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Acts 6

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 1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Greek Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food.1

 2 Then the twelve called all the disciples to them, and said, "It is not reasonable that we should neglect the word of God, and serve tables."

 3 Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of honest reputation and full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint to oversee this business.

 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

 5 And their saying pleased the whole multitude; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, as well as Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus a convert from Antioch.

 6 These men were brought before the apostles; and when the apostles had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

 7 And the word of God increased; the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

 8 Now Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

 9 However, a dispute arose between Stephen with some from the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and of Asia.

 10 But they were not able to stand against the wisdom and the Spirit by which he [Stephen] spoke.

 11 So they solicited false witnesses who said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God."

 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him and seized him, and brought him to the council,

 13 And produced their false witnesses, who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law.

 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses delivered to us."

 15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him [Stephen], saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

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1 The widows and orphans had previously been supported by the tithes collected by the Levite priesthood. When a Jew joined the Christian believers, all support from the Jewish temple was lost. Coupled with the fact that the gospel was more easily accepted by the poor, the early Church was filled with many in need of the necessities of life — including widows. Then a famine occurred, which struck the poor particularly hard. This is why Paul was later insisting money be collected from contributions of the churches in Asia — to support the brothers in Jerusalem.


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