disappoint you a great deal, when you take a close look at their doctrines, and try to force a documentation of their foundation. This is exactly what Stephen had done, and this religious body had even gone so far here as to bring in false witnesses to lie in this court of law, the Sanhedrin, to say things that Stephen did not say.)
12 And they stirred up
(Gr. sugkineô = to move together, i.e. to excite as a mass [to sedition].)
the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
(= Sanhedrin. This would be the "Higher Critics" of today. They cast doubts among lay people. Never let a non-Christian do translation for you!)
13 And set up false witnesses, which said, "This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
("This holy place" is Jerusalem, and the "law" which is to say "Moses".)
14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place,
(I.e. the temple, in one of the courts which the Sanhedrin was sitting.)
and shall change the customs
(Gr. ethos, where Eng. "ethics" comes from.)
which Moses delivered us."
(This is a lie. Same as when Yahshua was delivered up.
Words spoken can be twisted, and even in today's religious world you will see biblical scholars, are researching the life of this same Jesus of Nazareth. They are not scholars of God's Word because of the following:
First of all they will make statements such as, "It is possible that Jesus was married." This shows the ignorance of those that are not Christians that try to translate the writings of Christian works. Friend, never study under an interpreter of God's Word that is not Christian. They just do not understand the proper translation, and the metaphors and figures of speech that Christians use.
And example of this is is the pure statement that a Christian is betrothed to Christ, all of us are, and once you accept Christ you are part of the bride of Christ. This is a spiritual parable, so to speak, that makes a unity bond with Christ, much as in a marriage. This bond is in the spiritual ties of your soul that lives forever with Christ. When we refer to ourselves as the virgin bride of Christ, is shows our commitment in our patience in waiting for His coming, and that we will not go whoring after any other false religion, or in the case today, the "instead of christ", who is Satan, the Antichrist, which shall come first. No one but a Christian can understand these relationships, and their Spiritual applications, and the understanding is given only by the Holy Spirit.
So with this in mind, when it talks about Mary Magdalene being betrothed to Christ, in the physical sense it means that they were engaged to be married. Friend there are many others that were also betrothed to Christ, and that includes you, if you are a Christian.
So you see in their ignorance, these critics [and there is nothing high about them in their stupidity] of Stephens day are no difference that the critics of our day, they are playing on words of the false witnesses. In these latter days we will have an onslaught of new findings by these critics, all given to draw all Christians under on religious blanket and away from the studying of God's Word. It is happening in our generation, as the preparations are being made for the one world religious order that will give authority to Satan himself, ruling as the "instead of Christ".
This term "Antichrist" is also misused from the original manuscripts. "Anti" in the Greek comes from the Greek word "Anti," also, and is # 473 in Strong's Greek dictionary. "a prime particle; opposite, i.e. instead, or because of, or in addition to..." Antichrist will come, and will be accepted instead of the true Christ, because those accepting him will not know the difference. They will be blind to the identity of Satan because they have been taught to accept the first Christ in their traditions, such as the rapture theory. Their false shepherds will lead their flocks to the "instead of Christ". This is possible because the Christians just will not know the signs of the times, nor the order of the trumpets. They are taught confusion, and are satisfied to be sweet talked Sunday after Sunday, instead of being prepared for the great deceptions that will come upon the entire world.
Until you know the doctrine of Christ you are not fit, nor do you have the knowledge to interpret the writings of Jesus Christ. You simply do not have the ears to hear, nor the eyes to see and understand His teachings. When you make statements under the title of scholar and in name of Jesus, and you are not a Christian, you deserved to be nailed to the barn door. That is what happened here to Stephen, they made statements that they had no ideas of their true meanings. You can place "scholar" to anyone, even old baseball players are given doctors degrees for their teaching kids how to throw a ball, these days.)
6:15–8:1. Stephen's Testimony and Death.
15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
(Stephen sat there before the Sanhedrin in that court room, and in his face you could see the Holy Spirit beaming in his face. He knew what He was about to face, and it illuminated him spiritually. Stephen will give them the knowledge that they will not have the power to gainsay against. This is a gift from God from the Holy Spirit, and remember back in verse five? "...and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,..." Faith brings action, and that action brings on trust in the Holy Spirit. Then it is that Holy Spirit that does the speaking through the mouth of Stephen.)